Anxiety is a normal emotional response. It relates to feeling worried, or fearful. Anxiety in Kids – If felt in small doses at appropriate times (such as before starting school) and if it goes away without interfering with your child’s functioning, it is not usually a concern. The problem is sometimes children feel excessive anxiety, or anxiety that occurs too often. It can also interfere with their normal functioning (such as their ability to play with friends or learn at school). Anxiety tends to run in families. 


Anxiety in Kids has many symptoms. Some of these are emotional – such as crying, feeling unhappy and being nervous. In older children and adolescents, anxiety can be accompanied by depressive symptoms. These include changes in appetite (increased or decreased), changes in sleep patterns (sleeping more or less than normal) and lowering of mood. Anxiety can also cause physical symptoms. These include stomachaches, headaches, tiredness and irritability. Acute anxiety can stimulate the ‘fight or flight’ mechanism. This can make your heart race, increase sweatiness and make you feel hyper-energised (fidgety and restless). Severe anxiety can lead to panic attacks. The child may be hyperventilating (breathing very fast), have a fast heart rate and feel sweaty. They feel extremely scared.


If your child is anxious about something, talk to them about their fears. Validate their emotions; really listen to what they are saying. Do not dismiss their fear as being ‘silly’ or ‘irrational’; acknowledge it in a supportive, non-judgmental way. If your child’s anxiety is interfering with their life, seek professional help. Your GP or a psychologist is a good first port of call. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), a type of ‘talk therapy’ used by psychologists, is very useful in managing anxiety. It involves addressing fears and learning new ways to think about things. This can help anxiety sufferers manage their emotions. In some cases, medication may help. Try this helpful website on Anxiety and be sure to view Dr Eng’s Nutrition Protocols for treating Anxiety naturally. If you worry your child may be suicidal, call an ambulance immediately. 

Reviewed by Dr Evelyn Lewin 25 February 2015 references
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This document has been developed and peer reviewed by a KIDS HEALTH Advisory Board Representative and is based on expert opinion and the available published literature at the time of review. Information contained in this document is not intended to replace medical advice and any questions regarding a medical diagnosis or treatment should be directed to a medical practitioner.

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