Effective treatment for children with anxiety

Posted 1 month ago by Georgie Waters
While children may experience anxiety occasionally, some children find it much more difficult to manage, with their daily functioning negatively affected. Thankfully, there are treatments which aim to support these children.
[Source: Shutterstock]
While children may experience anxiety occasionally, some children find it much more difficult to manage, with their daily functioning negatively affected. Thankfully, there are treatments which aim to support these children. [Source: Shutterstock]

Children may become anxious every so often but what can you do as a parent to help when the symptoms become more severe? Researchers of a new study have released evidence suggesting the positive effects of a therapy called cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).

Key points:

  • Results from a new study highlight the positive effects of cognitive behavioural therapy on children exhibiting anxiety 
  • There are numerous types of anxiety, which may require different treatment methods or prescribed medication
  • Both adults and children may be affected by anxiety but there are simple lifestyle changes which can help minimise the symptoms

 

Researchers of a new study have found a positive correlation between treating children with anxiety and a therapy called cognitive behavioural therapy, commonly referred to as ‘CBT.’ The children who participated in the study were not on any medication at the time of data collection.

These results impact Australians because, according to Children’s Health Queensland in 2023, one in 14 Australian children aged between four and 17 are affected by an anxiety disorder. 

Causes for anxiety in children depend on what specific conditions the child is diagnosed with and may include more than one type.

Some of the more common types include: 

  • generalised anxiety disorder;
  • social anxiety disorder;
  • panic disorder;
  • separation anxiety disorder;
  • specific phobias, which vary between people.

Depending on the specific anxiety the child is diagnosed with, the symptoms may vary, however, a collective factor between all types is that one may excessively worry. Many children may experience small bouts of anxiety every so often, but the difference is that an anxiety disorder affects day-to-day functioning. 

Therapy such as CBT may be useful in minimising symptoms of severe anxiety in children, as discovered through this new study

For children who do not have a diagnosed anxiety disorder, there are other ways to help reduce anxious symptoms. 

An article from the Washington Post includes the reasoning that children may become more anxious when there is a lack of structure and routine. This means when the child returns home from daycare or school, it’s recommended that the child is aware when homework should be done, when playtime is and what the expectations around dinner time and bed time are. This sense of routine helps to provide the child with some predictability. 

Furthermore, increased screen time has been found to increase symptoms of anxiety and depression in children, according to one study. Spending more time away from the screen is also beneficial as the child can spend more time with their friends and family.

However, anxiety doesn’t just affect children. In the last year, over 16 percent of Australians were living with an anxiety disorder such as social phobia, according to head of health data in the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Both men and women’s lives may be negatively affected. To find out more, check out our new article on ‘The complex cause of anxiety disorders in men.’

There are many ways we can reduce symptoms of anxiety. This is through various lifestyle changes, for adults and children alike.

According to an article published in Harvard Health in 2019, maintaining a balanced diet with minimal processed foods is another way to reduce anxiety. Foods that are high in magnesium, such as nuts and legumes and zinc in foods such as beef and egg yolks were found to reduce anxiety. It’s important to maintain a good balance of eating different foods and to ensure meals are not skipped. 

If you are unsure about appropriate foods to feed your child depending on their age and nutritional needs, please visit your local doctor. 

Additionally, taking a short walk during the day is said to have endless benefits, with the act of moving helping oneself to distract themselves from negative thoughts and increasing levels of fitness, according to the health advisory website ‘BetterHealth,’ hosted by Victorian Government and published online in 2021

 

If you are worried about your child, please have a look at the below helpline which is available 24/7 and is free for children aged five – 25 years: 

Kids Helpline

1800 55 1800

https://kidshelpline.com.au/

 

Additionally, headspace is a free service through phone, email or online chat which can be accessed by adolescents and young adults between 12-25:

headspace

1800 650 890

https://headspace.org.au/

Does your child struggle with anxiety? What activities help to reduce their symptoms? Let the team at Talking Disability know on social media. Don’t forget to subscribe to the FREE newsletter for more information about disability and related news. 

 

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