Anxiety is the predominant concern presented by children and adolescents today. In my practice, I meet with children as young as 5 who are beginning to profile with frequent worries that impact their daily functioning. I also meet with adults who have gone undiagnosed and are ready to seek help as the level of overwhelm they experience on a daily level is impacting their employment, physical health, and relationships. Early intervention is key and when we are working with children it is so important to take the temperature of the family by assessing the overall level of stress and worry within the household. Next steps, are exploring individual patterns and coping strategies through Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. This process can also involve a gradual exposure to experiences that the child has previously avoided or been protected from experiencing. The end goal is for the child to have greater confidence in their resilience to be able to navigate worry and stress when it presents itself through reframing, positive self-talk, and using emotional/physical regulation techniques.
“For young people, anxiety is the most common childhood psychiatric condition. These disorders start early, by age four, and by adolescence, one in 12 youths are severely impaired in their ability to function at home, in school and with peers. These kids are so frightened, worried, literally physically uncomfortable due to their anxiety. It’s difficult for them to pay attention in school, relax and have fun, make friends and do all the things that kids should be doing. Anxiety can create misery for the child, and the parents are front and center in witnessing their child’s distress.” (Alabano, 2020) Here is a book recommendation: “You and your Anxious Child: Free your Child from Fears and Worries and Create a Joyful Family Life.” (Anne Marie Albano and Leslie Pepper)