SolveYourProblem Article Series: Stress, Anxiety & Panic
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How To Handle Anxiety Attacks in Children

Anxiety attacks in children happen more often than you might think. Unlike adults, who can articulate what theyíre feeling and know to seek assistance in order to deal with it, children donít. So often, their anxiety is left untreated and they try to cope with it themselves. Parents need to understand and learn to recognize the signs of this condition so that they can get their child the treatment they need.

Understand that there can be several different manifestations - subheadings if you will - of anxiety that all fall under the same main heading. Children can experience whatís known as normal anxiety. They worry about what their future holds. Through the eyes of a child, the adult world can be a very scary place. They can hear things on the news that frighten them.

Experiencing the death of a classmate or a family member can leave them not knowing how to deal with fear - the fear of not understanding fully what happened and the fear of worrying if itís going to happen to them too. These are normal worries. Love and reassurance can help your child deal with this kind of anxiety.

When it becomes abnormal is when the worry doesnít let up but rather snowballs. The anxiety deepens and they begin to worry all the time. You might even recognize this by what some doctors call irrational fears.

Anxiety attacks in children can be a forerunner of a type of disorder that some children experience. Children might exhibit signs of anxiety by failing to be able to function in a normal setting. If theyíre younger, they might begin acting out at school. Their behavior turns belligerent, their emotions seem to swing from one extreme to the other. Remember that children often feel things but just donít know how to communicate exactly what it is theyíre dealing with.

The physical signs that a child is dealing with anxiety are the same as it is in adults. They might complain of headaches, stomachaches and they might have a difficult time going to sleep at night.

If children have attacks that are not handled the right way and treated, it can have lasting effects reaching into their adulthood. They can have trouble developing friendships and trouble dealing the social pressure that kids get in school.

Itís so important that anxiety attacks in children be dealt with as swiftly as possible because children donít have the ability to rationalize like an adult can. Continual attacks can leave them feeling like thereís no way out and they might begin to cause themselves harm physically.

In some cases, untreated anxiety can lead children to think about taking their own lives. Itís up to the caring adult in the childís life to learn to recognize the symptoms of anxiety and reach out to help the child when he or she is unable to do so.

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