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How you feel and what others see. 

You probably feel that others can see your anxiety, this in fact is just another thing you are worried or fearful about. Other people might not recognise the signs of anxiety. The symptoms of anxiety are usually hidden under the surface, like your heart racing, or an upset stomach, even panicky or fearful thoughts. Most likely other people will not pick up on that. Blushing and looks of fear and terror are signs that some people can see.  

Children with anxiety problems are fearful of doing anything that they feel will cause embarrassment and look down at the floor instead, because of anxiety. People might ask you if you are shy, they will not understand in most circumstances, what is truly happening. 

Trying pushing yourself. 

Try leaving your comfort zone. Although it may not be easy, it can be good to do this as it gives you strength and stamina. This is because the anxiety can fade when things are done that make you anxious. No need to over-exert yourself, just a little bit at a time.  

If it is a face-to-face meeting or walking into a certain place try doing this and then see what happens. The chances are if you keep doing it the feelings, thoughts and emotions will fade or become acceptable to you. 

Experiment with what causes you to be nervous (not an all-out attack though). 

Try experimenting with what makes you emotionally nervous by doing things. Pick goals with things that make you feel this way and practise them. By keep doing those things that make you worry or feel nervous the practise will strengthen you. Just do not try running before you can walk. If you want to join a club or do some charity work, but you are feeling nervous about doing it, try taking a friend or someone from your family. If you can manage to go on your own, just sit in on the group and listen. Also try telling the group leader about how you feel about being and say you just want to sit and listen. 

Learn to relax. 

Doing things, like exercise, a yoga class or studying mindfulness can help with SAD. Caffeine can also increase anxiety conditions, so cut back on coffee, colas and energy drinks if you use them. And that is especially before doing anything in particular that makes you anxious. Cutting back on caffeine can certainly help you out with social anxiety. 


Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD). 

This psychological trauma of child mental illness causes a child worries and fear about a multitude of unnecessary things. The worries they have seem unhealthy to you and the anxiety causes irritability and insomnia. This condition is erratic in nature, but to the child it is an uncontrollable condition. The child that suffers this find the worrying can be extremely intense and it can last in periods of months or days, rather than hours.  

The type of child that suffers this has extremes of worry about their future, past and present. For example, they worry about university even though they are only in fourth grade. Another generalisation anxiety that the child might say with this issue is a conversation like this, 'How did you do at cricket today'? The child says, 'I bowled out two people'. That's brilliant may be your reply, but in their next sentence they say, 'Yeah, but I'm worried about how maths will go tomorrow'. In other word’s they generalize on worry and anxiety issues instead of feelings happy at the result of cricket. 

Treatment of General anxiety disorder. 

Both therapy and medication can be used in conjunction with each other for children with GAD. Often using both medication and therapy as a combination is most successful. Improvement can be seen in a matter of just 2-4 weeks.  

Treating a child with anxiety is quite a challenge as more than one condition can be present, such as GAD and mutism. Sometimes, more than one treatment is required before success is achieved. 

The research and study that have been carried out for the therapy methods for GAD involves communication therapies. Children and teenagers with GAD are taught and learnt to recognise the psychological symptoms of anxiety and are taught to use self-talking therapy instead of talking negatively. Parents are also an inclusion in therapy to provide rewards for successfulness and provide a supportive and reinforcement and learn to practise skills with their children that they can implement. Education is given about the condition and ways to evaluate and identify, to change anxious thoughts. Training in relaxation is also given and that has been used to treat GAD, with success happening. This type of therapy is known as mindfulness. I will talk more later of mindfulness. 

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). 

OCD causes persistent compulsions or obsessions in a child. These two conditions usually affect the daily routines of the child. In OCD what can happen is that the child will have worrying thought that is unwanted. They may even have unwanted images that they cannot understand or make sense of. These two afflictions can occur even if the child does not want to think of them. When the images or thought enter the child imagination they find the they are repetitive against their will. This is the compulsion symptom of OCD. 


  • Compulsions are things that someone does to reduce anxiety and or fear from what they think is going to happen. 

  • Avoidance of feared places and situations or even activities. Children with OCD quite often avoid things that may cause their obsessions or compulsions. You may find for this reason that they avoid school and after school groups or going out with their friends.  

  • Checking is a symptom whereby you constantly check throughout the night or day on things unnecessarily. 

  • Rituals are symptoms where they wash and clean excessively or repeatedly. 

  • Correcting obsessional thoughts is another condition by for example: saying a special word over and over again; praying; counting. This compulsion makes a child feel like it will stop any harm coming to their family, friends or a pet. It can also be a way that stops thought and images from hindering them. 

  • Seeking assurance is another and is by repeatedly asking others that everything is going to be alright. 


  • Exactness and symmetry. This is an obsessive desire to have items ordered in a certain way. It could be according to colour, size or even facing in a certain direction. 

  • Accidental harm that is caused to yourself or others. For example: they may feel that if they do not clean properly you may give them an illness. 

  • Sexual thoughts that disgust them or they are repulsed by in teens. 

Selective mutism (SM). 

Selective mutism is a disorder that is complex anxiety in children. It is a condition where symptoms are the child's inability to communicate and speak in certain societal settings, such as groups and schooling. A child suffering mutism will only be able to speak in a setting where they feel relaxed, comfortable and secure.  

Children do not display this anxiety disorder in the same way. Some of them find they cannot communicate and are completely mute with anyone in a social setting. Many speak in whispers and can only speak to select people. Some feel waves of fear if they are in certain social settings. Most become socially isolated and freeze at thoughts, are expressionless and unemotional. Some that are less severely affected find they can talk to a few close friends and associates that they can bond with, but are unable to speak to peers and teachers in an effective manner. 

Many of the children and teens with this condition of SM also have social anxiety or a social phobia. It is a painful and debilitating the young. Adolescents and children actually have extreme fear when trying to speak in social situations. Many of you with selective mutism have greater difficulty communicating or initiating conversation about feelings, and emotions in a non-verbal context. In social engagement you may feel compromised when confronted by others in a setting that is overwhelming or you feel like you are expected to communicate to an authoritative figure. 

Most children and teens can be timid or shy in certain situations, but a child with selective mutism has extreme fears because of shyness and feeling timid. 

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Welham Green,

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