Being anxious can be a normal part of life, whether it is about a presentation at school, taking a test, or making an important decision. However, for someone with an anxiety the worry and fear does not go away and may actually get worse over time. The overwhelming fear impacts performances at school, work, or within relationships. There are different types of anxiety disorders including generalized anxiety, panic disorder, and social anxiety disorder.
Signs and symptoms to look for in your child regarding anxiety:
- Restlessness or feeling wound-up or on edge
- Being easily fatigued
- Difficulty concentrating or having their minds go blank
- Muscle tension
- Difficulty controlling the worry
- Sleep problems (difficulty falling or staying asleep or restless, unsatisfying sleep)
- Other signs and symptoms regarding panic and social anxiety to look for include:
- Sudden and repeated attacks of intense fear
- Feelings of being out of control during a panic attack
- Intense worries about when the next attack will happen
- Fear or avoidance of places where panic attacks have occurred in the past
- Feeling highly anxious about being with other people and having a hard time talking to them
- Feeling very self-conscious in front of other people and worried about feeling humiliated, embarrassed, or rejected, or fearful of offending others
- Being very afraid that other people will judge them
- Worrying for days or weeks before an event where other people will be
- Staying away from places where there are other people
- Having a hard time making friends and keeping friends
- Blushing, sweating, or trembling around other people
- Feeling nauseous or sick to your stomach when other people are around
If you are worried that your child may be struggling with anxiety, you can take the following steps to seek help:
- Talk to your school counselor: School counselors can talk with students about what they are experiencing, help them develop positive coping skills, and offer parents community resources for further support.
- Talk to your family doctor: Doctors can evaluate children and adolescents for anxiety and recommend further steps.
- Seek outside counseling: a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) or a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) can evaluate children and adolescents for anxiety and provide counseling and support to address it. Counseling is typically covered by health insurance, and your insurance company should be able to give you a list of in network providers. Your school counselor can also provide a list of counselors in our community.
- Learn more about anxiety and help your child develop positive coping skills in order to manage their worries in healthy ways.
Source: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: Fifth Edition. American Psychiatric Publishing: 2013.