Stress Related Medical Problems

Children experience stress, but they do not always have the ability to talk about or solve their problems quickly. As a result, some children internalize their worry and get stomachaches and headaches. They may also complain of other physical discomfort such as sweating, dizziness, or racing heart.

Seeing your child with physical distress often triggers a visit to the doctor. Whether a child has a diagnosed medical condition or not, stress and anxiety can exacerbate pain and lead to other distressing symptoms. Using cognitive behavioral therapy, we teach children to understand their bodies and how stress impacts their functioning. We provide tools to reduce anxiety and the associated physical symptoms. We also work with parents to teach them how to best support their children when they are physically and emotionally distressed.

Characteristics

  • Complaints of headaches, stomachaches, general pain, toileting problems, or insomnia not associated with a medical problem
  • Physical symptoms start or intensify before important events like a test or performance
  • Avoidance of events that cause them to feel sick
  • Doctors cannot diagnose a medical reason for the increase in physical symptoms

Effective Tools for Stress Management

  • Psychoeducation helps children learn about how their bodies work. Children gain better understanding of how stress can cause physical discomfort. If a child has an illness, he learns how anxiety can exacerbate the symptoms.
  • Relaxation Training is an important component of cognitive behavioral treatment for stress-related problems. Children practice progressive muscle relaxation, body scanning, visual imagery, and mindfulness to reduce stress and alleviate physical pain.
  • Cognitive approaches help children communicate their feelings and learn new ways to understand their problems. Children may learn to perceive their medical problem as less threatening, helping them feel more in control.
  • We integrate biofeedback with cognitive behavioral therapy to teach children how to monitor their physical symptoms and reduce their level of discomfort. Biofeedback games can be a fun and effective way to help children gain more control of their body’s reaction to stress.

Contact Behavior Therapy of New York to learn more about helping your child reduce his or her physical pain and discomfort.