Mental Health

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Anxiety Attack

Anxiety Attacks: Facts

  • Happens in 1-2% of people.
  • Risk factors: anxiety attacks are genetic. They tend to occur in families.
  • Age of onset: teens or young adults
  • Cause: release of stress hormones as when "under attack"
  • Triggers of attacks: life stressors, though many attacks are unexpected
  • Length of attacks: 20-30 minutes
  • How often attacks happen: no set pattern
  • Side effect: patient avoids social settings for fear of having an attack
  • Treatment, if frequent: Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT). SSRI meds may also be prescribed by a provider. They can turn down the volume on anxious thoughts.

Normal Anxiety and Worries:

  • Anxiety is a normal human response to stressful events.
  • It also protects us from real dangers.
  • All people feel anxious at times. It is a normal emotion that will always be part of you.
  • But, anxiety can be managed so that it does not keep you from doing normal things.
  • When your child is anxious or worried, help them talk about their feelings.

Behavior Scale: How to Judge Severity

  • Mild Symptoms: Symptoms do not keep the child from any normal activities. School, play, relationships and sleep have not changed. Treatment: parenting groups or books.
  • Moderate Symptoms: Symptoms keep the child from doing some normal activities. New behaviors mainly happen at home. They affect how the child and parent interact. They may also keep him or her from going to child care or school. Your child may not sleep well because of these symptoms. Treatment: most often, brief counseling from a mental health provider or your child's doctor.
  • Severe Symptoms: Symptoms keep the child from doing most normal activities. They affect the way the child acts with parents. Symptoms also impact relations with siblings and friends. Adults at child care or school may also be impacted by the child's actions. Treatment: these patients often need to be seen urgently by a mental health provider.

Is this your child's symptom?

  • Anxiety attacks (also called panic attacks).
  • Symptoms are fast, deep breathing (hyperventilation), fast heart rate, feeling dizzy and many others. The body goes on 'red alert.' Patient feels like they are dying or losing control of their body.
  • Normal anxiety, worries and fears also covered.


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