When a person experiences persistently high levels of anxiety, usually for six months or longer, and the focus of this anxiety is on their own or a loved one’s health, they may be suffering from health anxiety. A feature of health anxiety is that it often exists in the face of evidence that suggests nothing is wrong. So how does it develop in the first place?
Current thinking tends to point to one of three possibilities, although to some extent these may overlap and support one another. The first relates to our own development. Imagine growing up in a household where chronic pain or illness is a central issue. In such a context it’s easy to see how illness can be regarded as something permanent, disabling, painful and possibly even progressive and degenerative. Watching adults struggle with daily living isn’t an easy thing for a child or adolescent to cope with and could, so the argument goes, contribute to how we learn to view and respond to illness.
As the holiday season gets under way, stress builds. While we accept the rushed days and the added pressure, children also feel the stress and for those with anxiety, symptoms may worsen. Your child may start having trouble in school, be irritable and find it hard to concentrate. As parents, we may brush aside these signs as just being overwhelmed by the season but being alert to changes in your child's mood can pinpoint any potential problems early.
Symptoms of Anxiety in Children
In an earlier post, Is it Normal Childhood Fears or Is it an Anxiety Disorder , I listed some of the common signs of anxiety in children :
Fears are excessive for insignificant events.
Anxiety is accompanied by physical symptoms such as headaches, stomachaches or insomnia.
Symptoms of depression, such as insomnia or sleeping more than normal, loss of appetite, or loss of enjoyment in activities they once enjoyed.
Avoiding activities that provoke anxiety, including not wanting to go to sch...
The holiday season with shopping, preparations and many social events can be stressful for adults, but can be times of high anxiety for children as well. When parents are overwhelmed, children can pick up on those feelings and become overwhelmed as well. For children with anxiety, these feelings can cause them to not enjoy the holiday season. Below are ten tips for helping children to cope with holiday anxiety: 1) Look for and recognize signs of stress in children. Some signs of anxiety can include: a. Crying or irritable for no reason or over minor mishaps b. Displaying nervous behaviors or an increase in behaviors such as nail biting, hair twirling, bedwetting or hyperactivity c. Increase in stomach aches or headaches d. Lack of desire to participate in holiday activities or get together with friends. ...
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