11 Feb

Anxiety in Children. What Does It Look Like?

This blog topic is very close to my heart and is the first time I am going public with my sons recent diagnosis.Children under the age of 5 usually present with generalized anxiety. What does that look like? Usually it presents when a child may be separated from their parents, the tantrums that are more on an extreme level are children displaying emotion that they are not aware of and displaying it in the form of anxiety. When a child develops more cognitively they begin to specify their anxiety. Around the age of 7-9 is when you can see that the anxiety branches off and becomes more specific such as Obsessive Compulsive Behaviour which is a mental illness directly related to anxiety.Over the course of the last year I had notice that Ben became consistant on some of his routines and that things needed to be in certain places. At the start of the school year he began a “ritual” of saying he put something in his mouth and asking if it was ok, I had to answer with “yes, its ok” or he would become very uncomfortable. This became very persistent and began to affect him at home, at school and at Dads house. It wasn’t until he started to wash his hands so consistently and insistently that I began to question if this behaviour was actually “normal” for a 5 year old. When he asked me if “it was ok” I started to ask him why he is asking that question, his response was this “Because if I don’t ask I am scared that I am going to die.” This response never changed. Now, if there wasn’t a fear attached to these questions than I would not have questioned this behaviour but because the fear was so excessive I had to talk to someone.Being in the helping field with a few psychology courses under my belt I realized that my 5 year old was presenting quite clearly with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I spoke to his paediatrician who thought it may be a good idea to seek some assistance on the psychology side of things.I went for a walk in session at ROCK which is a resource centre for children in Halton. They immediately set up an intake with a child psychologist and with in weeks of our first meeting Ben was in fact diagnosed with OCD as well as an accompanied tick disorder.I realize that some parents out there may feel as though I am “labelling” my child but a 5 year old being scared of dying from a simple toy entering his mouth is quite serious in my opinion and if the help is available for him to work past this and get a hold of it why would I not seek the proper assistance that he needs.We are about to begin cognitive behaviour therapy with him, although he may not take to it completely without being fully cognitively developed yet we are going to attempt to do what we can with this form of treatment. It is extremely rare for a 5 year old to present so clearly with OCD and not just generalized anxiety so the treatment that is available for children with OCD is usually at a higher cognitive level.I will write another post with our progress and what Cognitive Behaviour Therapy looks like.If any moms out there have any questions about their children behaviour or anxiety please feel free to leave a note or you can email us at info@singlemomsfreshstart.org. I would be happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have and point you in the right direction.

Leave a Reply