Anxiety In Children: How Can It Lead To Social Isolation And Changes In Eating Habits?
How Can It Lead To Social Isolation And Changes In Eating Habits? : Happy Children’s Day 2023: Children can experience anxiety due to traumatic experiences or a pre-existing belief system. In children, it may be because of low insecurity, broken family, traumatic events that happened in a past life, the inbuilt thought or belief system that leads to the danger, etc. Phobias are also anxiety disorders that produce fear in oneself. Parents, caregivers, and educators must recognize signs of childhood anxiety. Behavioural Signs of Anxiety in Children By Dr Narendra Shetty, Chief Wellness Officer, Kshemavana, SDM Institute of Naturopathy and Yogic Sciences:
- Excessive Worry: Children with anxiety often worry excessively about various aspects of their lives, such as school, relationships, or performance in activities. They can ask the same question multiple times as they look for reassurance.
- Irritability: Anxiety can make children easily agitated, leading to increased irritability. They may have frequent emotional outbursts and meltdowns.
- Avoidance Behavior: Anxiety can drive children to avoid situations that trigger their fears. This might lead to school refusal, avoiding social events, or even avoiding certain foods.
- Difficulty Concentrating: Anxiety can make it challenging for children to focus and concentrate on tasks, affecting their academic performance and making it difficult to complete everyday activities.
Dr. Narendra Shetty Shares Physiological Signs of Anxiety in Children:
- Physical Symptoms: Anxiety can manifest through physical symptoms, including stomachaches, headaches, and muscle tension.
- Sleep Disturbances: Children with anxiety may experience sleep disturbances, such as difficulty falling asleep, nightmares, or night sweats.
- Increased Heart Rate: When anxious, a child’s heart rate may increase. They may feel their heart racing or pounding, which can be distressing.
- Digestive Issues: Anxiety can affect the digestive system, leading to issues like diarrhoea or constipation. Because of these experiences, they tend to isolate themselves from others, leading to escapism.
- Peer Avoidance: Anxious children may avoid social interactions with their peers due to fear of judgment or rejection.
- Withdrawal: They may become socially withdrawn, spending more time alone or engaging in solitary activities to avoid anxiety-inducing situations.
- School Refusal: Extreme anxiety may result in school refusal as children try to escape the stressors of the school environment.
Anxiety Can Also Impact A Child’s Eating Habits
- Loss of Appetite: Anxiety may lead to a loss of appetite, causing a child to eat significantly less than usual.
- Selective Eating: Anxiety can make children more selective about the types of foods they are willing to eat, leading to imbalanced diets.
Recognizing the behavioural and physiological signs of anxiety in children is essential for early intervention and support. If left unaddressed, anxiety can lead to social isolation and significant changes in eating habits. With proper understanding and assistance, children can lead fulfilling lives.