Counseling Child Anxiety, Stress: Phoenix, Scottsdale, Cave Creek, Arizona

Parents can recoginize anxious symptoms: repetitive worrying, change in appetite, difficulty with sleep, rapid speech that is unfocused, rapid breathing, panic irritability. There are many tips parents can learn to help your child stay calm and tranquil and help manage stress and anxiety. Parents can work with a therapist or counselor helping a child cope as well as exploring the roots of the anxiety and inner conflicts.

Many children report high levels of anxiety at school. Children as young as five self harm due to anxiety and stress related to school and academics. Many children do not know how to express their feelings and emotions end up turning into aggression, sadness, anger, tantrums, crying etc. It is vital to teach children to express emotions at a young age before it oozes into an imbalance.

There are many factors that can contribute to anxiety or anxiety disorders: obsessive compulsive disorders, Panic disorders, social anxiety, Phobias, general anxiety, Panic attacks, PTSD Post traumatic stress disorders and more.

It is important to look at many elements in an individuals life: medications, factors during inception and birth, environmental factors, Drugs, marijuana, alcohol, Stressors, Trauma from the past ( emotional, physical, mental), sleep, diet, daily habits, negative cognitions daily, genetics in the family from Mom and Dad as well as other family members and their traumas as well.


Many practitioners give meds without addressing the root causes of the anxiety. It is important to look at all the above and more in order to create the best plan to reduce anxiety. I have worked with anxiety disorders for over 15 years and have seen a combination of many elements that exacerbate anxiety disorders. It is vital to look at all the above areas in order to really manage your child’s anxiety or your anxiety as best as possible. Not looking at sleep for example and treating the disorder without a change in sleep will most likely not be very successful since sleep is an important element in mood disorders.

Brain experts believe a diet that is heavy in inflammation food consumption and low in healthy fats affects the risk of obtaining anxiety or anxiety disorders. Anxiety is extremely high in those with high sensitivity to gluten.

Medication is used to treat ADHD , however, research shows that it also leads to anxiety disorders, as well as other symptoms including but not limited to addiction.

There are many tools an anxiety client can learn in order to manage an anxiety disorder be it panic attacks, phobias, generalized anxiety, PTSD, etc.

Some of the research based tools in counseling psychology to manage anxiety are: EMDR, DBT, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Progressive Relaxation, VMBR, Exposure therapy, and mindfulness.

Child anxiety is stressful and painful for families. Activities that once were enjoyable are avoided and parents hear complaints of stomach problems, and various aches and pains, headaches and more. Learning ways to cope with anxiety is important. It is a fine balancing act however avoiding school and avoiding sleeping alone and avoiding new things is not creating a balance for your child or teenager. Forcing a child may be overwhelming and can be a failed approach as well. It is important that parents understand that anxiety can be debilitating and your child may no be manipulating and may not be lazy.

Many children that have behavioral issues like oppositional defiance or conduct disorders also have underlying anxiety that they do not know how to handle or identify. Learning skills to manage anxiety is vital to you child’s success socially as well as academically and behaviorally and emotionally. Most children can not articulate what is going on inside their bodies and minds. They must learn skills and tools to address their anxiety.

Some children can manifest itself in different ways. One way might be to avoid situations that are uncomfortable. Another way might be to escape the situation and this can be seen or perceived as oppositional or defiant when it is really fear based. Behavioral dysregulation is common with children and teens that have anxiety disorders: panic attacks, phobia, social anxiety, PTSD, Post traumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety disorders , obsessive compulsive disorder and other anxiety disorders.

Children that display temper tantrums, behavioral problems at school, throw things at school, throw themselves down and cry and have full blown outburst may have a profound anxiety disorder however this needs to be assessed by a professional. Anxiety disorders need to be assessed and treated by a professional in mental health care.

Academic pressure and demands in the classroom can trigger anxiety and this will look like disruptive behaviors. The child may feel overwhelmed and anxious and not be able to cope with the teachers request or the assignment. The child might be intelligent however he or she may have a learning challenge or trouble with the task and feel overwhelmed hence unable to do the task and act out behaviorally.

Most teachers are not trained in identifying anxiety disorders and a child or teenager typically will end up in suspension or in the Principals office being punished. This does not address the underlying issue that may be an anxiety disorder.

A child that is diagnosed with ADHD may have an anxiety disorder instead that looks like: impulsivity, hyperactivity, and inattention however this needs to be evaluated by a professional. A lot of times individuals jump to ADHD diagnosis when really the child or teen is suffering with an anxiety disorder. An anxiety disorder may be primary and for example ADHD is secondary or it may be the other way around. There are a number of other diagnosis as well that may be co-occuring with a child or teens anxiety.

Many adolescent teens are feeling worthless, unhappy, inability to focus or concentrate.

Teens are reporting more problems sleeping and are not receiving adequate sleep.

Children and teens are slow to talk about their distress to parents and parents tend to be slow to respond once finding out their child or teen is suffering.

Parents are not to blame for a child’s mental health issues. Children can have excellent parenting and still suffer from mental health issues.

In colleges and universities throughout the United States the following research was done and this was the mental health results :

The American College Health Association surveyed 100,000 college students at 53 US campuses and found that 84 per cent of US students feel unable to cope, 79 per cent are exhausted, 60 per cent feel very sad and more than half are experiencing overwhelming anxiety.

Obviously teens and college students need to learn coping and stress management tools to address : school, peers, family, work, grades, social situations and much more.

Many teenagers and adolescents as well as college students fear failure and are fearful of their future and need a direction and support to reach their goals. Children as young as 10 are worried about finding a job in many homes and are stressed and anxious.

Cyberbullying and social media can be a stressor and many teens are concerned about their body image with such a huge emphasis on waif models being the norm when most adults know this is not reality. Technology does not create the bully or the poor body image it may magnify the problem. Removing all media may not solve the issue because it is the negative distorted and unhealthy thoughts inside your child or adolescents head that is feeding the negative behaviors and mood. Media can affect our moods however it is up to parents and children and teens to set limits on use and be able to turn it off and find a balance in other activities above and beyond social media and or video games and technology.

Child anxiety is simply a form of stress. It is an alarm system for all human beings. Everyone experiences anxiety. Children may feel it if they have a presentation at school or when life gets difficult. Children can face anxiety when taking tests, switching schools, moving to a new house, moving to a new city. Certain levels of stress and anxiety are normal. However when impacts getting things done, not going to school, not participating in school or social events, avoiding activities and makes life less enjoyable it is time to get an assessment from a counselor or therapist that is trained in working with children.

There are many types of anxiety disorders: Phobias, social phobia, panic attacks, PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Obsessive compulsive disorder, and more. There are two ways to deal with anxiety disorders. Learn tools via counseling and empower oneself to manage the stress or some people medicate themselves. Research shows that if one chooses medication that counseling is needed for best results. No medication can change your child’s thought process.

Some but not all symptoms of anxiety are: excessive worrying, trouble focusing, fatigue and being tired during the day, difficulty sleeping at night, a lot of worry that lasts days or more. Many children do not express their feelings about what is going on however if the above is happening you can deduce what most likely is going on. Many children express physical symptoms like: headaches, stomach aches, not feeling well etc.

Child and teenage Anxiety often manifests as a physical symptom like pain, fatigue, or inability to sleep. 30 percent of patients seen by primary care practitioners have at least one ANXIETY disorder.

Children and teenagers with anxiety disorders typically experience intense fear, worry and discomfort that last for a long time and significantly impact an adolescent or child and families lives.

Anxiety Disorders can lead to school problems , social issues, academic problems, alcohol and drug use, anxiety issues as an adult.

Anxiety Disorders can impact obtaining employment and can create frustration and anger issues when goals are not reached and the anxiety continues to impede progress.

The great news is psychotherapy and counseling can alleviate your anxiety and stress and their are also medications that a physician would give if needed.

Depressed teenagers who received cognitive behavioral therapy also known as CBT in their recovered faster, and were also more likely to recover, than children and teens who did not receive counseling and psychotherapy services, this study was published in a pediatric journal recently in 2015.

Self-reported child and adolescent sleep across the last twenty fiver years are concerning and suggest that there is potentially a significant public health concern that warrants education for parents and counseling education for youth and teens in the USA.

There is a connection and awareness among the scientific community that insomnia, depression and anxiety disorders are linked with each other. The risks are psychological, emotional, social, and more and must be addressed as a system.

Having insomnia in addition to anxiety or depression can further intensify the problems being experienced with each individual disorder. It can lead to such problems as alcohol and drug misuse during adolescence.


Children and teenagers can experience stressors which can interfere with sleep. Consumption of energy drinks – which contain caffeine – is also known to disrupt sleep, as is use of certain medications: aniti-depressants etc. A majority of children and teens are spending 40-50 hours more than they should each week playing or involved w electronics: video games, you tube, TV, Snap Chat, Instagram, Facebook, Texting, gaming, and more on the internet. Research shows that this also is impacting sleep which is connected with motivation, mood, anxiety, depression and more. It may exacerbate symptoms or create mood disorders.

Diet is one huge component that creates anxious symptoms. Caffeine creates an artificial and temporary lift for people who are stressed out and tired. It is different than a lift you get from good food and exercise .

Here is a list of possible side effects from caffeine : restlessness , nervousness , irritability , shaking , sleeplessness , sweaty hands, irregular heart beat , nervous or upset stomach , panic attacks and more .

Counseling can teach you healthy ways to manage anxiety and stress and create calm and balance in your life .

Many children that are quiet or shy meet the criteria for social phobia or generalized anxiety disorder .

Children affected with social phobia display greater impairment socially and are more likely to experience anxiety, mood disorders, depression, behavior disorders, substance use and more. The intense fear can be crippling with regard to social interactions.

A large percentage of teens with social phobia fail to seek

professional treatment for anxiety.

Psychotherapy and counseling can help children manage their anxiety and phobia so they can interact with those they hope to connect with.

The use of certain psychiatric medications during pregnancy can result in children born with depression by early teens and adolescence. A great deal of research from Finland, and other countries have found found that children exposed to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) during gestation had more chance of being diagnosed with depression after age 12.

What is best for your child? Working with an expert in counseling that can treat children and teens and families. One type of therapy is not the only technique to create change. A wide array of therapies can help a child manage his mood, behaviors, anxiety and depression. A holistic and a multi systemic approach is the best prevention and the best way to facilitate desired changes for your child and teenager.

Receiving input form parents on daily and weekly behaviors and working together to modify unhealthy habits and routines as well as setting up a system that is reward based for positive behaviors is vital in creating balance and success for your child.

Children and adolescents suffer from anxiety. Some of the most common types of anxiety are : panic , phobias, generalized anxiety ,PTSD, and separation anxiety. Obsessive compulsive behavior is also a part of anxiety disorders .

Psychotherapy and counseling can be extremely helpful in learning ways to overcome anxiety ridden thinking and anxiety due to physiological responses.

There are many things children and parents can do to create health and balance for their child and teen or college student. Finding a healthy balance is key to your youths success. Lifeworks AZ has worked with youth and families over fifteen years in: building self esteem, parenting tips, mood regulation, goal setting, anger management, healthy social skills, reaching goals, behavior modification for youth, autistic youth, highly gifted, learning disabled children and more.

It is important to find a professional that has daily experience working with children and teens . and Families…Children and teens can learn tools and skills to manage and cope with anxiety and other disorders. Parents can learn skills as well to help create success and balance in your child’s life. David Abrams MAPC, LPC, CAGS has over 15 years experience working with families and youth treating anxiety disorders. has testimonials and more information

Articles are not to be taken as a substitute for professional advice or counseling.