Anxiety in children and teenagers

Updated: Nov 19, 2020

Anxiety is a normal part of life; we have all experienced it at some point.

Anxiety in certain situations keeps us alert, motivates us to deal with problems and can make us stop and think.

It becomes a problem when it moves into a regular occurrence and the symptoms affect your daily life.

What is anxiety? It’s when we feel worried, tense or maybe afraid about things which have happened, about to happen or may happen in the future.

It is a natural response we can feel through our feelings, thoughts emotionally or physical responses.

Someone with anxiety may feel stressed, upset, sick, worried, shaky or feel faint. Anxiety can affect your mental health when it occurs regularly and enters you into a cycle of feeling anxious about things that may not have happened yet. If it stops you from doing your daily routines causing you further stress. Prolonged symptoms can affect your quality life or you may response to events in a way that you wouldn’t normally.

There are many causes of stress and anxiety in young people and these can be because of internal or external causes.

Internal causes are relating to the way the young person feels about themselves, this can be body image, their identity and their emotional state. These feelings can come form a place of wanting to “fit in”, social media can have an influence here in a negative way if they don’t feel they fit with the way they should look or don’t have the “in” things. This can cause stress; it doesn’t mean they may want all these thigs just that they may be lacking in self-confidence and self-esteem or feeling insecure.

Some children may develop fears or phobias which can then affect their sleeping or social interaction. Many children become worried about speaking out loud at school or playing sport.

External causes can be due upcoming exam stress, anxiety may come from a fear of going to school not just a “I don’t want to go”. It can also come from home related events or trauma. This could be from a accident in a car or a fire in the home. There are many things that may upset a child and cause anxiety or stress resulting from shock.

Stress can sometimes be helpful, it can motivate you, but it can also be harmful if we are constantly stressed.

To recap we can all experience stress and anxiety at some point in our lives. It could be from starting school, changing schools, test or exam pressure, moving to a new home or area or losing friends or family.

Some common signs of anxiety in children can be;

Not sleeping, or having bad dreams and regular waking

Sharing worries or thoughts

Temper or unusual outbursts

Concentration is less and feeling tense

Not eating normally or complaining of physical pains, tummy pains.

If you are worried about anything and think your child may be having anxiety or stress symptoms, then there are lots of places you can go for help. Your GP would be the first one to help and point you in the right direction for local services.

Love, support and listening to your child and using any of the techniques we use in sessions can help towards you understanding and sharing what is happening. You can access them via our main website, or attending sessions.

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