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Child Anxiety Attacks


The occurrence of child anxiety attacks is unreported and under diagnosed. It is believed that the prevalence of child anxiety attacks is much more and can lead to depression later on in the teenage years or young adulthood. Children experiencing anxiety attacks feel many of the same symptoms adults feel in their own anxiety attacks. Child anxiety attacks experience both psychological and physical symptoms.
Child anxiety attacks start with a feeling of dread, worry and fear. Many children have these feelings regularly but when these symptoms become severe and often with accompanying physical symptoms it becomes a problem. Some of the physical symptoms that children feel are headaches, nausea, sweating, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, feel a tightening in the chest, stomach ailments such as diarrhea and stomach upset.
Child anxiety attacks can also effect children’s concentration and ability to stay in school. Children who experience regular anxiety attacks have a hard time making decisions and learning. Their perception of their environment is quite different from other children which can affect the way that the child acts in social situations.
Child anxiety attacks may be due to many different forms of anxiety disorders such as Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Acute Stress Disorder, Social phobia and specific Phobia, Adjustment Disorder with Anxiety, Drug Induce Anxiety Disorder, Anxiety Disorder NOS (not otherwise specified). Many of these disorders involve the child having overwhelming anxiety over many different situations and objects. The child may experience worry and fear over specific objects or experience uncontrollable anxiety in social situations.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is when someone must perform the same behavior repeatedly or have the same thoughts. This can lead to anxiety since the behaviors usually prevent the person from living their daily life. Posttraumatic Stress Disorder is when someone has been through a traumatic event and has trouble recovering from the event. This person will relive the moment in their mind and experience the reactions (physical and psychological) associated with the moment. It’s like going through the same nightmare many times. Child anxiety attacks can also be due to medications. Some medications can cause anxiety so it is important for the child’s doctor to know the medications the child is taking. It is also believed that some children experience anxiety attacks due to the hormones of puberty.

Child anxiety attacks can be helped just as adult anxiety attacks are handled. Children will need to seek medical attention and a therapist. The doctor will be able to determine if the child is in need of medication. A therapist will be able to teach the child effective coping skills to decrease fear and worry in anxiety provoking situations. Some children have other issues they must address before working on their anxiety disorder and a therapist would be able to help with that through many different techniques.

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