October 12, 2023

The leading cause of mental disability is now considered as Anxiety disorder. From the early years of the 21st century have glimpsed a worldwide epidemic of poor mental health and related illnesses. Even though, we have travelled a lot more in health concerns, mental health is still an out of our reach signal.

A typical question that i used to hear about is, anxiety is an important part of life, without anxiety we won’t be motivated enough to lead a better life… Really true, but there are instances, where anxiety can become worse and affect just opposite to what pointed earlier. The number of individuals experiencing mental illness around the world continues to grow. Occasional anxiety is a normal part of life. Many people worry about things such as health, money, or family problems. But anxiety disorders involve more than temporary worry or fear. For some ones with an anxiety disorder, the anxiety does not go away and can get worse over time. The symptoms can interfere with daily activities such as job performance, schoolwork, and relationships too.

Today, even children are exposed to Anxiety disorders, where some of them are affected with exposure to someone with Anxiety as well. At our time, we were only anxious about revealing low scores in exams to parents, not finishing homework and getting anxious on how to complete those before the first period bell, not disclosing that we had signed the exam paper with our parent’s signature!!

But today, era changed, time changed the mentality and the pressure children are facing increased. They are crippling under the unnecessary pressure from family, relatives, and even they are not being able to be truthful in friendship. It is really normal for children to be worried about different things, but same case as that of adults, if the scenarios are affecting their behaviour and thoughts every day, interfering with their school, home and social life, this is where parents should take a note.

The complaints I used to hear form parents is that, “he knows the answer very well, but he dropped that question without noticing”, “My child is really bright, she used to score full marks in maths, but now she is getting low marks and constantly worrying about herself, even though she is capable”…

These might be the first level symptoms of anxiety getting embarked on her/him. Anxiety may present as fear or worry, but can also make children cranky and furious. Anxiety symptoms can also comprise trouble sleeping, as well as physical symptoms like fatigue, headaches, or stomach aches. Some anxious children hold their worries to themselves and, thus, the symptoms can be missed.

Diagnosing anxiety will be different with everyone, because there are different types of anxiety disorders.
Examples of different types of anxiety disorders include
• Being very afraid of school and other places where there are people (social anxiety)
• Being very afraid when away from parents (separation anxiety)
• Having repeated episodes of sudden, unexpected, intense fear that come with symptoms like heart pounding, having trouble breathing, or feeling dizzy, shaky, or sweaty (panic disorder)
• Having extreme fear about a specific thing or situation, such as dogs, insects, or going to the doctor (phobias)
• Being very worried about the future and about bad things happening (general anxiety).

Parents usually ask to therapists, “Why it is happening to my child, is there any specific reasons?”
Well, experts believe anxiety disorders are caused by a combination of biological and environmental factors, similar to allergies and diabetes. Stressful circumstances such as starting school, moving, or the loss of a parent or grandparent can trigger the onset of an anxiety disorder, but stress itself does not cause an anxiety disorder.
Thus parents, above all, it’s important to talk to your child about their anxiety or worries. Many children at different ages may have anxieties that will go away after a while, with your reassurance. Other important things that a parent can do are:

• Stay calm when he becomes anxious about a situation or event.
• Recognize and praise her small accomplishments.
• Don’t punish mistakes or lack of progress.
• Be flexible and try to maintain a normal routine.
• Modify expectations during stressful periods.
• Plan for transitions (i.e. allow extra time in the morning if getting to school is difficult).

Being healthy is important for all children and can be especially important for children with anxiety. In addition to getting the right treatment, leading a healthy lifestyle can play a role in managing symptoms of anxiety, having healthy diet plan, charted sleeping patterns, participation in physical activities etc.