STRESS and ANXIETY in CHILDREN & Its MANAGEMENT
Stress and Anxiety has become a common problem in children now a days due to their changed lifestyle.
Less play, More exposure, More pressure-academics, standardized testing, sports, extracurricular activities
A small degree of stress during tests is important as it produces extra energy in your brain to concentrate and do well. In order to learn and grow, a degree of stress is important! It plays an important part in development from learning to eat to trying to memorize multiplication tables.
Stress is part of being human and begins even before birth.
Kids are resilient and can learn ways to cope!
Stress can change children’s mood and behavior and cause hyperactivity, depression, anxiety, etc. Even a constant low level of stress can take a toll.
Too much stress can have a profound impact on children.
Being tardy to school, Being sick, Acne, Too many chores, Homework ,
An even greater number experience stress that does not qualify as an anxiety 10-20% of school age children experience anxiety symptoms. It can enhance our performance in stressful situations. All humans experience anxiety. It is necessary for preparation and protection from danger. Anxiety is the uneasiness, worry, or tension we experience when we expect a real or perceived threat to our welfare.
Adolescence: moral issues, relationships, futurev Middle childhood: academic difficulties, social issues, natural dangers, death
Elementary: school performance, burglars, hurricanes, illness
Early Childhood: separation anxiety, ghosts, monsters
Infants: stranger anxiety 7-9 months
- Perfectionism,Physical symptoms-stomachaches, nausea, vomiting.
- Thinking becomes unrealistic, catastrophic, and pessimistic
- Affects concentration and decision making (test anxiety)
- Difficulty in sleeping
When it begins to impact a child’s functioning? When it affect’s a child’s ability to learn,When Does it Become Harmful?
A combination of treatment modalities can be used:
Ayurvedic treatment Cognitive therapy Parents based approaches
Pharmacological (Yukti vyapashrya chikitsa) Non Pharmacological (Dev-vyapashrya + Satvavajaya chikitsa) Principle of treatment Ayurvedic approach
1.Yuktivypashraya chikitsa– In mental health, generally, vata aggravation is marked by anxiety, kapha aggravation is marked by depression, and pitta aggravation is marked by anger, hence treatment should include use of therapy or drugs which pacifies vata dosha and enhance the efface of brain.
Use of various medhya drugs.e.g. Mandukaparni, Yashtimadhu, Guduchi and Shankhapushpi etc. As these drugs show antioxidant, anxitolytic, neurodegenerative, antamnestic, antidepressants, nootropic, adaptogenic and cognitive properties, hence can be beneficial by deciding proper dose and mode of administration.
Shirodhara – studies shows that during shirodhara the subjects’ had feeling of deep restfulness with less anxiety.
Dev- vypashraya chikitsa: It comprises of Mantra, Ausadhi, Mani, Mangala, Bali, Upahara, Homa, Niyama, Prayascitta, Upavasa, Svastyayana, Pranipata, Gamana etc. It has empirical powers to eradicate diseases.
Sattvajaya chikitsa: includes Gyana (spiritual knowledge), Vigyana (Knowledge of the scriptures related to truth), Dhairya (increasing the patience of the person by counseling or meditative procedures), Smriti (memorizing the past incidences) and Samadhi (meditation) yields positive effects such as reduce test anxiety, increase academic performance, concentration, coping ability with stress, reduce aggression, improve ability to handle pressure from academia, lower levels of rumination, less intrusive thoughts, increase emotional regulation among children.
counteracts psychological and physical stressors, enhances self-regulation, and assists stress management.
In case of children meditation cannot be practiced as their brain is not fully matured. In them Trataka karma can be done to enhance the concentration. As children typically cannot remain still for long sessions of therapy, alternative ways of connecting with children are essential. Instead of the quiet and calming Yoga as many adults enjoy, Yoga for kids can be noisy and funny.
He will also learn to separate realistic from unrealistic thoughts and will receive “homework” to practice what is learned in therapy.
Child will learn to identify and replace negative thinking patterns and behaviors with positive ones.
A type of talk therapy that teaches skills and techniques to recognize and challenge problematic thoughts, which are borrowed and modified, from the adult literature.
- Spend time with the children and give them a stable home environment. Acknowledge and accept his or her needs. Don’t just talk to your kids, communicate with them. When children misbehave, try to understand their behavior instead of merely punishing it.
- Monitor their eating habits. Negotiate home rules-including consequences for rule breaking.
- Don’t punish mistakes or lack of progress.
- Recognize and praise his small accomplishments.
- Stay calm when the child becomes anxious about a situation or event.
- Know that school is a long-term process. One immediate success or failure is not going to determine a child’s life. What we can do is show constant love and support and presence. Part of this support is setting up a daily routine.
Since it is nearly impossible to remove most of the stressful events from the Children’s lives, we need to work together to teach them positive coping skills.