Understanding Anxiety in Children

Understanding Anxiety in Children

Anxiety is something that affects all ages. It is a common misconception that only adults or individuals that are commonly in high-stress scenarios deal with anxiety, which could not be further from the truth. The onset of an anxiety disorder can occur at any time or stage of life, and it unfortunately affects children more often than you might think. Children have their own unique troubles and are less equipped with how to cope in a healthy and constructive way. It is important to recognize signs of anxiety in youth, as well as validate them so they can learn to handle their symptoms.

Child psychologists are extraordinarily necessary when it comes to the treatment of this type of disorder. Dr. Messina and Associates are a knowledgeable team when it comes to anxiety and other mental health conditions that children may face in life. We are going to dive into what it means to understand childhood anxiety, as well as some useful information for helping your children through it with beneficial approaches.


Recognizing Anxiety in Children

A major issue and a reason childhood anxiety is not as commonly discussed is due to the fact that it is not always easy to notice and fully grasp how your child might be feeling, and they might not entirely comprehend everything going on – therefore it might be difficult for them to talk about what they ae going through. There are signs and indications to look out for that can help parents or caretakers recognize increased levels of anxiety in their children. Symptoms such as persistent trouble concentrating, irritability, relentless worrying, excessive tiredness, stomach pains, and restlessness are just of the few manifestations that might signal your child is dealing with some level of anxiety. It is important to note that for the most part, all children worry, can be restless, and have trouble concentrating from time to time. You should show concern when these factors start to overtake their everyday lives and begin to affect them significantly so that these problems do not become worse over time.


What Causes Anxiety in Youth?

There is no singular cause or explanation as to why children develop anxiety orders so early in life. Unfortunate cases of trauma, abuse, and unhealthy living environments can play a major role as to why these disorders happen, as well as negative school experiences and interactions such as bullying. These factors do not automatically mean that severe anxiety is bound to manifest, but they certainly play a part and can exacerbate symptoms over time.


Treatments and Coping Mechanisms

It is imperative to have your child meet with a mental health professional if anxiety is suspected so that a suitable treatment regimen can be figured out as soon as possible. The sooner everything is recognized and diagnosed, the better. Symptoms do have to be present for at least 6 months for an accurate diagnosis to be made, as well. Just as there are multitudes of coping mechanisms for adults that deal with anxiety and other mental health dilemmas, there are plenty of treatments and coping procedures for children, too. Each child requires their own special assessment to figure out what best works for them to diminish and overcome any anxiety that is present. Different forms of therapy and counseling, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, are hugely beneficial and can assist your child in learning the most advantageous ways to combat severe anxiety.

Physical activity, breathing techniques, and socialization are all fantastic ways to boost a child’s confidence and help them work through unwanted feelings of anxiety. Exercises such as mindfulness are incredible tools for coping with anxiety that a lot of individuals do not learn until way later in life, but if this is explained and demonstrated to someone when they are young, then they will already be set up with extraordinary coping mechanisms that they can carry through life and utilize whenever they feel necessary. Creating structure and solid routines can also be extremely helpful in combating symptoms of anxiety, and these aspects are so crucial for growing individuals to have regardless. There are numerous certified prescription medications that can seriously alleviate anxiety in children, too. Lexapro, Zoloft, and Prozac are all powerful anti-anxiety medications that can be advantageous when monitored closely by health professionals.


Other Useful Information

If your child is dealing with heightened levels of anxiety on a regular basis, learning to navigate this space can feel overwhelming and intimidating, because of course we just want the best for our kids and for them to be happy, healthy, and to not deal with things like anxiety at such young ages (or ever). The good news is that this anxiety they are experiencing does not indicate that it is going to stick around forever. With proper intervention early on in life, children have excellent chances of overcoming and significantly diminishing any severe anxiety that is present. Having patience and understanding for children dealing with anxiety is vital and doing so will only benefit them in the long run, as well. Talk with them often about how they are doing and prepare them as much as possible so they are not met with unexpected surprises that might induce an anxious state.

Anxiety can be a tricky thing to navigate, especially when it is your own child that you only want good things for. Children are really just trying to figure out the world and what their role is in it, so it is not hard to understand why anxiety disorders have a tendency to develop sometimes. The important thing to remember is to always try and be the best support system that you can possibly be for them as they work through any challenging times. We live in an era of endless resources at our fingertips, so help and additional support can practically always be accessed when needed.


Getting Help

If you are in need of help with Anxiety symptoms, please contact us at Dr. Messina & Associates. Through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and medication management, our highly qualified team specializes in anxiety and depression in children, adolescents, and adults. We have pyschiatrists and therapists ready to work with you on your journey in life. In-person appointments are available to patients in the Southlake (DFW) area. Online appointments are available to patients in the Austin, DFW, Houston, and San Antonio areas.


Dr. Michael Messina

You Might Also Enjoy...

The Importance of Emotional Intimacy

This Blog will explore the concept of Emotional Intimacy and why it’s essential for couples to nurture it in their relationships. We’ll look at how it can benefit both partners, as well as tips on how to foster this kind of connection.

Navigating Social Media and Mental Health

Studies have shown that social media use is associated with an increased risk of depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem. The answer is to use social media in a healthy and balanced way.

Improve Your Self-Esteem this New Years

A brand-new year is a wonderful opportunity to start fresh in your life. One area where many people need to make changes is in their self-esteem. Low self-esteem can lead to many issues such as depression and anxiety.

New Year, New Mindset

Dr. Messina visited with local magazine, Cross Timbers Lifestyle, to discuss the importance of a mental health reset in the New Year.