Anxiety is a common problem that can affect anyone, but children are especially at risk. Between 2016 and 2019, the number of children experiencing anxiety had already climbed 27%. By 2020, there were 5.6 million kids diagnosed with anxiety.
According to the CDC, common types of anxiety in children are as follows:
- Separation anxiety: fear of being away from parents
- Phobias: fear of certain things or situations, like visiting the doctor
- Social anxiety: fear of school or places with many people
- General anxiety: fearful of the future or catastrophic events
- Panic disorder: recurrent episodes of intense fear (with symptoms like a pounding heart, shortness of breath, dizziness, sweating)
Fortunately, there are many effective options available and they can be used to target different kinds of anxiety. You may find one of these anxiety treatments for children effective.
3 Anxiety Treatments for Children
1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT is based on the concept that our thoughts and feelings impact our beliefs and behavior. In practice, this type of treatment involves carefully exposing children to triggers until they feel safer and less anxious. Let’s say, for example, that a ten-year old girl named Laura experiences a panic attack. The attack took place in the middle of soccer practice, and now Laura is afraid of returning to practice. A therapist might recommend visiting the empty soccer field with a parent or trusted guardian, then eventually going back when people are present. Laura may be encouraged to journal afterwards to document her thoughts and feelings. Over time, she should feel more comfortable in that environment. Ultimately, the goal of CBT is to reduce both avoidance and ritualistic behaviors. This anxiety treatment for children is usually paired with medication.
2. Attention Bias Modification Treatment (ABMT)
ABMT is typically recommended for patients who have little to no success with CBT. With ABMT, computer-based attention training programs are used to transform a child’s attention bias. Most people experiencing anxiety fixate on anything they find threatening in their environment. The computer programs are designed to retrain a child’s attention patterns. This works by introducing them to threatening and non-threatening stimuli while they’re focusing on an attention-based task. This is a relatively new anxiety treatment for children, and more research is required to determine its effectiveness. However, current results are promising.
3. Prescribed, Clinician-Approved Medications
Medications aren’t suitable for every child; however, when combined with therapeutic methods, they can yield positive results. Some medicinal anxiety treatments for children that a therapist might recommend include antidepressants and benzodiazepine. Anti-depressants start working quickly, but they can be unsafe for some children, and side effects can also be damaging. Benzodiazepines are less likely to cause side effects, but they are not intended for long-term use. When it comes to medication, we encourage you to speak with your child’s physician and/or psychiatrist to make the right determination.
Partner with Lead4Life, Inc. Today to Learn More about Anxiety Treatments for Children
Visit our website for more information about anxiety treatments for children, or contact us at 240-499-8949. At Lead4Life, we strive to empower every participant in our programs so that they may find their purpose, achieve their goals, and become poised, productive members of their community. We advocate for those in need and assist each and every individual by providing compassionate education and valuable resources and tools so that they can make the very best decisions and develop important life, social, and competency skills.