In today’s world, anxiety is like the pandemic. It seems like everyone is seeing their signs of anxiety get worse each day. And their kids are faring even worse than they are, as their anxiety symptoms sometimes aren’t recognizable, and are therefore hard to treat. There are many things that you can do to help your anxious child. Some of the options that you may want to consider are Cognitive-behavioral therapy, SSRIs, play therapy, and even avoiding scary situations. Following is a list of some quick treatments for anxiety in children.
1 – Staying calm – One of the best ways to help your child with anxiety is to stay calm and cool. Have them take deep breaths and slow down. Deep breathing is a great tool to calm down your child and stop the anxiety triggers that arise in everyday life. Severe anxiety is a common problem amongst many kids, but you can use your skills as a parent to help your kid overcome their fears.
The most important thing you can do is to let your kid know that he’s not alone. If he feels alone, he may be reluctant to share his feelings. This can make it difficult to handle his anxiety, but letting him know he is not alone can help.
2 – Another way to keep your child calm is to help them recognize their own anxious feelings when they arise. For instance, if your child is constantly yelling, you might want to try a strategy like giving him an ice cube to blow out his anger. Not only should his anxiety levels go down, but he will learn that he is not helpless when his anxiety levels go higher than normal.
3 – Avoiding scary situations – Avoiding scary social situations for children is a great way to reduce anxiety. However, there are a few things to watch out for. The first and most obvious thing to do is to let your anxious child know that it is OK to be scared. The intense fears that they are experiencing will not kill them and they will be okay. This may be done through a variety of methods, including verbal, visual, or physical.
It may also be helpful to reshape your own avoidance stance. In many cases, avoidance is simply fueled by unhelpful thoughts. If you haven’t been able to shake off the dreaded anxiety, consider talking to a mental health professional. They can help you understand what is causing your stress and can give you some pointers on how to overcome it. And thus you can learn positive techniques that you can then share with your kids.
4 – Cognitive-behavioral therapy – (CBT) or Cognitive-behavioral therapy is an evidence-based treatment for children who suffer from generalized anxiety disorders. It involves the use of cognitive restructuring, behavioral strategies, and self-talk. Children who are experiencing anxiety and excessive worry are at high risk for future psychiatric problems.
CBT has been shown to be effective therapy for anxiety disorders, especially for phobic-type anxiety. However, in children, excessive worry and anxiety may interfere with their social development. The treatment of childhood anxiety disorders requires a multidisciplinary approach that includes family interventions.
Child anxiety is often diagnosed along with other psychiatric conditions. For example, children with autism spectrum disorder are prone to social anxiety and sometimes separation anxiety. Research has found that cognitive-behavioral therapy is effective for both types of anxiety.
FCBT is an intervention designed for children with anxiety disorders that draws on the strengths of both parents and children. The treatment consists of two phases: the skills training phase and the application and practice phase. Individual sessions include clarifying cognition in anxiety-provoking situations, addressing self-reinforcement as appropriate, and teaching coping strategies.
5 – Play therapy – Play therapy for child anxiety can be a great way to help children heal from their feelings of fear and anxiety. As a matter of fact, play therapy is an important part of many a therapist’s toolbox. It can help kids learn how to cope with their emotions, reduce their stress levels, and develop their confidence and self-esteem.
Although play therapy is effective for older kids, it’s also helpful to treat very young children. Developing an effective play therapy plan starts with getting the right information from your child. For example, if your child suffers from a history of trauma, you should take the time to trace the outline of the person that you think may be causing the distress.
In the same vein, there are a number of other techniques that can aid a child with his or her worries. Some of these include Cognitive-Behavioral Play Therapy, which provides learning opportunities within the context of play. A great technique that I just learned is when my child is crying or suffering from feelings of anxiety, they may be suffering from a reaction to loud noises. What I learned is to make a game of it…start to run in circles in front of your child making a game of it. They will stop crying and focus on what I am doing. It completely takes them out of their ‘worry box’ and their intense anxiety. Soon they should be having fun by playing with you.
6 – SSRIs – Selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are the drugs of choice for children and adolescents with anxiety disorders. They work by blocking serotonin reuptake into pre-synaptic neurons, reducing physical symptoms of anxiety and allowing for behavioral treatment.
SSRIs are not addictive. However, they are not without side effects. The most common side effect of SSRIs is gastrointestinal discomfort. Other common side effects include decreased appetite, dry mouth, and flatulence.
While SSRIs are generally safe and effective for kids, it is important to speak to a psychiatrist or child mental health professional about them. They should be monitored for mood changes when they are being used, as well as at the onset of treatment.
Some children may need to take medication daily. Others may take it occasionally. Children who are very anxious and cannot go to school may benefit from medications.
In conclusion, it is important to speak to a pediatrician about the best course of action for your anxious child. They can help you decide if medication is necessary, and if so, what type and dosage would be most effective. Additionally, they can provide guidance on other interventions such as play therapy or cognitive-behavioral therapy that may help your child manage their anxiety. Having a happy, healthy child is the most important thing… remember that!