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Recognizing Signs of Child Anxiety for Early Intervention

Recognizing Signs of Child Anxiety for Early Intervention

 

Recognizing Signs of Child Anxiety for Early Intervention

 

It is normal for children to feel and exhibit fears that change over time and are usually outgrown. “Not all fear is bad,” says Tamar E. Chansky, PhD, author of Freeing Your Child from Anxiety and director of the Children’s Center for OCD and Anxiety. In fact, some fears can protect children (and adults) from harm. However, unwarranted and excessive fears should not be ignored.

While not every expression of fear indicates anxiety, intense fear that disrupts your child’s life is a significant problem. Unusual symptoms such as excessive or constant anger, clumsiness, and defiance deserve attention. “As a parent, you can make a big difference in how well your child handles common worries,” says Annie Stuart of WebMD.

 

Is Your Worry Justified?

You can’t help but worry when your child is afraid of age-appropriate activities such as going to school, playing with other children, or sleeping alone in a separate room. The possibility of anxiety can’t be ruled out. Is your worry justified? What can you do to help them?

The truth is that it is better to be worried than to be lax, especially when your child exhibits fear, irritability, or clumsiness that is frequent, intense, or damaging. Pay attention and be proactive. If your child’s behavior is being triggered by anxiety, the sooner they receive professional intervention, the better it will be for them. A counselor can provide prompt assessment of symptoms, diagnosis, and therapy, and guide you in appropriate parenting. 

 

Recognizing the Signs and Symptoms

It may not be easy to tell if your child’s behavior warrants professional help. There are over a hundred possible manifestations of anxiety in children. Fear is just one possible sign, and it is a common one for almost all children when they are sleeping alone in a dark room, when you leave them, or when moving to a new school or neighborhood.

Recognizing the signs is critical. With the long list of possible signs, you need to pay close attention to your child’s behavioral nuances. Some of them, such as clumsiness, defiance, or anger, may not immediately suggest anxiety to you. Other symptoms are subtle and can easily be missed. The most important thing is to seek professional assistance right away when you develop a nagging suspicion that something is off with your child’s behavior.

 

Overcoming Your Personal Challenges

You might argue that fright, awkwardness, and disobedience are normal for most children and they will change as they grow older. You could be right. It is normal for children to go through a stage of awkward movements or clumsiness, get angry when exposed to a tense situation, or be disobedient because they want to do something forbidden. However, if these symptoms are interfering with your child’s quality of life, you need to seek help.

It can be difficult for parents to accept that their beloved child has an emotional condition or isn’t as perfect as they wish. You need to overcome your personal challenges to help your child. Don’t deny them the help they need because you chose to ignore the signs. Delaying can only make life more challenging for them.

 

When to Bring Your Child to a Professional

What is the single most important reason to bring your child to a therapist? When their symptoms are intense, frequent or persistent, and unjustified:

  • Symptoms are intense. Feeling edgy before a performance is normal, but throwing up or panicking can be excessive. A child who dreads attending birthday parties because there will be a crowd or a performing clown may have a phobia.
  • Excessive response is persistent. The first day of school can be frightening for most children, but feeling sick every single day before school isn’t normal. A child who experienced a trauma may seem to bounce back, but if they exhibit extreme responses after a while, it could be a red flag for something worse—PTSD.
  • Unjustified symptoms beyond control. Clumsiness is something that all people, young or old, experience from time to time, but persistent clumsiness that doesn’t wane for years isn’t natural. Similarly, an older child who has been in school for many years but cries inconsolably because of fear warrants attention.

 

The Rippling Effects of Child Anxiety

Does your child turn down invitations to go to social events? Do they keep knocking down objects around the house or at school? Is your child “acting out” too often? These and other symptoms of anxiety can make life unhappy and challenging, and cause them to miss out on many opportunities.

You may also be gripped with worry because you don’t know what’s wrong with your child or what you can do for them. If you think they are just misbehaving, you may resort to applying stern discipline instead of understanding them. Without treatment, your child can live a difficult life into adulthood and lose the opportunity to achieve their aspirations. If you are tense and challenged, your strained emotions can affect your disposition and relationships.

 

Changing the Scenario with CCS

There are many possible outcomes when you have a child who is weighed down by anxiety. Bringing your child to a professional therapist independently contracted with Carolina Counseling Services — Pinehurst, NC, can increase the chance of a better outcome and a happier life for your child. A qualified therapist can assess the symptoms and diagnose your child for proper treatment. Bear in mind that anxiety is treatable, but it can get worse without therapy or treatment.

When your child’s symptoms are intense, persistent, out of control, or unjustified, waste no time—call Carolina Counseling Services — Pinehurst, NC.

 

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Serving Areas: Carolina Counseling Services

Counties: Moore county, NC, Lee County, Hoke County, Chatham County

Areas: Pinehurst NC, West End NC, Taylortown NC, Seven Lakes NC, Eagle Springs NC, Jackson Springs NC, Foxfire NC, Candor NC, Norman NC, Ellerbe NC, Rockingham NC

Zip Codes: 27281, 27376, 28315, 28347, 28350, 28373, 28374, 28387, 28388, 28394

Kelly ErkenBrack, LCSW

Specializes in: (Ages 3+) Children, Teens, Adults, Couples and Families. Anxiety, Depression, Grief and Loss, Mood Disorders, Trauma, Adjustments and Life Transitions, ADHD, Behavioral Issues, Parenting, Relationship Concerns, Self Esteem
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