Day 10 (of 185) Lynn Miller Anxiety in #83learns
Love her opening about not assuming people are aware of what mental wellness issues look like and act like.
So far? We are doing a poor job helping the general public understand mental illness
Of 1200 PVPs surveyed, 94% confirm mental health and well being an important factor to their academic life. It’s called Social Emotional Learning in schools.
Did you know: Grade 3 comments are great predictors on G8 success just focusing on pro-social behaviours…..be aware of this stat
And…..Any kind of SEL program leads to higher academics, better attendance, like school more! #1 encourage friendships.
Problem solving methods (forgot lunch or didn’t study – don’t rescue kids)
Ability to initiate, maintain and end friendships appropriately
Strong interpersonal skills
Adaptability/flexibility (cope in realistic manner – avoidant aggressive or assertive)
Stress management (ability to work well under pressure to resist/delay an impulse) <– this is the main reason why students drop out of universities – they can’t manage independently.
Key child & adolescent mental disorders
Anxiety disorders 13%
Disruptive Behavioural (adhd odd cd) 10.3%
Any disorders. 20.9%
In other words – 1 in 5 at school.
Autism? 1/2 of 1% so doesn’t even make this list….
Even eating disorders don’t quite make this list – but becomes more impactful for older years.
Key growth for anxiety – age 5/6 – entry to school. And the pressure to do well at school begins…..
Esp when kids read anxiety of parent who suddenly has doubts…
Next age: 9. Math gets hard…brain develops from concrete applications to abstract thinking. Then puberty….
But anxiety is normal. Keeps you alive. Best viewed on continuum of low to high.
Symptoms of anxiety:
–> you don’t get any correction to your thinking and it takes you to worse case scenarios.
Anxiety is Normal:
Survival system (avoid separation from adults; aware of predators) – the smoke alarm of the body
Some kids over-sensitive. Certain preferences (esp for food clothing & tactile things)
Leads to fight-flight-freeze response
Anxiety is physical:
Arousal: heart rate, breathing, shaky, dizzy
Abdominal: nausea, stomachaches etc
Tension: headaches, muscle aches, fatigue
Sleep: insomnia & avoidance
Anxiety is developmental
Infant/toddlers: separation, novel
Preschool: Animals, dark, separation
School: adaptations, performance, family
Preadolescent: mortality, health
Adolescence: social, existential, future
Safety behaviours include:
Escape from situation
Resistance to change
Self meds: nicotine and alcohol are typical suppressants. Shift more to marijuana – but has so many possible end effects (esp w paranoia a common side/after effect)
Common associated features
Depressed/irritable, cries easy
Fidgety, nervous habits (eg nail biting)
Headaches, upset stomach, pains
Overly dependent (clingy)
Perseverance, difficulty shifting tasks, resistance to change, inflexibility
Easily overwhelmed; gives up easily, low frustration tolerance
Difficulty demonstrating knowledge on tests or during classroom participation
Trouble coming to school or entering school/classroom
GOTTA ASK: what are you thinking?
Frequently overlooked symptoms:
Oppositional and refusal behaviours
Attention seeking behaviours
Hyperactivity and difficulty sitting still
Attention and concentration problems
Scholastic underachievement or excessive resistance to doing work
Frequent visits to school office or physician
High number of missed school days
Difficulties with social or group activities
Most common mental health problem
Impact and morbidity not widely recognized
Girls often have more fears than boys
Number and types of fears across cultures fairly consistent
Presence of one anxiety disorder increases risk of developing additional anxiety disorders
Children and youth with anxiety disorders rarely receive appropriate or effective interventions
Types of anxiety disorders
Separation anxiety disorder
Obsessive compulsive disorder
Generalized anxiety disorder
Social anxiety disorder (first in adolescence most prevalent)
Panic disorder w/o agoraphobia
PTSD (treatment: talk about it talk about it talk about it)
Cause of anxiety: ?????
Some causes: genetics, life experiences, personality, cognitive style, family environment….
What MAINTAINS anxiety:
Avoidance, avoidance, AVOIDANCE
Lack of assertiveness
Lack of self calming skills
Excessive reassurance seeking
Complications of untreated anxiety
Diminished educational and vocational achievement (drop out)
Bullied more than peers
Impaired social relationships
Subsequent depression, alcohol abuse, cigarette smoking
Greatest predictor of youth suicide
“Growing out of it is a myth”.
Fundamentals (cognitive behaviour therapy)
1. Teach about anxiety
2. Relaxation tools
3. Helpful thinking
4. Facing fears
5. Relapse prevention
“Friends” programs are designed for this.
Summary of night:
Anxiety disorders are highly prevalent, usually get worse without treatment, but are probably the MOST treatable of all mental health concerns.