Anxious Child? According to research, childhood anxiety disorders are the most common type of psychiatric problem in children. It may cause severe impairment and excessive distress. Although effective psycho-social and drug therapy exists, let’s focus on more traditional and natural ways to help our children.

Although thought to be benign, these disorders can interfere with academic, social, and family functioning.

How to recognize anxiety in children: Common signs.

  • Trouble falling asleep
  • Fear of being alone
  • Picking at skin
  • Nail biting
  • Strong startle response
  • Being overly self-critical
  • OCD-like behaviors (e.g. checking and rechecking the door to make sure it is locked or arranging objects “just so”)
  • Suddenly avoiding social contact
  • Frequent urination

Other commons signs in a school environment based on the Child Mind Institute research

  • Refusing to go to school or having a hard time at school drop-offs
  • Difficulty participating in class and interacting with peers
  • Excessive worry about everyday things
  • Trouble answering questions when called on by the teacher
  • Disruptive behavior
  • Squirming
  • Frequent trips to the nurse (with complaints of headaches, nausea, stomachaches, or even vomiting)
  • Avoiding socializing or group work
  • Not turning in homework

Treatment of Stress can be achieved in a variety of ways. 

Always talk to your child to understand where the stress is coming from. You should always include stress lessening activities, introduce good lifestyle choices and regular physical exercise even before any herbal treatment is started.

Herbal treatment of stress and anxiety.

  • Adaptogenic herbs to counteract the effect of stress includes Ashawaganda and Siberian Ginseng.
  • Adrenal supporting herbs to improve glandular function include Siberian ginseng, nettle leaf and rosehips.
  • Tonic herbs also have a place, they help to balance detoxification, to enhance vitality and balance metabolism include nettle leaf, red clover blossoms, astragalus root and oats.
  • Nervines herbs can be very useful to deal with specific situations. They will help managing headaches, insomnia, restlessness and nervousness. Lavender flowers, skullcap, Oats, linden flowers and lemon balms are particularly effective.

How to use herbs?

I use Herbals Infusions, Decoctions and Glycerites. Glycerites are the equivalent of tinctures but do have a much sweeter taste and do no contains alcohol.

Here is an herbal formula to help with chronic stress: Mix ¼ to ½ teaspoon of this mix in warm water or Spearmint, Chamomile or Lavender tea, 1 to 3 times a day. Adapted from Dr. Mary Bove, ND

  • ½ oz.  Ashwagandha, Astragalus root, Siberian ginseng tinctures
  • ½ oz. Oat (Avena sativa) glycerite, skullcap
  • ¼ oz. Licorice root tincture (naturally sweet)
  • ¼ oz. nettle and lavender glycerite

This is an example of a great herbal formula listed here for educational purpose only. If you have any concerns and think your child may exhibit signs of anxiety, please schedule an appointment with Dr Jean-Marc Sobczyk.

Jean-Marc Sobczyk MD, ND provides integrative naturopathic care at the Akasha Center for Integrative Medicine and specializes in pediatric care.

Schedule your free 10-minute complimentary visit with him today! Contact us at www.akashacenter.com or call 310-451-8880 to schedule your appointment.

References:

  • Recognizing and treating childhood anxiety disorders, John Piacentini and Tami Roblek

West J Med. 2002 May; 176(3): 149–151. PMCID: PMC1071700, PMID: 12016234

  • Child Mind Institute: https://childmind.org/
  • Encyclopedia of natural healing for children and infants by Mary Bove, ND

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