Stress and anxiety in older children

23 August 2018

Children and young people can feel stressed and anxious at times, affecting their wellbeing. They may need help to overcome these emotions, especially if the feelings start to interfere with everyday living, such as avoiding school or going to see friends. Triggers can include moving house, starting a new school or before tests and exams. Family arguments or trauma due to an accident can also cause stress and anxiety, as can bereavement. Some children are shy and may need help and support to cope in social situations. Teenagers are especially prone to social anxiety, affecting their confidence leading to low self-esteem.

It is a good idea to get some help if your child’s anxiety has lasted a long time, or if it is severe and disrupts their everyday life, especially in school. At Spire Gatwick Park you can have a longer appointment with a sympathetic doctor to discuss your concerns and explore your child’s worries. You can also arrange a follow-up appointment with the same GP to monitor how your child is progressing and if necessary, arrange for a specialist referral.

Signs of anxiety can include mood changes such as irritability or angry outbursts. You may notice problems with their sleeping or eating and it may be hard for them to concentrate. They may say they keep having the same thoughts going round and round in their heads, or thinking bad things are going to happen. This can make them withdrawn as they avoid situations that make them feel anxious.

It is important to talk to children and young people about their feelings and worries and to give reassurance and understanding. An explanation of the physical symptoms can be useful and this can help them to recognise when they are anxious. Working together on solutions rather than avoiding situations that provoke anxiety can help to manage this condition in the long term. If you know a change is coming up, you can prepare your child by discussing it beforehand.

Ref: Anxiety in children – nhs.uk

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