Understanding anxiety

All of us experience anxiety. It’s the butterflies in your stomach before a job interview or that funny feeling when you have to ask a stranger for directions. Children experience it, too – on the first day of school or at sports tryouts or at dance auditions. Anxiety is a normal part of life; however, constant stress and behaviors that disrupt your child’s life can keep them from being happy and successful.

The good news is that anxiety disorders are very treatable by experienced mental health professionals like the ones at Family Service & Guidance Center’s Anxiety Treatment Program (ATP).

But how can you tell if your child’s stress and worry are just part of growing up or if they’re a bigger problem? Crystal Scott, LSCSW, Anxiety Treatment Program Coordinator, says there are five common signs of anxiety disorders that you can watch for in your child.

  • Constantly seeking reassurance. Children suffering from anxiety often seek reassurance from parents that things will “be okay” but don’t believe them, no matter how many times they are told.
  • Illnesses, aches and pains with no apparent cause. Anxious children often report symptoms like stomach aches or headaches with no known cause.
  • Avoidance of sources of anxiety. Children with anxiety will go far out of their way to avoid things that make them anxious – school, dogs, speaking in class, whatever it may be.
  • Ritual behavior. Some children will engage in rituals like cleaning or doing things in a particular order. Furthermore, they may become very upset if this ritual is not followed.
  • Constant worry. Anxious children will frequently talk about being worried or say that things “just don’t seem right.”

Ms. Scott cautions parents not to wait and see if their child’s anxiety gets better. “Left untreated, anxiety rarely goes away. It grows and makes the child’s world narrower and narrower,” she said.

If your child is regularly showing any of these symptoms, call Family Service & Guidance Center. FSGC’s experts are here to help assess your child’s anxiety and, if needed, offer effective, practical treatment services tailored to meet their unique needs. Don’t wait. Call FSGC today – 785.232.5005 – and ask to speak to Admissions. Or you can get started by clicking here.