Christchurch children are still suffering from anxiety two
years after the earthquakes, a new study concludes.
Now, researchers at the University of Canterbury are looking
at how vitamins and minerals can help treat psychological and
psychiatric symptoms, including stress, mood and ADHD.
It's believed to be the first study in the world looking at
micronutrients and anxiety in children.
While some children remain anxious or worried about
earthquakes in particular, for others the events triggered
worries about other things, says researcher Ellen Sole.
"The issue for a number of children experiencing anxiety is
that the range of symptoms of anxiety can widely interfere
with their development. This includes affecting friendships,
school performance and a child's happiness," she said.
"Many anxious children will have difficulties sleeping.
Combining this with worries and the other difficulties
anxiety can have puts a large strain on the family, sometimes
negatively affecting family life."
The masters student and trainee clinical psychologist's study
is looking at whether micronutrients can help Canterbury
children aged eight to 11 years who are struggling with
Common symptoms of anxiety in children include sweating,
feelings of choking or dizziness, shortness of breath, heart
palpitations, being easily startled, restlessness, difficulty
concentrating, headaches, stomach aches, body aches and
tiredness as well as behavioural symptoms including
clinginess, tantrums, withdrawing from friends and family,
avoidance of places or objects, not wanting to go to school,
shyness and perfectionism.
Now, Ms Sole is appealing for "a small number" of children
who would be willing to try the vitamins and minerals for
approximately two months.
"Certainly Christchurch children have had to cope with much
more than a lot of children do, so we would expect that some
of these children will struggle," she said.
"While there are good psychological treatments for anxiety,
it is always good to have more options available for
treatment. This research hopes to provide more evidence to
assist with clinical decisions."