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What Indicates if Your Little Preschooler Will Develop an Anxiety Disorder?


All children will feel anxiety in their preschool years, pulled away from loving parents and grandparents, placed into an environment that may or may not be hostile. Certain factors from one's preschool years could become important indicators of future anxiety disorder onsets.

What is anxiety disorder?

According to CAMH, when cognitive, behavioral and physical symptoms of anxiety become constant and long-lasting, to the point of disrupting one's everyday routines and negatively affecting all aspects of one's life, it is often diagnosed as an anxiety disorder. Affecting over 15 million Americans, it can come in 6 different forms:

  • phobias
  • panic disorder (with or without agoraphobia)
  • generalized anxiety disorder
  • obsessive compulsive disorder
  • acute stress disorder
  • post-traumatic stress disorder

Anxiety disorders have a lifetime prevalence of approximately 25%, and involve high rates of suicide attempts, ranging from 13% of generalized anxiety disorder patients to 17% in post-traumatic stress disorder patients. It may not seem like an important disorder to focus on, but statistics point otherwise. As such, pinning it down from a young age means early treatment and ease of transitioning into all stages of life later on.

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Kava, passion flower and amino acids are effective in treating anxiety disorders.

How can we tell if this disorder will manifest in children and what indicators should we look for?

Anxiety disorders are often seen present at a preschool age. According to an study looking at 1000 Norwegian 4-year old children published in the December 2013 issue of the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, the five main indicators include:

  1. High behavior inhibition (retreating from strange objects and individuals, not vocalizing when strangers are in the room, clinging to parents needlessly, fretting or crying for little reasons normally handled differently.)
  2. ADHD (marked by an attention deficit and hyperactivity which can disrupt both own learning and the lives of those around them)
  3. Parental anxiety (only has effect if coupled with BI)
  4. Peer victimization (the bullied on the playground is less likely to be expressive and more likely to be constantly anxious)
  5. Low social skills (high social competence can become a perfect buffer against negative factors taking root as anxiety, ensuring the child has much lower chances of having the disorder manifest)

Alongside serving these 10 foods, it would be prudent to keep on top of a preschooler's daily activities and ensure he or she shares emotions and concerns daily with parents and grandparents, effectively helping prevent the onset of an anxiety disorder.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons