How can I help my child with their panic or anxiety disorder?

Dealing with anxiety

The number of teens living with panic and anxiety disorders is on the increase. These worrying statistics can often leave parents wondering where to turn, and how they can help their teens manage and cope with these debilitating mental health issues. 

There are many reasons and factors behind anxiety and panic disorders. The world we live in is fast-paced and your teen is learning to handle their changing emotions, physical developments and adolescent pressures on top of everything else. So much so, it’s hardly surprising that treatment of anxiety disorders is on the rise. As a parent, you may be wondering how you can help and support your child with a recognised panic or anxiety disorder episode. Here we’ll explore some simple practices that will complement any mental health treatment plan or aftercare programme. Read on to find out more…

Educate yourself

Knowing the causes and triggers of an anxiety or panic attack can help you understand your teenager’s condition better. And the more you know, the more sympathetic, understanding and supportive you’ll be. From the different types of anxiety disorders to the signs of an impending attack, the more you read and understand, the more prepared you’ll feel and the more supported your teen will feel. Research as many resources as possible, and understand your teens’ treatment plan, if they have one in place. 

Be a good influence

When your teen is struggling with a mental issue or disorder, it’s difficult to focus on anything else. You may find your own personal health and general wellbeing begins to decline due to your preoccupation with your loved one. However, remember that whilst you’re putting your teen first you need to be a good influence. Remember to take care of yourself, physically and emotionally. Eat well, get plenty of rest, engage in hobbies you enjoy and be a model of self-care and self-preservation. Children and teenagers pick up habits from their parents!

Reassure them

You may have already sought help for your teen, and you may have been with them to every appointment and clinic, however, it’s still important to remind your teen that you’re there for them at home. Taking on the role of their advocate is incredibly challenging especially when they’re experiencing a panic attack, heart palpitations, fear, breathing problems and overwhelming feelings of panic and dread. Consistent reassurance will remind them that they’re not alone – you can also step in at school to discuss their condition with their teachers to ensure they’re getting the support they need in all areas of their life.

Remember to do things together

When it comes to mental disorders and anguish, it can quickly become all-consuming and take over every area of your family life. However, encouraging a healthy, safe environment at home where you all engage in activities you enjoy and find relaxing will inspire a healthier lifestyle for everyone.

Final thoughts…

Being the parent of a teen is certainly challenging, and when your child has a panic or anxiety disorder it can make things much more complicated. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help as soon as possible.

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