Anxiety in children is more prevalent today then ever before. For parents of a child who is a chronic worrier, finding the best therapy, early, is important to the child’s overall health and well being.
When considering psychotherapy for an anxious child, there are a variety of options available in terms of effective treatment. Often, the course of therapy will depend on the age of the child, the underlying cause for anxiety and the development of communication between the therapist and child. This is to say that not all therapy programs are equally effective and your anxious child may require one that is tailored to his or her specific needs.
When your anxious child is showing signs of sleep disorder, changes in appetite, irritability and even social isolation, it is definitely time to consider treatment options for the chronic worry. To effectively diagnose your child as a chronically anxious individual, you will first want to secure the services of a mental health professional that specializes in childhood disorders. Using diagnostic tools, such as the Achenbach Child Behavior assessment tool, the mental health professional can ascertain the nature and cause of your child’s mental state.
Once confirmed as a chronic worrier, the anxious child will most likely require a combination of therapy approaches. For most children, talk therapy is quite successful as it simply engages the child in communication with someone, outside of the family, that they have come to trust. Rationalizing emotions is the key to this approach in resolving anxiety in children.
Beyond talk therapy, your child’s mental health professional may recommend cognitive behavioral therapy. AS a more advanced approach to treating anxiety, CBT works to teach the child how to mentally alter their perception, at the onset of anxiety, so as to alleviate the physical reaction. In other words, your child will be educated in the various techniques in which to control anxiety, mentally, and thereby alleviate the physical responses.
In collaboration with talk therapy and CBT, children who suffer from anxiety will also need to learn the essential life skills of stress management and relaxation techniques. Again, these lessons will depend, largely, on the child’s age but have been shown to be quite effective at alleviating the complications of anxiety over the child’s developing into early adulthood.
Because some degree of anxiety is attributed to a poor, or inadequate, diet, the mental health professional may recommend a visit with a nutritionist or dietitian who can create a meal plan specifically designed with your child’s physical and mental health needs in mind. Often, this plan will include meals at regular intervals throughout the day, with a proper balance of nutrition, supplemented with adequate amounts of water.
As with any mental health complication, the key to your child’s successful recovery will lie, mainly, in the early intervention and diagnosis. While we tend to dismiss worrisome statements by children, it is important, especially in the 21st century, to pay close attention to the anxiety suffered by our children and seek out the mental health treatment necessary to guide them into a healthy and anxious free adulthood.