Symptoms of anxiety in children can begin when they are 18 months old. These anxiety symptoms in children have to be treated as soon as possible to avoid any permanent damage in adulthood.
Your hands grow cold and sweaty. Drops of sweat come trickling down from the corners of your forehead. It's soon time to walk up the stage. So, you somehow do. But your feet, as heavy as rocks, prevent you from getting on the stage. The spotlight pans in on you. And bang! You are at a complete loss of words and in no control of the situation.
This is a typical 'gripped by anxiety' situation. We have all been there and done that. As children, and as first timers for a lot of things, anxiety is normal. But when this situation becomes recurrent and the anxiety symptoms take over day-to-day activities in a child's life, it has to be dealt with proper help.
Symptoms of Anxiety in Children
Troubles or fights within friend circle
Chills or hot flashes
Feeling of being detached from oneself
Feeling of losing control
Being in constant fear
Escaping from situation
Aversion from activities
Being over critical
Dealing with Anxiety in Children
The symptoms of anxiety differ with the type of anxiety disorder. However, they largely remain the same. Let's see what are the types of anxiety disorder symptoms in children and what are the symptoms of anxiety in children.
Social Anxiety Symptoms
Social Anxiety Disorder or SAD in children is usually seen before or at the time of joining school. Children suffering from this disorder are constantly living under a fear that they will act or speak in an embarrassing manner. SAD is also seen among teenagers as their friend circle changes and they come across different people.
The symptoms of anxiety in children seen under SAD are:
Separation Anxiety Disorder
A child gets too attached to its parents in the first 18 months to 3 years. Showing symptoms of separation anxiety are considered to be normal during this period. However, when this continues after 3 years of age, it's termed as separation anxiety disorder. A child is likely to experience extreme pangs of anxiety when away from home.
Other symptoms include:
Refusal to going to places all alone (stay overs or camps)
Cling on to parents
Expect parents to go everywhere
Get extremely homesick
Have nightmares when staying away from home
Sleep with a parent or parents
Selective mutism makes things worse for the child. In selective mutism, the child refuses to speak in the most important situations. This is often seen in children around the age of 4-8, when they are in the phase of settling down with 'school atmosphere'. In a case of selective mutism, a child will show most of the previously mentioned symptoms.
Children suffering with selective mutism portray the following symptoms:
Exhibit extreme shyness
Freeze or get totally motionless
Avoid eye contact
Exhibit separation anxiety
Get out of sight
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Generalized anxiety disorder is characterized by excessive worrying over various trivial things. This affects children within the age bracket of 6-11 years as the academic and extra curricular activities begin to mount.
Children suffering from generalized anxiety disorder portray the following symptoms:
Difficulty in breathing
Children also suffer from panic disorders, wherein the child may have a panic attack and lose control over his/her actions. Another most important anxiety disorder is specific phobias of animals, darkness, objects, people, and heights.
These disorders typically exhibit anxiety symptoms, which have to be carefully observed and treated immediately. Get in touch with your doctor and deal with it as soon as possible, to ensure a secure and a healthy future for your child.