Stress is a human response. The stress response pushes an individual to exert control over the situation. A constant state of stress is called anxiety. Anxiety is a state of uneasiness and apprehension about the future. If a child reaches a state of anxiety the brain is changed. A chronic state of stress and anxiety will cause brain dysregulation. This chronic state will shape your child’s brain.
What can Cause a Chronic State of Stress/Anxiety?
It all starts with your child’s blueprint/intake form. Your child’s blueprint begins with your pregnancy, then the birth of your child, and then your child’s years from infancy to their current age. Their history will identify red flags. Red flags may include, but are certainly not limited to, problems with conception, high stress and anxiety with either parent, diagnoses during pregnancy, cesarean section, instrumentation used during delivery, medical emergencies just after delivery, breast feeding problems, using formula, illnesses during the first 3 years, delayed developmental milestones, trauma, tongue-tied, introducing foreign materials, sensitivities… etc.
What Makes Children Anxious?
Today, 1 in 8 children are anxious or worried. The number one cause is the use of devices leading to sedentary lifestyles. Children are not as physical as children in the past have been. Physical activity decompresses the body and the brain. Screen time is often programming the brain to be defensive, lacking the ability to distinguish from what is real or imagined.
Today, there is also so much uncertainty. Uncertainty breeds anxiety. There is parental expectation, being accepted by their peers, grades, being included in parties and events, and even the grace to make a mistake. Kids today must think about terrorism, and schools not only have fire drills but shooter drills.
Some parenting styles can cause their children to be overly stressed. Marital discord makes children question their security, and some parents hover like a helicopter, which does not give a child the room to navigate their path.
The Development of Worry:
The ability to worry requires some cognitive development. At birth, infants exhibit 2 emotions – attraction and withdrawal. This is the beginning for all of us.
At 6 months you play peek-a-boo. When you stop, your baby may demonstrate their displeasure because they want to play again.
At 8 months they develop a fear of being separated from mama. This may continue from 18 months to 3 years. If this persists, I will call this a red flag. Your child is not adapting.
Children can worry, and they can feel alone with their worry. Children at this age do not have a point of reference to tell someone. Their imaginations are heightened, and depending on their environment of exposure, they can think up all kinds of problems. What they watch on TV or devices, real or imagined, they may believe it is real even when it is not.
Anxiety can impact sleep, school, paying attention, and wanting to engage in activities. What are the red flags? Are they going towards or pulling away?
The CMB Difference:
At CMB, we have a 3-tier approach to evaluate your child’s unique developmental story.
- Brain – A comprehensive approach through QEEG will identify how your child’s brain is wired from the bottom up;
- Chemistry – Evaluate your child’s internal biology through functional labs;
- Mechanical – A thorough assessment of your child’s developmental milestone acquisition.
We begin with a brain map. A brain map is a road map that identifies how your child’s brain was wired through their current age. We use QEEG (Quantitative electroencephalography) which allows us to see how the brain is organized and if a brain wave is under or over aroused. QEEG has found an association between anxiety, fear, insecurity, panic, and phobia with high activation of the amygdalae expressed in the temporal region of the brain, which is right behind your ears. In addition, an increase in activation is seen in the back of the brain indicating that the individual is thinking a lot about the past, analyzing, criticizing, or judging themselves. When this blood flow is concentrated at the back of the brain, it generates anxiety because the individual is not doing anything, the present moment is not lived, and nothing can be done to change events because the individual continuously thinks of the past and the future. Neurofeedback is used to promote organization, self-regulation, and awareness so the individual can learn to balance their brain, reduce anxiety, and move forward.