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Child or youth anxiety

Child or youth anxiety

Child or youth anxiety

Child or youth anxiety is an adaptive reaction in children and adolescents to situations that are experienced as a danger or a threat. If this experience happens frequently, the young person can develop a pathology. In childhood and adolescence, anxiety can manifest itself in various ways: through fears like specific phobias, school phobia or social phobia, separation anxiety, excessive and generalised daily concerns in different situations, or anxiety attacks. Anxiety is accompanied by physical, cognitive and behavioural manifestations which must be assessed and dealt with.

  • Simple phobiasPhysical reactions: Increased heart rate, tremors, sweating, shortness of breath, nausea, dizziness... Children and adolescents have to acquire resources that allow them to control and deactivate these reactions by learning strategies such as relaxation, breathing and meditation, allowing them to calm back down.
  • Cognitive reactions: In these cases, children and young people develop thoughts related to insecurity, helplessness, anticipation of danger or low self-esteem that make it difficult for them to face what makes them feel anxious. Intervention is essential to help them recognise these thoughts and learn strategies to question them or distance themselves.
  • Behavioural reactions: Children and young people with anxiety or depression tend to develop behaviours to ensure that they avoid what makes them feel afraid or uneasy.

One of the least incapacitating child or youth anxiety disorders is simple phobias. These involve fear of specific stimuli like lifts or dogs. These are situations that can occur at certain times but not all the time.

School phobias and social phobias

School phobias and social phobias affect habitual areas in the child’s or young person’s life, and are therefore quite incapacitating. Patients cannot act and feel normally in situations where they spend much of the day.

Generalised anxiety

In generalised child or youth anxiety, feelings of fear or anguish accompany the individual part or all of the time. The situation is therefore highly incapacitating. The degree of incapacitation is determined by the level to which the sufferer seeks to avoid the situation that makes them anxious and, therefore, stops doing things that they could do under normal conditions. Avoiding anxiogenic stimuli makes the situation generate more anxiety, worsening the situation.


 

 

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