Fears in childhood and adolescence are a part of normal development. Anxiety is a normal response to sudden, threatening changes facing a child. These changes may include real danger or perceived loss of control or self-esteem. The symptoms of anxiety vary from individual to individual, and most studies show that symptoms of anxiety in children gradually decline with increasing age. Also, the nature of fears tends to vary over time, shifting from immediate tangible and concrete fears to worry about what might happen. Children with symptoms of anxiety often generate “what if” thoughts—what if I fail the test, what if mom doesn’t come home….
At times, symptoms of anxiety may be viewed as inappropriate for a child’s age. When such symptoms are persistent, causing distress and dysfunction, or are out of proportion to the situation, professional help may be indicated.
The Child and Adolescent Program at Quality Behavioral Health treats disorders such as:
- General Anxiety Disorder
- Social Anxiety Disorder
- Separation Anxiety Disorder
- Specific Phobias
- Panic Disorders
- Children with anxiety may exhibit one or more of the following symptoms:
- Restlessness or feeling keyed up or on edge
- Avoidance or withdrawal
- Difficulty attending school or separating from parents
- Excessive worry about future and past events
- Physical symptoms such as headaches or stomachaches
The Quality Behavioral Health Program is designed to diagnose and treat these symptoms. Organized and staffed by Board Certified Psychiatrists and licensed psychotherapists, the program is based upon the research and work of Dr. Phillip Kendall of Temple University in Philadelphia.
Treatment of Anxiety Disorders
The positive effects of Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) for child anxiety have been well documented. The way we think about a current or future event or situation can change the way we feel and influence what we do. Mom returning late from a trip to the supermarket can generate negative, fearful thoughts (she’s probably had a car accident, possibly brought to a hospital), resulting in extreme anxiety or panic. Re-structuring the thought to be less rigid and more balanced (it’s a busy time of the day, she is probably stuck in a long line, possibly caught in traffic) might reduce the symptoms considerably. CBT, together with the use of gradual, graded exposure to perceived dangers, are the principal components of effective treatment.