Like other medical conditions, anxiety disorders tend to be chronic unless properly treated. Most kids find that they need professional guidance to successfully manage and overcome their anxiety.
Several scientifically proven and effective treatment options are available for children with anxiety disorders. The two treatments that most help children are cognitive-behavioral therapy and medication.
Here are things you can do at home to help your child manage his or her anxiety disorder:
Your child went to class, completed homework, and studied. He or she arrived at the exam confident about the material. But if he or she has test anxiety, a type of performance anxiety, taking the test is the most difficult part of the equation.
School refusal describes the disorder of a child who refuses to go to school on a regular basis or has problems staying in school.
Children with school refusal may complain of physical symptoms shortly before it is time to leave for school or repeatedly ask to visit the school nurse. If the child is allowed to stay home, the symptoms quickly disappear, only to reappear the next morning. In some cases a child may refuse to leave the house.
If your child has generalized anxiety disorder, or GAD, he or she will worry excessively about a variety of things such as grades, family issues, relationships with peers, and performance in sports. Learn more about GAD.
Children with GAD tend to be very hard on themselves and strive for perfection. They may also seek constant approval or reassurance from others.
Your child’s anxiety disorder may affect success at school. If an anxiety disorder is causing your child to struggle at school academically or socially, the first step is to talk to the teacher, principal, or counselor about your concerns.
School personnel will likely recognize some symptoms or manifestations of your child’s anxiety at school, but they may not realize they are caused by an anxiety disorder, or how they can help. Use your child’s diagnosis to open lines of communication.
Anxiety is a normal part of childhood, and every child goes through phases. A phase is temporary and usually harmless. But children who suffer from an anxiety disorder experience fear, nervousness, and shyness, and they start to avoid places and activities.
Taking your child to a doctor for a mental health problem is as important as visiting a doctor for an ear infection or broken arm. Finding a health professional that you and your child can work with—and who makes you both feel comfortable—is critical.