Panic Disorders in Children: Do you Know the Signs? 

Panic Attacks are sudden unexpected anxiety and it can happen when you least expect it. It can be very difficult to see your child struggling with panic attacks as they can be very scary for a child to experience. 

Panic attacks can be very different for each child. Most people believe that only adults can experience panic attacks.  Children also have panic attacks too, and it can be be scary for the child and for their parents too. 

It is important for parents to know the symptoms of childhood panic attacks and seek medical attention from a doctor to help a child learn to cope with their panic attacks. 

Panic attacks can be very intense for a child and come on quickly for them too. These panic attacks can last a few minutes or up to an hour hour, it usually happens unexpectedly or in response to a trigger. It's estimated that panic attacks only affect 2 to 3% of children. Childhood panic attacks may also be associated with sensory processing disorder. Sensory processing disorder can lead to sensory overload and cause a child to experience panic attacks in different situations. 

Reassure your child that they are not alone and they are safe. 
Mindful breathing activities, such as deep breathing can also be helpful in managing symptoms during an attack.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a common treatment for panic and helps children recognize and change the negative thoughts that contribute to their panic attacks and replacing them with positive thoughts.

Panic Attacks
- chest pains
- difficulty breathing 
- faint or dizzy 
- feeling sick 
- needs to escape
- sweating 
- intense fear or terror
- shaking
- fast heart rate 
- stomach pain 
- sudden urge to use the restroom 
- hyperventilating 

 It is also important to seek help from a mental health professional who can properly diagnose and treat a child's panic attacks. Parents can provide support and create a safe environment for their child. 

DISCLAIMER: I am not an Occupational Therapist. I am an adult who has Sensory Processing Disorder, a sensory parent and a Grandma. The information on this website is not medical advice and does not replace the information that your child's therapists gives you. These are just ideas and information that I have learned myself over the years of being a parent and an adult living with SPD. If you are concerned for your child, please always seek medical attention through a family doctor, pediatrician or therapist. This website is for suggestions and informational purposes only. Each child is different and what works for one child may not for another because all children have different needs. Please always consult with a professional.

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