You may not know it but panic attacks are not exclusive to adults. Even children are vulnerable to such a condition and perhaps sometimes more so because of their innocence. In simple terms, a panic attack is recurring periods of intense fear and discomfort which comes with a few symptoms. It can last anywhere between a few minutes to a few hours.
There is a wide range of factors that causes panic attacks in children. It could be anything like peer pressure, living up to parent’s expectations, blaming himself for the parent’s divorce, losing a loved one other personal and social issues. In any case, your child needs you to be his pillar of strength and know that he or she can count on you.
Another thing to remember is that your child needs to go through this kind of situation no matter how depressing it may be. Keeping him from this is counter-productive and will only cause a repeat of the problem. Remember that this is all part of life and he needs to learn this for personal development.
Knowing its root cause is very important to overcoming panic disorder. In this case, you will want to find out what it is that is bothering your child and the reasons behind this. From here, a plan should be drawn up to help your child work through this condition.
So, what can be the causes of panic attacks in children, and how can they be treated?
1. General Anxiety Disorder (GAD) in children – Anxiety over what may seem like simple, everyday social events such as birthdays, holidays and reunions of the family cause GAD. Relaxation and therapy are two of the most effective ways to treat anxiety caused by GAD.
2. Separation Anxiety Disorder (SAD) in children – Children of any age may also experience anxiety when separated from parents and other loved ones. In this case, explaining the reality of life to a child is the best way to go. Help him or her realize that separation is only temporary and that you will return eventually. Teaching them to cope with emotional stress is recommended as well.
3. Fear of returning to school after a long break – It is easy for children to forget about school especially after a long vacation. Once the school year draws, anxiety may set in. The best way to address this is to give your child an incentive to go to school. Systematic desensitization is a kind of behavior therapy used to treat phobias and other behavioral problems which involve anxiety and may be helpful in this situation.
4. Anxiety with a specific event in a child’s life – Children do not have the same faculties as adults in dealing with certain events in life. This may include deaths in the family or other significant loss which may be too emotionally overwhelming. Like other causes, the same techniques mentioned earlier are effective at dealing with this kind of situation.
To find the best treatment for your child, it is best to consult with your doctor and ask for advice. Finding out the main cause or underlying root to the panic disorder affecting your child is one of the first things to look at as already touched on above.
Panic and anxiety attacks in children are actually more common than many people think. The thing to remember, if your child is suffering from a panic or anxiety disorder, is that they can be treated.