The term ‘anxiety disorders’ generally brings to mind visions of harassed stock traders, parents struggling to meet the demands of work and children or those who have been diagnosed with psychological problems or anxiety attacks. Schoolchildren do not seem to fit this characterization at all! They are, of course, young. Children haven't had enough life experience to have subjected to those tragic “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune”. What could youngsters conceivably have to be worried, depressed or anxious about? And anyway, schoolchildren are optimistic. They bounce back from practically anything. Right? Then what is all this brouhaha about early intervention for stress disorders?
By means of dispelling some of the myths, let’s look at the facts. Studies have indicated that approximately 15 to 25 percent of schoolchildren aged from 8 years to 17 years will be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. Obviously, it is normal to face some amount of concern in our day-to-day lives, a smaller number ofyoungsters will be faced with anxiety to the degree that it prevents their capability to succeed in daily life across a protracted period of time.
It seems natural that a young person who is anxious will be less likely to do well in school. Logic would also help us reach the conclusion that an anxious kid is less likely to thrive in group situations. Indeed, researchers have found that a reduction in anxiety levels does have generalized pay-offs for schoolchildren, including a boost in academic performance and better social standing.
The previous fifteen years has seen the evolution of effective treatment interventions for children afflicted with anxiety disorders. In particular, a variety of cognitive-behavioural intervention alternatives have resulted in successful outcomes. One of the most beneficial behavioural elements of treatment has proven to be the implementation of relaxation techniques. Fortunately there are a wide selection of outstanding resources available to provide assistance in teaching kids these techniques. And these strategies can be learned at school or at home. As it happens, most practitioners recommend the direct teaching of these exercises to all kids as they can act as a preventative measure against the future onset of anxiety disorders.