Text Box: Anxiety

Anxiety occurs in everyone throughout the lifespan occurring mainly in response to stress.  This response is a part of out fight or flight response and is critical to survival.  Anxiety, however, can reach levels where it limits the ability to function in everyday life.  While anxiety, often believed to be an adult problem, children and infants also experience stressors and anxiety.  The brain reacts to a perceived fear and in turn, a physical response begins to protect the individual from the perceived threat; sweating palms, rapid breathing and or pounding heart. 
	As a child develops, they experience fears and worries at different levels.  The following are typical fears experienced by children. 
INFANTS/TODDLERS (ages 0-2 years) loud noises, strangers, separation from parents, large objects 
PRESCHOOLERS (3-6 years) imaginary figures (e.g., ghosts, monsters, supernatural beings, the dark, noises, sleeping alone, thunder, floods) 
SCHOOL AGED CHILDREN/ADOLESCENTS (7-16 years) more realistic fears (e.g., physical injury, health, school performance, death, thunderstorms, earthquakes, floods.
It is cause for concern when these fears interfere with sleep, school, social functioning or continue beyond an age that is developmentally appropriate.

	While anxiety often involves thoughts, stressors, fears or worries symptoms of an anxiety disorder may include:
(1) restlessness or feeling keyed up or on edge 
(2) being easily fatigued 
(3) difficulty concentrating or mind going blank 
(4) irritability 
(5) muscle tension 
(6) sleep disturbance (difficulty falling or staying asleep, or restless unsatisfying sleep)   
Anxiety disorders include Separation anxiety, generalized anxiety disorder, specific phobias, obsessive- compulsive disorder, post- traumatic stress disorder, and panic disorders.  While the cause of the anxiety varies greatly Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has seen high levels of success in children and adults. These therapies teach the individual to challenge the fear response and in turn decrease the physical reactions to them. For example, a person has a presentation and is extremely fearful of failing, being laughed at or not being able to carry out the talk at all. In therapy, he is challenged to acknowledge the fear, recognize the physical feelings of the fear, learn to calm himself and begin looking at the speech as sharing information not an audition. These social anxieties are the most common. More difficult anxiety disorders require a greater intensity and focus in therapy but in a relatively short time, the person can learn to cope with the fears and go about life, as it should be. We all suffer with anxiety from time to time, however, when the anxiety interferes with daily activities; professional assessment and intervention are necessary. Anxiety is not a sign of weakness, it is a brain problem that when treated, can be overcome and the individual can lead a normal and happy life whether he is 4 or 84!

Text Box: November Thought of the Month

November 2009

Issue 12

Carolina Center for Counseling

& Behavioral Interventions, LLC

Contact Information

304 A North East Main Street

  Simpsonville, SC 29681    


Phone: 864 - 963 - 4028

Fax: 877-201-4878


Click to email