How To Diagnose An Anxiety Disorder In Children

How To Diagnose an anxiety disorder in Children

In such a hectic world it is normal to feel stressed and increasingly anxious, because it seems that everything is going too fast and that the level of excellence required is higher and higher and, therefore, there is more and more competition and pressure in all areas of life. Of course, when we hear the word stress, we are likely to think of the life of adults, who always have many problems and tasks to do, who have to drink liters of coffee a day to be able to give their best, who do not have time not even to have fun or rest a bit. However, as strange as the idea may seem to you, it has been proven that today, adults are not the only ones who suffer from stress and other emotional problems. Children are also victims of it and more and more of those affected need professional help. This, due to different circumstances, such as family fights or the divorce of their parents, pressure at school to achieve academic excellence, the bombardment of tasks and activities, bullying, social pressure to be the most popular, the fulfill extracurricular activities, etc.

How To Diagnose An Anxiety Disorder In Children

As if that were not enough, stress is not the only thing that children have to deal with, there are also depression and anxiety, which have led many to suicide. If you want to help your children to lead an emotionally healthier life, how can you do it? What do you need to achieve it? Something that can help you is an early diagnosis. But how to diagnose an anxiety disorder in children? How to know if your child is suffering from it? What clues will help you find out? And, more importantly, what help can be given? Here I will tell you. Instructions for diagnosing an anxiety disorder in children One of the main characteristics of anxiety disorders is fear, worry and even terror that alters the ability to function normally. In turn, this fear or concern is totally disproportionate to the circumstances. Of course, there are different situations that could trigger a certain degree of anxiety, within the normal limit, such as: When young children are separated from their parents. Especially, in unfamiliar environments, as is the case of their initiation at school. Fear of spiders, bugs, the dark, monsters, etc. When shy children must face new situations. When they are required to present a report, or any other activity, in front of their classmates, among other situations.

Although these situations are within the range of what is considered normal, if they become very exaggerated, to the point that it significantly affects their functioning or causes them intense distress, then they could be considered an anxiety disorder. Typically, these types of disorders emerge during childhood and adolescence. In fact, it is considered that between 10 and 15% of children suffer from at least one anxiety disorder and these children are more likely to suffer from depressive disorders in the future.

Some of the most common anxiety disorders, in children and adolescents, are: agoraphobia. Generalized anxiety disorder. Panic disorder. Separation anxiety. Social anxiety. Some specific phobias, etc.

What do you need to diagnose an anxiety disorder in children?

Medical evidence has shown that anxiety disorders are related to dysfunction in the parts of the limbic system, as well as the hippocampus, which are responsible for regulating emotions and responding to situations that cause fear. Also, it is believed that genetic inheritance plays a fundamental role in this. In general, parents with anxiety disorders tend to escalate their children’s problems. One of the most frequent manifestations of anxiety disorder in children is the refusal to go to school. This fear, while real, is extremely rare. It is likely that a large number of children who express their refusal to go to school suffer from separation anxiety, social anxiety, panic and even a combination of some of these. However, it is always advisable to consider the possibility that the child is being harassed at their place of study and, for this reason, is refusing to go to school or exhibiting unusual behavior. Some of these children express their feelings through somatic symptoms. For example, they say they can’t go to school because they have a headache or because they have an upset stomach. Sometimes these children may be telling the truth, as anxiety is accompanied by gastric discomfort, nausea, and headaches. In fact, recent studies have found that children who complain of frequent stomach aches often have an underlying anxiety disorder. If you notice that worry or fear interferes with your child’s daily activities, such as playing, interacting with others, completing school activities, among other things, this may be an indication that he or she suffers from an anxiety disorder. Although anxiety usually manifests as fear and worry, the child may also be irritable or angry all or most of the time. Other symptoms of anxiety include trouble sleeping. Some children do not communicate their concerns or express to their parents how they feel, and therefore the symptoms go unrecognized. Therefore, it is best to be aware of how he reacts to certain stressful situations and the way he relates to others. Especially with children of the same age.

Tips for diagnosing an anxiety disorder in children

Although you may have factual suspicions that your child may be suffering from an anxiety disorder, the diagnosis should be made in light of a clinical evaluation. An interview to get to know the child, including his current ailments, a retrospective of him and his most important family, environmental and personal elements, may confirm your suspicions. However, sometimes the physical symptoms that children manifest could make the evaluation difficult. In view of this, in these cases, the recommendation is to carry out a series of additional studies before it is concluded that the child suffers from an anxiety disorder. Regarding the prognosis of the child’s condition, it depends on the seriousness of the situation, as well as the availability of the treatment it requires and its resilience, since many children struggle with these symptoms until they become adults. However, if an early diagnosis is made and appropriate treatment is placed, they can control their anxiety. Treatment includes behavioral therapy, parent-child and other family interventions, and some medications. In general, selective inhibitors and psychotropic drugs with sedative and anxiolytic effects, in the most problematic cases. The mildest cases only require behavioral therapy, where children are exposed, in a systematic and graduated manner, to those situations that generate anxiety. Thus, little by little, children come to feel less anxiety. However, no matter what the case, the best and most recommended thing is that you always go to a health professional specialized in the treatment of children. In this way, you will be ensuring that your child receives the care he needs to enjoy a good quality of life. Don’t assume that not wanting to go to school is just a tantrum. If the problem persists, try to determine what is happening with your child, only then can you provide professional and timely help so that he becomes a mentally and emotionally healthy adult.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *