The presence of anxiety disorders in children has been underestimated or even ignored in the past. However, there is now a greater understanding of how anxiety affects children, and how disorders in adults may actually begin during childhood.
Modern children are faced with stress, worry, and anxiousness than ever before. Of course war time children faced considerable trauma but children in the 21st century can be bombarded with pressures on an constant basis.
Anxiety can develop in children in many forms, the most common of which are Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Separation Anxiety Disorder and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Although most cases will involve just one these conditions, some children will experience multiple disorders.
The main symptom of Generalised Anxiety Disorder in children is excessive worry. This anxiety can be about health, school, friendships, or after school activities. Children can be worried about an event that has happened in the past, or one that is potentially going to happen in the future.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in children will develop after a painful or terrifying event. Symptoms will include flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety and a general feeling of fear.
Separation Anxiety Disorder in children occurs when a the child becomes petrified of being separated from their primary caregiver. The child typically fears that something bad is going to happen to her or her caregiver during the time in which that they're apart. Symptoms include anxiety, headaches, stomach pain and sleeping problems.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder in a child will manifest itself in obsessions and compulsions where she will constantly think certain thoughts or repeatedly perform particular tasks. Again, the child will experience symptoms such as anxiety, fearfulness, and disturbed sleeping patents.
Although medication is inappropriate in most cases of child anxiety, therapy can be particularly effective in addressing the problem. A child's mind is often more pliable than an adult's, making it somewhat easier to help the child dispel negative thoughts from her mind.
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