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Childhood Anxiety

Kristi Poppi - May 17th 2016

A recent article by Dr. Boorady describes anxiety in children and highlights the importance of treating anxiety disorders in young children.

D Sharon Pruitt at https://goo.gl/1LqzXD CC2.0

Anxiety is considered to be a normal part of development. Thus, very young children might be afraid of the dark, or school-age children might worry about making friends. However, for some kids normal anxiety can take many forms, some more intense than others resulting often to the development of an anxiety disorder. Unfortunately this anxiety could gradually get in the way of the child’s social life, family life and schoolwork. Many children, though, manage to hide it, so that even their parents/caregivers don’t really know what’s going on.

As it is highlighted by Dr. Boorady anxiety doesn’t necessarily prevent a child from functioning, but it might hinder their performance. Additionally, the child internalizes anxiety and it can interfere with their thoughts, so it is not easy for anyone to observe its existence. Therefore, it can often be overlooked or misunderstood. Dr. Boorady includes a list of signs that might help in recognizing anxiety in children:

  • Kids may have trouble sleeping or complain about stomachaches or other physical problems. 
  • They may become avoidant and clingy around parents or caregivers.
  • They might also have trouble focusing in class or be very fidgety —I like to say, “Not all that moves is ADHD,” even though that’s often the first thing we suspect from a hyperactive or inattentive child.
  • They may have explosive outbursts that make people think they are oppositional, when their fight-or-flight mechanism is triggered.

If left untreated childhood anxiety will most often follow the individual to adulthood. A study of more than 10,000 kids, interviewed by trained professionals, shows that more than 30 percent had developed an anxiety disorder some time before they were 18 and that 80 percent of these children did not get treatment. Nonetheless, it should not be ignored that avoidance strengthens anxiety. For example, children will avoid something that makes them anxious and little by little their anxiety about this thing will build up even more. In conclusion, Dr. Boorady believes that “untreated anxiety can lead to lower self-esteem, academic dysfunction, self-medication through substance abuse and depression. Getting help makes a big difference, and treatment doesn’t need to be a lifelong thing—although its positive effects will be.

If you want to find the source of this article you can find it here.


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Welcome to ourNews, where we keep up-to-date with research and other news related to infant mental health. These articles can be of interest to both parents and professionals.
We are keen to know your views and so please do comment on our articles.
Is there a topic that you would like us to write about? Just send us a message via 'Contact us'.

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