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Doc Talk | Anxiety among children on the rise

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Anxiety impacts many lives, and doctors say now it's on the rise among children.

Accelerating at a rate never seen before.

Dan Marrow is a Psychotherapist with Geisinger Holy Spirit.

"I think it's very serious right now," Marrow said. "First of all, you need to stop and listen to your child."

More than ever before anxiety amongst children on the rise.

"We've seen an extreme increase in referrals from pediatricians, primary care physicians," Marrow said.

A startling statistic shows the age of anxiety beginning younger and younger. Marrow seeing patients as young as three years old.

"These are very critical years,” Marrow said. "A lot of things get set in stone during the early developmental years and we learn to be who we are.”

Now for the reasoning behind the uptick in child form anxiety.

Children exposed to more than ever, especially at home.

"Our society changes so children react to a lot of different things," Marrow said. "Listening to mom and dad argue and fight and then they watch them separate and divorce and then fight on who has custody of the child"

A more recent culprit of childhood anxiety is social media and electronics.

Adding too much connectivity and more distractions.

"Electronics is a major issue,” Marrow said. "The child stays up all night on social media or on their cell phone, they don't get enough sleep."

Sticking with social media induced anxiety, cyber bullying another growing issue.

Marrow says there needs to be more awareness at home. So it comes back to the parents.

"A lot of caregivers don't understand bullying on social media and they don't know how to react to their children who is being bullied,” Marrow said. "A parent has to first of all, has to have more discipline themselves more than their child."

He is advising the parents to drop their cell phone and pay closer attention to your kids.

"But help understand what's going on for that child, so they can help them learn how to self-regulate and learn what's going on for themselves,” Marrow said.

Geisinger Holy Spirit and Messiah College are hosting "Generation Stress: Breaking the Stronghold of Anxiety on our Kids", as part of the partners in caring speaker series.

The free session will be held Tuesday November 13 at 7 p.m. at Messiah College. Chris Nallan will also be there emceeing the event.

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