Fear is a natural human emotion. We all feel it, experience it, and work through it. But sometimes, that fear can grow into something bigger- an anxiety disorder.
An anxiety disorder affects the child in a way where the fear and distress they feel affects them from being able to do day-to-day activities. While it may sound far-fetched, most people develop the symptoms of anxiety disorders before the age of 21. So, in school, at a young age is the time to look for it in your students.
Anxiety disorders can be categorized into multiple different types, and with each type comes different treatment options. But they all start with similar symptoms, things you can look for every day. The symptoms of anxiety disorders range from physical to emotional.
Emotional symptoms are a restlessness or irritability in the child, the child anticipating the worst, the child watching for signs of danger more often than not, and looking as well as feeling jumpy. These may be hard to see over a short period of time, but over a long period of time will be much easier to notice and recognize.
Physical symptoms is a longer list, and many of these things may not be as constant as others. The symptoms include, but are not limited to: an upset stomach, sweating from nervousness, twitches, insomnia, fatigue, frequent trips to the bathroom, and shortness of breath.
Multiple of the symptoms listed may only appear when the child is scared or having a panic attack. If the child is scared, then the anxiety disorder may be linked to phobias. If that is the case, there will be certain things the child will need to avoid, which trigger their fear.
If it is not a phobia, then one of the other options is a panic disorder. Panic disorders lead to panic attacks, which will cause the inability to breathe, a tightness in the child’s chest, and dizziness. The panic attack will end eventually, but you will need to help the child calm down and pull through it.
If you think one of your children has an anxiety disorder, no matter if it is a phobia or a panic disorder or another type, you will need to refer them to the school counselor. There the child will get help and treatment as needed.
Anxiety disorders can form many different ways, and while teachers can work to help stop anxiety disorders before they form, you must help children who already have mental health issues as well. Please come read more of our blog posts to learn more about mental health, and how to help your students as much as you can.