The World Health Organization reports that depression, anxiety, and behavioral disorders are one of the major causes of illness among adolescents. It further notes that one out of seven 10-19-year-olds experience some form of mental disorder, which makes it 13% of the different diseases prevalent in the age group.
Mental health disorders manifest themselves in the form of anxiety, depression, and behavioral problems. Anxiety is a natural response to stress and can be helpful in certain situations.
For example, your child might be anxious about a test or meeting a new person at first, but that feeling fades as they take action and get used to the situation. Anxiety becomes problematic when it takes the form of an all-consuming fear that’s hard to shake off.
Most people experience anxiety from time to time. However, if you think that it is interfering with your child’s daily life by causing them severe distress, then it may be time to seek help.
What Is Anxiety?
Anxiety is an emotion characterized by feelings of fear, worry, or unease that can range from mild to severe. These feelings can cause physical symptoms like sweaty palms, racing heartbeat, and negative thoughts like “I’m going to fail that test” or “I’ll never get this work done on time.”
Anxiety may be caused by many things, including genetics, family history, traumatic events in the past or present, and performance pressure, such as the feeling of compulsion to get things done perfectly. But regardless of what triggers the anxiety symptoms, there are ways to fight against them.
Cause Of Anxiety
Before you go about addressing the problem of anxiety in your child, you should understand what might be causing it. Some of the most common things that can cause anxiety are stress, fear and worrying too much, feeling a loss of control, being uncertain about things, and experiencing a traumatic event.
Stress can come in many forms, from school pressure or family issues to relationships with friends. And it often causes feelings of worry and panic as well as physical symptoms such as headaches or nausea.
Fear is another common cause of panic attacks. It can also stem from past experiences where something bad happened unexpectedly.
Overthinking is another cause of anxiety since people who do this tend to focus too much on the ‘what ifs.’ When something bad happens, instead of focusing on solutions, they worsen their situations by overthinking them too much.
But you don’t need to worry too much because there are many strategies you can use to combat anxiety. Here are the ones that have been effective for everyone.
One of the best ways to calm anxiety is through deep breathing. An article published in Harvard Business Review explains that deep breathing triggers relaxation impulses in our parasympathetic nervous system.
This trigger helps our mind calm down from a state of pressure or stress. It also slows down the heart rate and respiration rate, which can be beneficial in reducing symptoms associated with anxiety disorders such as panic attacks.
Make them inhale through the nose, hold their breath for a moment and then slowly exhale through the mouth. Make them repeat this exercise as many times until they feel calmer.
Exercise is a great stress reliever that can help get their mind off of things. It would be great if you could enroll your child in a swimming class or some other physical sports. But if not, there are always other options like taking a long walk or doing some stretching in the comfort of your own home. They can also do other activities like dancing or going for a hike with friends.
These activities will allow your child to get outside into nature, where there are fewer distractions to trigger their anxiety.
Start a Journal
Journaling is a great way to make them get their thoughts out of their head and onto paper. It can help them focus on the positive and not the negative. It can help them see patterns in their thoughts and identify what triggers their anxiety or makes them feel better. Even if nothing else comes from journaling except a sense of relief, it’s still so worth it.
Start Cognitive Behavior Therapy
Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) is a short-term therapy that helps you change the way you think about things. It can help your child manage their anxiety and break the cycle of anxiety so that it doesn’t get the better of them. You can either have them sign up for a 1:1 session or a group session with a therapist to get a CBT.
Availing of treatment does sound easy, but key statistics around mental health have a different story to tell. Mental Health America reports that 59.8% of youth did not receive any mental health treatment for their major depression.
Further, CBS news also reports that more than half the total number of schools in states like Texas do not have proper mental health services for their students. These statistics only show that therapy is still not accessible to many people despite all the benefits that it brings to the table.
So, if you are ready to get your child into therapy, then finding a therapist is no difficult task. You could either ask around in your social circle, or you could just run a Google search based on your location. If you live in Texas, you can find a therapist in Texas through online platforms and social media as well.
But finding a good therapist could be a little trickier. Therefore, we recommend that you do your research on the therapists, check their credentials, and have a trial session before settling for one.
Have a Support Network Ready
It’s important to have a support network of friends and family. Having others around you who can help distract you from your anxiety is very important. If your child isn’t able to open up to his friends or family, then it might be time for you to encourage them to step out of the bubble.
If that doesn’t work for your child, you could also try enrolling them in support groups. These are often located at local hospitals or mental health facilities, but they can also be found at community centers or churches.
I hope that this article has given you some useful strategies to help combat your child’s anxiety. Remember that it’s normal to have feelings of fear and uncertainty. And having an anxiety disorder doesn’t make your child any less normal. It is just a state that will pass if given the right treatment.