What is the most effective anxiety treatments for children?
First of all you should learn what the symptoms of anxiety disorders are since in many cases they fail to get recognized by the parents and thus the treatment is postponed and started way too late. If your child shows excessive worries and unjustified fears, or physical sings of anxiety such as headaches, stomach aches, muscle tension then he or she might suffer from anxiety disorders. In some cases this results in panic attacks as well. If these symptoms persist for at least six months or longer periods, then you should seek professional help.
Finding the best mental health specialist for your child might take some time and research, but you should talk to friends and family, your child’s doctor, and finally check his or her background and “success rate.” This is actually crucial since you are putting your child’s health and future in his hands. Once that professional has diagnosed your child with anxiety disorder, he or she would advise you on the best course of action.
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) On almost all cases a therapy is the best anxiety treatment for children and the most common one is the Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT). This therapy is actually the general terms of various similar therapies, but what all of them have in common is that they are based on the idea that we can control our thoughts and they, in turn, determine our behavior and feelings. Thus, the CBT is an anxiety treatment for children that try to change the way the kid or adolescent feels even though he or she remains in the same situation. The Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy has shown great success in managing anxiety in kids of the age seven to eight years or older, but the most crucial part is the will of the child to take part and learn the new ways of thinking. Parents are involved as well since they have to encourage their children to practice the new skills and help them every step on the way.
Psychoanalytic therapy is an anxiety treatment that is much longer compared to the CBT, it can go on for years and can best be described as “talk therapy” that helps the children and teens manage their anxiety.
Behavioral Therapies are used to help children get over their irrational fears and manage their anxiety reactions.
Self-management – this where the parent plays crucial role. You should consult a mental health professional that would explain you the best way to support your child. This can be an extremely effective anxiety treatment for children and is quite often overlooked. If your child only experiences mild anxiety then showing him a practical and easy way to lessen his or her worries can help enormously. Keep in mind that this takes time and don’t expect to see immediate results, but as long as some progress is made in a six month or longer period, then you are on the right track. If your child suffers from phobias do not force them to face their fears “head-on,” but rather take the prolonged exposure approach – this means letting your child gradually confront the situations that they are scared of.
Medications – these are usually prescribed to children who do not respond well to the previously mentioned treatments and after careful evaluation. The most widely used medications are Serotonin-specific reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and although they can help you cure your child’s anxiety disorder, you should keep in mind that they come with side effects. These side effects are usually mild, but careful monitoring by a medical practitioner is recommended.
The fear of an anxiety attack by itself can trigger an attack. This is true as reported by many anxiety disorder patients and after resolving the “meta” fear, most reported an immediate cessation of anxiety attacks.