For more serious issues, like this one – Childhood Anxiety Disorders – I’ll keep it simple and straight forward. I’ll connect you to good research and interesting experts and leave out any commentary.
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety disorders are a group of mental illnesses that cause people to feel excessively frightened, distressed, or uneasy during situations in which most other people would not experience these same feelings.
How many kids have an anxiety disorder?
Between 6.6% and 16.1% of US children experience anxiety disorders.
What are the types of Anxiety Disorders?
- Panic Disorder
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Social Phobia (Social Anxiety Disorder)
- Specific Phobias
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
What are the symptoms of anxiety disorders?
- Pessimism and negative thinking patterns such as imagining the worst, over-exaggerating the negatives, rigidity and inflexibility, self-criticism, guilty thoughts, etc.
- Anger, aggression, restlessness, irritability, tantrums, opposition and defiance
- Constant worry about things that might happen or have happened
- Physical complaints such as stomachaches, headaches, fatigue, etc.
- Avoidance behaviors, such as avoiding things or places or refusing to do things or go places
- Sleeping difficulties, such as difficulty falling or staying asleep, nightmares, or night terror
- Excessive clinginess and separation anxiety
- Poor memory and concentration
- Withdrawal from activities and family interactions
- Eating disturbances
How do I know if my child needs help?
If your child is experiencing a fear that is beginning to interfere with aspects of his or her functioning, such as academic functioning, social functioning, or family functioning, then these fears may warrant treatment.
Some signs include:
- Delayed development:
- Feeling fatigued or lacking interest:
- Poor Grades:
- Falling back:
- Excessive complaints about aches and pains:
- Feeling over the top anger:
- Feeling excessive fear:
What should I look for in a therapist?
- Do they have a license to offer mental health treatment?
- Are they a psychologist, a psychiatrist, or a social worker?
- What type of degree do they have: Ph.D. or Psy.D.?
- Are they board certified?
- What is their approach to treatment (i.e., theoretical orientation)?
- Where did they train?
- What if my first choice therapist is unavailable, or I cannot find many choices?
Where can I find a therapist?
- Start by asking your pediatrician or family doctor.
- The Association of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies is dedicated specifically to scientific approaches to treatment.
- The American Board of Professional Psychology includes child and adolescent therapists with Board certification.