By Rachel Rozelle ND
Did you know that mental health disorders are the most common diseases of childhood?
Pretty shocking right?
Unfortunately, it’s true.
It is estimated that 49.5% of kids in the U.S. will have a diagnosable mental illness before or by the age of 18! That’s HALF of our kids! This means that half of our kids are either suffering without treatment, or are being put on meds that suppress (rather than resolve) the symptoms. And the kids on meds are at a HUGE risk of
pretty gnarly side effects, including suicidal ideation.
It’s scary stuff.
It’s also heartbreaking when you think about it.
The most commonly reported of these mental health conditions is anxiety, and our kids are suffering.
And what is worse – studies have also found that anxiety experienced early in life also increases the risk of that individual developing another psychiatric condition later in life.
So the big question is then: how do we help our anxious kids? And how do we keep them from suffering throughout life?
But before we talk about the solution, we need to make sure we can identify anxiety in our kids.
There are many things that can cause anxiety in children. Kids may struggle with social anxiety, separation anxiety, anticipatory anxiety, their performance in school or athletics, or worry about their family. Many children will struggle with these worries, but for some kids, these worries and anxieties occur on a daily basis, and can be disruptive and debilitating to their life. Sometimes these anxieties are obvious, but unfortunately many times they are not, and therefore go untreated. For example, a child who struggles with social anxiety may be passed off as just being shy. I know I had the “shy” label when I was a kid. While I was shy, I also had a had a lot of anxiety.
Anxiety can be hard to detect in children as they often keep their thoughts and worries to themselves. Often times anxiety may manifest physically and the child may complain of frequent stomach aches, shortness of breath, or other physical concerns. I once treated a little girl, let’s call her “Cindy,” who had suffered from constant abdominal pain for several years.
She had been thoroughly worked up by GI specialists with no clear findings for what could be causing her symptoms. She had tried various diets, supplements, medications, and other treatments throughout the years, but her abdominal pain persisted. Cindy was a very smart little girl, who also had a perfectionistic type of personality, and was described by her parents as being an overachiever and a people-pleaser. She was very sensitive to criticism, and was also very hard on herself. She did not like to fail! Cindy also took it upon herself to look after other
people in her family, which was a lot of weight on her tiny shoulders. She also had a few episodes of panic attacks in the past, which had never been addressed. Little Cindy had anxiety, which was manifesting physically as abdominal pain. I started Cindy on homeopathic Carcinosin to address her symptoms, and her chronic abdominal pain went away!
“Jamie” was a 14 y/o girl who came to me with anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation. Jamie had low self confidence and reported that her biggest struggles were with insecurity and not liking herself. Even though she had a loving family and lots of friends, she reported feeling unloved and all alone. She also struggled with social anxiety because of those feelings, as she believed that no one liked her and that no one cared about her. She cried easily and often, and felt much better with any kind of consolation. I started Jamie on homeopathic Pulsatilla pratensis, and her anxiety and depression greatly improved, as did her sense of self worth.
The standard of care for treating anxiety in children is with cognitive behavioral therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a very effective treatment for helping kids with anxiety and other mental health disorders when the kids are willing to participate, however, often times this treatment alone is not enough. One reason for this is because therapy does not treat the child’s underlying susceptibility for having anxiety or other mental health challenges. Homeopathic medicine is the only form of medicine that treats susceptibility.
Homeopathy provides effective and safe treatment options for your kid. Homeopathy does not come with the harmful side effects of medications, which is especially important when it comes to your kids growing body and brain. And the best part is, homeopathy works! Homeopathic medicine stimulates deep healing in the body to not only treat the underlying causes, but to also ultimately reduce your child’s susceptibility to having mental health challenges, so that she doesn’t have a lifetime of struggle.