Anxiety is a health issue that is slowly but surely becoming more talked about as of late. As mental illness and emotional wellness becomes more readily understood through psychological and anthropological studies, so too can you learn how to better treat its symptoms in yourself and your children. There are many ways to reduce anxious symptoms and encourage a higher quality of life in young to older children — therapeutic card games and posters are but a few of the resources you can turn to in order to put a dent in panic attacks, racing thoughts and self-doubt. Still not sure how anxiety works and whether or not you can properly address it? Look below to learn more about this common condition.
What Is Anxiety Disorder?
Mental health is just as important as physical health. In fact, it can be readily argued the two are intrinsically linked and easily affect the other. Anxiety disorder is part of a broader spectrum of mental health issues that are characterized by racing thoughts, panic attacks, emotional turmoil, debilitating fear and various physical symptoms such as heart palpitations, sweating palms and shaking legs. Panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (often shortened to OCD) and social anxiety are different forms of anxiety disorder.
How Common Is Anxiety Disorder?
Anxiety disorder is more common than previously thought. In fact, the average person you meet on the street very well could have panic disorder or OCD. Studies have shown anywhere between 10% and 20% of school-aged children will deal with anxiety on a daily basis, with anxiety disorders accounting for an estimated 30% of all childhood psychiatric disorders. Psychologists have extensively studied the rate at which children start to experience continuous symptoms and average that an anxiety disorder will develop in a child by the time they’re six years-old.
What Other Mental Health Issues Are There?
Mental illness takes on many forms. Depression is another very common issue that is starting to see more attention and one that many children suffer from daily. An estimated 17 million children across the United States either have had or still have a psychiatric disorder and around 15% of children and teenagers are struggling with depression. Depression is characterized by fatigue, lethargy, disinterest in daily activities and/or hobbies, hopelessness, difficulties concentrating, difficulties sleeping and mood swings. Unchecked anxiety disorder or panic disorder can also lead to depression-like symptoms.
How Does Play Therapy Help?
There are many ways to reduce symptoms of anxiety and create a happier, more emotionally stable child. By the time children turn six years-old they will have spent up to 15,000 hours playing — play therapy is especially suited for children between the ages of three to 12, but is still beneficial for anyone struggling with mental health issues. Therapeutic card games are involving and relaxing, perfect for focusing a child’s attention away from an encroaching panic attack or the ‘doomsday thoughts’ that characterize anxiety.
What Should I Use To Encourage Play Therapy?
Therapeutic card games, stress card games and tools like a think ball or therapy workbook have been proven to lower the fear and stress that comes with anxiety disorder. For over 70 years play therapy has been used as a go-to method to help children communicate with words are not enough, allowing them to interact with their peers, exercise their mind and relax when they’re in the middle of an anxious episode. A 2015 report saw 80% of children with anxiety disorder having a difficult time getting the treatment they need or going completely undiagnosed. There are countless resources at your disposal to give children the help they need to thrive. Try using therapeutic card games or a workbook next time they have an episode and put them on the track to emotional wellness.