What does anxiety in children and young people look like?
Young people and children who are anxious can present with a range of symptoms, such as fears or phobias about specific things such as spiders, needles, open spaces, small spaces, etc. Some young people or children have social anxiety which means that they are extremely worried about what others think of them and they often feel scrutinised and judged by others. This can have a large effect on them and render them unable to speak or eat in front of others. Some children or young people have OCD which means that they get thoughts and worries in their minds which creates a tremendous amount of anxiety and the only way that they feel they can manage their anxiety is by performing certain rituals. These rituals can take over their lives and can sometimes take several hours which start to interfere in their school or social lives. Other young people or children may present with general anxiety disorder where they find themselves anxious all the time over every thing in their lives. At other times young people or children experience panic attacks, which are usually quite frightening experiences.
Anxiety disorders can be incapacitating and crippling and can sometimes affect the whole family. It is not uncommon for anxiety disorders to be present for several years before someone seeks help for it.
What does anxiety in young adults look like?
Anxiety in young adults present in very similar ways as described above. People with anxiety sometimes have panic attacks in addition to their anxiety. Panic attacks are frightening feelings where you feel as if you are dying or you feel you need to run away. Many people suffer from panic and many people’s lives are completely dominated by panic or the fear of panic. Other anxiety disorders are similar to the ones described above, such as social anxiety, OCD, general anxiety or specific anxieties or phobias. The name of the condition is not that important, what is important is if you are suffering from high levels of anxiety or worry, then come for help as these conditions are easily treated and there is no need for you to suffer.
What are the triggers?
Many things can trigger anxiety in young people or children, these are just a few examples:
- Loss of someone you loved
- Family conflict
- Difficulties in friendships or relationships
- School pressure
- Feeling like a failure
- Worrying about the way you look
- Feeling different from your peer group
- Feeling isolated or lonely
- Low self esteem
What can you do when you feel like that?
First of all, you are not alone. You are not a freak or mad. You are a brave young person who have been coping with many difficult feelings and we are proud of you. It is important to realise that your feelings are important and you deserve to be taken seriously. Talk to someone you trust or ask for help. We offer treatment for all anxiety related difficulties.
Advice for parents: When you think your child is anxious:
- Don’t panic or get anxious
- Don’t minimise it
- Don’t ignore it
- Listen & understand
- Provide safety & security
It is also advisable to get professional help. The earlier we can intervene the better.
What is the treatment?
The good news is that both depression and anxiety are completely treatable. In situations where the symptoms are mild, the treatment of choice is therapy, usually cognitive Behaviour therapy (CBT), and usually 10 – 12 sessions would be sufficient. If the symptoms are more severe, medication such as antidepressants could be combined with therapy. At times, where indicated, it may be useful to have some family therapy as well.
What can Stepping Stones offer?
- We offer all the interventions in our clinic.
- The cost of psychological therapies is £150 and usually offered in blocks of 6
- The cost of group therapies is £60 per group
- The cost of psychiatric treatment and review is £180 per 30 minute session