What are the Early Symptoms of Child Anxiety? Are 7 Early Symptoms and How to Spot Them? (2023)

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  • What are the Early Symptoms of Child Anxiety? Are 7 Early Symptoms and How to Spot Them? (1)United We Care
  • Emotional Wellness
  • October 25, 2022

What are the Early Symptoms of Child Anxiety? Are 7 Early Symptoms and How to Spot Them? (3)

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Childhood anxiety is a common problem, affecting up to one in five children. It can be distressing and often goes untreated. It is a normal part of growing up. It comprises a range of emotions, behaviours, and physical symptoms that can be both good and bad. The good news is that most childhood anxiety problems go away as you get older. However, it can be difficult for some children to cope with this crippling anxiety.

Hence, parents must watch their young kids and identify the signs of childhood anxiety early. This article will cover how to overcome early symptoms of childhood anxiety, including how to tell if your child has symptoms and what you should do if they do.

What are Early Symptoms of Childhood Anxiety?

Anxiety is a normal part of growing up. But occasional nervousness or worrying is part of everyday life for many children and teens [1]. But if your child has difficulty coping with worries or fears, they may have an anxiety disorder.

Childhood anxiety symptoms can vary greatly depending on the type of anxiety disorder your child has developed and other factors such as age and gender. Early intervention can make a big difference in managing childhood anxiety.

Suppose your child seems unusually anxious or has difficulty coping with everyday situations. It could be a sign of childhood anxiety.

Here are some other early warning signs to look out for:

  • Your child is constantly worrying or fretting about something.
  • Your child is easily upset.
  • Lack of social skills in your child
  • Fearfulness or anxiety when faced with new experiences or situations
  • Difficulty sleeping and staying asleep for several nights in a row
  • Your child is always seeking reassurance from adults
  • Panic attacks or panic attacks triggered by specific situations
  • Your child refuses to go to school or participate in activities with other kids
  • Frequent complaints about stomach pains or headaches
  • Tense muscles and twitches in the face or hands

What are the Reasons for Childhood Anxiety?

Anxiety is a normal emotion that everyone experiences at some point in their lives. However, anxiety can be more than just a fleeting feeling for some children. It can be a chronic and debilitating condition that affects their daily lives.

There are many reasons why children may experience anxiety. Some children are born with a predisposition to worry, while others may develop it in response to trauma or stress. Whatever the cause, pressure can profoundly affect a child’s life.

Anxiety can make it hard for children to focus at school, make friends, or even leave the house. Sometimes, it can lead to self-destructive behaviours such as cutting or substance abuse.

If your child is struggling with anxiety, it is essential to seek help from a mental health professional. Your child can learn to manage their anxiety and lead a happy and productive life with treatment.

Suppose you notice any of these early signs of anxiety in your child. In that case, it’s essential to talk to a doctor or mental health professional to get a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

How to Overcome Early Symptoms of Childhood Anxiety?

When you have a child, it can be hard to understand what they are going through. You want to bring them up healthily, but you also want them to enjoy life and feel comfortable with themselves. To help you with that, here are some tips on how to help your child overcome early symptoms of childhood anxiety:

What are the Early Symptoms of Child Anxiety? Are 7 Early Symptoms and How to Spot Them? (4)

1. Teach them coping skills:

The first thing you should do when your child starts showing signs of anxiety is to teach them coping skills. These skills include relaxation techniques like deep breathing exercises, mindfulness meditation, training, and eating healthy foods.

You should also teach them how to deal with their emotions and keep themselves occupied so they don’t get overwhelmed by worries about school or social situations.

  1. 2. Encourage playtime for kids:

Kids with anxiety often feel more comfortable playing with other children who don’t judge them or ask questions about their feelings. So encourage them to play with friends outside of school if possible!

Start with family playtime if your child doesn’t feel comfortable making friends outside of school because they fear being judged.

  1. 3. Seek Professional Help:

Is nothing helping with your child’s anxiety?

It must be due to underlying issues such as past trauma, bullying, etc. With professional help and therapy, your child can learn to cope with anxiety.

United We Care is an online mental health platform that provides professional help to assess and manage various mental health disorders, including childhood anxiety. Click here to learn more about U.W.C. and its services.

Conclusion

Childhood anxiety is a condition that most children experience between 2 and 5 years. It is often an intense feeling of worry, fear, or stress that can affect a child’s behaviour and mood. It can affect anyone, but some people are at higher risk than others.

Kids who have a family history of depression or have been diagnosed with a learning disability may be more likely to develop childhood anxiety. But being overweight, having low self-esteem, or having other mental health problems can also increase your child’s risk for developing childhood anxiety.

Children with childhood anxiety may not talk about their symptoms because they fear it will make them appear weak or silly. They may also feel anxious about being seen by others as having a problem with their emotions or behaviour. If you are concerned about your child’s behaviour, seek professional help from a specialist who can offer advice and support to help your child manage their condition.

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FAQs

How early can you see anxiety in children? ›

From the age of around 6 months to 3 years it's very common for young children to have separation anxiety. They may become clingy and cry when separated from their parents or carers.

How do I know if my 7 year old has anxiety? ›

Worries or fears that interfere with normal daily activities. Persistent distress despite an adult's reassurances. Trouble sleeping at night or insisting on sleeping with parents. Physical symptoms, such as headaches or stomach pain, that don't stem from other medical conditions.

What is the most common anxiety disorder of childhood? ›

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Some children may be insecure and frequently seek reassurance, while others may be self-conscious, self-doubting, or overly concerned about meeting other people's expectations. Generalized anxiety disorder typically affects school-aged children and adolescents.

What are the 3 different strategies mentioned to cope up with anxiety? ›

Exercising regularly, eating balanced meals, getting enough sleep, and staying connected to people who care about you are great ways to stave off anxiety symptoms.

What are the symptoms of anxiety in a child? ›

Anxiety may present as fear or worry, but can also make children irritable and angry. Anxiety symptoms can also include trouble sleeping, as well as physical symptoms like fatigue, headaches, or stomachaches. Some anxious children keep their worries to themselves and, thus, the symptoms can be missed.

What are signs of early anxiety? ›

Common anxiety signs and symptoms include:
  • Feeling nervous, restless or tense.
  • Having a sense of impending danger, panic or doom.
  • Having an increased heart rate.
  • Breathing rapidly (hyperventilation)
  • Sweating.
  • Trembling.
  • Feeling weak or tired.
  • Trouble concentrating or thinking about anything other than the present worry.

What causes a child to suffer from anxiety? ›

Things that happen in a child's life can be stressful and difficult to cope with. Loss, serious illness, death of a loved one, violence, or abuse can lead some kids to become anxious. Learned behaviors. Growing up in a family where others are fearful or anxious also can "teach" a child to be afraid too.

What can cause a child to have anxiety? ›

Common Childhood Worries

New situations, challenging tasks, and even unfamiliar people can lead to fear and anxiety in children from time to time. Other age-appropriate fears include: Stranger anxiety beginning at 7 to 9 months of age and resolving around age 31.

How do you cure anxiety for kids? ›

Talking therapies, such as counseling and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), are popular and effective treatment options for anxiety in children. As part of CBT, a mental health professional can teach a child about anxiety and how it affects the body.

What is the best medication for a child with anxiety? ›

Antidepressants called SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) are the recommended first choice of medication for treating anxiety in children. That's because they have been shown to be the most effective, and they have relatively mild side effects. They are also the most commonly prescribed.

What are 5 examples of anxiety disorders? ›

What are the five major types of anxiety disorders?
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder. ...
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) ...
  • Panic Disorder. ...
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) ...
  • Social Phobia (or Social Anxiety Disorder)

What is the most common anxiety disorder? ›

Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD)

GAD is the most common type of anxiety disorder. The main symptom of GAD is excessive worrying about different activities and events. You may feel anxious a lot of the time if you have GAD.

What are 5 ways to calm down anxiety? ›

When stress, anxiety or fear flare up, these 9 techniques help keep you calmer.
  1. Just breathe. ...
  2. Close your eyes and count to 10 slowly. ...
  3. Chew a piece of gum. ...
  4. Phone a friend – preferably a funny one. ...
  5. Smell lavender. ...
  6. Curl up with your cat or dog. ...
  7. Listen to calming music. ...
  8. Exercise your body.
7 Jan 2021

What are the five steps to calm anxiety? ›

Once you find your breath, go through the following steps to help ground yourself:
  1. 5: Acknowledge FIVE things you see around you. ...
  2. 4: Acknowledge FOUR things you can touch around you. ...
  3. 3: Acknowledge THREE things you hear. ...
  4. 2: Acknowledge TWO things you can smell. ...
  5. 1: Acknowledge ONE thing you can taste.
10 Apr 2018

What are 4 suggestions for treating anxiety? ›

Here's what you can do:
  • Keep physically active. Develop a routine so that you're physically active most days of the week. ...
  • Avoid alcohol and recreational drugs. ...
  • Quit smoking and cut back or quit drinking caffeinated beverages. ...
  • Use stress management and relaxation techniques. ...
  • Make sleep a priority. ...
  • Eat healthy.

What are 8 symptoms of anxiety? ›

8 Signs That You Have Anxiety
  • Trouble sleeping. ...
  • Uncontrolled worry. ...
  • Constant feelings of stress. ...
  • Inability to concentrate. ...
  • Expecting bad things to happen. ...
  • Being moody or easily agitated. ...
  • Digestive woes. ...
  • Panic attacks.

What is anxiety a symptom of? ›

Overview. It's normal to feel anxious from time to time, especially if your life is stressful. However, excessive, ongoing anxiety and worry that are difficult to control and interfere with day-to-day activities may be a sign of generalized anxiety disorder.

What are 10 types of anxiety disorders? ›

Types of Anxiety Disorders
  • Generalized anxiety disorder. You feel excessive, unrealistic worry and tension with little or no reason.
  • Panic disorder. ...
  • Social anxiety disorder. ...
  • Specific phobias. ...
  • Agoraphobia. ...
  • Separation anxiety. ...
  • Selective mutism. ...
  • Medication-induced anxiety disorder.
24 Apr 2022

Can yelling at a child cause anxiety? ›

Short-term effects are that children feel bad, they eventually learn to tune us out and as they model our behaviour of yelling, they in turn yell too and can show increased aggression. According to this study shared by BetterHelp, the long-term psychological effects of yelling at a child include: Increased Anxiety.

How long does anxiety in kids last? ›

Young children often experience a period of separation anxiety, but most children outgrow separation anxiety by about 3 years of age.

Which diseases causes anxiety? ›

Some medical disorders that may present as anxiety include Cushing disease, diabetes mellitus, parathyroid disease (hyperparathyroidism, pseudo-hyperparathyroidism), pancreatic tumors, pheochromocytoma, pituitary disease, and thyroid disease (hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, thyroiditis).

What is false anxiety? ›

Unwanted thoughts are one of the most common examples of false anxiety. Often time we as humans tend to be cynical, thinking about worst case scenarios, 'what if' thoughts so to speak. We tend to get so caught up in our thoughts that we end up getting trapped by them.

What age is anxiety most common? ›

Adults ages 30 to 44 have the highest rate of anxiety of this age group, with around 23% of people this age reporting an anxiety disorder within the past year.

Who suffers most from anxiety disorders? ›

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health concern in the United States. Over 40 million adults in the U.S. (19.1%) have an anxiety disorder. Meanwhile, approximately 7% of children aged 3-17 experience issues with anxiety each year. Most people develop symptoms before age 21.

Which anxiety disorder is most treatable? ›

Living with anxiety can be challenging. However, like other anxiety disorders, GAD is highly treatable. Some of the most effective treatments include psychotherapy, medication, and making lifestyle changes. In this article, we provide an overview of GAD, including its symptoms and causes.

What stops anxiety fast? ›

Go for a walk or do 15 minutes of yoga

Sometimes, the best way to stop anxious thoughts is to walk away from the situation. Taking some time to focus on your body and not your mind may help relieve your anxiety. Getting some quick exercise can help boost your mood and calm your mind.

What is the trick to calm anxiety? ›

Find relaxation or meditation apps that appeal to you and give them try. Just breathe: Inhale and exhale slowly, evenly, and deeply for several breaths. Change your position: “Whatever you're doing, do the opposite,” Kissen says. “If you're hunched over with worry, stand up and take a Wonder Woman pose.

What calms anxiety immediately? ›

How to calm down quickly
  • Breathe. One of the best things you can do when you start to feel that familiar panicky feeling is to breathe. ...
  • Name what you're feeling. ...
  • Try the 5-4-3-2-1 coping technique. ...
  • Try the “File It” mind exercise. ...
  • Run. ...
  • Think about something funny. ...
  • Distract yourself. ...
  • Take a cold shower (or an ice plunge)
22 Jun 2021

How do you treat anxiety without medication? ›

Anxiety Treatment Without Medication: 7 Holistic Ways to Cope
  1. Keep Your Blood Sugar in Check. ...
  2. Avoid Stimulants. ...
  3. Get Enough Sleep. ...
  4. Just Breathe. ...
  5. Practice Mindfulness. ...
  6. Exercise. ...
  7. Do What You Enjoy. ...
  8. Where to Get Help.
6 Dec 2017

Is anxiety a mental illness? ›

Anxiety disorders are the most common of mental disorders and affect nearly 30% of adults at some point in their lives. But anxiety disorders are treatable and a number of effective treatments are available. Treatment helps most people lead normal productive lives.

Can a 3 year old be diagnosed with anxiety? ›

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) , 7.1% of U.S. children have an anxiety disorder diagnosis. Meanwhile, around 10% of children ages 2 to 5 show signs of an anxiety disorder, according to research from 2019 .

Can a 3 year old develop anxiety? ›

Years 1-3: Pre-School Jitters and Bedtime Fears

This can cause a spike in anxiety, some typical symptoms of which include crying, clinging during goodbyes. A toddler may also feel anxious before and during bedtime, and experience a common fear of the dark or a fear of being apart from parents.

Can a 4 year old have anxiety? ›

It's not unusual for kids, even young ones, to sometimes feel anxious.

Can babies show signs of anxiety? ›

Babies and toddlers experiencing separation anxiety will become more clingy than usual, and may cry when their caregiver tries to leave. Babies can show signs of separation anxiety as early as 4–5 months. Usually, though, more robust separation anxiety begins when they are about 9 months old.

How do kids get tested for anxiety? ›

You can talk to the GP on your own or with your child, or your child might be able to have an appointment without you. If the GP thinks your child could have an anxiety disorder, they may refer them for an assessment with your local children and young people's mental health services (CYPMHS).

How do I know if my child has anxiety or ADHD? ›

While there are symptoms that overlap, it's important to note that anxious children display more perfectionist behaviors and worry about socializing with others, while ADHD kids struggle with impulse control and organization.

What triggers child anxiety? ›

Things that happen in a child's life can be stressful and difficult to cope with. Loss, serious illness, death of a loved one, violence, or abuse can lead some kids to become anxious. Learned behaviors. Growing up in a family where others are fearful or anxious also can "teach" a child to be afraid too.

How do you calm a child with anxiety? ›

5 Ways to Calm an Anxious Child
  1. Deep breathing.
  2. Self-talk.
  3. Get moving.
  4. Journal.
  5. Hug it out.
26 Sept 2018

Is anxiety genetic? ›

There is clear research showing that anxiety is influenced by our genetics. In fact, experts noticed a family connection for anxiety even before they understood how DNA or genes worked. If you have a close relative with anxiety, your chance of developing it is about 2 to 6 times higher than if you don't.

Can a child overcome anxiety? ›

Don't try to eliminate anxiety; do try to help a child manage it. The best way to help kids overcome anxiety is to help them learn to tolerate it as well as they can. Over time the anxiety will diminish.

How common is anxiety in children? ›

By 2020, 5.6 million kids (9.2%) had been diagnosed with anxiety problems and 2.4 million (4.0%) had been diagnosed with depression.

What helps anxiety in children naturally? ›

For children with anxiety, routines are especially important to make them feel safe. Offering children some control to plan their daily activities can help encourage self-regulation and increase a child's sense of control. Make sure family time is a routine part of every day. Teach meditation or mindfulness.

What causes anxiety? ›

Difficult experiences in childhood, adolescence or adulthood are a common trigger for anxiety problems. Going through stress and trauma when you're very young is likely to have a particularly big impact. Experiences which can trigger anxiety problems include things like: physical or emotional abuse.

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