Causes of Child Anxiety Attacks

Child anxiety, just like that of adults, is a normal, healthy emotion felt as a response to certain stimuli. However, 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 therefore a natural child anxiety treatment may be helpful.

While they are physically harmful (and generally safe) anxiety attacks can affect how the child lives.

When a child or teenager is prone to having anxiety or panic attacks it can be scary and extremely uncomfortable. It’s entirely out of their control to act any other way and can cause fear in both the child and those in their presence.

Symptoms of an attack may include a racing heart, chest pain, uncontrollable shaking, shortness of breath, nausea, dizziness and more. The person may have a strong urge to flee or a feeling that he or she is out of control. These anxiety panic attacks usually last about ten minutes, but it can be the worst ten minutes of all.

Causes of Child Anxiety Attacks and Panic Attacks

No one knows the true cause of child anxiety attacks, but studies suggest that genetics may be a factor. Also included in possible reasons are major stress, a temperament (personality) that’s more prone to stress and the way the brain functions.

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Research has also found that the body’s “fight-or-flight” response to danger could be involved in panic disorders. This happens when the body and mind instinctively perceives danger and has an instant reaction to either flee or stand your ground.

  • Children and adolescents often express physical symptoms of panic attacks and become frightful, disoriented and confused without any good reason. Sometimes the panic attack can happen from a visual trigger such as seeing an accident on the highway.
  • Adolescents are usually more able to describe their fears and what triggered the attack than children, whose minds are completely formulated with the words and knowledge to sort through what’s happening to them.

Panic attacks in children can be unpredictable, which can be difficult for adults to know how to deal with. It’s important to seek treatment for panic disorders in children and adolescents. Otherwise, it can harm some important areas of a child’s life and make them unable to function in relationships and activities.

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 or panic attacks? Here are some of the most common reasons:

  • 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

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.

  • Indirect Reasons

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.

An experienced child, psychologist, psychiatrist or pediatric neurologist can help foster a diagnosis of child anxiety or panic disorder and rule out that the child has a phobia instead. Phobias are more predictable than anxiety panic attacks because they’re usually associated with a certain thing or situation, while an anxiety attack is mostly unpredictable.

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.

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About Jennifer Johnson

I suffered with social anxiety and stress for years. I discovered what my triggers were and learned to control them. Hopefully some of the natural anxiety relief techniques I have tried, will also be your solution.

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