Panic attacks are surprisingly common in children and teenagers – between 3% to 5% of those under 18. More common in teenagers, they can be truly terrifying and have a significant impact on your child’s quality of life. We can help.
Panic attacks are a type of anxiety disorder that can severely impact on a child’s ability to take part in everyday activities. Parents are often relieved to hear that panic attacks respond well to treatment.
If your child or teenager has had more than one panic attack, if they becoming more fearful of certain situations, becoming depressed, self harming or have any other signs that you are worried about it is time to seek professional help.
There are two component parts to panic attacks or panic disorder as it is sometimes called. The first part is the panic attack itself, the second part is the fear of future panic attacks.
Panic attacks have terrifying physical symptoms including:
During a panic attack the child or teenager may feel that they are dying, or that they are in a dream and they may feel somehow detached from the situation.
The second part of the panic attack is the very real fear of having a future attack. This can result in the child or teenager choosing not to partake in activities, leave the house or even attend school.
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Whilst there may not be an obvious cause as to why the child has panic attacks, having a professional trained in understanding the condition can not only teach the child effective ways of managing the onset of an attack, but can also deal with any root cause.
Children and teenagers who suffer with panic attacks respond very well to talking therapies such as CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy).
Some children and teenagers with anxiety disorders may need medication to help bring their anxiety levels down sufficiently for talking therapies to be effective. A psychiatrist will be able to assess your child’s needs and recommend the correct treatment programme for them.