Does your kid hesitate to speak in front of others? Has he/she never participated in school activities? If yes, then your child probably has an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorder in children is quite common and needs the utmost attention. Although it’s normal for kids to fear or worry occasionally, kids who suffer from anxiety disorder show such behavior every day. This persistent anxiety interferes with their day-to-day activities which can have a wide range of consequences.
Types Of Anxiety Disorder In Children
There are many anxiety disorder types and common among them are:
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
Children suffering from generalized anxiety disorder feel stressed about several things such as performance in school, life at home, relationship with friends, and so on. Some common symptoms of GAD are:
- Disruptive behavior
- Frequent urination
- Troubled sleep
- Finding hard to connect with others
- Refusals especially to go to school
- Avoiding people
- Disinterestedness in doing certain tasks
Separation Anxiety Disorder
For babies, it’s quite normal to feel anxious when a parent especially a mother goes out of sight. It’s also common for small child to cry on the first day of his/her pre-school. However, if olden children feel anxious about leaving their parents and that for a long period, they can become victims of separation anxiety disorder.
Social Anxiety Disorder
This anxiety disorder in children is also known as social phobia. Kids with this anxiety disorder have the worry of being judged negatively by others due to which they avoid social situations. For instance – if your child has an intense fear of participating in group discussions, answering his/her teacher, or giving a speech on stage, he/she probably has a social anxiety disorder. Well, if social phobia in its worst form is selection mutism.
Additional Information: Kids with selective mutism refuse to act when there is a necessity. They generally stand expressionless, avoid eye contact, and try to avoid talking.
Panic disorder causes a sudden rise of fear that results in shortness of breath, sweating, and a racing heart. The time period in which the child faces these conditions is termed as a panic attack. The panic attack can last for minutes or hours depending upon the condition of the child. Well, panic attacks occur repeatedly and unexpectedly. Other symptoms may include troubled breathing, chest pain, discomfort, and a sense of danger.
Tip: If your child suffers from panic attacks, try to ward off the anxiety attacks by making him/her practice deep breathing and muscle relaxation techniques. Ask your child to practice mindfulness or try to focus on an object.
Special phobias are fear concerning specific objects or situations. Kids often fear of animals, heights, darkness, blood, and loud noises. Many children fear being alone which is called autophobia. Signs of these special phobias include clinging, vocal outbursts, headaches, stomach pain, and throwing tantrums.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
This kind of anxiety disorder in children occurs after exposure to a traumatic situation or event. The traumatic situation/event can be physical or emotional abuse, violence, loss of a dear one, and so on. Well, kids suffering from PTSD often feel sad, feel irritable at times, and also have upsetting memories. They can also have nightmares which can increase their fear or stress.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Children suffering from OCD have unreasonable fears that result in repetitive behaviors that are either mental or physical. Some signs of OCD in kids include aggressive thoughts, longing for precision, fear of contamination, and spiritual obsessions. Well, the symptoms of OCD start unexpectedly and can change anytime in life. If your child suffers from OCD, opt for talk therapy. You can also consult his/her doctor and get appropriate medication.