Children and Anxiety

Do any other parents on here have kids with anxiety or other mental illness problems?

How do you cope with it? Do you go the medication route, therapy, lifestyle changes, coping skills, or a combination of those? Something else entirely? What works for you and your child?

I am utterly afraid. I feel like the bottom just fell out of my world. And I desperately need advice from other parents.


11 thoughts on “Children and Anxiety

  1. Hi there. I have no children of my own, but I am a child of GAD and Bipolar II. My parents also battled their own issues so help early on in my life never happened. If it helps at all, I personally feel I would have benefited greatly from cognitive therapy. I feel children respond better to that because they are still growing and highly adaptable. Environment is so important. Medication may play a role but personally I have my reservations about children taking medication…I’m not saying in some cases it’s not necessary but it seems nowadays doctors are quick to whip out the prescription pad and I’m not sure it’s always necessary…even for adults. I feel had I been involved in cognitive therapy with my parents had been more aware or more proactive to providing a stable environment, things would have been different for me in a positive way. I feel first and foremost your child just needs to know you are there for them. That they are not alone or weird.

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  2. With our autistic son, we worked diligently to redirect him, ease his concerns with encouragement and kinda “forcing” him to attend things, with us present of course to be there if needed, and behavior therapy. We tried meds initially but he wasn’t himself, so that lasted only about 6 months and was years ago. We do have him on dietary supplements which have done wonders. But autism and mental illness are two different things. But those supplements have really helped with his ability to process, his level of attention deficit, and, as a result, his socialization has improved. I agree with the poster above in that the most important thing is that child knowing you have their back no matter what, encouragement, and positive reinforcement.

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  3. Wow..very difficult. My main focal point when I worked was with children in mental health. I have seen both sides of this.

    My son was dx with Bipolar Disorder and PTSD when he was 8. So, like I said I have experience on both sides. My daughter also had anxiety issues that were not dx and she got into an addiction issue. With all that, what I want to say first is what the others said. Your child knowing that you are supporting them is THE most important thing for them. Without that, nothing will be effective. But, I know that your child has that ๐Ÿ™‚

    I will tell you that if you go the route of therapy or psychiatry. Please, please, please make sure that it is a Board Certified Child Psychiatrist. Do not waiver here. Many psychiatrists will see children, but few are Board Certified. This makes a huge difference in their knowledge of what drugs to use, the doses, the off label uses, the black box labels and what that means for anyone under the age of 18. They are much easier to talk to regarding concerns of whether drugs are necessary to treat whatever may be going on and less likely to over medicate if you decide that is a route you want to try.

    The same with a therapist. They need to have the knowledge needed specifically for the age range they are working with. Therapy can certainly be helpful for specific goals and those would depend on what the dx is and what the treatment goals are for your child and the family. Finding a therapist that matches with your child’s personality is another key in making it work. Research the background of the therapist as well. Don’t cold call.

    That may sound like a lot, but it is not as overwhelming as it sounds. Those few steps can make a world of difference to making things so much better in the long run for success. Because in this case trying at least a therapist to help is probably a good idea at first.

    I know you love your child and this is a scary time. Just remember. He has you. That is the most important for him. A professional should give you support as well. And lean on others for support for yourself as well.

    Much love to you…I know how hard it -CC

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  4. I have a son with autism, and he has experienced both depression and anxiety at various times (not uncommon for people with autism, as the world does not accommodate them very well). By the time we had a diagnosis and began to realize how deeply it affected him, he was already old enough to reject any dietary strategies. No matter what I served, when I wasn’t around, he was finding ways to get candy and Kraft Mac-and-Cheese and ate enough of these to have little appetite for whatever I prepared. He did go to therapy for a while, but in his case it wasn’t very helpful because one aspect of his autism is his inability to generalize from one situation to another. But I think if you have a child with more typical thinking and learning patterns, working with a therapist experienced in working with children is a good idea. Don’t be afraid to try someone and then leave and try someone else if you are not satisfied or your child does not feel comfortable. We also tried medication and found it quite helpful in reducing anxiety and making it easier for my son to try things that he’d otherwise avoid. We also worked to create structured routines and predictable timelines at home, which was very helpful for my son. A good therapist could work with your family and help determine if this might help you too. Finally, exercise really helps burn than anxious energy that can build up.
    Many people experience anxiety. It can usually be very well managed with therapy and medication. Your child is fortunate to have a parent who is brave enough to name the problem and caring enough to research helpful options. You will be all right in time. For now, take a deep breath and trust that there are resources out there to help you.

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