Local expert explains how to handle back-to-school anxiety

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Back to school is here. As students return to class, many parents are finding their children suffering from depression and anxiety, especially due to the pandemic.

AUSTIN, Texas – With the start of the new school year starting all over central Texas, starting a new school year with new teachers and a new environment can cause anxiety for some children.

Experts say that since the start of the pandemic, there has been an incredible increase in symptoms of anxiety, as well as symptoms of depression in young children.

Dr. Allison Chasethe clinical director of the Pathlight Mood and Anxiety Center, said that as school resumes, there are still concerns about how children and teens will deal with all their emotions.

“All these kids who have anxiety symptoms are still dealing with it. So the new environment, the new school year, the new teachers, the different routine, the change in summer routine, all of those things are pretty big. , ” said Chase.

There has been a reported increase in anxiety among children during the COVID-19 pandemic due to the isolation that has occurred by not being able to attend school and socialize with friends.

“A lot of times, anxiety can happen even with their parents or caregivers at home. Children will pick up on all of this. So children are often like a sponge to a lot of the emotions that happen in our world. I don’t have no doubt who contributed to it,” Chase said.

Experts say parents should keep an eye out for any kind of behavior change in their children. This includes sleeping and eating habits. Changes in behavior during social and extracurricular activities can also be a key sign of anxiety.

But the good news is that it can be treated.

“There are wonderful treatments that can relieve anxiety. In our centres, Pathlight Mood and Anxiety Center, we use a number of different treatment strategies using cognitive behavioral therapy work, as well as behavioral therapy, what’s called exposure plus response prevention,” Chase said.

Chase uses acceptance and commitment therapy and the involvement of family therapy. Among these things, there are therapeutic techniques that help the child or adolescent identify and understand their anxiety.

“They’re able to really deal with the emotions behind it and happening. And that’s the key. The key is being able to navigate the best way to deal with your emotions and recognizing that in fact you can succeed in doing that,” Chase said.

Parents are strongly recommended to educate themselves on the different types of social media and to increase their awareness of the type of social media their children are using.

“Then they can make a decision about what’s appropriate or not, based on the child’s developmental level and functioning,” Chase said.

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