Does Your Child:
- Bite his/her nails?
- Have difficulties with change or new situations?
- Have repetitive behaviours ?
- Complain of physical symptoms such as diarrhea, nausea, stomach ache, headaches?
- Experience phases of intense anger, inflexibility, tantrums?
- rapid heartbeat, dizziness, shortness of breath or difficulty
- hyper or hypo activity, difficulty sleeping
Your child may be experiencing a degree of anxiety.
What are the different types of anxiety?
- Social Anxiety Disorder ( SAD)
- Separation Anxiety Disorder
- Selective Mutism
- Specific Phobias
- Generalized Anxiety
- Panic Disorder
Why be concerned?
The Top 12 Childhood Concerns according to the 2008 National Poll on Children’s Health done by Knowledge Networks, Inc. for Mott Children’s Hospital at the University of Michigan include:
- Childhood Obesity
- Drug Abuse
- Internet Safety
- Child Abuse & Neglect
- Teenage Pregnancy
- Alcohol abuse
- Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity
- Sexually Transmitted Infections
- Harmful Chemicals In the Environment
- Less Physical Activity
Of these top 12 concerns, many have the common underlying factor anxiety. For example research shows that overweight children may suffer from anxiety as young as the age of 6. (Journal of Applied Developmental Science, U. of Missouri, 1998) Overweight kids suffering from low-self esteem also run the risk of developing future problems, such as eating disorders, people-pleasing tendencies and unhealthy sexual behaviour as adults.
What are the Health Connections related to this trend?
The most significant organs include:
• The Nervous System-Over worry leads to sympathetic overstimulation which in turn leads to anxiety and potentially panic.
• The Adrenal Gland-Initially over produces fight or flight hormones which increase anxiety and then gets tired from overworking. These hormones subsequently fall off often leading to fatigue and depression
• Digestion-Is most commonly affected leading to diarrhea, constipation or upset
• Liver– When unbalanced can lead to headaches
Anatomy of Stress- shows the complete relationship of the organs and the balance in the nervous system, the adrenal gland, the thyroid and their relationship to hormones. The pathway from beginning to end is shown in the Health Wellness Spectrum(HWS)©: (For more details of the HWS © see the April 2008 Newsletter Allergies, Asthma and Eczema)
Top 10 Treatment Options:
1. Regulate and manage blood sugar– often an underlying cause or aggravating factor of anxiety type symptoms. Thus ensure that your child has at least 3 palm size servings of protein daily and does not go longer than 3 hours without a snack. Also watch the glycemic index of foods , as foods that are too high, break down into sugar too quickly and cause a reactive low blood sugar state 1 ½ hours later. Focus on foods lower than 55 on the glycemic index scale . See Addendum 2 For The Glycemic Index of foods .
2. Food Intolerances- Ensure you are eating what is right for you and this will also help regulate blood sugar.
3. Exercise- keeps the natural endorphins balanced.
4. Sleep-Ensure your child gets enough sleep at least 9-10 hours on average
5. Stress Management Techniques and Counselling-“ Loss of Control” is perceived as a lack of structure, too much open space or a feeling of being overwhelmed. Assist your child in creating a framework to help them attach to :
For example if you walk into a room and everything is chaotic. Think about how your stress level feels VS Sorting groups of items and placing in 12 baskets. The structure helps the perception of groups of things to do or a framework to attach yourself to.
In the same token assist your child by using strategies such as :
- § Being clear on expectations
§ Create family traditions- assists in helping them to feel like they belong to a group
§ Create routines ie meals, time for homework, relaxation
- § Helping them with new situations by giving them as much information as possible to help ease how they will feel.
§ Assist them with getting connected to a comfort person either at the new situation or location
§ Practice new roles , tasks
§ Encourage them to know that it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert at a particular field ( Outliers, Malcom Gladwell, 2007) and that it is normal to be at their level for the time they have spent doing it
§ Find things that they do absolutely love doing and a point of inspiration for them
§ Foster their natural talents versus what we wish we could do or want them to do
6. B-complex multivitamin -Studies show that the B’s are natural stress-reducers—the body requires vitamin B6 to make serotonin, for example—and not getting enough of them can contribute to anxiety.
7. Magnesium-researched shows that a deficiency may causes increased levels of adrenaline, which can lead to a feeling of anxiety
8. Botanicals such as:
- • Fennel Tea- Relieves gastrointestinal upset
• Chamomile– Helps to gently calm nerves
9. Homeopathic Remedies such as:
- • Gelsemium used often for nervousness of up and coming situations
- • Silica is well respected as a homeopathic remedy for timid and fretful children. It may also be recommended for individuals who are sensitive to certain substances and prone to feeling ‘run down’. People who need this remedy are usually nervous, shy, refined, and fragile, with a strong desire for sweets.
- • Aconite is a proven homoeopathic remedy that is manufactured from the herb commonly known as Monkshood. Aconite is used homeopathically for its calming and settling properties and assists with the body’s natural ability to soothe common fear and promote balanced mood, which helps support overcoming shyness in children. Aconite is also recommended to help lessen restlessness, nervousness and agitation.
- • Pulsatilla is a remedy used for a shy child who often can’t make decisions
- • Rhus Tox is a remedy for a very restless child
10. Rescue Remedy– a bach flower remedy for assistance of generalized anxiety
We all feel varying degrees of anxiety and different times of our life. However when it becomes persistent and interferes with daily life, it is important to seek support. An individualized plan is recommended and professional consultation with your Naturopathic Doctor is important to find the right dosing and plan for your child.
|Food List||Rating||Food Glycemic Index|
|Cake , tart||Medium||65|
|Multi grain bread||Low||48|
|Pita bread, white||Medium||57|
|Whole meal bread||Medium||69|
|Porridge, non instant||Low||49|
|Mini Wheats (wholemeal)||Medium||57|
|Yogurt low- fat (sweetened)||Low||14|
|*Ice-cream (low- fat)||Low||50|
|Apricots (tinned in syrup)||Medium||64|
|Spaghetti, protein enriched||Low||27|
|Spaghetti, whole wheat||Low||37|
|Ravioli, meat filled||Low||39|
|Spaghetti, durum wheat||Medium||55|
|Rice pasta, brown||High||92|
|Potato, micro waved||High||82|
|Snack Food and Sweets|
|*Chocolate bar; 30g||Low||49|
|Jams and marmalades||Low||49|
|*Table sugar (sucrose)||Medium||65|
|Tomato soup, tinned||Low||38|
|Lentil soup, tinned||Low||44|
|Black bean soup, tinned||Medium||64|
|Green pea soup, tinned||Medium||66|
|Vegetable and Beans|
|Lettuce, all varieties||Low||15|
|Low-fat yogurt, artificially sweetened||Low||15|
|Peppers, all varieties||Low||15|
|Young summer squash||Low||15|
|Soya beans, boiled||Low||16|
|Kidney beans, boiled||Low||29|
|Lentils green, boiled||Low||29|
|Haricot beans, boiled||Low||38|
|Baked beans, tinned||Low||48|
|Kidney beans, tinned||Low||52|
|Lentils green, tinned||Low||52|