Anxiety in Childhood and Adolescents
to speak to a large audience • The feeling may become overwhelming, with so much fear and distress and can prevent one from performing the usual duties and routines. This is regarded as anxiety disorder (Cohen et al. Statistics • According to WHO, 4. 4% of world’s population suffer from depression and other mental illnesses. • Anxiety disorders are the most common health concerns in the United States with at least 18% of the population of adults suffering anxiety disorders. Considering that age is a risk factor, then the effect of anxiety disorders in children and adolescent is a serious problem that needs to be addressed (Cohen et al. • SYMPTOMS Anxiety disorders have unique symptoms but they have one thing in common: excessive fear and worry in situations that do not warrant any danger or threat.
the symptoms are categorized into emotional and physical symptoms • Emotional symptoms • Feelings of intense tension • Restlessness and irritability • Apprehension and dread • Anticipation of negative outcomes • Physical symptoms • Racing heart or pounding • Shortness of breath • Fatigue and insomnia • Headaches • Sweating, tremors and twitches • Frequent urination and diarrhea • Upset stomach • TYPES OF DISORDERS There are two types of disorders symptoms that can be diagnosable in human beings: • Depressive disorders- long lasting and recurrent behaviors that affects the ability of an individual to cope with life. Depressive disorder is characterized by: • Poor concentration • Prolonged fatigue and feelings of tiredness • Change of appetite • Change of sleeping patterns • Feelings of low self esteem and guiltiness • Loss of pleasure and interests • Sadness • Anxiety disorders – this is a combination of mental disorders that cause anxiety and fear.
The mental disorders include: • Generalized Anxiety disorder (GAD) • Obsessive – compulsive disorder (COD) • Panic disorder • Social anxiety disorder • Phobias • Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) The symptoms can range from mild to severe depending on duration of the symptoms which can result to chronic rather than episodic conditions Notes Depression is a serious issue that needs to be seriously addressed; the most serious is depression disorder which can easily lead to suicide. • ANXIETY DISORDERS Common anxiety disorders that affects the children and adolescents: • Generalized Anxiety disorder (GAD) in children and teenagers • Generalized Anxiety disorder (GAD) is a condition of anxiety associated with exaggerated worry about each and everyday life. • This condition makes people unproductive for the reason that they spend too much time worrying about undertaking a task • The people with this condition mainly lack sufficient concentration on their daily duties • People with GAD easily become exhausted due to worries and experience frequent headaches, nausea and tension • Social anxiety disorder in children and teenagers • This condition is associated with too much shyness • It causes the individuals to develop unknown intense fears in social interaction the fear is attributed by irrational worries of humiliation and as a result such people isolate themselves and they are easily attacked by panic whenever forced to socially interact.
Notes The Generalized Anxiety disorder (GAD) is associated with constant nervousness and tension that is not triggered by anything, unlike phobia which is linked to specific thing or situation. The anxiety in GAD is less than panic does but has long time effect since it last longer. This makes normal life unbearable and relaxing is not possible resulting. In order to stop these panics, the treatment can avert the complications such as depression, agoraphobia and substance abuse for the teenagers. Panic disorder is thought to be rare in children and adolescent but in every community it samples are evident. It equally affects both females and males and it treatment can be effectively done by psycho education and psychological treatments such as selective serotonin uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) which are the recommended and safe treatment for children and adolescent with this condition.
Due to their complexity in symptoms careful assessment should be done to ensure that misdiagnosis of neurologic, pulmonary, cardiovascular and gastrointestinal illness which has related symptoms. Panic disorder in children and adolescent is chronic and disabling condition that when accompanied by psychosocial factors makes academic and adulthood life difficult (Alonso et al. The reaction to various stimulators of phobia depends on how an individual is capable of taking control of the situation. Most victims who are faint –hearted end up fainting and in comma for confronting things that induce fear in them. Other people overreact to situation and produce so much flight hormone in response to things that they are afraid of. • CAUSES A combination of factors results to anxiety disorders: • Genetic causes • Scientists believe that anxiety disorders are as a result of inheritance of the genes of certain type of disorder.
• The various disorders require different techniques of treatment. The family history affects the personality of individuals. Some family dynamics contributed greatly to development of anxiety due to overprotective behaviors, domestic violence and abuse. Scientists believe that anxiety is learned behavior in the sense that caregiver who tend to demonstrate such anxious behavior, they mirror them to the children and teenagers making them develop the disorders. Siblings are likely to contract anxiety disorders through heredity from first degree relatives. Lifestyle factors such as continued use of addictive substances such as caffeine increases the level of nervousness in an individual. Each of the anxiety disorders has a specific way of treatment plan. The most standard treatment of anxiety is psychological counseling including cognitive-behavior theories (CBT).
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