Anxiety Disorder – Child-Size Version
Children may suffer from an anxiety disorder, even if they do not know the meaning of that word. Younger children, especially, do not know what anxiety is or that they are suffering from something unusual. Many times they don’t know how to verbalize what is wrong, so they just keep quiet. Parents will eventually begin to notice a change in their child’s behavior. Those changes may happen suddenly or build up over time, depending on what is causing the anxiety.
Children may become irritable or very defensive. They may cry or overreact to situations. They may have difficult sleeping and then be fatigued during the day. Regardless of what the symptoms might be, parent should be aware of the behaviors they observe in their children.
Anxiety disorders may begin at different times in a child’s life. It’s not unusual for toddlers to be anxious when they have to leave their parents for nursery or day-care. Sometimes entering Kindergarten can be quite traumatic for a child, but this does not necessarily indicate an anxiety disorder. When the anxiety and fears become so pervasive that the child’s life is disrupted and he cannot perform routine daily activities, then a parent should become concerned and take the child to see a professional.
One area a parent might see problems in is how well their child is able to establish friendships with classmates and neighbors. A child’s anxiety disorder may take the form of having difficulties in relating to other people, including extreme shyness. Some children even continue on to have a severe form of this, called selective mutism where they refuse to speak in public at all.
Another area parents may see differences in is how well their child does on school assignment and exams. Children who exhibit frequent signs of anxiety will often have difficulty concentrating and focusing on the tasks they are required to do. Obviously, this will have an impact of the quality of work they do or fail to do.
Anxiety disorders in children may be precipitated by a move to a new area or starting a new school. Divorce or the death of a parent of sibling may cause an onset as well. Parents need to watch their children for any unusual changes in their behavior in order to catch any potential problems as soon as possible. If a child is left untreated, he may go on to experience even more serious disorders as he gets older.
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