PANIC DISORDER AMONG CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS
One of the most common and treatable mental health illnesses is a panic disorder. Children and adolescents suffering from panic disorder can have sudden and repeated episodes of extreme fear or uneasiness. They are also unable to breathe with their heartbeats racing and pounding. These symptoms happen during panic attacks. These panic attacks can last up to minutes or sometimes hours. Most of the time, panic attacks just occur suddenly.
What are the symptoms of a panic attack?
Panic attack symptoms include intense worrying or fearfulness, racing heartbeats, shortness of breath, shaking, dizziness and sometimes derealization.
Panic disorder usually begins during adolescence, but it may also start during childhood. It sometimes runs in families. It is important for it to be recognized and treated because its complications can be distressing. If not treated, it can affect a child’s or an adolescent’s daily life and overall development.
Even when they are not having panic attacks, children and adolescents who suffer from panic disorder may always have anxiety. Some of them begin to avoid those situations that trigger their panic attacks. In extremely serious cases, some of them are even scared to leave their homes.
What’s more frightening is that children and adolescents with panic disorders can develop depression and would be at risk to have suicidal thoughts. Some will resort to alcohol or drugs to lower anxiety levels.
How is panic disorder diagnosed?
It can be difficult to diagnose panic disorder among children and adolescents. It is ideal to have them visit a physician and undergo different tests. If diagnosed and evaluated accurately, panic disorder usually responds well to treatment.
How can panic disorder be treated?
There are various ways to treat panic disorder including specific medications and psychotherapy. Through this, they may develop ways to control their panic attacks. Also, there are home management strategies that can be implemented. Parents should be hands-on to their children suffering from panic disorder.
Panic disorder should be treated as early as possible. If not, it may lead to distressing complications such as agoraphobia, depression, and addiction to a substance.