Mental Health Matters: Anxiety in the Family

Learn how to understand mental health as it relates to your family dynamic.

Learning about anxiety in its various forms is the beginning of taking care of yourself and protecting you and your family from its undue effects.

Do you or your child or teen feel jittery, ill at ease, nervous or worried excessively much of the time? Is it hard to calm down even when there is no crisis? Or, has something happened that’s unexpected so you can’t stay on an even keel? You or your child or teen may be suffering from an anxiety disorder.

Different Types of Anxiety

There are many types of anxiety states such as generalized anxiety disorder (tension felt most of the time), panic attacks, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and phobias. They all can cause low self-esteem, a sense of shame, and may be hard to talk about.


To address undue suffering psychotherapy with treatment plans (with or without medication) can help you lead a more relaxed, productive life. Keep in mind that anxiety can persist for many years if left untreated. The key is early intervention with an experienced psychotherapist who gives you a greater opportunity for relief.

Anxiety in Adults: Panic Disorders

Consider a panic disorder, also known as an anxiety attack. Your heart may feel like it’s pounding and racing. You may feel like you have butterflies in your stomach, or get a dizzy sensation. You’re generally nervous and ill at ease. Learning the causes of the attack combined with techniques to stop the panic can offer you a welcomed calm state of mind.

Anxiety in Children: Sleep Disturbances

Imagine your child is suddenly afraid of the dark. Monsters creep into her mind disturbing her sleep. To prevent the development of a persistent sleep problem you want to act quickly with the guidance of a trained professional. Psychotherapy involving parent and child gives solutions that settle those evenings down. Perhaps there was an incident at school the child fears recurring that keeps her awake. Or, maybe she misses two working parents and has anxiety separating before bed. Disturbed sleep patterns can be regulated when they are understood relieving both parent and child.

Anxiety in Teens: Shifting Moods

Maybe your teen seems irritable with shifting moods. A professional can help the teen explore what’s bothering him that leads to solutions. Parents can be guided to understand their teen’s behavior such as how anger can mask anxiety.

Mental Health and Well-Being

Good mental health is the cornerstone of our well-being Anxiety decreases concentration, general productivity and lowers self-esteem. While anxiety is very common, each outbreak is individual. The best way to protect yourself and your kids is to seek an effective individually designed treatment plan so the well-being of the whole family benefits. This can be done with the utmost privacy for parent and child.

If there are any problems in your family you would like me to address in future columns let me know by writing confidentially to

Laurie Hollman, Ph.D. is a psychoanalyst and author of Unlocking Parental Intelligence: Finding Meaning in Your Child’s Behavior found on Amazon and wherever books are sold.

Originally published at

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