10 Signs of Anxiety in Children (and Adults)

Childhood anxiety is real,l and even though a good number of children from 3 to 17 are getting diagnosed, it’s still only a small percentage of the population being addressed. Take a look at this graph from the CDC it appears that less than 12% of our kids are recognized as having depression, anxiety, or behavioral disorder..

Now I realize that many people might say that this number is a fairly accurate reflection because what do children have to be anxious about .. ok … good question. So, allow me to share a little history about me …

Between the ages of 2 and 5, I lived with chronic constipation to the degree that I required an enema several times a month .. that was until I couldn’t take it any longer and challenged my mother’s insistence by hiding, crying and even screaming. Nothing I did changed her mind. In fact, it took a number of years before she offered up any other options. That’s right, the constipation didn’t stop … I just outgrew the enema. In addition to this issue, I

  1. battled buckling pain in my belly every afternoon and evening (that I refused to tell her about) which lasted long into my adult life.

  2. was reserved in nature, internalizing my emotions .. to the degree that my parents have filmed evidence of me hiding my displeasure as I displayed the expected behavior while gritting my teeth in opposition

  3. was the tidiest kid in the county, making sure EVERYTHING was where it was supposed to be at all times (essentially borderline OCD .. had I been born years later, there’s no question, I would have received the diagnosis)

  4. was hypervigilant, day and night, with eyes and ears on everything

  5. struggled to get along with other kids, feeling like I didn’t fit in

  6. suffered from nightly nightmares and eventually took to sleep walking

To be truthful, with the exception of sleep walking, any one of these ‘symptoms’ can interrupt my day. What’s worse, if I don’t support my mind and body on a daily basis as a means of preventing such issues, not only do they ‘pop in’, my head becomes foggy and I struggle to think…

That said, according to the CDC, symptoms of childhood anxiety are revealed in ‘difficulties with how they play, learn, speak, and act or how the child handles their emotions. Symptoms often start in early childhood, although some disorders may develop during the teenage years. The diagnosis is often made in the school years and sometimes earlier. However, some children with a mental disorder may not be recognized or diagnosed as having one.’

In my case, no one was the wiser … I’d come into the world acting this way; so, it made sense to think that this was ‘just Tammy’. What did I have to be anxious about? As a matter of fact, it was believed that I was making up the nightmares because we weren’t allowed to watch tv, let alone scary movies. They just thought I couldn’t sleep and wanted attention …even if that were the case .. wouldn’t insomnia raise a couple questions? Maybe not, if difficulty sleeping was the ‘norm’ for one or both parents …

This is how anxiety gets overlooked. The behaviors are ‘normal due to familial similarity’ And I’m being kind. It seems that when families are surveyed through the schools, when it comes to mental health, there is a high percentage of non-response from the parents due to refusing to submit answers (according to the National Institute of Mental Health) which leads me to wonder why. Is it due to fear | stigma … the belief that their child will outgrow it … flat out denial?!?!?

Quite frankly, I’m not here to judge. My hope is to increase awareness about not only the occurrence but what to expect and how to work with it … even on a budget.

Therefore:

10 Signs of Anxiety in Children (and Adults)

  1. hyperalert | super sensitive

  2. difficulty thinking

  3. observable nervousness OR overly quiet

  4. excessive eating OR lack of appetite

  5. chronic worry

  6. difficulty sleeping

  7. irritability | anger

  8. fatigue

  9. repetitive behaviors

  10. digestive issues i.e. indigestion, stomach pain, IBS-like symptoms, constipation, diarrhea, nausea, ulcers

Now to be honest, anxiety does not look the same in everyone AND the symptoms will most likely be less obvious in children; although, don’t bank on it. These days, between the environment wreaking havoc on our bodies and the degree of mental and emotional distress being displayed everywhere ‘you’ turn, our children are facing bigger challenges when it comes to anxiety. All too often I’ve had parents tell me that they’re not sure if they should do anything for their kid or if they should just let him or her deal with it until they grow out of it. I’m here to tell you, we don’t outgrow it .. anxiety simply changes shape .. which is largely because of the digestive disruption due to the degree of stress down to the cellular level. That said, just supporting the digestive system isn’t enough because the body is constantly adapting to the world around and if a person is ‘wired’ for anxiety, deliberately focusing on system maintenance through the use of essential oils makes all the difference in the world.

The human body is not unlike a chemistry lab .. the chemistry is constantly shifting due to incoming information. The only way to modify the messages and protect the body from constant upheaval and inflammation, is through the use of oils because they help

  1. stabilize systemic function

  2. regulate hormonal fluctuations

  3. improve the balance of microflora

Do essential oils really do this? Yes … it just takes getting to know them on a personal level which I can teach you how to do. Think about the gift you’d be giving yourself and your child?! By addressing these concerns sooner than later, you’re giving them and yourself the chance to prevent some disastrous decisions like substance use as well as bigger health problems in the future.

If you haven’t already, join my email list and I’d be honored if you signed up for my upcoming class on anxiety. You have my word, I will not let you down.