WORDS: Manatee County School Social Workers and Psychologists
the most common mental health disorder in the U.S affecting nearly one third of
both adolescents and adults. It routinely occurs along with depression, and is
easy to overlook because everyone has some degree of anxiety.Anxiety, like depression, is
Diagnosis of Anxiety
to statistics, approximately 3% of children ages 3-17 have anxiety. In 2017,
statistics from the National Institute of Mental Health, indicated that the
number of youths ages 13-18 with anxiety had increased to 8%.
children have fears and worries, and that is not unusual. However, when
children do not outgrow these issues, or when there are so many fears and
worries that they interfere with school, home, or play activities, the child
may be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. Examples of different types of
anxiety disorders include:
Being very afraid when away from parents
Having extreme fear about a specific thing or
situation, such as dogs, insects, or going to the doctor (phobias.)
Being very afraid of school and other places
where there are people (social anxiety.)
Being very worried about the future and about
bad things happening (general anxiety.)
Having repeated episodes of sudden, unexpected,
intense fear that come with symptoms like heart pounding, having trouble
breathing, or feeling dizzy, shaky, or sweaty (panic disorder.)
present as fear or worry, but can also make children irritable and angry. Symptoms
of anxiety can also include trouble sleeping, as well as physical symptoms like
fatigue, headaches, or stomach aches. Some anxious children keep their worries
to themselves, and thus, the symptoms can be missed.
we don’t always know how our child feels, but we can look for behavioral and
emotional clues. Anxiety is usually manifested in one of three ways: cognitive
characteristics, behavioral characteristics, or physiological characteristics. Below
are some signs to look out for that may indicate a child is feeling worried or
healthy is important for all children, and can be especially important for
children with anxiety. In addition to getting the right treatment, leading a
healthy lifestyle can play a role in managing symptoms of depression or
anxiety. Here are some ideas that may help:
Eating a healthy diet centered
on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes (for example, beans, peas,
and lentils), lean protein sources, nuts and seeds.
Physical exercise for at least
60 minutes each day.
Getting the recommended amount
of sleep each night based on age.
Practicing mindfulness or relaxation
students techniques to reduce anxiety, such as use of self-monitoring
techniques (what do I need to do first; how much time should I spend on this;
how much time is left, don’t rush, use time wisely; using positive
your child that you will be proud of him/her, no matter what. Do not threaten
children with punishment or consequences if they do not perform well, this
will only increase their anxiety.
For testing, remind students to use
test-taking strategies such as listening to the directions carefully and
rereading them as needed; skipping difficult questions and coming back to
them at the end; underlining key words or terms; taking their best guess
on multiple-choice items if they are not sure of the answer; and using
leftover time to go back and check all answers.
Limit smartphone usage, as this has been shown
to increase anxiety in our children, such as when they see things peers are
doing, or when they aren’t invited to an event or activity.
Encourage your child to participate in face-to-face
interaction with peers (clubs, youth group, sports, etc.)
Most importantly, if you think your child has
anxiety, please seek mental health support from a professional.