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Thursday, November 26, 2009

3 Forms Of Childhood Anxiety

By: Karen Larsen

Many adults have a hard time believing that a child can experience anxiety. After all, what does a child have to worry about? He's fed, clothed, given toys to play with and generally shouldn't have a care in the world. Nevertheless, every day, millions of children across the U.S. are silently suffering from anxiety.

Anxiety disorder is a condition characterized by feelings of apprehension or extreme anxiety. It can manifest itself physically by sweating, accelerate heart rate or palpitations, hyper-ventilation, and a host of other symptoms.

Many parents think that this is just a phase and that their child will eventually grow out of it. If, however, this is a true case of anxiety disorder, ignoring it will probably only make the problem worse.

It's estimated that some sort of childhood anxiety disorder affects up to 10% of school age kids.

Probably the most common type of childhood anxiety is separation anxiety. Separation anxiety occurs when the child experiences severe anxiety when their primary caregiver, usually their mom or dad, leaves them with another person. Separation anxiety usually occurs between the ages of 12 to 28 months - but it can occur or re-occur later. If you've just moved to a new neighborhood or town or if you have recently been through a divorce, separation anxiety can be triggered in the child even if he's never experienced it before. Even though not all children experience separation anxiety, it is a normal part of growing up. If your kid is over five years old and still having episodes of separation anxiety, you may need to take him to see a counselor or psychologist.

Social anxiety is another type of anxiety that many children face, especially kids that are shy, awkward, or have some sort of speech impediment. Children can be very cruel to other kids - often unintentionally. And no kid likes to be embarrassed or made fun of. If a kid is the constant target of bullying or teasing, he may become anxious at the mere thought of interacting with other kids. Social anxiety usually begins in the teen years, but it can start in early childhood as well. About 10% of adults in the U.S. have some form of social anxiety - which includes stage fright and public speaking. There is no one size fits all cure for social phobia. Most adults that have it never get over it.

Many children suffer from generalized panic attacks. In other words, there is no explicit event or action that triggers the attack, it just happens. This kind of anxiety disorder can be the most paralyzing of all for a kid because they don't know what's causing it and have no idea how to stop it. Childhood panic attacks can have lifetime consequences if not treated. They can interfere with a child's ability to make friendships and try new experiences. If your child is experiencing panic attacks, you should take him to see a child psychiatrist. Panic attacks may be so severe that the only course of action may be prescription medicine.

When someone mentions anxiety disorder, it's rare that a picture of a child enters their mind. But many kids experience some form of anxiety every day and desperately need for some adult somewhere to acknowledge it and help them deal with it.

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About the Author:
Karen Larsen writes articles on anxiety disorders, symptoms, treatments, including how to treat anxiety disorders in children. You can find more of her articles at .

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