Prevention Of Anxiety And Depression
It is not known exactly why some children develop anxiety or depression. Many factors may play a role, including biology and temperament. But it is also known that some children are more likely to develop anxiety or depression when they experience trauma or stress, when they are maltreated, when they are bullied or rejected by other children, or when their own parents have anxiety or depression.
Although these factors appear to increase the risk for anxiety or depression, there are ways to decrease the chance that children experience them. Learn about public health approaches to prevent these risks:
Make The Breathing Technique A Part Of Their Daily Routine
Onceyou have taught your child the Deep-Slow Breathing Technique, you want toencourage them to make it a part of their daily routine. Select typical anxiety-provoking situations ortimes such as, going to school, doing homework, going to the shopping centre,doing school work, classroom, leaving the house et cetera. Remind your child to do the deep-slowbreathing technique regularly, and how it will help with the unusual feelingsassociated with their Anxiety.
Lets do the Breathing Technique together .
Managing Symptoms: Staying Healthy
Being healthy is important for all children and can be especially important for children with depression or anxiety. In addition to getting the right treatment, leading a healthy lifestyle can play a role in managing symptoms of depression or anxiety. Here are some healthy behaviors that may help:
- Having a healthy eating plan centered on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes , lean protein sources, and nuts and seeds
- Participating in physical activity for at least 60 minutes each day
- Practicing mindfulness or relaxation techniques
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Some Empowering Thoughts Might Include:
*I am not dying, I am having a panic attack. *Although panic attacks feel scary, there is nothing medically wrong with me. *People do not get injured or die from panic attacks. *My panic attacks always end. *I am not going crazy, I am having a panic attack. *I am sick of my panic attack dictator! I am not going to let him rule my life.
Causes Of Panic Attacks In Children
The exact cause of panic attacks or panic disorders is not known. The following factors may have a role in the development of panic disorders .
- Changes in brain functions
The nature or temperament of a child may also play an important role in the development of panic and anxiety disorders. Children who are more sensitive to stress and negative emotions may have an increased risk for panic disorders. A few children may have panic reactions triggered by certain emotional stress situations such as school homework, fear of punishment from parents or teachers, etc.
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Anxiety Vs Panic Attacks
An anxiety attack is a little different from a panic attack. Anxiety attacks are not officially recognised by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual or DSM-V, whereas panic attacks are. Anxiety attacks can also involve severe anxiety but the symptoms of anxiety are less intensely physical in nature. Also, panic attacks tend to come on very suddenly.
Panic disorder is defined in the DSM-V as:
What Are The Signs Of Anxiety In A Child
While both adults and children have similar symptoms ofanxiety, children usually exhibit these symptoms in the form of overtbehaviour. Children do not always havethe communication skills to verbalise their feelings and will instead expressthem in a behavioural way. Anxietyrelated behaviour can often be misinterpreted by parents and teachers forconditions or problems other than anxiety, which can result in an untreatedanxiety condition. This can aggravatethe symptoms of anxiety for the child. To understand Anxiety, you need to be able to recognise the symptoms,and also that it is brought on by fear. When we feel threatened our brain releases Adrenalin, the chemical weneed to deal with the situation efficiently and effectively. Everyone has this in built survival coping mechanism. Unfortunately, this survival mechanism thatputs us in a flight or fight mode will occur even if the threat is a falsealarm. Children do not always have theanalytical capacity to differentiate between a real threat and an unrealisticone and this may cause them to press the alarm button when its not needed.Unfortunately, when Adrenalin is released in the system during a false alarm itwill sit there until it eventually naturally leaves the body but in themeantime, it will cause the uncomfortable symptoms commonly associated withAnxiety. While everyone will experiencedifferent symptoms during Anxiety, the typical symptoms experienced by bothadults and children are listed below.
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Addressing The Trigger Of Their Anxiety That Is Their Fear
Most children would find differentiating between a realistic and unrealistic fear a very challenging thing to do on their own. You can help your child to learn how to rationalise their fears by teaching them to logically look at the probability of that fear actually happening, and even if it was to happen, how it is likely to negatively impact on them. This activity is not always easy to do and you might require the assistance of a professional.
If you have an older child who is suffering from anxiety they might benefit from listening to my You Tube video on Anxiety below or from reading my post:
Anxietycan be a debilitating condition that if left untreated can significantlyinterfere with your childs personal growth, and mental wellbeing. Anxiety is atreatable condition when it is understood well.
Click for more information about my one hour video program, Heal Your Anxiety,
Once They Are Able To Control The Symptoms Of Their Anxiety You Can Explore The Trigger
Takea note of the time, situation, discussion or activity that they were doing atthe time of their anxiety. Ask themspecific questions such as,
Isthere anything that has frightened you?
Areyou worried about anything in particular?
Whatwere you thinking at the time when you were anxious
Areyou worried that something bad is going to happening?
Whatis it about where we are going that scares you?
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Why Your Kids Misbehave And What To Do About It
Tantrums. Talking back. Throwing toys or food. Meltdowns. Slamming doors. Kids know just how to push your buttons. Youve tried all sorts of methods, but nothing seems to work. In this book, Dr. Kevin Leman reveals exactly why kids misbehave and how you can turn that behavior around with practical, no-nonsense strategies that really work . . . and are a long-term win for both of you.
Common Symptoms Of A Panic Attacks In Children:
-Racing heart-Feeling dizzy, faint or light headed-Chest pain and/or heart palpitations-Numbness or tingling of hands or feet-Difficulty breathing-Fear of dying or losing ones mind-Hot or cold flashes-Feeling nauseous or having gastrointestinal distress-Trembling or shaking uncontrollably
Sounds nasty, right? It doesnt feel good either. Trust me, I know. When I went to college I gained new knowledge, as well as a new enemy panic attacks.
Panic attacks ruled my life for my first year at college. I didnt know what they were or what was happening to me. With determination and anger I bullied my panic attacks back and rid my life of them. With patience and time, your kids can too.
As a child therapist, I see the impact panic attacks in children can have on the whole family. Although you may not be able to eradicate panic attacks completely from your childs world right away, there are some things you can do to help.
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Ways To Help Your Child Cope
Knowing what triggers an attack is the first step in attacking panic. Ask your child how they feel and what is making them feel anxious or stressed. Are there certain situations or places that cause them to feel panicky? This knowledge can help your child think about what they can do to cope with those situations.
During a panic attack, your child may feel like they are losing control, but there are things you can help them do to take back control and feel grounded again:
Panic Coping Skill #: Squeeze An Ice Cube Or Take A Hot Shower
Engaging with any of the 5 senses can help kids feel more grounded and break the cycle of a panic attack. Many experts recommend using heat or cold sensations as a way to help kids feel more in the moment and to pull focus away from overwhelming emotions. Ive personally seen many kids have success with squeezing an ice cube, jumping into a hot shower, or even stepping out into the front yard for a few minutes on a cold night.
This technique is especially helpful if your childs panic attacks tend to happen at home. It can be a bit harder to use when youre out and about, but a cool drink from a fountain or splashing water on your face in the restroom might be feasible when panic attacks happen in a public place. If you find that grounding skills are helpful, my online coping skills courses might benefit your child, too.
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Loving Your Spouse Through The Seasons Of Marriage
Debra Fileta has identified the four seasons of marriage that correspond with our natural seasons spring , summer , fall , and winter . In this interview, she will help couples better understand the four seasons of healthy relationships, what to expect during each one, and how to carefully navigate them for a stronger marriage.
How Panic Differs From Anxiety
Panic and anxiety are often used interchangeably, but they refer to different events. Instances of panic are short-lived and intense. They usually last less than 10 minutes because the body cant stay in such an aroused state for extended periods of time.
A panic attack activates our fight-or-flight response that helps prepare our body to protect us from real or perceived threats. However, panic attacks can occur with or without a threat. Anything from watching a scary movie to exercising to consuming excessive caffeine can trigger the physical changes that may lead to a panic attack.
On the other hand, anxiety is a more future-oriented emotion and usually results from thinking or imagining a negative occurrence in the future. Anxiety can be long-lasting, with a lower level of arousal in the body.
Anxiety and panic are interrelated, and both contribute to panic disorder, says Gabe Gruner, LICSW, a psychotherapist at the Psychiatry Outpatient Clinic at Brigham and Womens Hospital.
Gruner specializes in obsessive compulsive disorder and other anxiety disorders. The anxiety part of the disorder involves worrying about future panic attacks, he says. A person with panic disorder may think, When will my next panic attack occur? What will happen? Theyre anxious about the panic attack, even when theyre not having it.
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Getting Help For Your Child
Its a good idea to seek professional support if self-help strategies are not making the situation better and anxiety is affecting your childs life – for example if they are feeling persistently anxious, often having distressing thoughts, or avoiding things like going outside or speaking to others.
There are different places where you can find help for your child. Your GP, your child’s school and considering whether counselling or therapy might help are good places to start.
You can find out more about speaking to GPs, finding a counsellor or therapist, accessing Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services , getting help from your childs school and finding local services on our guide to getting help for your child.
How Do Psychologists Treat Anxiety
The treatment outcomes for anxiety are very positive through counselling sessions with an experienced psychologist. This is because psychologists have experience in understanding human behaviour and can assist in identifying emotional triggers. By doing this, psychologists can provide you with practical solutions to address the underlying issue so that they do not keep coming back.
As the practice of psychology is an evidence-based one, many psychologists will employ psychoeducation and cognitive behavioural therapy to treat people with anxiety.
Psychoeducation is a process where a psychologist helps you understand the nature of anxiety so that you are no longer afraid of it.
Cognitive behavioural therapy is based on the reduction and elimination of anxiety symptoms. CBT has been shown to be highly effective in the short-term. Research indicates that over 60% of people who undergo CBT experience substantial improvements in anxiety symptoms. It is also the best long-term treatment for anxiety as CBT teaches you skills that you can apply on-demand.
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The Faulty Fire Alarm
When a child has a panic attack, its as if someone pulled a fire alarm in the hallway at school. Their fight-or-flight response is sounding the alarm bell for no apparent reason, giving the child a surge of adrenaline they dont need. When a person experiences fight-or-flight symptoms out of context, they can feel extra scary: its as if youre losing control of your body! This can lead people to get extremely focused on their physical sensations, and become fearful of future panic attacks. Ultimately, both of these behaviors make panic attacks worse.
Adrenaline doesnt stay in the body for very long, which is why even the scariest panic attack will eventually get better on its own. Keep reading for ways your child can help make these attacks dissipate more quickly, and maybe even prevent them from happening in the first place.
Being Open About Panic Attacks
While panic attacks are much more widely understood than they were when Petersen was first experiencing them, she notes that research shows that people who have panic disorder often wait years before they discuss symptoms with a medical professional or even other people. Its easy to feel ashamed by the symptoms if youre not dying, does that mean theres something terribly wrong with your brain?
When she was struggling in college and didnt know what was wrong with her, she notes, I told friends that I had mono.
But later, after some bad experiences with romantic partners who werent supportive, she says, I made a vow to tell every person I dated about my anxiety up front, as if it was a communicable disease. Being around people who can accept that part of you and support you is super important.
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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.
What Not To Do When A Child Is Anxious
At one time or another, every parent has made a well-meaning mistake that made things worse. For instance, you may be quick to dismiss a youngster’s emotions or label them wrong,” Gilboa says. “We’re so used to guiding our kids’ behavior that we try to guide their feelings as well,” she says. “It never works.”
Pressuring a child to feel a certain way may cause him to hide his or her real emotions. That can make it more difficult to recognize the seriousness of the problem. “If our kids can’t express their feelings to us and know that they’ll be heard, we will never know if they’re experiencing true anxiety that needs attention,” she says.
Other parents may be too ready to accommodate their children by simply avoiding situations that trigger anxiety. That can backfire, too. When children stop going to the pool with friends because they fear water or avoid sleepovers because theyre uncomfortable in the dark, those limitations may add to their anxiety. “It’s really stressful not being able to do the things that other people do,” Chansky says.
If left undiagnosed and untreated, a child with an anxiety disorder is at increased risk of engaging in dangerous behaviors, such as self-harm, substance abuse and bullying. “They develop negative coping strategies,” Gilboa says.
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Common Anxiety Symptoms Experienced By Children
While there is so much information available about Anxiety, there is very little information that is available on the cause and treatment for Anxiety. Not every child will experience the same symptoms of anxiety or have the same behaviours to cope with Anxiety. Below is a list of the most common symptoms of Anxiety experienced by children. If your child suffers from Anxiety you might recognise some, if not all of these symptoms in your child
- Choking sensation.