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Anxiety In Children Essay

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illnesses. The children who deal with anxiety are overcome with fear and worry and are constantly dismissed as acting out for attention. Childhood anxiety disorders affect the child and the people involved in the child’s life, yet there is not enough treatment or awareness in today’s society. There are many different types of anxiety disorders that affect children including; selective mutism, separation anxiety, social anxiety, panic disorder, generalized anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, and specific hobias.

Selective mutism is an anxiety disorder that makes the child incapable of talking in certain situations, such as school or social activities, due to a fear of talking and socializing. This specific disorder is associated with social anxiety because the child usually has a social phobia although the exact cause why the child does not speak is unknown. Separation anxiety is when a child suffers from extreme anxiety when they are separated from their parents or when they leave home. Social anxiety is when the child has a fear of going out into public situations.

When a child has this disorder they may refuse to go to school, sports teams, etc. hat will affect them and should be assessed immediately. Panic disorder is when the child suffers from common anxiety attacks, which involve screaming, inability to breath, dizziness, lightheadedness, crying, shaking, and a racing heart. Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is when a child worries over a variety of everyday activities and experiences. Children with generalized anxiety can overthink situations producing their fears and worries and ask many questions. When a child has a need to perform tasks and spend hours oing the tasks or thinking about them, it is possible it is obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).

Children with OCD sometimes are not aware on how extreme their obsessions and compulsions are unlike adults and they are typically diagnosed with it around age ten. If not treated the intrusive thoughts can affect the child’s life because they give into compulsions which can last hours. Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can affect the child after witnessing a serious traumatic event, such as a parent dying or natural disaster, that causes fear, nervousness, and in some cases refusal to go near certain places.

Remorse, sadness, and fear is normal after an extreme life changing event ,but is resolved fairly quickly unlike PTSD which can last years. When a child gets anxiety over a specific situation or object they can have a phobia. Tantrums and other negative responses are common when the child encounters their fear. Anxiety disorders can be caused by different factors in a child’s life. Anxiety can be passed down through genes or can be caused by the environment the child lives in such as abusive parents or foster care and other unfortunate events a child should not have to endure.

Anxiety disorders can sometimes be enetic and run in families and may be a cause for anxiety in a child if the child has not endured a traumatic event and has an attentive caring family, basically a good life. If multiple family members suffer from anxiety and so does a child, genetics are a possible explanation for the mental illness. The environment the child lives is a likely cause of anxiety and usually the first thing professionals look at when trying to diagnose the cause for the disorder.

When I say environment, I mean the child’s personal life and family and whether or not there is neglect or abuse. It an also mean how controlling or protective the parents or guardians are towards the child because that can affect the child. Post-traumatic stress disorder is the main type of anxiety that can be explained by the environment the child lives in, although, any anxiety can be caused by the environment. In certain cases, there is not a known cause of the anxiety which can make treatment a little more difficult but not untreatable.

I had selective mutism when I was a child and in my case there does not seem to be a cause for my anxiety; my life is good, I never had any traumatic event happen to me, and it is not enetic, yet I had anxiety over speaking to anyone outside my immediate family. Anxiety disorders can affect school because of the constant worry children deal with when they have this mental illness. Children with social anxiety, separation anxiety and generalized anxiety are prone to refusing and not wanting to go to school which should be addressed as soon as possible, which means there needs to more treatment and awareness.

I interviewed my second grade teacher, Janet Wheeler, at Julien Elementary School because she is one of the most influential people that helped me with my anxiety and I knew from personal xperience she knows how to support children with anxiety disorders. When interviewing her I asked her “ How often do you learn new ways to deal with anxiety and does the school provide that? ” Her response was that over the years she acquires new ways to deal with anxiety through experience, but “the school does not provide any formal training but teachers and staff get together to discuss the problem if it is severe”(Wheeler).

She also went on to discuss how she personally contacts the parents to see if there is any trauma or anything she should be aware of so she does not trigger an attack or a negative response. I asked her a similar question, “Does the school do anything to help you with a child with anxiety? ” and she replied with a detailed answer to the steps and resources the school offers. “It depends on the situation and if it is serious and concerning, then we can take it to SST and I consult the school’s resource specialist” and she went on to explain what SST stands for and what the resource specialist does.

SST stands for student support team and basically they assess the child’s behavior and discuss ways to help the child. The school resource specialist teach students with special needs nd often discuss with other teachers to give them ideas on to handle children’s emotions such as anxiety. Interviewing Mrs. Wheeler confirmed my suspicion that schools are not doing enough to support children with anxiety because they do not provide any formal training to regular teachers and only pay close attention to severe cases.

Children are in school four to eight hours a day, but awareness and treatments are limited to only the severe cases. According to an article based on Dr. Lynn Miller, an associate professor of education at UBC, and her research, “anxiety disorders are the most common mental- ealth problem in children, [yet] they tend to get the least attention” and adds that, “Teachers may not pick up on anxiety disorders because fearful behaviours don’t normally interfere with students’ learning ‘but they’re suffering and they don’t have to’ ” (Barton 1).

Anxiety is such a common mental issue and sadly does not have enough treatment or awareness leaving kids “suffering,” as Dr. Miller stated. Millers quotes clearly support the argument that childhood anxiety disorders are being dismissed and that they should be brought to the attention of more kids and parents, so the children are not left ntreated being tortured by their anxiety.

Parents and guardians are the most important people in children’s life and they need to be informed on childhood anxiety disorders and their treatments because, if not, uninformed parents can actually make the child’s anxiety worse based on their actions and attitudes. Anxiety is often just a phase in children and after support it will go away. The problem with that statement is it makes parents assume that all anxiety will go away on its own; therefore, dismissing their child’s problem leaving the child engulfed in their fears and anxieties.

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