Have you ever experienced anxiety? Maybe a perfectionist? Scared of the dark? Break up with a boyfriend? Afraid of storms? Or a constant feeling that things are dirty? Anxiety is a normal reaction to stress and can actually be beneficial in some situations as it protects us by activating a massive response from the autonomic nervous system, which sends our brain the message to attack or escape the situation at hand. This is often called the “fight or flight” response.
For some people, however, anxiety can become excessive, and while the person miserable may realize it is too much to handle they may also have difficulty controlling it and it may become problematic in your family’s daily functioning.
Research shows anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older (18% of U.S. population). Anxiety is closely related to Depression. In fact, it is said that 50% of individuals dealing with anxiety will also present with a depressive disorder. What about our children? Many of these conditions tend to develop in childhood or adolescence. A true anxiety disorder is not a “phase.” Your child should not have to just “grow out of it.”
Often in children anxiety is first recognized as avoiding situations that should be fun, pleasurable or perhaps mandatory (like school). Sometimes anxiety is noticed when children seek constant reassurance from parent figures. Children may complain of very real physical conditions that don’t respond to medical approaches and seem to “come and go” such as:
– Nervous habits (picking skin, biting nails, rocking)
– Fear of specific things (darkness, animals, being alone, etc.)
– Lack of appetite
– Light headedness
– Aches and soreness
Anxiety disorders are highly treatable, yet only about one-third of those suffering receive treatment. If your child is not talking to you about their anxious/worried feelings, contact Kids Corner Pediatric Behavioral Clinic at Adultspan Counseling at 402-325-0117 ext. 3 to schedule an appointment. Anita Lovell, MA, LMHP, CPC would be happy to make a plan with you and your child to address childhood anxiety.
1001 South 70th Street
Lincoln, NE 68510