By Dr Atul Palwe
It is absolutely normal for children to get anxious from time to time. Did you know that anxiety can affect their thoughts and behaviour? They get worried and may experience loneliness too. There are various reasons that can lead to anxiety in children. Read on to know more about this.
Are your children unable to socialise as they are nervous? Is your child fearful and unable to relax? Then, these symptoms can crop up owing to anxiety. There will be many instances in life wherein one will be stressed as the part of the brain in control of the fight or flight response will make one nervous, fearful feeling that is termed as anxiety. Yes, you have heard it right! Anxiety is commonly seen in adults as well as children. There are various factors leading to anxiety in children. Here, we educate you about them.
These are the reasons behind anxiety in children
– Did you know? Serotonin and dopamine are the two vital neurotransmitters that, when out of whack, can lead to anxiety in children.
– As parents, you can also be the reason behind the child’s anxiety. If you are anxious then the child can also become anxious. Just like the child inherits your hair color or eye color, the child can inherit the anxiety too. If you happen to get anxious when you are around the child then he/she will also do so.
– Any traumatic event like an accident, death, loss of a loved one, any health crisis, divorce, or violence with the kid can also trigger anxiety in children.
– Bullying, fat-shaming, parents arguing, frequently moving schools and houses, being neglected or abused can also cause anxiety in children.
Know about the symptoms of anxiety in children
The physical symptoms that can be noticed are rapid heart rate, breathing problems, shaking, tiredness, sweating, and muscle pain. Emotional symptoms that can be seen are inability to relax, speaking problems, irritation, frustration, loneliness, lack of concentration, clingy behavior, denying going to school and socializing rude behaviour, being tense, worried, fearful, stressed, and nervous.
How to manage anxiety disorder in children
Counselling: As parents, you need to take charge of the child’s mental well-being, and opt for counselling to know about the triggers of anxiety.
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT): This can allow the child to manage anxiety by changing his/her behavior for the better.
Anxiety medicine: This is prescribed to the child when he/she has constant and severe anxiety bouts which cannot be managed even after taking therapies. Note that the expert will prescribe the medication.
Tips to lower anxiety in children:
Give your children that much-needed warmth and love. As parents, you need to be calm and composed in front of the child as he/she learns from you. Teach your child to solve problems instead of getting stressed or worried. Discourage violent behavior, fearing situations or objects, and address their problems on time. Invest some time with children. Help them do certain activities that they like. Playing games, dancing, cooking or gardening can be done. Try to spend some quality time with children, take them on a vacation for relaxation, and they will surely be fine.
(The writer is Consultant Paediatrician and Neonatologist, Motherhood Hospital, Lullanagar, Pune.)