Anticipatory anxiety disorder in children

Anxiety is a type of emotion that all human beings experience. Like fear it appears as a normal response to danger or threat.

The difference between fear and anxiety is that the latter appears in response to an imagined situation, which is not happening right now, but is something that is going to happen in the future and is interpreted as a threat, which can be both physical and psychological.

As children grow, there are times when they feel fear and perceive danger such as: the dark, monsters, etc. What are the first experiences of anxiety when anticipating what may happen.

Anticipatory anxiety is not in itself an anxiety disorder, but it is the most representative symptom of generalized anxiety. This "imagined" distress is a component of generalized anxiety disorder that occurs when the child has an agonizing wait for what may or may not happen.

By itself it is capable of generating physical symptoms, palpitations, catastrophic thinking, or discomfort in children, which is why it can be considered as an expression of anxiety itself. Anticipatory anxiety is a process by which the child predicts the consequences of an event and produces a behavior based on that prediction.

Anticipatory anxiety has the function of activating the child in the face of threats. A psychophysiological response is produced in the higher nervous centers that make the child correctly or incorrectly presuppose reality and how it affects him. This helps you make decisions about what to do.

In addition, anticipation has a motivational effect, it is a factor that regulates the behavior and emotions of children who suffer from it. Some factors that influence anxiety are:

- Genetic. It seems that the presence of anxiety in parents may affect, although it has not been possible to fully establish whether the transmission of anxiety is due to genetics alone or whether environmental risk is important.

- Child's temperament. Children with a tendency to be shy in early childhood are more likely to develop anxiety.

- Parenting style. Excessive overprotection and authoritarian educational styles can contribute to distress and anxiety

- Stress. Conflicts in the family, at school, economic adversity can generate a feeling of insecurity and contribute to the appearance of anxiety.

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