Anxiety in Children and Young People

Anxiety can affect anyone no matter what their age, background or situation. With as many as one in six young people experiencing anxiety at some point, it is very common to have anxiety. Anxiety is a feeling of fear or panic and some people may experience panic attacks.

It’s normal for children to feel worried or anxious from time to time – such as when they’re starting school or nursery, or moving to a new area. But for some children, anxiety affects their behaviour and thoughts every day, interfering with their school, home and social life. This is when you may need professional help to tackle it.

 

Signs and Symptoms

Anxiety signs and symptoms can be complicated and include:

Feeling one, some or even most of the above doesn’t necessarily mean you have anxiety. It’s important to talk to your GP to get a full diagnosis.

 

Causes

Teenagers are more likely to suffer with anxiety than another other age group, but anyone can have anxiety. There are many reasons why children or young people may develop anxiety, these may include:

 

How to Help Your Child or Young Person with Anxiety

If a child is experiencing anxiety, there is plenty parents and carers can do to help. First and foremost, it’s important to talk to your child about their anxiety or worries. Reassure them and show them you understand how they feel.

If your child is old enough, it may help to explain what anxiety is and the physical effects it has on our bodies.  You could describe anxiety as being like a wave that builds up and then ebbs away again.

As well as talking to your child about their worries and anxieties, it’s important to help them find solutions. It’s a good idea to seek professional help if your child is constantly anxious and if it is not getting better or is getting worse, if self-help isn’t working or if it is affecting their school, family life or friendships.

 

Other Ways to Ease Anxiety

 

Getting Help for Yourself or Your Child

The type of treatment offered by your GP or a specialist will depend on your child’s age and the cause of their anxiety. Counselling can help your child understand what’s making them anxious and allow them to work through the situation.

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a talking therapy that can help your child manage their anxiety by changing the way they think and behave. Anxiety medicines may be offered to your child if their anxiety is severe or doesn’t get better with talking therapies. They are usually only prescribed by doctors who specialise in child and adolescent mental health.

This post relies on information gathered from the NHS, Children’s Society, YoungMinds and Childline webpages on anxiety. Have a look at these webpages and the others listed below for more information and guidance on how to access help if you think you or your child may be dealing with anxiety.

 

Useful Contacts

YoungMinds Crisis Messenger

No Panic

Childline

The Mix

Top Apps

·         Calm: Meditation and guided mindfulness to sleep, relax and breathe app.