Supplements for Children With Anxiety & Depression

Anxiety disorders affect one in eight American children, and are often associated with depression, eating disorders and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, according to Anxiety Disorders Association of America. Supplements may help improve symptoms of anxiety and depression in children, if taken as recommended by a qualified medical professional .

Dried homeopathic herbs in the shape of a smiley face. (Image: barbaramarini/iStock/Getty Images)

Passion Flower

Passion Flower helps relieve tension, anxiety and nerve pains. It also helps to improve mental relaxation, mild euphoria and quality sleep. Due to its gentle action, Passion Flower is suitable for children and the elderly.

According to Dr. Asa Hershoff , ND, DC, and the author of "Herbal Remedies, a Quick and Easy Guide to Common Disorders and Their Herbal Remedies," many of the herbs that help anxiety and depression work on the same brain receptors sites as conventional drugs. There are no known side effects from taking Passion Flower.

According to "American Family Physician," a combination of Passion Flower, Valerian and St John's Wort extracts is a safe and effective supplement to treat insomnia and also may help individuals with anxiety.

Bach Flowers

Bach flowers are natural preparations, another example of safe and effective supplements for children. There are thirty eight Bach flowers researched by Dr. Eduard Bach, M.D., and homeopath, which can be used as single flowers or in combination. In cases where symptoms of anxiety are pronounced, remedies like Elm and Red Chestnut should be considered. According to Dr. Bach, Elm is useful for anxiety associated with feeling unable to cope with stress. Red Chestnut may help in cases of anxiety where the child is expressing anxiety over the welfare of others.

In case depressed mood is the main concern, Agrimony, Gorse and Gentian should be considered. Agrimony works well when the child tends to hide his emotions from parents. Gentian is used when the child displays a dependent personality and for mild symptoms of depression. Gorse is indicated when there are deep feelings of hopelessness.

Bach Rescue Remedy is a combination of five Bach Flowers that is particularly helpful for anxiety and panic attacks. A study designed to assess the efficacy of Bach Flowers was done at University of Miami School of Nursing and was published in the July 2007 issue of "Medical News Today." The researchers found that Bach Rescue Remedy is a safe and effective stress reliever, with no known side effects, and is non-addictive.

Homeopathic Remedies

Homeopathic supplements use non-toxic extracts of natural substances, mostly from herbs. Homeopathic products are safe for individuals of all ages; however, a qualified homeopath should recommend these remedies in children. For depression, remedies such as Aurum, Pulsatilla and Nat-Mur have been frequently used by professionals. For anxiety, Ignatia, Metal Alb and Aconite are some of the most useful remedies.

Considerations

Symptoms of anxiety and depression are sometimes different in children, compared with adult symptoms of the same conditions. Symptoms related to anxiety in children include specific phobias, refusing to go to school, being extremely clingy, temper tantrums, nightmares, lack of friends, constant worries, feelings of embarrassment, low self-esteem and lack of self-confidence. Symptoms related to depression in children include various physical complaints such as headaches, stomach aches, and fatigue and significant changes in weight, sleep and school performance. Children with depression tend to be more irritable, unhappy and moody rather than depressed.

Thus, it is important to see a qualified doctor to have the correct diagnosis and appropriate treatment. In addition to conventional drugs and psychotherapy, herbal products and homeopathic preparations as recommended by a qualified homeopath or naturopath may help decrease symptoms of anxiety and depression.

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