Anxiety Disorders in Children vs Adults: What’s the Difference?

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Anxiety disorders are something that can afflict people of all ages, but adults may experience anxiety differently than children. Mental health is a key part of a person’s overall wellness, and it’s important for families, friends, parents, teachers and others to recognize how anxiety impacts children and adults differently. Anxiety disorders like phobias, post traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, separation anxiety disorder and others have different presentations in adults and children. These diseases also may require unique treatment plans that consider different types of therapies, such as Brillia medication, talk therapy or behavior management strategies.

Normal Developmental Struggles

The first thing to recognize is that sometimes a child’s normal development process may look similar to some anxiety disorders. Children go through many different developmental stages as they grow, and sometimes their behavior may appear to change suddenly. Usually, when a child is simply experiencing a typical developmental change and acts differently, the change is temporary. Eventually, after going through the developmental phase, the child may go back to their regular behavior. Adults have already gone through all of their growth and developmental stages, so a change in behavior in an adult may signal something more serious.

Communicating Anxiety

Children also struggle to communicate their fears and anxiety to adults. Instead, children simply exhibit a range of different behaviors. Some parents and teachers may see negative behaviors and think that the child is just misbehaving. In a number of these cases, these behaviors signal some sort of anxiety disorder. Adults have a much easier time expressing their anxiety and self-identifying as having a problem with mental health. Children are often too young to understand their feelings of anxiety.

Symptoms in Children

Anxiety in children may appear in the form of a variety of behavioral symptoms. With anxiety, a child’s sleep routine may be interrupted on a regular basis. There may be nightmares, trouble falling asleep or fears of sleeping alone in the bedroom. Children with anxiety may struggle with focus at school, get in trouble, fall asleep during the day, appear irritable or seem restless. Some children with anxiety may also cry more often than usual or have frequent temper tantrums. Holistic anxiety medication for children may offer some relief from these symptoms.

Symptoms in Adults

Anxiety problems in adults may look much different than what doctors see in younger patients. Adults may have more physical symptoms, such as a rapid heartbeat, sweating or hyperventilation. They also may experience sleep problems and trouble concentrating. Adults also may be more likely to feel a sense of hopelessness or dread when experiencing anxiety.

Treatment Options 

Both adults and children have choices for treatment of anxiety. Some patients improve through a course of medication that treats the symptoms, such as focus medication for adults over the counter or prescription anti-anxiety medications. Other adults choose to work with a therapist to control their anxieties. Cognitive behavior therapy and talk therapy are two common strategies for treatment of adult anxiety.

People suffering from anxiety range in age from young children to senior adults. Anxiety is a disorder that doesn’t look the same in every individual patient, and children and adults may have completely different experiences with their disorder and treatment.