Anxiety difficulties in kids and teens can present themselves in a variety of ways, including but not limited to, social anxiety, OCD, generalized anxiety, PTSD and phobias. The child psychologists at B&C Health Kids provide Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to help your child with these challenges.
In children and teens, social anxiety presents itself in various ways including but not limited to school refusal, avoidance of new activities, not attending social events and lack of participation in class. Children or teens with social anxiety may have few friends, feel lonely and have trouble accomplishing their goals due to the fear that they will do or say something that will make other people think poorly of them.
Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) is an effective treatment for social anxiety disorder that helps your child change the beliefs that cause their fears. They will learn to recognize the negative thoughts and learn strategies to challenge their worries.
Children or teens with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) may have obsessions, compulsions or both. Obsessions are recurrent, intrusive thoughts, images or impulses that are unwanted, and cause significant distress. Compulsions (also know as rituals) are repetitive behaviours or mental acts that a child or teen performs to prevent or reduce distress or prevent something bad from happening.
Some of the most common obsessive content includes
- contamination by dirt or germs
- losing control and harming oneself or other people
- doubts about one’s verbal or behavioural responses
- repugnant thoughts of sex, deviations from orderliness or symmetry
- or fear of sudden sickness (i.e, vomiting).
Common compulsions include but are not limited to:
- repetitive and prolonged washing in response to fears of contamination
- counting to a particular number or repeating a phrase
- checking the same thing multiple times, ordering or arranging things in a specific way.
OCD can have a significant negative impact on functioning and put strain on family and close friends.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Children or teens with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) have persistent, excessive and uncontrollable worry on a daily basis. They may also be on edge, be easily fatigued, have difficulty concentrating, feel irritable, experience muscle tension, and have problems sleeping. If left untreated GAD may lead to other problems such as panic attacks or depression.
Children or teens with Generalized Anxiety Disorder may worry about:
- the health of themselves, their family members or friends
- family stability
- academic performance
- natural disasters
- state of political or economic affairs
CBT is an effective treatment for GAD that can help your child or teen correct their maladaptive thinking patterns, learn problem solving skills and progressive relaxation techniques.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is triggered by a terrifying or traumatic event. The event may have been experienced or witnessed firsthand, and involved physical harm or threat of physical harm.
Children or teens with PTSD re-experience the traumatic event through flashbacks, nightmares or frightening thoughts. A child or teen suffering from PTSD often will avoid places, events or objects that are reminders of the experience; they may be irritable, emotionally numb, depressed, have a feeling of guilt or show a lack of interest in participating in activities.
CBT is designed to reduce the upsetting memories and emotions from the trauma and has been shown to be effective for treatment of PTSD.
Specific phobia is an excessive and persistent fear of a particular object, animal or situation. The fear is great enough that children or teens wish to avoid the situation or endure it with significant anxiety. The fear is considered excessive because it is out of proportion to the actual level of threat. Often individuals recognize that their fear is excessive or out of proportion. A phobia has a strong effect on a person’s life and makes it difficult to function normally.
CBT is the treatment of choice for specific phobias. Treatment focuses on slowly and safely exposing a person to the feared situation/object. Research demonstrates that exposure-based CBT is highly effective for the treatment of specific phobias.
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6519 Mississauga Rd, Unit B
Mississauga, ON L5N 1A6