How To Help A Teenager Deal With Anxiety
AFTER decades of stress, phobias and sleepless nights, the discovery of a genetic variation and prescription of a simple vitamin may revolutionise treatment of a range of disorders, including anxiety. MY anxiety is a wild beast.
How to parent an anxious or stressed child. Anxiety symptoms are common in children and adolescents, with 10 to 20 percent of school-aged children experiencing anxiety symptoms. An even larger number of children experience stress that does not qualify as an anxiety disorder. So how can you help to reduce your childs anxiety and stress? 1.
Three Ways To Beat Stress
What Lifestyle Changes Are Recommended For Anxiety And Depression
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Lifestyle changes are simple but powerful tools in treating depression and anxiety, and they are an essential component of an integrated approach to treatment. In some cases, lifestyle changes alone can help depression or relieve anxiety, so it makes sense to start with them right away. But if you are suffering from moderate to severe depression or anxiety, also seek professional help right away. And if you dont see relief from symptoms of mild depression in a few months, likewise seek professional help.
Lifestyle changes that can help include the following.
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What Causes Stranger Anxiety
Around 8 months old, babies experience significant growth and changes that contribute to the development of stranger anxiety.6 At this age, babies begin to differentiate between what is familiar and what is unfamiliar. They also develop object permanence, which is the understanding that an object or person still exists even if it is not visible.
Babies at this age begin to understand that you are somewhere else when they cannot see you. At the same time, they cannot yet understand where you have gone, when you will return, and with whom you are leaving them. This can cause babies significant distress when exposed to strangers or separation from their caregivers.
As babies grow older, they begin to develop a self-concept and an understanding that you, the caregiver, are a separate and unique person.6 Over time, this will help your child separate from you and adjust to meeting new people. Remember that these emotional milestones are all normal and healthy signs of your babys development.
What Is Stranger Anxiety
Stranger anxiety is a fear of people other than the childs primary caregivers, which is frequently experienced by babies and toddlers.1 Children may become upset, tearful, and apprehensive when around or left with other unfamiliar children and adults. They may cling to their parents or caregivers and refuse to be held by others.
For most children, comfort from their primary caregiver can help alleviate their fears, but other children may have a harder time calming down. Children can also experience stranger anxiety when around people that they know but do not see often, like grandparents and other relatives. Interestingly, babies tend to show stronger fear reactions to adults rather than other babies or children, so you may notice that your child is unaffected when around kids their own age.2
Young children lack the ability to understand the role of a stranger. For example, if a child is left with a babysitter or nanny, they may not comprehend that their parent will return shortly. Parents of babies and young toddlers also cannot communicate with their children about the strangers intentions, which makes it scarier for the child. The childs immediate reaction, therefore, is fear.
While stranger anxiety can be distressing, it is a normal developmental stage.1 Many children show at least some signs of stranger anxiety at some point in their early development. Over time, most children gradually become less fearful around unfamiliar people.
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How To Have Faith To Help Your Anxiety
I’m using the word “faith,” but I am using this a bit flexibly. I am not referring to religion, and I do not necessarily mean a higher power. We do not all have the same beliefs, and that is okay. We can all have faith in something, believe in something, and allow that belief to encourage us, inspire us, and help us to persevere. Instead of focusing on things that you are fearful about, having faith in something that motivates you, helps you to feel inner peace, gives you purpose, and can help to calm your anxiety.
Have faith in something, whatever that may be. If it is a higher power, then that is great. If it is simply the belief that things will work out eventually, then that is great, too. Whatever works for you is what is important. The goal is to anchor your thoughts, feelings, and emotions onto something that will help you to stay grounded, stay in the moment, and know that the storm will pass.
If Youre Craving Sweets Heres What To Eat Instead
Just because youre ditching or limiting processed sugar doesnt mean you have to deny yourself the pleasure of sweet-tasting food.
In addition to being a doctor known as an expert on food and mood, Naidoo is also a chef and the author of the forthcoming book This Is Your Brain on Food.
Here are a few of her favorite low- or no-sugar recipes.
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What Makes Young People Anxious
A young person may feel anxious for a number of different reasons, depending on the individual. If your child is feeling unmanageable amounts of worry and fear, this is often a sign that something in their life isnt right and they need support to work out what the problem is.
The following kinds of things can make some children and young people feel more anxious:
- experiencing lots of change in a short space of time, such as moving house or school
- having responsibilities that are beyond their age and development, for example caring for other people in their family
- being around someone who is very anxious, such as a parent
- struggling at school, including feeling overwhelmed by work, exams or peer groups
- experiencing family stress around things like housing, money and debt
- going through distressing or traumatic experiences in which they do not feel safe, such as being bullied or witnessing or experiencing abuse.
This video by Braive is a useful way of understanding how stress and anxiety can build up in a person’s life.
How Does Medication Treat Anxiety Disorders
Medications cant cure an anxiety disorder. But they can improve symptoms and help you function better. Medications for anxiety disorders often include:
- Anti-anxiety medications, such as benzodiazepines, may decrease your anxiety, panic and worry. They work quickly, but you can build up a tolerance to them. That makes them less effective over time. Your healthcare provider may prescribe an anti-anxiety medication for the short-term, then taper you off or the provider may add an antidepressant to the mix.
- Antidepressants can also help with anxiety disorders. They tweak how your brain uses certain chemicals to improve mood and reduce stress. Antidepressants may take some time to work, so be patient. If you feel like youre ready to stop taking antidepressants, talk to your provider first.
- Beta-blockers, usually used for high blood pressure, can help reduce some of the physical symptoms of anxiety disorders. They can relieve rapid heartbeat, shaking and trembling.
Your healthcare provider will work with you to find the right medication combination and dosage. Dont change the dose without consulting your provider. Theyll monitor you to make sure the medicines are working without causing negative side effects.
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How Yoga Can Help You Overcome Your Social Anxiety
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Feeling out of place or anxious in a group of strangers or worrying about what other people think of you is more common than you may think. With conversations around mental health becoming more open and transparent, you may find that many have the same thoughts and feelings that you do when it comes to social anxiety.
According to the ADAA, social anxiety disorder affects 15 million adult Americans. Thats 6.8% of the U.S. population, annually. It affects both men and women equally and it usually begins in the preteen years. There are many practices that you can take up to help with social anxiety including therapy, mindfulness, and yes, even yoga.
So can yoga help my social anxiety? While yoga is not a cure-all for what you may be experiencing, it can certainly help. A yoga practice can teach you how to change your response to a challenging situation. It can also alleviate the physical stress that triggers anxiety, and help you to become conscious of the subconscious patterns that create your anxiety.
Getting Help For Your Child
Its a good idea to seek professional support if self-help strategies are not making the situation better and anxiety is affecting your childs life – for example if they are feeling persistently anxious, often having distressing thoughts, or avoiding things like going outside or speaking to others.
There are different places where you can find help for your child. Your GP, your child’s school and considering whether counselling or therapy might help are good places to start.
You can find out more about speaking to GPs, finding a counsellor or therapist, accessing Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services , getting help from your childs school and finding local services on our guide to getting help for your child.
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Tone Your Inner Power Daily
Think of your inner power as a muscle just like any other muscle. The more you use it, the more toned it becomes and the more you are able to accomplish. Every time you practice a healthy life strategy, you actually increase your ability to conquer your anxiety. What you couldnt do yesterday, you can do today. With practice, your new skills will become automatic. This is how you create lasting freedom from anxiety.
In the words of Aristotle: We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.
Take Some Deep Breaths
When anxious, our breath becomes rapid and shallow. Deep belly breathing helps decrease anxiety by stimulating the bodys relaxation response, lowering our heart rate and blood pressure. Its a powerful technique that works because you cant breathe deeply and be anxious at the same time. There are many variations to try, including this simple exercise: Inhale deeply for a count of 4, hold your breath for a count of 4, exhale for a count of 4. Repeat several times.
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Find Ways To Make Use Of Any Insight They Have Into Their Anxiety
If your loved one has insight into their anxiety, you can help them spot when their anxiety-driven patterns are occurring. I find it helpful when my spouse notices that Im expressing my anxiety about work by being irritable with her or by being too fussy. Because we know each others patterns so well and have a trusting relationship, we can point out each others habits. Not that this is always met with grace, but the message sinks in anyway.
If youre going to do this, its a good idea to have their permission first. Keep in mind that people who have insight into their anxiety often still feel compelled to give in to their anxious thoughts. For instance, a person with health anxiety might logically know that going to the doctor every week for multiple tests is unnecessary, but they cant help themselves. If your loved one lacks insight into their anxiety or has trouble managing compulsions, its probably best to encourage them to see a clinical psychologist who specializes in the treatment of anxiety.
Sugar Can Increase Your Risk For Developing Depression
Its hard to avoid reaching for comfort foods, especially after a difficult day.
But the cycle of consuming sugar to manage your emotions may only make your feelings of sadness, fatigue, or hopelessness worse.
Multiple studies have found a link between diets high in sugar and depression.
Overconsumption of sugar triggers imbalances in certain brain chemicals. These imbalances can lead to depression and may even increase the long-term risk of developing a mental health disorder in some people.
In fact, a found that men who consumed a high amount of sugar were 23 percent more likely to receive a diagnosis of clinical depression within 5 years.
Even though the study just involved men, the link between sugar and depression is also found in
to look at how the withdrawal symptoms from sugar can resemble those of certain addictive substances.
Evidence in the literature shows substantial parallels and overlap between drugs of abuse and sugar, explains Dr. Uma Naidoo, whos considered the mood-food expert at Harvard Medical School.
When someone misuses a substance for a period of time, like cocaine, their body goes into a physiological state of withdrawal when they stop using it.
Naidoo says that people who are consuming high amounts of sugar in their diets can similarly experience the physiological sensation of withdrawal if they suddenly stop consuming sugar.
Thats why going cold turkey from sugar may not be the best solution for someone who also has anxiety.
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When To See Your Gp
Although feelings of anxiety at certain times are completely normal, you should see your GP if anxiety is affecting your daily life or is causing you distress.
Your GP will ask you about your symptoms and your worries, fears and emotions to try to find out if you could have GAD.
Read more about diagnosing GAD
Match Your Support To Their Preferences And Attachment Style
Its best to ask someone what type of support they prefer rather than guess! However, we know from research that people who have an avoidant attachment style are likely to respond best to strong displays of concrete practical support. That could include helping the anxious person break tasks down into manageable steps, or talking through specific options for how to deal with a difficult situation, like how to respond to an angry email, but still acknowledging their autonomy and independence while doing so.
Other people are more likely to prefer emotional support, especially those who are securely attached, or who have a preoccupied attachment style due to a fear of being abandoned or of their emotions being overwhelming to others. Folks like this respond well to statements emphasizing that theyre part of a tight teamfor example, their supporter saying, This is tough but we love each other and well get through it together.
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