Causes and effects of anxiety in children under the microscope

An article in the Sunday Times, exploring the subject of children and anxiety, states that "South African children as young as three are being treated for anxiety".

Psychiatrist Dr Kedi Motingoe, says that anxiety disorder cuts across all age groups. But it is difficult to detect in children younger than three. Some behaviours are often pegged as simply irritability and bad tempers, she says.

But we can see it even in infants... even infants can have a reaction to anxiety. This is because parents are not coping and are not able to contain children sufficiently.

Dr Kedi Motingoe, Psychiatrist

Symptoms of anxiety in infants

  • High levels of irritability
  • Difficult to console
  • Eating and sleeping disturbances
  • Not responding to stimulation from the mother
  • Developmental delays
  • And lack of engagement

In Pre-school children

  • Do not socialize with other children
  • Withdrawing behaviour
  • Clinging to the teacher

Youngsters with anxiety disorders tend to keep it bottled up. Young children and teenagers are able to articulate their feelings, but can keep going for years at school without saying anything due to other factors, like parents not being available.

Children don't find the right platforms at times because parents are less available due to their own work pressures. Sometimes it goes unrecognised that the child is suffering.

Dr Kedi Motingoe, Psychiatrist

Some children internalise their anxieties and their negative moods state and become frustrated with themselves, have low-self-esteem, while others externalise and end up behaving negatively by not responding positively towards care givers and teachers.

Dr Kedi Motingoe, Psychiatrist

Dr Motingoe says sometimes anxiety is assumed to be a symptom of ADHD but when looked at very closely, they find ADHD is not the cause.

She says it is important to look at the quality of care children are receiving especially in their early years, as this is when they are most emotionally vulnerable. Not all children develop healthy emotional attachments at this crucial stage, and it can lead to anxiety.

Listen to the full conversation below:


This article first appeared on 702 : Causes and effects of anxiety in children under the microscope


Read More
'Democracy  is in trouble if our children cannot read with comprehension'

'Democracy is in trouble if our children cannot read with comprehension'

702/CapeTalk host Eusebius McKaiser hosted a debate on literacy in South Africa.

Entrepreneurs on highs and lows of pushing own businesses

Entrepreneurs on highs and lows of pushing own businesses

Local entrepreneurs open up about taking the courageous leap to start from scratch and the challenges and success that brings.

[LISTEN] Caller challenges Eusebius on land disposition

[LISTEN] Caller challenges Eusebius on land disposition

‘I need you to provide me with an answer' - John from Edenvale, Gauteng

How body-shaming shapes your self-image

How body-shaming shapes your self-image

Your body is your home for the rest of your life. Why direct hate and self-loathing towards it? A conversation on body-shaming.

[LISTEN] NDZ slate is too close to Gupta family  - Bheki Cele

[LISTEN] NDZ slate is too close to Gupta family - Bheki Cele

Cele sat down with Eusebius McKaiser to discuss his tenure as police minister and his views on ANC politics.

Mantshantsha: Eskom managers to be held to account by the scruff of their necks

Mantshantsha: Eskom managers to be held to account by the scruff of their necks

Financial Mail's Sikonathi Mantshantsha and investigative journalist Sabelo Skiti analyse new board appointments at power utility.

Popular articles
Predictably awesome new Nando's ad reminds South Africans ‘we can fix our sh$t’

Predictably awesome new Nando's ad reminds South Africans ‘we can fix our sh$t’

Watch the Guptas pack their bags and run in Nando's inspiring new advertisement.

PSG Chair Jannie Mouton opens up (kind of) about Steinhoff

PSG Chair Jannie Mouton opens up (kind of) about Steinhoff

In 2012 Steinhoff acquired 20% of wealth manager PSG, reportedly infuriating Mouton. Bruce Whitfield interviews him.

[LISTEN] Sara-Jayne King overjoyed at finding her biological father

[LISTEN] Sara-Jayne King overjoyed at finding her biological father

After a 702/ CapeTalk interview, the author of the autobiographical book Killing Karoline spoke to her dad for the first time.

[LISTEN] Caller challenges Eusebius on land disposition

[LISTEN] Caller challenges Eusebius on land disposition

‘I need you to provide me with an answer' - John from Edenvale, Gauteng

Number of South Africans visiting the seaside has dropped

Number of South Africans visiting the seaside has dropped

Fedhasa's CEO is encouraging South Africans to take a look at the specials that are currently out there and make their bookings.

How businessman Max Lichaba struck gold with his jewellery company

How businessman Max Lichaba struck gold with his jewellery company

Entrepreneur Max Lichaba built his own empire and is the CEO of Lichaba Creations and several other businesses. This is his story.