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The following information on Childhood Anxiety will give you some insight to what Anxiety is and how it presents.
Michelle Barratt Psychology aims to provide treatment for anxiety at the highest standard; implementing support and treatment that not only endeavours to support a person feel heard and understood, but a treatment plan that empowers their clients to reverse and work through the causal factors of anxiety or depression in order that they can implement preventative strategies to help protect them in the future. We aim to support all children, all adolescents, and all adults, couples and family's work through their depression to succeed in their ultimate wellbeing. If you are unsure about what you are dealing with, please don't hesitate to contact us to support you through the next step of either working out what to do or how to proceed with an appointment.
Child Psychologists can support a child or adolescents anxiety through therapy by teaching them to be aware of their feelings and how to work through them. Many children and adolescence who experience anxiety express it to feel very uncomfortable for them and end up often inhibiting those parts of their life that are fundamental for them to engage in to grow their self-esteem.
A child having developed anxiety can be due to many different reasons. However, often anxiety arises from feeling threatened, experiencing or having experienced conflict, suddenly feeling unsure in their environment due to recent changes in their life (changes at school, attending a new school, moving home, becoming suddenly unwell, new family and or parenting or family arrangements, being bullied, etc), feeling fearful, feeling helpless, having basic needs being unmet, having threatening health issues, being convinced of having individual differences from others, and psychological reactions to a perceived/imagined threats or abuse (verbal, physical, sexual and emotional); experiencing domestic violence in the home.
Symptoms of Anxiety
An overall sense of negative behaviour ensues, namely - apprehension, feelings of anxiousness, excessive worry, whining, crying, increased negative behaviour, irritability, tantrums, acting disagreeably, increased fighting or withdrawal from friends and family, insomnia, difficulty of sleeping through the night, not eating well/uncharacteristically. Physical symptoms such as stomach aches, restlessness, fatigue, problems with concentration, impaired memory, muscle tension, and/or insomnia, shaking hands/voice, increased breathing or the feeling of wanting to panic, increased heart rate, and increased breathing, and a mind that just does not seem to rest.
The Impact of Anxiety
More often than not, anxiety can limit the enriched experiences we wish for our children/adolescents to have in order that through these experiences, children can learn and grow openly and with confidence.
Anxiety can impact a child's ability to make friends, and impair their ability to feel heard and understood as very important people, which can in turn limit their opportunity to learn social skills in which to maintain friends. All parents want their children to grow up healthy, confident, strong and happy within themselves, and this is where psychological therapy can provide and facilitate support, tools and skills to manage anxiety.
Most importantly exposing children to a multitude of environments and experiences and allowing them to develop a strong sense of belief in their own ability and capacity enhances their self-esteem, self-worth and confidence to do bigger and greater things – fundamentally it is highly recommended that parents support their children to address how to manage anxiety so that it does not negatively impact their emotional and psychological growth/maturity.
Understanding the development and source of a child’s/adolescents anxiety, and recognizing its triggers can go a long way to supporting a child or adolescent feel heard, understood, validated and empathized with. Often the importance of these virtues can be the traction a child/adolescent needs to find the courage to manage their anxiety and move forward in managing their how they feel when they become distressed and experience a range of negative thoughts.
Other psychological intervention tools will include a multitude of interventions such as: play therapy, role-playing and imaginal/exposure therapy can go a long way into helping children and adolescents. With adults, all of the above as well as Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) are effective ways of managing/supporting the alleviation of anxiety. It is therefore imperative that if you see any signs of anxiety that it is addressed as soon as possible as often coping mechanisms adopted by people to try and alleviate their symptoms actually increase symptoms of anxiety.
There are many different types of anxiety:
Anxiety disorder due to a general medical condition
Substance induced anxiety disorder
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or
Acute Stress Disorder
If you suspect you or your child has anxiety, please do not hesitate to visit your GP and discuss this with them, and if you need a Mental Health Plan, please obtain one from your GP and make an appointment with a professional as soon as possible.
Author: Michelle Barratt - Clinical Psychologist, and Clinical Director of Michelle Barratt Psychology, a Brisbane and Redland Bay Clinical Psychology Practice - Promoting the Healthy Wellbeing for Children and Adolescents.