“As many as 65 percent of children of parents with anxiety disorders meet criteria for an anxiety disorder,” wrote Golda Ginsberg, a researcher for John Hopkins University School of Medicine, in a report about childhood anxiety . The study followed 40 families that all had at least one parent with an anxiety disorder and no children who exhibited symptoms. Half the families received therapy through a “coping and promoting strength program,” and half received no therapy. One-third of the families who did not receive therapy had children who developed anxiety disorders after a year of observation, but no children developed anxiety in the families that received therapy. According to the National Institute of Mental Health , 8 percent of teenagers ages 13 through 18 have an anxiety disorder, and the symptoms usually manifest around age six. Anxiety can manifest in children for a variety of reasons, including post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and specific fear stimulants. However, “children of parents with anxiety disorders are two to seven times more likely to have an anxiety disorder compared with children from families in which neither parent has an anxiety disorder,” Ginsberg states in the report. In reporting on the study, NPR told the story of a young boy, Noah, who feared school because he was afraid of throwing up.
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Goodstein. People with panic disorder often think that they are dying, having a heart attack, or are going crazy. And the physical symptoms often look like a serious health problem and should be evaluated, according to Goodstein. “The classic panic disorder presentation is the patient who arrives in an emergency room with chest pain,” said Goodstein. Someone having a panic attack will have difficulty breathing, be sweating, and look like he’s having a heart attack. And, added Goodstein, this may be just the first of a number of panic episodes. Other symptoms of panic attacks include a racing heart, shaking, choking, dizziness, feeling numb or experiencing a tingling sensation, nausea, and a sense of doom.
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