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We all worry. It's an expected part of life. But when your child has generalized anxiety disorder, they worry about lots of things. Your child has a hard time not worrying. This worry or anxiety interferes with your child's relationships, school, and life.
Your child may worry most days about things like school or friends. That may make your child feel tired, tense, or cranky. It can make it hard to think. It may get in the way of healthy sleep. Your child also may have physical symptoms of anxiety such as stomach aches or headaches.
Counselling and medicine can both work to treat anxiety. They are often used together with lifestyle changes.
Counselling involves meeting with a therapist like a social worker, psychologist, mental health therapist, or occupational therapist to work together to set and meet goals for your child. Some counselling can involve a team of therapists. An important part of counselling is the relationship between your child, their therapist, and your family. Look for a therapist who is warm, who understands your child, and who you trust. You may want to find support from someone who understands your family's cultural background. There are different approaches that your child's therapist may use, including:
Ask your therapist to explain the approach they use. You also may have family counselling. Family counselling is an important part of treating anxiety in children. It can help family members learn how to support your child.
Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.
Call 911 anytime you think your child may need emergency care. For example, call if:
If your child talks about suicide, self-harm, or feeling hopeless, get help right away. Call your provincial suicide hotline or Crisis Services Canada: 1-833-456-4566, or go to www.crisisservicescanada.ca for more information.
Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd
Enter G120 in the search box to learn more about "Generalized Anxiety Disorder in Children: Care Instructions".
Adaptation Date: 8/18/2022
Adapted By: Alberta Health Services
Adaptation Reviewed By: Alberta Health Services
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