Anxiety in Children and Teenagers
Children and teenagers suffer from anxiety disorders in the same way as the adults. You cannot make fun of or ignore the anxiety of the children. Children and teenagers have their own reasons for anxiety. Most teenagers experience more stress when they see a situation to be more dangerous, difficult and painful and they find themselves incapable to handle that pressure. Sometimes the children have to lose their parents, either one or both, because of some accident or mishap. Even if the parents are divorced then also the children have to get separated from their parents. When an unexpected situation like this comes into the life of some child, the child may become too much depressed to react.
Many times we may have seen such kids around us who because of some mishap in their family, suddenly become extremely quiet and do not react in an expected manner. Such children do not feel like to interact with anybody. This situation is known as the anxiety of separation. Many times we have also seen children creating an issue over going to school. Do not force them. Instead, try to find the real reason behind. The child may be facing social anxiety because of which he/she may be trying to avoid going to school. GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder) and SAD (Social Anxiety Disorder) are more often seen in teenagers and adolescents.
Apart from this there may be some other reasons as well for the anxiety in teenagers; for example, school demands and frustration, negative thoughts and feelings about themselves, problems with friends, some physical reasons like the hormonal changes in their bodies, unsafe living environment or neighbourhood, chronic illness or severe problems in the family, death of a loved one, moving into a new community, changing schools, taking on too many activities or having too high expectations, or financial problems in the family.
Although children experience the symptoms of anxiety in much the same way it is up to us to recognize these symptoms, that whether these symptoms are just a phase in a child's life which would pass with the passage of time or it is some kind of a nervous disorder.
Parents should help their teens by monitoring if stress is affecting the teen's health, behaviour, thoughts or feelings. They should try to listen to their children and observe their activities. In addition, they should support and encourage the involvement of their children in sports and other pro-social activities.
The teenagers also should take some steps to reduce their stress levels. For example, they should exercise and eat regularly, avoid excess caffeine intake, should not use illegal drugs, alcohol and tobacco, decrease negative self talk, build a network of friends, learn to feel good about doing a competent job, should try to learn practical coping skills, and should definitely take a break from stressful situations by doing any such kind of work which he or she enjoys doing like listening to music, talking to friends, reading or painting.
If a teen talks about or shows signs of being overly stressed parents should not hesitate in seeking medical help of psychiatrists or counsellors.