If Feeling Anxious Is Normal When Does It Become A Clinical Disorder
Anxiety is formally diagnosed as generalised anxiety disorder after meeting these specific criteria from the DSM-V:
- The presence of excessive anxiety and worry about a variety of topics, events, or activities. Worry occurs more often than not for at least 6 months and is clearly excessive.
- The worry is experienced as very challenging to control.
- The anxiety and worry is accompanied with at least three of the following physical or cognitive symptoms :
- Tiring easily
- Increased muscle aches or soreness
A health practitioner will use standardised assessment tools, the above diagnostic criteria, and their clinical judgement to make a diagnosis of anxiety-related disorder.
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Panic Attacks In Children And Adolescents
Panic attacks often begin during adolescence, although they may start during childhood. Attacks can lead to severe anxiety, as well as affecting other parts of a child’s mood or functioning.
Some children begin to avoid situations where they fear a panic attack may occur. Adolescents might use alcohol or drugs to reduce their anxiety. If not recognized and treated, panic attacks can cause future complications for children such as severe depression and suicidal behaviour.
When diagnosed early on, children experiencing panic attacks usually respond well to treatment.
How Parents Can Help Teens With Panic Disorder
At times, parenting a teenager can be both very difficult and very rewarding. As a parent, you’re probably well aware of the social pressures, physical and mental changes, and academic issues that your teen facesand these are just a few of the challenges. Life as a teenager can be made even more complicated if the teen has panic disorder, and as a parent, it can be hard to know how to help your teen deal with this mental health disorder. Following are some tips to help in the parenting of your teen with panic disorder.
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Help Your Child Understand What Anxiety And Panic Attacks Are
First, you must educate yourself about anxiety in children and help your child understand:
- What an anxiety attack or panic attack is. Explain to your child that anxiety is a normal reaction to dangerous situations, but that at times their body may have a false alarm. There is no real danger, but all their feelings and sensations tell them there is.
- How to know if they have a panic attack. Teach your child what the symptoms are. Make them aware that not everyone around them including you can always tell that theyre having a panic attack. Its important that they alert others.
What Do Panic Attacks Feel Like
During a panic attack, physical symptoms can build up very quickly. These can include:
- a pounding or racing heartbeat
- feeling faint, dizzy or light-headed
- feeling very hot or very cold
- sweating, trembling or shaking
- pain in your chest or abdomen
- struggling to breathe or feeling like youre choking
- feeling like your legs are shaky or are turning to jelly
- feeling disconnected from your mind, body or surroundings, which are types of dissociation.
During a panic attack you might feel very afraid that youre:
- losing control
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Natural Remedy For Anxiety In Children
Children benefit from behavioral therapies and medical treatment from experts more than natural remedies. Support and encouragement of parents and caregivers are required for better results. Parents can work towards avoiding any panic attack triggers.
The following lifestyle modifications and home care can also help deal with the symptoms of a panic attack in children.
- Relaxation techniques: You may teach some relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and yoga to your child. These may minimize stress and help the child stay calm.
- Physical activity: Encourage your child to involve themselves in sports and activities, such as dance and martial arts. Exercises can help reduce stress.
- Sufficient sleep: Good deep sleep is important for physical and mental well being.
You may also join some support groups of parents dealing with panic attacks in children. This may help you manage stress and other difficulties caused by your childs condition.
Herbal supplements and dietary supplements for the treatment of panic disorders are not monitored by the US Food and Drug Administration . If you want to use such products, then consult a pediatrician for advice on their safety and efficacy.
Causes Of Childhood Anxiety Disorder
According to the National Institutes of Mental Health , both genetic and environmental factors contribute to the risk of developing an anxiety disorder. Research shows that biology, biochemistry, life situations, and learned behaviors all play a role. Many anxious kids have anxious family members, says Alvord. Children model behaviors on what they see, she adds.
And then theres the genetic component. Anxiety disorders do run in families but a family history doesnt mean a child is destined to develop a disorder. Parental behavior can exacerbate and worsen childrens problem but thats not the same as saying that parents are the cause of the child having the problem in the first place, Lebowitz says.
Much depends on the childs innate sensitivity, family dynamics, and life experiences. Some children have a natural predisposition or vulnerability to anxiety or have difficulty regulating their feelings of anxiety and fear. And thats not because their parents did this or didnt do that, stresses Lebowitz, That said, parents can and should play an important role in helping children learn to cope better with their anxiety.
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Building Your Childs Toolbox
You can help your child by giving them some tools to manage their anxiety and panic attacks. The purpose of these tools is to facilitate the most important step: facing fears. For Panic Disorder, tools in the toolbox include:
Tool #1: Learning to Relax.
This tool involves helping your child learn to relax. Two strategies can be particularly helpful:
TOOL #2: Realistic Thinking
The next tool is targeted to older children or teens. It involves learning to identify scary thoughts that trigger and fuel physical feelings of panic. First, ask your child what he or she fears will happen during a panic attack. Examples include: I will pass out, It will go on forever, Ill embarrass myself and everyone will laugh, or Ill die. These thoughts tend to promote panic attacks and can be grouped into two categories:
Tool #3: Making Coping Cards
Tool #4: Facing Fears
Encourage Your Child To Face Their Fears
If you notice that your child tends to have panic attacks in certain situations or when faced with certain objects, one of the best ways to help them is to encourage them to face it. For example, if your child is terrified of dogs you can slowly expose him to having dogs around. Start with baby steps show him pictures of dogs, different breeds.
You can then move on to showing him a dog in a cage. When he is more comfortable, you can encourage him to pet a small dog and so on.
This will help your child build confidence as well as realize that they actually do not have to fear the object or situation. Be supportive and encouraging through the process even though it might take a lot of time for them to overcome their fears. Allow your child to learn and process his thoughts and emotions.
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Can Panic Attacks Be Prevented
Just because a child has one panic attack doesnt mean there will be more. But panic attacks typically leave sufferers, particularly children, with anticipatory anxiety what if it happens again? This may lead a child to avoid situations which she thinks could trigger the panic attack, or cling to a safe person wherever she goes, or become house-bound. It may also become a vicious cycle: Anxiety about a potential panic attack may lead to an actual panic attack.
Deep breathing exercises and muscle relaxation techniques have been known to help ease the anxiety that is the underlying cause of panic attacks. These exercises may prevent panic attacks but, more importantly, give the child tools with which to respond during a panic attack. But to be effective in the moment, they need to be done at least once a day.
Practices like yoga and meditation can also be helpful in dealing with anxiety, as they clear the mind and focus breathing.
Understanding The Triggers Is The First Step To Helping Your Child Overcome The Condition
A panic attack is an intense feeling of fear and anxiety. It often happens if people feel anxious about something happening in their life or have experienced something difficult or stressful.
Panic attacks can feel very frightening, especially for children, but they can usually be stopped with treatment. Its important to know that a panic attack wont cause any harm and, even if it may not feel it during an attack, the feeling will pass.
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Panic Attacks I Turned My Mental Health Crisis Into A Mental Health Triumph
Although its taken me a long time I have learned I am a strong person who has the potential to help others.
You might find that you become scared of going out alone or to public places because youre worried about having another panic attack. If this fear becomes very intense, it may be called agoraphobia. See our pages on types of phobia for more information.
I felt like I couldnt breathe, I just wanted to get out, to go somewhere else, but I couldnt because I was on a train.
What Are Panic Attacks
Panic attacks are a physiological occurrence that can happen to children who suffer from anxiety. They can come on suddenly and without warning.
Typically panic attacks can last ten to fifteen minutes, but the fear of having another one can be more debilitating than the panic attacks themselves. Although stress and anxiety can exacerbate the likelihood of having a panic attack, panic attacks can happen at any time even during sleep.
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How To Help Someone Having A Panic Attack
A panic attack is a brief but intense rush of fear.
These attacks involve symptoms similar to those experienced when facing a threat, including:
- intense fear
- head and chest pain
Panic attacks differ from a typical fear response because theres no actual threat involved.
The body is saying theres danger, when in reality theres none present, explains Sadie Bingham, a clinical social worker who specializes in anxiety and provides therapy in Gig Harbor, Washington.
Panic attack triggers arent always easy to identify, so people who have one attack often worry about having more, especially in public.
Panic attacks usually feel very uncomfortable and cause significant distress. Many people believe theyre experiencing a heart attack or other life-threatening issue.
If you know someone who experiences panic attacks, there are several things you can do to help them in the moment.
How Are Anxiety Disorders Diagnosed
Anxiety disorders can be diagnosed by a trained therapist. They talk with you and your child, ask questions, and listen carefully. They’ll ask how and when the child’s anxiety and fears happen most. That helps them diagnose the specific anxiety disorder the child has.
A child or teen with symptoms of anxiety should also have a regular health checkup. This helps make sure no other health problem is causing the symptoms.
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Dr Tim And Mrs Noreen Muehlhoff
Dr. Tim Muehlhoff is a professor of communication at Biola University in La Mirada, California where he teaches classes in family communication, interpersonal communication, apologetics, gender, and conflict resolution. Tim and his wife, Noreen, are both on staff with Biolas Center for Marriage and Relationships where he is a co-host of The Art of Relationship podcast.
What To Do If Your Child Is Having A Panic Attack
Collaborative Post¦ When adults have a panic attack, they will usually know how to handle it in the middle of the situation. However, if your children have a panic attack, you might not have any idea what to do about it. This can be especially frightening if your children are so young that they do not have the language skills to express what they are feeling and need help calming down. But do not fear. There are options available to help.
Child anxiety medication over the counter can help along with techniques that you can perform. These few simple steps will help you take care of your children when they have a panic attack, whether it is mild or severe.
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Childhood Anxiety Can Worsen As Children Grow Left Untreated Anxiety Can Impact Both Physical And Emotional Health Here’s How To Help Your Child Manage Anxiety On Their Own
Fathers bravely patrolling the perimeter of bedrooms to show a frightened child there aren’t any multi-legged, hairy creatures hiding under their bed is a nighttime ritual regularly performed in homes around the world. But when spider anxiety prevents you from sleeping away from home or traveling, that’s a problem. It’s not the spider that stops you from doing adventurous things it’s youand your anxietythat stops you.
It’s important to know the difference between normal anxiety and an anxiety disorder though. , bugs, birds, monsters, or strangers are considered common childhood fears that may cause temporary anxiety in a child. Thats a normal response. But, regardless of the trigger , normal anxiety turns toxic when it begins to occupy the childs thoughts in an all-consuming way and negatively affects the childs ability to engage in normal activities and behaviors.
When To Seek Professional Help
In severe cases of panic attacks, the child or adolescent may be afraid to leave home. If you notice your child showing persisting symptoms of panic attacks, it is time to seek help from your healthcare provider.
Children and adolescents with symptoms of panic attacks should first be evaluated by their family doctor or pediatrician. If no other physical illness or condition is found as a cause for the symptoms, they might be referred to a child and adolescent psychiatrist for an evaluation.
With treatment, panic attacks can usually be stopped. Early treatment can help prevent serious complications.
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Many Teens Feel Emotions More Deeply And This Can Sometimes Develop Into Anxiety Disorders
Side effects like panic attacks can arise from an overload of anxiety. These scary events can look and feel like medical emergencies. If left untreated, they can debilitate the person experiencing them. Parents that identify the problem can help their child avoid panic attacks and find better ways to manage stress.
How To Prevent And Control Panic Attacks
Panic attacks are psychological problems that need to be treated by psychologists and psychiatrists. To deal with these conditions, doctors can do psychotherapy and give drugs to prevent and overcome panic symptoms that arise.
In addition, you can also try the following ways to help calm yourself and deal with panic attacks that arise:
1. Regulates breathing
Inhale deeply through your nose, hold for 5-10 seconds, then exhale slowly through your mouth. Do these breathing exercises while closing your eyes until you feel calmer.
Not only to relieve panic attacks, but you can also do breathing exercises regularly every day to prevent panic attacks from occurring.
2. Using muscle relaxation techniques
As with breathing techniques, muscle relaxation techniques can also help relieve panic attacks. This technique is done by tightening certain body muscles for 5-10 seconds, then releasing them slowly.
For example, clenching your fists tightly to relax your hand muscles or tilting your head as far as possible to relax your neck muscles.
3. Distracting attention
When a panic attack strikes, try to distract yourself from your anxiety and fear with something you enjoy. For example, by listening to music, exercising, or doing yoga and meditation.
4. Train focus
When a panic attack strikes, some people find it helpful to focus their minds on an object. The trick, choose an object in the scene that is most clearly visible.
5. Inhale aromatherapy
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How Can I Help My Child
If your child has an anxiety disorder, here are some ways you can help:
- Find a trained therapist and take your child to all the therapy appointments.
- Talk often with the therapist, and ask how you can best help your child.
- Help your child face fears. Ask the therapist how you can help your child practice at home. Praise your child for efforts to cope with fears and worry.
- Help kids talk about feelings. Listen, and let them know you understand, love, and accept them. A caring relationship with you helps your child build inner strengths.
- Encourage your child to take small steps forward. Don’t let your child give up or avoid what they’re afraid of. Help them take small positive steps forward.
- Be patient. It takes a while for therapy to work and for kids to feel better.