As a parent, it can be difficult to know how to tell if your child has anxiety. After all, every child is different and will react differently to different situations. However, there are some key signs and symptoms that may indicate that your child is struggling with anxiety.
What Are Anxiety Disorders?
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health disorder in the United States, affecting around 20% of children and adolescents. These disorders can cause a great deal of distress and can interfere with a child’s ability to function at home, at school, or in social situations.
Types of Pediatric Anxiety Disorders
There are several different types of anxiety disorders that can affect children and adolescents, including:
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder: A child with GAD feels anxious or worried most days, for a period of six months or more.
- Panic Disorder: A child with PD experiences sudden and intense episodes of fear, called panic attacks. These can happen without any warning or obvious trigger.
- Separation Anxiety Disorder: A child with a separation anxiety disorder feels excessively worried when away from home or separated from loved ones.
- Social Anxiety Disorder: A child with a social anxiety disorder feels intense anxiety or fear in social situations, such as meeting new people, speaking in front of others, or being watched or evaluated by others.
Pediatric Anxiety Symptoms
There is no one-size-fits-all list of pediatric anxiety symptoms, as every child is different. However, there are some general signs and symptoms that may indicate that your child is struggling with anxiety.
Common pediatric anxiety symptoms:
- Excessive worry or fear about ordinary, age-appropriate situations, such as going to school, meeting new people, or being separated from caregivers
- Persistent worrying that interferes with daily activities such as sleeping, eating, or playing
- Recurring physical symptoms such as headaches, stomachaches, or trouble breathing
- Avoidance of activities or situations that cause anxiety or fear
- Intense fear or worry that is out of proportion to the actual danger involved in a situation
How to Calm Down a Child with Anxiety
If your child is experiencing anxiety, there are some things that you can do to help them calm down, including:
- Encourage your child to take deep breaths. Help them count to five as they breathe in through their nose and out through their mouth.
- Have your child close their eyes and imagine a peaceful place. This could be a beach, a meadow, or anywhere else that makes them feel calm and happy.
- Encourage your child to talk to you about their anxiety. This can help them to understand their feelings and may help to lessen their anxiety.
- Help your child to come up with a plan for how to deal with anxious situations. This could involve things like deep breathing or imagining a calm place.
What to Do If You Suspect Your Child Has Anxiety
If you suspect that your child has anxiety, it is important to seek professional help. A mental health professional can assess your child’s symptoms and make a diagnosis. They can also provide treatment that can help your child to cope with their anxiety and improve their quality of life.
How Parker Pediatrics Can Help Your Family
At Parker Pediatrics, we are here to help your family in any way that we can. If you are concerned that your child may have anxiety, we can provide a comprehensive evaluation. We will work with you to develop a treatment plan that meets your child’s needs and strive to provide the best possible care. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.