I spent much of my childhood obsessively worrying over one thing or another, and this is not uncommon among those who have suffered childhood trauma. Indeed, many children who have experienced high levels of stress during their early lives may be so badly affected by it that they develop a condition known as OVERANXIOUS DISORDER, and it is this that I want to examine in this article.
Young people who have overanxious disorder, on average, start to develop it at around the age of thirteen-and- a- half years. It affects both males and females in equal numbers. To be diagnosed with the disorder, the young person needs to have at least 4 of the following symptoms, and, furthermore, these symptoms need to have persisted for at least 6 months.
POSSIBLE SYMPTOMS OF OVERANXIOUS DISORDER :
– excessive and intense worry about future events which do not objectively warrant it
– obsessive concerns about past behaviours which are clearly out of proportion to whatever happened
– extreme concern about own competence/extreme need to excel/perfectionism (relating to many area eg. sports, school work etc.)
– extreme self-consciousness/constant negative self-monitoring/negative self-evaluating
– extreme discomfort in relation to speaking within a group
– physical complaints which have no obvious cause (ie. are likely to be psychosomatic – for example, headaches and stomachaches)
– high level of embarrassment if centre of attention (even if this attention is positive and involves praise, congratulation etc.)
– constant and extreme need for reassurance
– generalized (sometimes referred to as ‘free-floating’) anxiety/tension making it very difficult to ever fully relax and feel at ease)
– may refuse to attend school or else only attend very reluctantly
– does not enjoy participating in age appropriate activities (eg. games) and acts older than chronological age
– constant and deep-rooted self-doubt
Of course, the above list of symptoms can only act as a general guide, and, clearly, an actual diagnosis of overanxious disorder needs to be made by a suitably qualified professional.
In conclusion, it is worth noting that about a third of all young people who are diagnosed with overanxious disorder also meet the criteria necessary to be diagnosed with concurrent major depression.
Finally, the statistics shown on the chart below may bring some of us still prone to excessive worrying a degree of comfort :
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David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).