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Home » Anxiety and Depression, Health and Vitality

All About Anxiety, Fears and Panic

[18 Apr 2011 | No Comments | 2 views | Author: Dee Braun, DrR, CA, CCT]
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Children and adults can become anxious, irritable or depressed by life and routines changes. All children feel anxious sometimes � your child may be anxious about the first day at school, about going to the dentist or taking an exam.

A child with anxiety experiences symptoms more intensely and more often, and it can seriously affect day-to-day school, home and social life. Adjusting to going back to school can be stressful for children and parents. Often overlooked are other important issues such as a child�s feelings and emotions about starting or returning to school.

When children are experiencing new situations, it’s normal for them to experience anxiety. As summer vacation draws closer and closer to its end, more and more students begin thinking about the many challenges their new school year will bring. For most students there is a mixture of excitement and unease. Just the way an adult feels a bit of anxiety and anticipation before doing anything new or challenging, a little nervousness is expected, says child psychologist Dr. Lawrence Balter.

Anxiety in general and back to school anxiety can take many forms, and many degrees of severity. Anxiety and Panic Disorder can stem from many of things.

An example of some include:

* Work stresses

* Family stresses

* Money worries

* School stresses

* Drug abuse

* Alcohol abuse

* Health issues

* A traumatic event from the past has resurfaced

You can help yourself and your children through it if you understand it.

What are the symptoms of anxiety?

There is a range of symptoms associated with anxiety that cause changes physically, emotionally and mentally.

These include:

* feeling worried, fearful or apprehensive

* tiredness

* poor concentration and restlessness

* irritability

* difficulty sleeping

* dizziness and fainting

* diarrhea

* muscle pain

* sweating and nausea

* sickness

* dry mouth and difficulty swallowing

* trembling

* increased heart rate

* feeling hot or cold.

In additions, with children, headaches and stomach upsets can be symptoms of anxiety.

Also, between 25% and 35% of ADHD children also have an anxiety disorder. In general, children with ADHD and anxiety are said to find life more stressful than those who just have ADHD. They�re also more likely to have greater problems at school and in social situations.

Anxiety disorders are the most common psychiatric disorders in kids, affecting between 5% and 10% of kids, and these are the children who can have real problems at the start of the school year.

Separation anxiety disorder, which is developmentally inappropriate and excessive anxiety concerning separation from home or from those to whom the individual is attached, is a condition that affects about 4% of children under the age of eighteen.

All About Anxiety, Fears and Panic

Dr. Rona Novick, a child psychologist, says most cases of school anxiety are in fact separation anxiety or social issues. And, they can take on very real physical complaints.

�Anything from struggling to taking long to get dressed in the morning to open refusal and warfare to sobbing, and once the kids get into the school building it may manifest itself with symptomatic symptoms, wanting to go to the nurse, having a belly ache, having a headache, finding basically any excuse that can get you out of the building,� says Dr. Novick. Even if nothing traumatic has happened life, that does not mean you or your children cannot feel anxious about daily struggles, whether it’s grades at school or events in the world around us.

�The trick to fighting the back-to-school anxiety is to start preparing well ahead of the first day of school�, according to Dr. Dan Jolivet, a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and Vice President of Clinical Services.

It is important that you seek help for yourself or your child if symptoms have interrupted normal daily life and routine. If you or your child cannot function at school, in social activities, and/or at home, then help is needed.

If your child is losing sleep, missing school, or spending all his or her time alone, then your child needs help. Early intervention in anxiety disorders may make a big difference in the long run.

For some children the beginning of a new school year brings on a sense of terrific anxiety and stress for a variety of reasons. Sometimes students need to learn new ways to adjust to their new schedules and environments.

Some behaviors to watch for are:

* Physical illness (vomiting, diarrhea, or other symptoms)

* Excessive crying/ tantrums

* Avoidance behaviors (hiding, purposely missing the bus)

* Aggressiveness (hitting, kicking, biting)

* Lack of appetite

* Withdrawal from family/activities

Remember, it is perfectly natural for your child to be nervous, excited, anxious and eager all at the same time leading up to (and during the first days of) the school year.

Whether your day is full of business meetings or social events, take stock of how pressured you feel by your commitments. If you can’t change your schedule and lighten your load, take a few minutes each day to engage in a stress-reducing activity.

Here are some strategies proven to help reduce stress and tension for both adults and children:

* Yoga

* Meditation

* Massage

* Writing in a journal

* Spending time with good friends

* Catching a funny movie

* Talk things over with an understanding friend who is compassionate, as well as sensible and positive

* Have achievable, realistic expectations of yourself. No need to be perfect.

* Take a break, exercise, walk, deep breathing

* Avoid adding non-essential tasks that create extra stress

* Eat healthy foods for stamina

* Listen to music that is calming and relaxing

* Purchase inexpensive tapes or CDs that feature calming ocean sounds, forest sounds, etc. Listen to these relaxation tapes and CDs.

* Make up affirmations: short, upbeat messages that remind you how you want to feel (ex: “I am calm and relaxed” )

* Use relaxation techniques such as creative visualization and/or systematic muscle relaxation

Other great ways to boost feelings of calm include spending time with your pets, enjoying some quiet time in nature, exercising, and engaging in any activity that inspires a good belly laugh.

It is estimated that up to 6.5% of the population has suffered from a diagnosable Anxiety Disorder, while many more people struggle with uncomfortable and distressing symptoms of stress and anxiety. Anxiety is very treatable. To cope with excessive anxiety you can utilize the various techniques discussed and holistic, homeopathic medicine and natural herbs and treatments are also very effective in conjunction with the techniques. The quicker you address these issues, the quicker you can get on with your day to day life instead of it being a constant battle.

References: Cathleen Henning -Your Guide to Panic/Anxiety Disorders on About.com; Magellan Behavioral Health, Inc.; Families Online Magazine; CBS Worldwide Inc.; Dr. Chris Steer, Joanne King -.anxiety-panic-free.com

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All About Anxiety, Fears and Panic

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