As a parent, it can be difficult to watch your child suffer from anxiety. You may feel helpless and alone, but you are not. Child psychiatrists are specially trained to help children and adolescents deal with anxiety. Here's how they can help.
Identifying the Problem
The first step is to identify the problem. A child psychiatrist will spend time talking to your tween and getting to know them. They will ask about their symptoms, how long they have been experiencing them, and what makes them better or worse. This information will help the child psychiatrist determine whether the anxiety is short-lived and situational or if it is something more serious that requires treatment.
Treating the Anxiety
Once the psychiatrist has diagnosed the anxiety, they can begin treating it. There are many types of anxiety that your tween could be diagnosed with, including panic disorder, social anxiety, and various phobias. Another common diagnosis is GAD, or general anxiety disorder, which the National Institute of Mental Health describes as "a persistent feeling of anxiety or dread, which can interfere with daily life."
The type of treatment will depend on the severity of the anxiety and how well your tween responds to different types of treatment. Some common treatments for anxiety in children and adolescents include:
- Medication. For some children, medication is necessary to manage their anxiety. The psychiatrist will work with you and your tween to find the right medication and dosage, monitoring closely to make sure the medication is working and that there are no negative side effects.
- Therapy. Many children benefit from therapy in addition to or instead of medication. A therapist can teach your tween healthy coping mechanisms and help them understand and manage their anxiety. Family therapy may also be recommended to help you support your child through this difficult time.
- Relaxation techniques. Relaxation techniques—such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and visualization—can also help manage anxiety symptoms. Your child psychiatrist can teach your tween these techniques, often referred to as "tools," and provide guidance on when and how to use them.
If your tween is suffering from anxiety, a child psychiatrist can help. They will work with you and your tween to identify the cause of the anxiety and develop a treatment plan that meets their needs. Anxiety does not "go away," but with proper treatment, most children can learn to manage their anxiety and live happy, healthy lives.
Contact a local child psychiatrist to learn more.