According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders affect one in eight children. Research shows that left untreated these children are at higher risk to engage in substance abuse, perform poorly in school, and miss out on important social experiences. Anxiety disorders can be caused by a combination of heredity, biochemical factors, life events and temperament. They can co-occur with ADHD, eating disorders and depression. Children and teens that suffer from anxiety disorders often experience nervousness, fear, avoidance of activities and places, as well as shyness.
While anxiety can be a normal reaction to stress, when it becomes an irrational dread of everyday situations it can become a disabling condition and requires professional intervention. Examples of anxiety disorders include: post-traumatic stress disorder, social phobia, separation anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, specific phobias, and generalized anxiety disorder.
Symptoms commonly associate with anxiety include:
- Sleep disturbance
- Unrealistic fears
- Feeling on edge or nervous
- Trembling, sweating and shortness of breath
- Headaches, stomach aches and muscle tension
- Trouble separating from parents
- Cognitive therapy
- Family intervention
- Parent education and support