Anxiety Disorder Can Wear Many Faces Yet Shares Similar Symptoms
- Friday, 16 October 2015 10:00
Family Guidance Center
Anxiety Disorder is a Leading Mental Health Condition Worldwide
Most people have felt it. That momentary flood of fear when the blood is pulsing so rapidly that you seem to feel and hear it. Maybe you were in a near car wreck or perhaps you experienced turbulence during an airplane ride. Anxiety is a normal reaction to situations where someone feels immediately threatened. Yet, for some, anxiety can strike at a time when the threat of danger is minimal or even non-existent and turn into an anxiety disorder.
Anxiety disorder is a leading mental health condition worldwide, but it is not a one-size-fits-all condition. There are six distinct types of anxiety disorder used in diagnosis: generalized anxiety, social anxiety, PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), panic disorder and phobias. Anxiety may strike under different conditions and situations for each person, yet many times the experience shares similar symptoms: rapid breathing, sweating, pounding heart, edginess or trouble sleeping.
Many people attempt to manage anxiety on their own, usually by trying to avoid people and situations which trigger anxiety. This may not be effective in the long-term. That doesn’t mean that a person must live with uncontrolled anxiety disorder, however. There are steps you can work with a mental health professional on to help manage your symptoms. Lifestyle changes such as smoking cessation and reduced caffeine intake can help. It’s also helpful to actively build a positive support network. These relationships will not only provide comfort and security, but they can help you cope with situations which threaten to trigger anxiety.
If you are experiencing problem anxiety, it’s important that you know that you are far from alone. The steps mentioned above can be useful but it is also important to talk with a mental health professional. They can help you learn positive coping strategies for those times when anxiety threatens and guide you through expanding your boundaries so that anxiety doesn’t hold you in its paralyzing grip and keep you from enjoying life. We encourage you to contact us at Family Guidance Center and learn how to stop anxiety from being a controlling influence in your life.
Helping Your Child Deal With Anxiety
- Friday, 23 January 2015 10:00
Family Guidance Center
Anxiety is a form of fear that many people deal with at some point in life. However, rather than direct fear of an immediate, in-the-moment situation, anxiety is more comparable to worry – it is a fear of what could be or might be. Sometimes this anxiety can become paralyzing. Unfortunately, it is not only adults whose minds are able to stray into the realm of unpleasant possibilities…children can also deal with anxiety. As the parent of a child with anxiety, you need a plan for teaching your child to cope with this kind of gripping fear. Here are some ways to help them cope with anxiety:
Place Worries in a Box
One way to help your child deal with anxiety is to have them verbalize what frightens or worries them. Maybe they are afraid of dogs or talking to new people or being left in a new place such as a school or daycare. Acknowledge what concerns them and then tell them to imagine placing that worry inside a box. Then lock the box. The worry is not gone, but it isn’t allowed to be present without permission.
Find a Distraction
Getting your child’s mind off of their anxiety is key to leaving worries inside the box. Think of this as changing the channel in your child’s brain. Tell your child they hold the remote control and they can change channels. Read a book, watch a movie, play a game, bake some cookies – whatever is needed to redirect thinking.
The Power of Words
Words are powerful. Tell your child that when they hear worries talking to them, they are free to talk right back. Teach your child to say things like “that may not even happen”, “it could be easy”, “I don’t have to listen to this” or “that is not necessarily true”. Spoken words have power.
There are other helpful techniques for overcoming anxiety. At Family Guidance Center we have helped many children learn to deal with intrusive fears and we can help your family too, give us a call today.
New School Year Anxiety for Children and Adolescents
- Friday, 05 September 2014 10:00
Family Guidance Center
Most of us entering a new situation experience a certain degree of anxiety. It is the case for adults starting a new job or moving into a new town and for kids facing a brand new year of school. Parents may be tuned in to potential anxiety when their child enters school for the very first time but, actually, every new school year can bring on fresh bouts of fear and worry.
Children and adolescents often feel a desire to return to the social world of the classroom by summer’s end even as they fear it. Will they succeed academically? Will they connect socially? And if they are beginning in a new school building – will they be able to find classrooms, lockers and bathrooms without looking foolish? These concerns are often present even if your child doesn’t verbalize them to you. So how can you, the parent, know when your child is struggling with anxiety about going back to school?
Clues to Unspoken Anxiety
- Lots of questions pertaining to school
- Increased nervous behaviors such as nail chewing, disturbed sleep, unexplained stomach problems or headaches
- Irritability or sudden attachment
How to Help
As a parent you can help your child work through their anxiety by talking over specific fears. Visits to the bus stop or the school can defuse some of the worry about finding things, making them less of an unknown. It will also lower stress if your home has a prepared atmosphere. Make sure book bags, school supplies and lunch items are all in place before the first day of class. Let children know that it is perfectly normal to feel anxious about walking into a new environment and that anxiety will not last forever.
Most of the time, as things at school start to become routine, your child’s level of anxiety will start to go down. If fears and unease persist after the first month or six weeks it may be a good idea to have your child evaluated by a mental health professional. Behavioral Health Professionals at Family Guidance work with children and adolescents every day, helping them learn to cope positively with anxiety and other powerful emotions.