Gain an understanding of how anxiety works



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tarix22.04.2017
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Gain an understanding of how anxiety works

  • Gain an understanding of how anxiety works

    • causes
    • contributing factors
  • Gain an understanding of how anxiety looks

    • signs
    • Symptoms
  • Gain an understanding of how to help

    • supporting kids
    • supporting yourself




Any situation (positive or negative) that requires adjustment or change

  • Any situation (positive or negative) that requires adjustment or change

  • Comes from pressures we experience in life

  • Adrenal gland releases adrenaline

  • There’s not always an extreme reaction

  • Some appear to thrive under stressful situations

  • Chronic stress can lead to anxiety – too much, for too long, with too little help



Lots of pressures on kids today

  • Lots of pressures on kids today

  • The majority of stress stems from external situations

  • Able to be prioritized and handled one at a time

  • Associated with frustration and nervousness

  • What is stressful to one person might not be stressful to another

  • Common fears in children/adolescents handout



Review handout: Sources of Stress in Children

  • Review handout: Sources of Stress in Children

  • With a partner:

    • Identify and put in order the top 10 stressors for kids


“With stress, we know what’s worrying us, but with anxiety you become less aware of what you’re anxious about [in the moment] and the reaction comes the problem. You start to feel anxious about being anxious”

  • “With stress, we know what’s worrying us, but with anxiety you become less aware of what you’re anxious about [in the moment] and the reaction comes the problem. You start to feel anxious about being anxious”

  • Comes from a place of fear, unease, and worry



A state of apprehension or worry about a danger or threat that might occur

  • A state of apprehension or worry about a danger or threat that might occur

  • Brain based-fight/flight system is activated

  • Sense of helplessness

  • Many children know they are anxious

  • Most common mental health problem of childhood and adolescence

  • More girls than boys



Environmental – witnessing a traumatic event/having a traumatic experience/watching another child be scared

  • Environmental – witnessing a traumatic event/having a traumatic experience/watching another child be scared

  • During life changes/transitions-death in the family, illness, recent move, new school, birth of sibling, etc.

  • Biological-genetic predisposition- studies have shown children are more likely to develop an anxiety disorder if their parents have anxiety disorders



Increase in crying

  • Increase in crying

  • Sleep issues, Increase in fatigue/easily tired

  • Unwillingness to try/do activities, go to school, unwillingness to talk

  • Nervous movements/twitches

  • Increase in frustration

  • Impatience

  • Changes in eating patterns

  • Child becomes clingy, impulsive, or distracted

  • A meltdown!







A certain amount of anxiety is normal and is to be expected

  • A certain amount of anxiety is normal and is to be expected

  • Anxiety is a problem when it becomes a problem: too often, too strong, out of proportion

  • It consistently interferes with daily life (school, grades, social activities, sleep, eating)

  • Excessive amounts of anxiety, fear, nervousness, worry, dread

  • Most common mental health condition

  • Impacts people of all ages



Preoccupied

  • Preoccupied

  • Distracted

  • Tense

  • Always on alert, on guard

  • Confused

  • Scared, unprotected

  • Overwhelmed – even by little things

  • Lonley

  • Embarrassed, ashamed, misunderstood



Kids may not have the language to talk about their experience

  • Kids may not have the language to talk about their experience

  • Kids and teens may act out emotions because they cannot hold them in

  • Some show aggression/hostility due to agitation

  • Others show depressive symptoms or exhibit attention (connection) seeking behaviors

  • Stress/anxiety are frequently mistaken for defiance



Unfamiliar situations

  • Unfamiliar situations

  • Pressure to perform

  • Different learning styles/intelligences

  • Social life

  • Bullying, teasing, violence

  • Busyness

  • Amount of homework

  • The future

  • Test anxiety

  • School avoidance



Talk privately and tell them you notice something is bothering him/her

  • Talk privately and tell them you notice something is bothering him/her

  • Listen attentively/calmly to what is wrong

  • Validate feelings & label them if appropriate

  • Involve the child in the solution – help them brainstorm things that might help

  • Be patient – just being there helps



Create a safe place to go with calming activities

  • Create a safe place to go with calming activities

  • Teach relaxation techniques

  • Have realistic expectations: reward effort, not outcome

  • Consistent, daily routines (post them)

  • Play soothing music during downtime, homework, etc

  • Incorporate exercise, stretching

  • Sleep hygiene and eating habits

  • Encourage connection with others (limits to screen time)

  • Help find a hobby/outlet

  • Challenge kids to think about what they can and cannot control

  • When is therapy helpful?



Communicate with teachers and counselors

  • Communicate with teachers and counselors

  • Encourage attendance

  • Consider making modifications

  • Schedules

  • Breaks

  • Opportunities for movement



Smoking/drinking/drugs

  • Smoking/drinking/drugs

  • Bingeing on junk/comfort food

  • Zoning out through computer, TV

  • Procrastinating

  • Taking it out on others

  • Other avoidant behavior - withdrawing from friends/family, sleeping, skipping school

  • Using caffeine can make anxiety worse



Encourage communication

  • Encourage communication

  • Listen and be available

  • Collaborate together to develop solutions

  • Validate their experience

  • Don’t minimize

  • Make it important

  • Be mindful of actions when dealing with your own stress



Kids & Teens learn to handle stress from parents/adults in their lives.

  • Kids & Teens learn to handle stress from parents/adults in their lives.

  • What are we teaching them about healthy and successful ways to handle stress?

  • How do we schedule our lives and take care of ourselves?



The difference between anxiety and stress

  • The difference between anxiety and stress

  • Sources of stress for children

  • Signs and symptoms of anxiety

  • Anxiety disorders

  • School stress

  • Coping strategies

  • Talking with your child

  • Advocacy in the schools

  • When additional support may be needed






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