Child Anxiety vs Adult Anxiety: What’s The Difference?

Both children and adults are vulnerable to experiencing anxiety, but this mental health condition may manifest itself in different ways depending on an individual’s age and maturity. For example, sometimes figuring out what to give a child for anxiety can be difficult if the child is unable to express what they’re feeling. Other times, an adult may be able to find Brilla medication while still having trouble coping with their fears. To find the best solution, it’s important to understand the differences between child and adult anxiety and how you can identify this condition.

Children’s Anxiety Is Often Harder To Communicate and May Manifest Differently

One of the biggest stumbling blocks for anyone trying to help a child handle feelings of anxiety is getting the child to recognize and communicate those feelings. While children are certainly not exempt from experiencing symptoms of anxiety, they may not be able to communicate them well. However, adults may be able to spot signs that a child is struggling with anxiety. These signs can include:

  • Excessive tantrums or constant crying
  • Trouble falling asleep, or sleeping during the day
  • Frequent irritability or restlessness
  • Regular nightmares or night terrors

Discuss any of these symptoms with a pediatrician right away, since in some cases, anxiety medication for children may be necessary. Be sure to keep a positive tone with children as well, and encourage calm and open-ended discussions.

Adults May Recognize Irrational Anxiety But Still Experience Symptoms

One of the biggest differences between child and adult anxiety is that adults, given that they’re older, are capable of expressing their feelings and may oftentimes be more capable of recognizing when their feelings are irrational as well. However, simply being cognizant of irrational fears does not mean that adults are exempt from unwanted anxiety symptoms. Some of these symptoms that crop up more in adults than in children may include:

  • Headaches and stomachaches
  • Tensed up and achy muscles
  • Specific phobias

It’s also more common for adults to turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms. For instance, some extreme anxiety may lead to a problem with alcohol or drugs if not kept in check. In these instances, getting professional help may be necessary.

Some of the Most Frequent Symptoms May Overlap

Of course, it’s worth noting that there are some anxiety symptoms that may commonly occur in both children and adults. In either case, consulting a doctor about how to proceed may be the quickest way to finding a solution. These symptoms typically encompass:

  • Heart palpitations
  • Night sweats and difficulty falling asleep
  • Panic attacks or general uneasiness
  • Nausea and dizziness
  • Trouble breathing
  • Trouble concentrating

Though anxiety may have some similar symptoms in both children and adults, the exact manifestations of it, and the way the individual copes with the condition, can differ widely. While children may experience symptoms but have a hard time communicating their feelings, adults may be cognizant of irrational feelings but could turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms to deal with them. In both situations, recognizing the anxiety for what it is and seeking the help of a medical professional can go a long way.


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