As a parent, you wish to give to your child the best. Apart from the fact that right from the first moment in which she or he has arrived on this world you knew that your love for your child is immense and can never go away, an acute need of offering support and protection for the rest of his or her life has started to live inside your heart. When your child is going through some difficult moments, you as a parent are suffering a lot because you wish that you could do everything possible and impossible to take all the sorrow and suffering away from your child. Having a child who suffers from panic disorder is definitely a scary and difficult challenge for any parent because it is a disease that not only that it sometimes appears out of nowhere without any warning sign, but it also has an aggressive way of manifestation.
The good news which should make you feel more confident about the fact that by investing time, patience and love you can help your child overcome such a disease because the panic disorder is a common and treatable disease. The exact causes which lead to the development of panic disorder both at children and adults are still unclear. However, it has been noticed that they have a strong connection with a major life transition which can produce severe stress because of the concerns for the future and a major trauma which affects the mental health and the balance of an individual such as the death of a loved one, a job loss, or a divorce.
First of all, in order to be able to offer your child the necessary help that he or she needs through this difficult challenge, you need to understand the most common symptoms of the disease so that you can recognize them in the behavior of your child and in order to be aware when it is the time for you to take action and offer support and how to do it.
The most common symptoms of a panic disorder which you might be able to identify in your child are the followings:
- Sense of unreality
- Trembling or shaking
- Racing or pounding heartbeat
- Shortness of breath or hyperventilation
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Hot or cold flashes
- Choking feeling
- Fear of dying or losing control
Children are more sensitive than adults and they get affected by things which might seem incredibly insignificant for you but which could have huge importance for your child. The dramatic increase of the children dealing with anxiety and the panic disorder caused by it is due to the fact that the social context in which they are living has changed considerably in the latest years. All the reasons which might cause a child to deal with anxiety are related with nowadays social trends which the sociologists state to develop more and more such as the increasing number of the divorces of married couples who share one or more children and the popular trend of the internet exposure which leads to developing frustrations because of the constant competition with the other individuals seen on Social Media or on Tv which leads to the feelings of not being accepted by the surrounding society, online bullying, and constant craving for what the other ones have. Read below what are the best calming strategies which you can practice with your child when he or she is experiencing panic attacks.
Understand what is the cause
One of the best ways to offer real support to your child struggling with panic attacks is to understand the reason behind them. Apart from the fact that knowing the real reasons will help you include relevant information in the calming techniques which you are going to practice with your child to resolve his or her concerns, you also know the cause of it so that you can resolve the problem of your child.
Reduce the exposure to stressing situations
Knowing the reason which has led to the development of panic disorder also helps you to isolate the problem away from your child. The severe stress and anxiety create the best context for the panic attacks of your child to take place. In order to protect him or her and to offer support for overcoming the difficult situation, you need to reduce the exposure of your child to stressing situations which make him or her feel uncomfortable and in no control of the situation. Understand what is the comfort zone of your child and allow him or her to stay behind the boundaries until the problem of the panic attacks is treated.
Try relaxation techniques
There are numerous effective relaxation techniques which you can practice together with your child when he or she is struggling with a panic attack. Apart from the techniques which you can help your child with at home such as deep breathing which helps the muscles relax and relieve stress, having a healthy lifestyle such as exercising and a healthy diet, natural oils for stress relief, and teaching him or her how to practice distraction techniques when feeling a panic attack coming, you should also remember that considering cognitive behavioral therapy with a specialist is a must. Not only that a specialist will be able to understand the cause of the problem better and offer the best solutions for it which will help your child treat the panic attacks, but could also help your child develop more coping strategies with the situation.
Having panic attacks is not a serious problem which cannot be treated. However, it might become incredibly damaging to your child’s health because they can develop sleep disorders, changes in their eating habits, and it can also interfere with his or her daily life such as his or her interactions with the peers, establish friendships, and learning difficulties if you do not manage the problem right from the beginning and help your child get the best treatment for the panic disorder.
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