Does My Child Suffer From Anxiety?

The Effects of Anxiety


Is anxiety a bad thing?
In fact, some degree of anxiety is a normal part of any healthy persons life.
Mother nature equipped us with fight or flight responses to help us protect ourselves in dangerous situations. We have a choice between facing a threat, if we think we can beat it, or fleeing from it, if we are afraid that we can’t win. In that case, acting out of fear, in the interest of safety, is a legitimate option.  Anxiety can also prove helpful by enhancing our performance. All other things being equal, fear of coming in last or losing a game can drive an athlete to preform better than a less motivated competitor. Similarly a student who is a little worried can perform better taking test at school, than a student who couldn’t care less about the results. Often, anxiety can grow to a point where instead of serving us, it becomes harmful to our well-being. This is true for both adults and children. 

Not surprisingly, most adults with anxiety problems, have endured symptoms since childhood. 

Anxiety is considered unhealthy if it keeps a child from living a normal life at home, at school, or with friends. Your child may avoid situations such as going to public bathrooms, speaking in class, or being around animals – that spark anxious feelings. Doing this overtime tends to increase those fears and eventually impede healthy psychological development and quality-of-life. Anxiety symptoms can be masked and children with anxiety disorders often function well in terms of grades, achievements... yet live a tortured internal life, struggling with worry, fear, excessive guilt/ responsibility, not feeling in control of their feelings, and not knowing what or why the feel the way they do.

Overtime, high levels of anxiety and stress are mentally and physically exhausting and demoralizing, and a child can become depressed and hopeless about the relentless nature of severe anxiety. In fact, a large body of research tells us that untreated anxiety disorders markedly compromise the quality of life and psychological functioning of suffers.

Thats why it is important to help your child now.

Research tells us that if we don’t adequately treat children with anxiety disorders, they’re more likely develop other method on this is in adulthood, such as depression and substance abuse. Studies also indicate that most anxiety symptoms are chronic; children usually do not simply grow out of them. Unfortunately, the tendency for anxiety to come and go as some parents believe it eventually go away, and so they are less likely to seek treatment for their child. Another important reason to help your child conquer anxiety is to prevent it from becoming integrated into his or her personality. Anxiety is not a personality trait or style, and does not define a person. 

Not only are anxiety disorder is the most common mental health issue, but they’re also one of the most treatable. Countless children and adults are transformed when their anxiety is treated effectively. 

Does my child suffer from anxiety?

Because anxiety symptoms often are not obvious, it’s a challenge to know if anxiety is the root cause of your child’s problem. Here is a little questionnaire to help you gain some clarity.

Is my child’s anxiety healthy?

Your intuition as a parent has probably already helped you get a sense of your child’s level of anxiety. While this intuition is very valuable it’s not usually enough to determine if a child’s behaviour indicates and healthy degree of anxiety.

The following questionnaire is of behaviours commonly listed by parents of anxious children. Read each question and answer yes or no, based on the observations of your child.

Does your child…

  • Repeatedly ask "what if" questions and, despite constant reassurance, continues to worry?
  • Refuse to sleep in his or her own room, becoming distressed and agitated when asked to do so?
  • Avoid particular situations such as movie theaters, restaurants, crowded places, noisy environments, or parks?
  • Refuses to go to school?
  • Refuses to raise his or her hand in class or speak in front of classmates?
  • Exhibits extreme shyness than him at social interactions?
  • Express excessive or inappropriate guilt or sense of responsibility?
  • Exhibits distressing psychological manifestations of anxiety, such as shaking, hyperventilating, becoming nauseated or feeling lightheaded?
  • Requires you to say certain statements in particular ways or do some things in a specific manner?
  • Refuses to eat many foods, limiting your child only to foods they are most comfortable with? 
  • Worry about making mistakes or missing assignments to the point of frequently reviewing work, seeking reassurance from you that the work is OK or if he really checking their backpack or daily planner?
  • Procrastinate excessively on school work or other obligations in spite of all the fact that your child demonstrates competence in completing them?
  • Experience has great difficulty making decisions and worries about whether decision was the right one?
  • Fears anything less than a perfect performance at school or In extracurricular activities? 
  • Refuses to throw out a necessary items for the fear of meeting them in the future, or because they have sentimental value?
  • Become stressed when they are separated from you, refusing to be left with a babysitter or go on sleepovers or overnight trips without you?
  • Expressed fears of germs, diseases, or dirt to the point of avoiding public restrooms, shopping carts, or door knobs and washing their hands or using hand sanitizer excessively?

If you have answered yes to one or more of these questions it is likely your child is manifesting anxiety that is severe enough to warrant intervention. Keep in mind that this list may not capture your child’s unique presentation. Your child may exhibit behaviour similar to those listed here without matching them exactly. 

Please note that answering yes to several questions in this exercise is not a formal diagnosis. You should not try to diagnose and anxiety disorder based on the simple question there. Rather, it is intended as an a tool to suggest possible next steps. Keep in mind, that as the first article says, some degree of anxiety is normal for everyone. Your focus here should be on determining whether your child engages in his behaviours enough to be deemed as a problem. Do the behaviours you have a desire to cause your child a significant level of stress? Do they interfere with your child’s comfortableComfortable participation in normal activities? If you answer the secondary questions as a yes, it is time to take action. If you have concerns, getting help from a Paediatrician or your doctor can only benefit your child. I recommend taking in the questionnaire and highlighting any pieces of this article that you found helpful.