Just like adults, all children will feel anxious or concerned about something now and again. Children are facing new experiences and challenges all the time as well as meeting lots of new people along the way. However, for some, anxiety can become a recurring feeling which influences their thoughts and behavior every day. This can impact their life at home and at school and prevent them from forming relationships. If you know a child or teenager who is struggling with anxiety regularly, it may be time to seek professional help. Here we outline the potential signs and causes of anxiety in children, as well as what you can do to help them in overcoming anxiety.
What are the signs of anxiety in children?
Aside from a child telling a trusted adult in their life that they are worried, scared, or nervous about something, there are some less obvious signs which suggest they are struggling with anxiety. Every child is an individual, but common signs include:
- Struggling to concentrate on tasks
- Finding it difficult to sleep and/or having nightmares
- Wetting the bed
- Not eating well
- Being prone to angry outbursts and general irritability
- Focusing on negative thoughts and worrying about outcomes
- Being fidgety or tense
- Going to the toilet a lot
- Crying regularly
- Complaining of aches or being unwell
- Constantly seeking physical reassurance and affection
What are the most common causes of anxiety in children?
There is medical research that suggests that some people are genetically predisposed to be more anxious and are not able to cope with as much stress as other people. However, there is often an environmental factor or traumatic experience which exacerbates this. For example, if the child lives in a home with anxious adults, they may pick up on their anxiety.
When a child experiences trauma (such as the death of a loved one, neglect, physical or sexual abuse) or a stressful incident (being injured, moving home, or school), this can trigger an anxiety response, which then remains heightened, even when there is not a threat.
It has also been found that children with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and autistic spectrum disorders are more likely to struggle with anxiety.
How to help a child with anxiety
If you believe that your child has anxiety issues, your first step should be to sensitively approach them about it. They may disclose that a specific situation, person, or event is worrying them, and, depending on the scenario, you may be able to help. For example, if they are being bullied at school or are worried about an upcoming school performance. In some cases, talking about the issue can be a great help, and the anxiety will dissipate with some reassurance.
However, if you/your child cannot identify a particular cause of the anxiety, but they do not seem to be improving, it may be time to seek professional help. Speak to your local doctor about your concerns as they may be able to refer your child for an assessment for an anxiety disorder. Counseling and/or cognitive behavioral therapy for children can also be helpful as it will help the child to understand their emotions and find healthy coping mechanisms.
SGB treatment for children with anxiety
For children who have been through traumatic events or living situations, medication, and/or a stellate ganglion block injection for anxiety relief (SGB) could be a suitable treatment. The SGB injection for anxiety is an anxiety and PTSD breakthrough injection that is administered into the stellate ganglion, a group of nerve cells within the neck that have an essential role in regulating our ‘fight or flight’ mechanism. It is a low-risk procedure with no side-effects, which can help people with PTSD and anxiety alleviate their symptoms.
Although the stellate ganglion block anxiety attack treatment is safe, it is not for everyone. To find out if SGB anxiety therapy is the right treatment for your child, start our questionnaire today. If your child is a candidate for the anxiety and PTSD breakthrough treatment, contact us to schedule an SGB injection near you.