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How to Treat Anxiety in Children

Smita Pandit Mar 12, 2019
Does your child suffer from anxiety attacks every now and then? Wondering how to treat anxiety in children? Here's some information on ways of treating anxiety in kids.
Though it might be normal for a child to feel anxious on his first day at school or during examinations, there are times when negative emotions such as nervousness, fear, and tension start affecting the child's daily activities.
Parents must never make the mistake of dismissing their child's worries as trivial. What might be insignificant to you might be very stressful for your child. If your child's mind seems to be burdened with worries and fear, you must step in.

Contributing Factors

If any of the parents is affected by an anxiety disorder, the child is definitely at a risk. Generalized anxiety disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, social anxiety, separation anxiety, and obsessive compulsive disorder are some of the conditions that could cause anxiety. Stress could also be a trigger.
The behavior of the parents could also be determining factor. If the parents seem to be anxious all the time, the child is more likely to feel anxious. A child affected by an anxiety disorder reacts very strongly to stressful situations.
On perceiving any imminent threat or danger, he/she could experience panic attacks. Such children are more vulnerable to depression. They might experience symptoms such as headaches, difficulty in sleeping, nausea, and stomach aches.

Treatment Options

Parents must make sure that their child doesn't miss out on the simple pleasures or the happy moments due to anxiety. Parents must allay their child's fears and anxiety. A child might not be able to understand his/her feelings, so parents must try to resolve such issues.
The first step is to recognize the condition of your child. Some children experience severe anxiety on being separated from parents. They might refuse to go to school. They might want someone to stay with them at bedtime. This condition is known as separation anxiety disorder.
Children affected by this disorder are always worried that something bad might happen to their parents while they are away. This causes them to become clingy. In such cases, the parents should consult a therapist. Psychotherapists use play-based therapies to treat separation anxiety in children.
Cognitive behavioral theory is a form of therapy which aims at shaping the child's thought process and behavioral responses. Literary therapy might be used for treating anxiety in young children. Under literary therapy, pictures and stories are used for invoking better responses and channelizing the child's thoughts in an appropriate manner.
Exercises and relaxation therapies can also help in treating anxiety. Sometimes, psychotherapists might create situations whereby the child is made to confront his/her fears in order to overcome them. Systematic desensitization technique is generally employed to help children overcome their fears.
Family therapy is also an important aspect of treatment. Parents are informed about ways to handle or treat anxiety attacks in children. In severe cases, the use of antianxiety drugs might be recommended to treat anxiety disorder.
Psychotherapy is a great way to treat anxiety without medication. Antianxiety drugs must be used, only if other methods are not providing desired results.
Disclaimer: This information is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.