Selective eating and other early symptoms of anxiety disorders

Selective eating and other early symptoms of anxiety disorders

Struggled breathing, sweating, the beat of a heart in the ears — these symptoms of anxiety are well-known for anxiety disorder patients. Noting less visible signs of these illnesses, such as picky eating habits, could help patients deal with problems before they even develop. Recent research finds picky eating as children could foreshadow certain mental disorders.

Recent research finds moderate selective eating linked to anxiety, depression and attention-deficit hyperactive disorder. Severe selective eating, which means an incapability of eating anything outside of home, means the child is seven times more likely to develop social anxiety compared to young people without selective eating issues.

Nancy Zucker, lead author of the study and associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral science at Duke University School of Medicine, along with her colleagues, looked at 917 children between the ages of two and six by interviewing parents over a three-year span.

About 20 percent of children are picky eaters and researchers caution the study finds a correlation, not causation.

“I don’t want to raise panic among parents,” Zucker said. “I’m hoping this research will make all of us realize that the story is more complicated than we appreciated.”

Zucker believes the picky eating is a sign of heightened sensitivity to texture, taste and visual stimuli. Such overwhelming feelings not just toward food but life in general can tax children into adulthood as well. Zucker thinks it could be a sign for parents to look out for rather than feel guilt over what they could be doing differently.

While research on the connection between persnickety food habits and anxiety is still ongoing, there are more established signs of these disorders.

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is recognized by persistent, overwhelming feelings of burden over a six-month span or longer to the point of disrupting daily life. Sleep problems are another sign, with many GAD patients experiencing consistent tossing and turning at night and racing thoughts when waking.

Muscle tensions would be another symptom, which includes jaw clenching or tightness in many other parts of the body. Chronic indigestion, also known as irritable bowel syndrome, is recognized by stomach aches, food sensitivities, trouble in the bathroom and painful bloating.

Anxiety can cause more trouble than frequent visits to the loo. This class of disorders can require treatment for the long haul by a mental health professional and The Anxiety Treatment Centers of California is the perfect resource for finding one. Call us at any time to get started.

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