Social Anxiety Disorder In Children: What You Can Do As The Parent


Social anxiety disorder (also known as SAD for short) involves a pervasive and strong fear of social situations. This fear causes the person to experience physical and emotional symptoms of anxiety and as a result, they try to avoid social situations to control this anxiety. “The distinction between an anxiety disorder and just having normal anxiety is whether your emotions are causing a lot of suffering and dysfunction,” says Sally Winston, PsyD. In adults this disorder can have a strong negative impact their lives and may lead to other mental health concerns such as low confidence, loneliness, low self worth and depression (head over to our other blog on SAD [Social anxiety: when it is more than just pre-party jitters] for more information on this disorder in adults).

For children, SAD can be just as detrimental, if not even more crippling. This is because through childhood and adolescence people learn how to interact with others, begin to develop friendships and romantic relationships. Without these experiences, it is very difficult for the child to develop a lasting sense of identity, confidence, and self-worth.

How is social anxiety in children different from adults?

Although the overall idea of SAD is the same in children and adults in that it is a fear of social situations and the physical symptoms and types of thoughts experienced are the same (see these in our other blog on SAD [Social anxiety: when it is more than just pre-party jitters]), it can manifest differently in children and because of this, it’s often difficult to notice. Children with SAD don’t tend to stand out because this is what the disorder does; it makes the person not want to call attention to themselves. As children are beginning to learn how to interact with others, they can become really good at being able to avoid social situations without it appearing obvious. They are often also the quiet, well-behaved students at home and school and because there doesn’t seem to be a “problem” from the outside eye, SAD in children tends to get overlooked.…

Adapting A 21-Day Anxiety Challenge: Self Therapy Technique


One of my good friends has Social Anxiety Disorder, and I rarely see her because of her mental health issue. The last time we were out in public was eight months ago, and it was our worse “Girls Night Out” date ever. I have known her for a little over ten years, and this was the first time I saw her with her condition. Ever since she got attacked, which was last year, my friend has been anxious in public and had these “panic” episodes.




What Happened To Her?


Her whole life changed when she was attacked by a serial mugger last October. The criminal stuck his knife in her, and she almost died. The police caught him shortly after the incident, and the guy is behind bars now. My friend may have recovered from her physical injuries, but the mental damage she incurred from it is far from repair. “Most people with anxiety know they’re being irrational, but it doesn’t help because in the moment, fear takes over.” Regine Galanti, Ph.D, explained.



We Only Talk Online



Guess how we communicate with each other? Yeah, online. It is ridiculous, I know, but she says that she’s not up to seeing people as of yet. I told her that she must overcome her anxiety if she wants to have a healthy life. My friend replied that she’s working on it with a counselor and some self-help techniques.


She also sent me a blog written by Liz Nieman from Love and Marriage Blog. It’s about the 21-Day Anxiety Challenge. She says that most days, the challenges mentioned are conquered by her, but there are also days when she finds them almost impossible to do. “The constant surges of adrenaline create highs and lows that leave your body and mind absolutely exhausted.” It is how says Sally Winston, PsyD expresses it.


The following challenges came from the said blog. (The same thoughts are expressed herein.)



The 21-Day Anxiety Challenge By Liz Nieman


Day 1 – Go out of the house and spend at least 20 minutes in public.


My friend said that this was very hard for her to do. Once she steps out of her house, she’d be shaking and trembling. The involuntary actions on her part are due to her anxiety which she is trying her best to surpass. But she did it anyway, with eyes closed and a ton of sweat.


Day 2 – Explore your creative side and color at least one page in a coloring book.


I gave her a Mandala coloring book a few months ago, and she said that’s what she’s using for this challenge. Art therapy is helpful indeed.


Day 3 – Be grateful for your life and find five blessings in you each day. Write it down in a journal.


This challenge came easy for her, she said. If only going out is also as natural, then there won’t be an issue anymore.


Day 4 – Drink lots of water.


Her words: “It’s fun to get hydrated!” She has no problem drinking lots of water.


Day 5 – Play music, sing, and dance!


My friend is a singer and a music lover, and it’s her self-help technique when she feels anxious.


Day 6 – No social media day.


She had a hard time with this challenge and didn’t complete the day.


Day 7 – Go on a relaxing bubble and aromatherapy hot bath.


Who can’t relax with this one, huh?


Day 8 – Meditate for 10 minutes today.


It was a fail day for her, she told me. On her next 21 day challenge, she is bent on successfully doing this thing.


Day 9 – Do cardio exercises for 20 minutes.




Day 10 – Sleep early tonight.


Fail! She is an insomniac and slept around midnight during that challenge day.


Day 11 – Take vitamins starting today.


Done. She is now taking Vitamin C and Vitamin E, for starters.


Day 12 – Hug your pet.


No pets, so she bought a turtle.


Day 13 – Mediate.


She wasn’t able to do it.


Day 14 – Learn about Hygge.


The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living – that’s the book she used for this challenge day.


Day 15 – Put essential oils everywhere.


This “challenge day” was her favorite day of all.


Day 16 – Create a stress ball.


My friend wasn’t able to make one, but she bought one and used it.


Day 17 – Pick a “you” time.




Day 18 – Do something that you’re good at and which makes you feel good.


She sang “Never Enough” by Loren Allred, a soundtrack of the movie, The Greatest Showman.


Day 19 – List down your anxieties.


Everything she ever felt anxious about was written down.


Day 20 – Find a solution to your anxiety issues.


She didn’t complete every solution to an anxiety issue on the list, but she will circle back.


Day 21 – Find ways to be happy; one way is by doing Liz Neiman’s happiness challenge.


Follow the 30 days Happiness Challenge. (My friend is on her Day 3 at the time of writing this article.)



So you see, she didn’t perfect her 21 days. But right now, she is more than determined to achieve success in every “challenge” day. I told her that as long as she is trying, that’s the whole point of the self-help activity. With that, it is okay to believe Terrie Moffitt, Ph.D. when she says that  “anxiety is a normal emotion which helps us recognize real problems and solve them.


Let’s see if she can perfect it this month and maybe, you’d like to try it for yourself, too.…

Anxiety Disorders And ADHD


Anxiety disorders and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD have overlapping components. Based on research, about 25% of children who are diagnosed with ADHD are also suffering from Anxiety Disorder. It is also noted that kids with Anxiety Disorder may manifest ADHD symptoms. In fact, children who experience Separation Anxiety or Overanxious Disorder are highly likely to also suffer from ADHD.


This includes the following Anxiety Disorders:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive Disorder
  • Separation Anxiety
  • Phobia like Social Anxiety


Anxiety Disorders have internalized symptoms that exist in a child’s mind, which is why it is more difficult to recognize compared to Disruptive Behavior Disorders. The latter have symptoms showing outward behavior, including pushing people or verbal outbursts. Only when the symptoms of Anxiety Disorders are reflected in the child’s behaviors are they noticeable to parents, pediatricians, and teachers. “They must be unable to function as well as others—and in fact, are often well below normal—in any of those domains.” Says leading ADHD expert Russell Barkley, PhD, clinical professor of psychiatry and pediatrics


Some of these behaviors include:



Once you suspect the presence of anxiety signs on top of your child’s ADHD, it is necessary to get the help of the child’s pediatrician or a youth psychologist.



What to Look For


Some symptoms of Anxiety Disorders that can be mistaken as symptoms of ADHD include poor concentration and restlessness, which is why it can be difficult to take note of. The difference though is that symptoms of Anxiety Disorder include restless response to boredom and lack of focus in a general sense. “Often, it’s kind of like living in a fog… The way it’s been described to me is like everything almost looks blurry physically,” said Dr. Doron Almagor, a child, adolescent and adult psychiatrist.



The anxiety is more pronounced and children suffering from the disorder seem:


  • Irritable
  • Stressed-out
  • Tense
  • Tired
  • Experiencing sleeplessness
  • Suffering from Brief Panic Attacks
  • Feelings of Intense fear
  • Nausea
  • Pounding ears
  • Shaking
  • Breathing difficulties


When it comes to their school performance, children with Anxiety Disorder have more problems and social difficulties than children with ADHD. While they may be less disruptive, they are considered more inefficient and distracted compared to ADHD children.



In order to find out if your child is suffering from an Anxiety Disorder, consider the following questions:


  1. Is your child excessively anxious or worried about certain school situations or activities that seem overly exaggerated and unrealistic?
  2. Is your child having difficulty controlling his/her worries?
  3. Is your child’s anxiety developing to fatigue, irritability, sleep disturbance, and restlessness?
  4. Is your child’s anxiety influencing his/her social and academic functions?
  5. Is your child’s anxiety occurring more and for a significant continued duration?


If the answer is yes, then, you might want to consult a specialist for your child’s condition. You can search the net for therapist near me if you want someone near your home so that your child’s anxiety issues and ADHD concerns are addressed as soon as possible.



Treatment for People with Anxiety Disorders and ADHD


When it comes to treating ADHD and Anxiety Disorder, combining several approaches to cater to the child’s particular situation is the best move to make. Some of the most basic things to do include are:


  • Educating the family and child on the details of the condition
  • Encouraging input from the school personnel


Initiate some behavioral therapies, including the following:



When it comes to a child suffering from both ADHD and Anxiety Disorder in an uncontrollable manner, most of the obstructed functions are caused by the ADHD symptoms. The best approach is a medical one and the child’s pediatrician can choose to go for stimulants first and simply adjust the dosage for maximal effect as side effects are monitored. “Because children and adults with ADHD struggle with focusing, organizing tasks, and feeling restless, they might experience sadness, guilt, irritability, low self-confidence and helplessness. In some cases, these symptoms can signal depression.” Kathleen Smith, PhD, LPC explains.…

Panic Disorder In Children – From A Teacher’s Perspective



My name is Mary Anne and I’ve been an educator for middle school kids for the last twenty years. I have devoted half of my life to educating and helping my students build their lives. You can say that I have seen everything – from child prodigies to regular grade schoolers and those with the “problems”. When I say “problems”, it’s usually behavioral or mental health issues.…

Help! My Husband’s Panic Attack Strikes Again!



It was past one in the morning and I woke up to my husband’s nudges. He said he couldn’t sleep and he wasn’t feeling well. His palms were sweating and he could feel the acid move up to his throat. I’d convince him that we go to the hospital but he just gets more nervous.


The incident happened three times that week – 1am, 3am, and 4am. And I’m insomniac so I usually fall asleep after midnight. You can imagine my devastation when I awaken during those times.


Each time it happened, I would try to calm him down, tell him his mind’s working so fast, moving ahead of everything that he’s actually feeling. He would walk back and forth and rant about me not caring and trying to understand him, and I would be stroking his back and telling him that’s not true, but deep inside I wish I were not there with him.


After a fourth episode, I decided to bring him to the hospital. When his doctor came, he retold his side of the story and right then and there, the doctor smiled and told him, “You have panic attacks.”


Understanding the Symptoms of Panic Attack

“The biggest misconception about anxiety is that it’s to be feared and avoided at all costs,” says Noah Clyman, a licensed clinical social worker. Back then, I was unaware of the warning signs of panic attack, which was why I would get irritated and angry with my husband because I thought he was overreacting. Well, he was, but when he overreacts, his symptoms shoot up. Here are some of the most common symptoms that you and I should be aware of:


  • Feeling numb in the hands and fingers
  • Sweaty hands
  • Chest pains
  • Fear or worry that death is near
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Uncontrollable emotions
  • Heart palpitations
  • The feeling of choking
  • Angry or upset
  • Easily freaks out


Panic Attack and Heart Attack


 One of the symptoms of panic attack is chest pain, which makes its course look similar to having a heart attack. However, doctors stress that panic attacks are not dangerous and are not a cause for alarm. If your physician is sure that what you’re suffering from is not a heart attack, then there is no need to worry, because they usually know the difference between the two conditions.


Dealing with my Husband’s Panic Attacks

I have been struggling to understand my husband and what he’s going through. Most of our arguments spring from his sudden outbursts of anger when he is overly anxious. It is where I understand “anxiety becomes unhealthy when its alarm makes no sense. Sometimes, people feel routinely anxious for no reason at all. At other times, the alarm is totally out of proportion to the threat, such as when a student has a panic attack over a minor quiz.” says Lisa Damour, PhD.


When he decided to talk to his doctor about his problems, he began to feel more relaxed because he knew what was happening to him. He was also prescribed anxiolytics to help him control his symptoms, although he has practiced some remedies like positive thinking that have greatly helped him calm down before even taking medications.


I also took it upon myself to learn more about panic attacks online, and I came across BetterHelp, an online resource that provides relevant information and advice about mental health issues. I learned that an episode of panic attack usually lasts for 30 minutes, and I shared this information with my husband so that he would be aware that if we found healthy ways to deal with his disturbing condition, then we could easily beat it.


My husband still suffers from panic attacks up until today. He gets it when he is pressured at work, if something bad happens, or even when he forgets to eat on time. But he is more patient now, knowing that panic attacks don’t last forever. I sit with him and tell him to remind himself that it’s nothing fatal, it’s just the panic working on him to destroy his day, and that we won’t let it do that to him. I believe in Melanie Greenberg, Ph.D said that “minimize any successes or positive changes and feel a pervasive sense of helplessness and inability to get better or change their situations.”


While we wait, he talks about how he feels (not shouts) and I listen. And we realized after a few more episodes, we have outlasted the symptoms of panic attack.…

Types Of Anxiety Disorders

When feelings of anxiety and fear are triggered off due to certain physical and environmental situations, and these situations tend to reoccur over time, it implies a mental health issue referred to as Anxiety Disorder. Anxiety disorders may vary in the intensity in which they are manifested and the symptoms that are experienced by the individual suffering from the disorder. Based on these two factors anxiety disorders can be categorized into seven types of mental disorders.…

How Do Psychologists Help With Anxiety Disorder?

Various kinds of anxiety disorders may be due to underlying reasons such as stress, painful experiences in the past and other similar instances. It causes individuals to experience sudden emotional surges. People feel extremely sensitive and they tend to have a negative reaction or a pessimistic approach to anything surrounding them. Sadly, people overlook these instances and judge themselves to be emotionally weak. They are not recognizing the fact that they may actually be suffering from an anxiety disorder which needs medical attention.…

Medications For Panic Attacks: What You Need To Know


Ever wonder why you are taking many medications for your panic attacks? This article will introduce you the different medications that your doctor is prescribing you. This material is for educational purposes only and will not try to replace the medicines that you are taking. If you have questions, please consult your doctor.

General Considerations

“Anxiety is an excessive persistent worrying over an imminent event that can last a while. A panic attack is a burst of intense fear that typically lasts fewer than 30 minutes,” says Dr. Carolyn Rodriguez, assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford. With that, the medicines prescribed for panic disorders aims to control the symptoms of panic attacks, reduce their number, severity, reduce the anxiety, and fear linked with having another attack. These medicines take some time to reach its maximum effect, minimum of 2 weeks and a maximum of 6 to 8 weeks. This is why some patients would stop taking their pills because of impatience and thinking that it’s not working for them. It is best to consult your doctor if you are not sensing improvements.…

Stress And Anxiety

Have you ever experienced being so worn out to the point that it makes you frustrated and irritable? Was this accompanied by dark and negative thoughts feeding your fears and nervousness in your mind? Then that means you have experienced stress and anxiety. Stress is a demand that can be felt both in mind and physically whereas anxiety is the feelings of worry. Sometimes it appears separately from stress, but it can also occur along with it.…

Anxiety Disorders And Cognitive Behavioral Therapy 

Anxiety disorders are characterized by one or many of these symptoms: incapacitating phobia, panic attacks, unrelenting worries and obsessive thoughts. There are many treatments to reduce the symptoms or stop a person from living in constant anxiety and fear. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and exposure therapy, in particular, are beneficial for those suffering from anxiety disorders. With the help of these therapies, a person can control his or her worrisome thoughts, conquer fears and manage anxiety levels.