Child anxiety, just like that of adults, is a normal, healthy emotion felt as a response to certain stimuli. But when anxiety becomes recurring, irrational and intense, it may be considered as a disorder. Episodes of anxiety attacks can disable the child from performing his daily duties in school and at home. And while it is generally safe, anxiety attacks can affect how the child lives.
Since children are more fragile, they more vulnerable to such attacks and the effects of these attacks may be more severe than to adults. But what causes anxiety attacks? Here are some of the most common reasons of anxiety attacks:
School Phobia and Separation Anxiety
When a child reaches a certain age, he or she develops school phobia. The exact reason for this is still unknown, but what happens is, the child becomes excessively afraid of going to school. A child manifests this fear by creating reasons and complaining ailments such as toothaches, headache, and stomach cramps to keep him or her from going to school. School phobia is often linked to separation anxiety but the latter can manifest to situations other than in school (e.g. being with a group of people or joining other family for the weekend).
Again, the exact reason for this is unknown. Separation anxiety is excessive fear of being away from someone whom the child is comfortable being with. Tale-told signs of separation anxiety are similar to school phobia.
Stress is linked to anxiety attacks. It may be a result of heavy responsibilities at home and in school, unfinished tasks, physical and psychological abuse, a school bully, environment that is unfit for the child’s age, violence, etc.
Change in lifestyle
A child creates friends in school and in the neighborhood. These friends would make him or her feel comfortable and accepted. So when the family moves to another place or to a different school, a child loses the friend and comfort he or she has established and forces him or her to start all over again. If the child cannot cope with this stressful situation, it can lead to episodes of anxiety attack.
In many cases, anxiety attacks just come out of the blue, or happen without any logical, clear or apparent reason. It may occur while the child is relaxed during the day and even while asleep. This may only happen only once. Perhaps, an anxiety attack is brought about by unresolved internal issues, which are not directly connected with the trigger. For example, a child who experiences a death of a loved one may panic whenever a certain, almost similar situation happens. The traumatic experience that he or she went through in the past which are not processed properly can come out, in this case through an attack.
A child may also show episodes of anxiety attacks because the problem at hand reminded him or her about family conflicts. Fighting in the family as well as divorce of parents may be traumatic to a child that when witnessing a similar situation, he or she goes into a panic.
Take note that there is no single reason (and it takes several factors) for a child to have an anxiety attack, but whatever it is, what’s important is how do deal with it properly.