Childhood is the most crucial period in a student’s entire journey as it is the phase where a child learns new skills, makes new friends, expose to the outside world and encounters different challenges. Sometimes, due to some bad experiences, pressure of performing well in exams or other activities also traps the children unknowingly into the unpleasant net of anxiety. While many believe that being anxious is normal, few studies also reflect that if a child gets anxious about a particular event for long, the chances to develop depression becomes high.
There is a Difference between ‘Anxiety’ and ‘Depression’
Many people often get confused with these terms which hold a different meaning altogether. Anxiety is a mild problem which if not cured on time leads to a much serious problem i.e. depression. If a child shows symptoms of excessive worry, restlessness, fatigue, trouble in concentrating, irritability, sleep disturbance, or muscle tension, chances are that the child is going through anxiety disorder. While in depression, the child shows the signs of depressing mood, lack of interest in enjoyable activities, increase or decrease in appetite, insomnia, slow movement, lack in energy/enthusiasm, guilt, worthlessness, and even much critical suicidal thoughts and behaviours. According to a study, a shocking revelation was unearthed that almost 50% of the cases of depression are also diagnosed with depression. Therefore, it is crucial to understand and take over anxiety before it takes a toll on your children’s mental health. Moreover, not taking the symptoms of anxiety seriously can only results in student’s poor performance and harmful behaviours like substance abuse.
Limits the Learning Curve
While stress to a certain extent can sometimes help students to have better attention and focus while studying , anxiety causes negative effect on cognitive functioning. Study shows that students suffering from severe anxiety levels perform quite low as compared to other students. Moreover, it is found that anxiety is among one of the top reasons behind students’ school drop-out rate in many parts of the world. And which ultimately leads to economic losses for individuals and the society at large.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder:
Fatigue, irritability, muscle tension, or sleep disturbances are the symptoms of this disorder, which can occur due to performance, trouble in relationships or other concerns.
Separation Anxiety Disorder:
This disorder occurs due to the fear of separation. Children with this disorder frequently worry about their parent’s relationship and fear of losing them in many possible ways including death. This results into bunking of schools and also causes headaches or nausea.
A child who is otherwise more talkative refuses to speak in front of multiple people (especially at social events or schools functions) shows the signs of selective mutism. Not only such children feel insecure about speaking and meeting people but also avoid making eye contacts. This can often leads towards social isolation and loneliness.
If your child fears to participate in front of class with his/her peers, then they may have social anxiety disorder, the other form of anxiety disorder. Such children avoid coming to social events and even if they come, usually keep silent during the whole event.
Some children develop anxiety related to a specific object or situation and if that pertains for long can convert into phobia. Children who suffer from this disorder usually cry, freeze up and cling to an adult when the intensity of their fear soars high. Most of the children have (some of) phobia of animals, storms, needles, loud sounds, and enclosed spaces.
Many times children develop anxiety that does not have any relation with the performance or bad experiences. In fact, sometimes it is developed due to the occurrence some mild illness include shortness of breath, dizziness, nausea, chest pain, sensation of choking, fear of dying among other.
Medication is the first and last option which usually comes to the mind of any parents when they encounter that their child is suffering from certain disorder. Antidepressants usually comes on the top of the stack which often helps reduce anxiety but what many people don’t know are the advantages of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) in treating children’s suffering with anxiety.
CBT can be very effective in combating anxiety; in fact, many researches have proven that – this (CBT) is one of the most effective treatments for reducing symptoms of severe anxiety. And unlike taking antidepressants, this therapy helps children to manage their anxiety by themselves. According to this therapy- “How we think and act, affect how we feel,” and by changing the thinking that is distorted and behaviour that is dysfunctional, we can change our emotion and eliminate anxiety from children’s mind.
Childhood is the most crucial stage for the development of human brain. And certainly brain is the most vital body organ required to work properly. Therefore, it is highly advisable to monitor the growth of your ward, consistently and rigorously. And if your child shows any of the signs of severe anxiety, take necessary action at the right time (to correct it) before it impact your child’s performance and happiness at large.