Depression and Anxiety in Children and Young Adults
A child with anxiety can experience excessive feelings of worry and fear which may be in relation to a particular situation or event or more generalised. Anxiety in children can also cause a number of physical symptoms such as a racing heart, sweating, shaking and rapid breathing in addition to difficulty managing their thoughts and worries. They may begin to avoid or stop some day to day activities in order to try and alleviate their anxiety symptoms. In some cases the child may become reluctant to attend school or other social activities. Anxiety symptoms can also impact on a child’s self-esteem, confidence and wellbeing or affect their ability to focus and attend on day to day tasks at home or at school.
A child with depression may experience a pervasive and persistent low mood that is often accompanied by a loss of interest or pleasure in normally enjoyable activities. Depression in children can affect their home or school life, their relationship with friends and family, sleeping and eating habits and general health. The thoughts and physical symptoms associated with low mood may also affect their ability to focus, concentrate and attend in class or participate in their daily activities and routines. It may be that they begin to look for alternative ways of coping with their low mood, thoughts and feelings, such as isolating themselves or withdrawing from family and friends.
How can KMA help?
If your child is experiencing symptoms of anxiety and/or depression, an assessment from KMA will focus on how their symptoms are affecting their life and preventing them from living life as they wish. This could include something specific such as attending school, travelling on public transport or avoiding activities that they used to enjoy. However it could be a more generalised decrease in their overall functional ability meaning that they struggle to get up in the morning as their symptoms seem to take over.
At the start of an assessment our therapist will need to have a detailed, but sensitive, conversation with your child focusing on both their strengths and the areas in which they are experiencing problems. To assist this process, our therapist may utilise a variety of tools and strategies dependent on their needs. As our focus at KMA is on helping people improve what they are able to do each day, our assessment will pay particular attention to your child’s daily routine. This will enable us to understand the impact their symptoms are having on their life and work with them and you to identify realistic and achievable goals to increase their functional performance and overall quality of life.
KMA will produce a detailed, yet accessible report of the assessment. The report will provide a summary of the barriers that get in the way of your child fulfilling their roles and routines and make a number of recommendations that might help. We aim to get the report back to you within 10 working days of the assessment.
Therapies and treatment for anxiety and depression in children
Our Occupational Therapists are highly trained and experienced in working with children and are passionate about providing evidence-based interventions to ease the symptoms of depression and anxiety in children. Each treatment plan will be individual, underpinned by occupational therapy philosophy, taking a person-centred and strengths-based approach. Our ultimate aim is to help your child achieve their goals and improve their functional performance.
Your therapist will work with your child to understand triggers, barriers and established strategies they currently use, some of which may not be that helpful in the longer term. Your therapist will also help them to learn and put into practice techniques that help control the symptoms of depression and anxiety in children as well as allowing them to focus on their roles and routines. These may include:-
Anxiety management techniques
Personal goal setting
Alerting strategies to enable them to focus and attend
Do you or someone you know have difficulty…
Managing physical symptoms of anxiety?
Engaging in day to day activities?
Concentrating and attending on tasks and activities?
Managing their thoughts, feelings and emotions?
Engaging in activities they previously enjoyed?
Managing or performing day to day roles/responsibilities either at home or school?
Getting off to sleep or frequently waking throughout the night?