Childhood Anxiety: A Sign of Something Larger?

Childhood Anxiety

For those who work in addictions, the term “dual diagnosis” is well understood. Essentially, it describes the way in which addictions often overlay another, and sometimes more pervasive, diagnosis.

Often the diagnosis is related to trauma, and leaves the client with emotional residue – in the form of heightened anxiety. As a way to cope with this anxiety and “feel normal,” the theory holds, clients often resort to drugs as a type of “self-medication.”

Yet, while drugs may initially soothe a client with hypervigilance, they come with their own set of problems. Clients frequently become addicted not just because many substances alter the way the brain responds to them, but also because they are trying to fix a larger underlying problem.

Anxiety cannot be fixed by drugs or alcohol – it can only be masked. But if the anxiety is left undetected – as it often is in children – the child who becomes an adolescent is left to fend for himself. It’s not hard to see how drugs can become attractive. They offer a quick fix, and one that the teen can secure on his/her own, thereby avoiding acknowledging there is a problem, or asking for help.

Wouldn’t it be much easier to treat the anxiety before it turns into an addiction? Clearly it would, however, treating childhood anxiety depends on first recognizing it, and then knowing the strategies, techniques, and treatment options to help children cope with their anxiety. In the best scenario, a clinician would also be able to identify the precursors of anxiety and utilize strategies to prevent its further development.

Through recognizing the frequency with which anxiety disorders occur and becoming familiar with the communication and behavioral strategies to help children manage their anxiety, not just can childhood anxiety be better treated, but a host of problems down the road prevented. (Childhood anxiety doesn’t just forecast drug use, it also correlates with depression, relational problems, and academic difficulties.)

Moreover, children who might otherwise avoid seeking the help of a trained professional – and find themselves self-medicating down the road – can develop a lasting representation of mental health professionals that serves as an important component of their well-being as they progress through school and into adulthood. All of this depends on educated professionals with the knowledge and skills to treat childhood anxiety when it first occurs.

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Anxiety in ChildrenAnxiety in Children is a 4-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that focuses on behavioral interventions for children with anxiety disorders. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (2017), it is estimated that 40 million Americans suffer from anxiety disorders. Anxiety disorders affect one in eight children, but is often not diagnosed. Untreated anxiety can lead to substance abuse, difficulties in school, and depression. Professionals who work with children, including speech language pathologists, mental health professionals, and occupational therapists, frequently encounter anxiety disorders among their young clients. This course is intended to help clinicians recognize and understand the anxiety disorders that frequently occur in children and learn a wide variety of communication and behavioral strategies for helping their clients manage their anxiety. Included are sections on types and causes of anxiety disorders, strategies for prevention, evidence-based treatments, techniques for helping children manage worry, relaxation techniques for use with children, and detailed discussions on school anxiety and social anxiety. Course #40-43 | 2017 | 69 pages | 25 posttest questions

This online course provides instant access to the course materials (PDF download) and CE test. After enrolling, click on My Account and scroll down to My Active Courses. From here you’ll see links to download/print the course materials and take the CE test (you can print the test to mark your answers on it while reading the course document).

Successful completion of the online CE test (80% required to pass, 3 chances to take) and course evaluation are required to earn a certificate of completion. Click here to learn more. Have a question? Contact us. We’re here to help!

This course is sponsored by Professional Development Resources, a nonprofit educational corporation 501(c)(3) organized in 1992. We are approved to sponsor continuing education by the American Psychological Association (APA); the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA); the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR); the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy, Psychology & School Psychology, Dietetics & Nutrition, Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and Occupational Therapy Practice; the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board and Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology; the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs; the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists and State Board of Social Worker Examiners; and are CE Broker compliant (all courses are reported within a few days of completion).

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