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How to Help a Child With Anxiety

According to the Center for Disease Control, anxiety is “excessive and unrealistic worry about everyday tasks and events.” Many adults suffer from anxiety and go to therapists or take medication to deal with it. However, children often suffer from anxiety as well. Helping them can be more challenging than helping an adult with anxiety in some cases. If you want to help a child who may be suffering from anxiety, here are some things you can do:

  1. Learn the signs. If your child seems to worry excessively about anything from social situations to separation from their parents, it’s possible they may suffer from anxiety. The tricky part is figuring out what qualifies as “excessive.” If your child seems upset on the first day of school, they’re probably okay. But if they seem upset every day before school, there might be more going on.
  2. Treat anxiety seriously. Anxiety is a disease just like any physical sickness. Make sure you don’t simply dismiss it, or ignore it. If it seems your child might be suffering from anxiety, get them help. Talk with a team of adolescent psychiatrists, clinical child psychologists and psychiatric social workers about what you can do to deal with their anxiety. 
  3. Be there for them. Listen to your child. Ask them why they are upset. Hold them. Let them know that they are loved and that you are there for them. Having your support goes a very long way towards helping a child suffering from anxiety or any other mental health issue.

Keep in mind that anxiety is something that your child may deal with for their entire life. With your help, and possibly help from professionals, it’s something they can learn to keep under control- allowing them to live a happy, healthy life.

If your child is suffering from anxiety, psychiatry specialists at Riley at IU Health can help. 

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