Anxiety Attacks in Children

Anxiety attacks are quite common in children, but they are often overlooked. Nearly half of the individuals with prepubertal onset of anxiety do not receive treatment for at least 10 years, and recent research suggests that many of these children develop chronic and persistent anxiety as adults. Both pharmacologic and psychotherapeutic treatments are available for children with anxiety disorders and the outcome is good, but since this remains a widely misjudged entity, treatment is only initiated when these children grow and have frequent anxiety attacks. However, in children who have received cognitive behavioral therapy for anxiety, the support has been empirical. The effect of cognitive behavioral therapy appears to be relatively well maintained over time.

Manifestations of anxiety in children alters as a child grows, and it is a known fact that most chronic mood and anxiety disorders in adults were preceded by anxiety disorders as a child. The link is strong.

Children who have a fear of the dark are at increased risk of developing anxiety attacks and depression as adults. Researchers warn that fears stem from a multitude of disorders rather than a variation of a single disorder.

In what may seem as a strange correlation, children with functional constipation have been observed to have more anxiety related to toileting behavior than healthy children. Painful bowel movements can make a child fearful of pain, and these children dread sitting on the toilet. This is called defecation anxiety. Some of these children develop generalized anxiety at later stages – the greater the defecation anxiety, the greater the generalized anxiety.