Many anxiety disorders afflict women, usually starting around puberty. Generalized anxiety disorder is one of the few that also affects children.
Children who suffer from generalized anxiety disorder constantly worry about everything, from their family, their health, school issues, and world events, just to name a few. They worry to the extent that it takes up such a part of their lives as to interfere with their ability to function and do the things that most normal children do. If this sounds like your child, have him checked out by his physician. There are other health problems that can present the same way, and your physician will need to find out for sure what the problem is to prescribe the proper treatment. Worry that lasts longer than six months is a pretty good starting indicator.
Children who have generalized anxiety disorder are afflicted with several other symptoms including, restlessness or inability to concentrate, inability to sleep well, often suffer from extreme fatigue, and often tend to be very irritable.
Parents play a big role in helping children learn how to manage their generalized anxiety disorder so that it does not interfere in their day to day lives. These children respond well to positive parenting methods, and constantly seek reassurance that everything is going to be okay. Parents should try to help their children by discussing their fears and concerns, and showing them ways in which they are unfounded.
If generalized anxiety disorder is not treated correctly before adolescence, it can lead to a whole new set of problems. Children may suffer from self-esteem and confidence issues, They may never graduate high school, not be able to join the work force, and may turn to alcohol or drugs to make them feel better.
Children usually respond well to treatments, such as cognitive behavioral treatment. Cognitive behavior therapy teaches children to change their way of thinking, and modify their behaviors to help lessen their fears and worries. It helps them learn to turn negative thoughts and behaviors into positive ones. They learn how to use relaxation exercises to help control their anxiety levels, so that they can more effectively manage their disorder. Children need to learn to use these relaxation methods not only in therapy, but in stressful situations anytime and anyplace they happen to occur.
When choosing a therapist to help your child, you should look for one that is easy to communicate with, and one who has no problem answering any questions that you may have. He should be able to tell you anything you want to know about his education and training, his treatment procedures, and how much should expect to pay for it all.
You may want to conduct interviews with several therapists that specialize in treating children that have generalized anxiety disorder before making your final selection.
During your interview feel free to ask questions to help you make the best choice for your child. It is a good idea to ask potential therapists how long they have treated children with generalized anxiety disorder, and what training did they have that makes them qualified to do so.
Ask what happens during an average treatment session, and find out how long each session is expected to last. Are parents allowed to sit on the sessions? How many treatments does it usually take to be able to see some improvement? You also should find out if the therapist is covered by your insurance, and if not, whether he is willing to work out a payment plan with you, to make your child's treatment be more affordable for the family budget. Let your child also meet with potential therapists, to see if he or she prefers one over the others.
After interviewing several therapists, you may also want to do some research on each potential therapist to see if you can find any complaints, or other information that make help you in the selection process. Choosing a therapist for your child is not something to take lightly, and you should take your time and try to choose the best one you can afford.
While prescription medications do seem to help those diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder, they are all not indicated for use by children.
Best results are usually achieved by combing medicines with behavioral treatment. Use the medicines until the behavioral treatment helps, then gradually come off of the meds. Being on prescription anxiety medications for long periods of time is not recommended for anyone, especially children. Your physician may be able to find a safe prescription medicine, but keep in mind that some prescriptions normally used in treating adults can actually cause children to have self destructive thoughts and behaviors. Children who take medicines to help control their generalized anxiety disorder must be closely monitored by both their physician, and their parents, and any new symptoms or personality changes should be reported to the physician right away.
People who have generalized anxiety disorder may develop other psychiatric diseases later in life, such as chronic depression, or panic disorders. Treatment and education at the onset of generalized anxiety disorder can greatly decrease the odds.
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