Panic Attacks in Children
Panic Attacks in Children
- Exhibit clinging behavior
- Have obsessive behaviors and thoughts
- Present excessive worry and fear concerning parents or about harm to themselves
- Have difficulty going to sleep
- Have nightmares
- Have panic attacks and anxiety symptoms
- Have exaggerated, unrealistic fears of animals, monster, burglars
- Fear being alone in the dark
- Feel unsafe when alone
- Fear school trips or journeys away from home or safety
- Shadow the mother or father around the house
- Have severe tantrums when forced to go to school
They may complain of:
- Stomach aches
- Feeling of nausea
- Tight chest
- Chest pain
Children tend to focus on one symptom. Focusing on nausea is a common example.
Where in some children the focus may be on one or two symptoms, for others the sensation of impending trauma where there is an adrenalin rush is also quite common.
Panic Attacks in Children What Can You Do?
The most important strategy for parents or child care workers is to:
Listen and accept the child’s experiences. Asking the child what they are feeling and what the sensations are in their body when they are upset and also what their worries might be. It may be necessary to ask as to whether you child is worried about something very bad happening.
Panic attacks in children can be extremely disturbing and for some parents it is tempting to try to divert the child’s feelings by reassuring them that everything is ok or that things will get better. However, it is very important to validate your child worries and concerns, to listen to what your child is saying accept their concerns as real.
Part of what will help them is for them to accept what they feel and continue on with activities and go on anyway.
Other things that are important in dealing with panic disorder in children are:
To keep up normal activities and routines especially things like going to school, regular leisure and sports activities and really living their life despite of some anxiety.
Avoiding anxiety to some extent can reinforce it. There can be a serious impact on anxiety problems once a child starts to avoid normal routine. This can have a negative effect on their lifestyle.
Parents may try to protect their child by keeping their child from normal activities that cause them to become anxious. However, they are unintentionally reinforcing the anxiety.
So accepting the anxiety but giving your child the message that it is important to keep up with life’s routine anyway and that if they continue with their routines they will feel much better in the end.
It is extremely beneficial to celebrate when your child has faced a difficult situation where they are feeling anxious and achieve something that would have been difficult for them.
A child that suffers from an anxiety disorder will typically try to avoid these important normal routines, usually based around feeling ill. This works when they are really ill and so, are aware that it can be used successfully to manipulate not taking part in the events that upset them.
There is a Way to Cure Your Child of Anxiety and Panic Attacks
If panic attacks in children are not addressed, in the long term it may develop into anxiety and panic attacks in adulthood. Short term effects may be communication difficulties, social isolation and educational issues. There may be conflict between the child and their parent about the issue of going to school. This may cause a breakdown in that relationship. Therefore, it is vitally important that a child receives immediate attention.
There are targeted exercises that enable a child to work through their irrational fears and relaxation exercises that will help to redress the issues.
There is a system that provides resources for combating all anxiety issues including panic attacks in children, school phobia, bullying, exam stress, growing pains. As well as carer support there is email and telephone access to anxiety specialists should the child require any support, advice or reassurance.