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Your Child's Anxiety Disorder: What You Can Do

by Brett Mills

Anxiety disorders are not just limited to adults. Children as young as preschool age can show signs that they are suffering from extreme anxiety. If you suspect your child does, it is important that you take action to help him or her cope and get treatment from a qualified medical professional. 

What Is an Anxiety Disorder?

An anxiety disorder is a mental health condition that results in prolonged worrying and other symptoms for a period of at least six months. In addition to worrying, your child will experience fatigue, sleep disturbances, and difficulty concentrating. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, it is most common to experience anxiety in childhood and middle age. 

When the symptoms of an anxiety disorder have taken over your child's life, he or she will have trouble performing simple, everyday tasks. The effects of the condition can be crippling for some children. 

What Can You Do If You Suspect Your Child Has a Disorder?

One of the first things you can do is talk to your child's teachers, friends, and family. Find out if they have noticed any changes in your child's behavior. You also need to write down all of the symptoms that you have noticed. Once you have this information, talk to your child's pediatrician. The pediatrician can help rule out whether or not there is a medical condition that is causing your child's symptoms. 

After eliminating the possibility that an underlying medical condition is causing the symptoms of your child's anxiety, your pediatrician can recommend a therapist to help treat your child. Both the pediatrician and the therapist can work together to diagnose the disorder and treat it. 

How Can You Help Your Child Cope?

You will be tasked with helping your child find ways to relax when he or she is experiencing anxiety. Stress relief can be as simple as taking your child out to the park or to see a movie. Your child's therapist can also recommend the use of other stress relief techniques, such as meditation.

You and your family might have to attend family counseling sessions. It is important that everyone participates to show support to your child. It is especially important if you have other children that they attend. By attending the sessions, your other children can better understand the disorder and be part of finding a solution. 

Your child's symptoms can be managed, but it is important that you seek help and stay supportive.