Scroll down for Sigh Syndrome ("I can't get a deep breath"), Emetophobia ("I think I might throw up" ), and Globus Sensation ("There's a lump in my throat").
Step 1: Schedule an appointment at Concord Pediatrics
Make an appointment with your PCP to discuss your symptoms and treatment options.
Step 2: Professional Therapy
While waiting for your appointment with us, look into professional therapy - usually using a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) approach. It is never too soon to start counseling with a trained professional. It can take time to find a therapist - one who takes your insurance, has openings, and is a good fit for your child. Start the process now. Check out our mental health resource page for counseling options in your area.
Step 3: Start working with your child today to find strategies to manage anxiety.
There are many books, workbooks, websites, apps, and podcasts that address anxiety. Consider starting with these:
- Lynn Lyons - Books, online videos, podcasts, Facebook resources by Lynn Lyons, LICSW, a licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist who lives in Concord, NH
- **Must Read** Anxious Kids, Anxious Parents and Playing with Anxiety: Casey's Guide for Teens and Kid
- Check out Lynn Lyon's Podcast "flusterclux"
- Videos to purchase: HELPING CHILDREN WITH ANXIETY: LYNN LYONS TALKS TO KIDS (scroll to bottom of page)
- What to Do When You Worry Too Much: A Kid's Guide to Overcoming Anxiety by Dawn Huebner
- Anxiety Workbooks - Try searching online for a variety of anxiety workbooks for children and teens . These often guide people through techniques and strategies similar to those used in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy with a therapist, but by using a workbook model you can do at home.
- Mindfulness and Relaxation CD's such as Indigo Dreams, Mental Health Podcasts, and Apps such as Headspace
- Programs you can buy: We are always looking for resources to help children while they are waiting to connect with a therapist. Turnaround (https://www.turnaroundanxiety) is a program which involves audio recordings and a workbook. No one program is perfect, or will work for every child, so we hesitate to recommed a purchase that may not be a right fit for your situation. However several of our patients have done well with this program recently. When looking into resources such as this for purchase, consider the time comitment, and whether your child will be willing to listen to the audio and do the workbook. Often children will be more motivated if parents or other family members listen together! Of note, this program also has a specific supplement for "Emetophobia" (the fear of getting sick and vomiting).
- Anxiety Disorders - National Institute of Mental Health
- See our page "Help! I'm stuck at home with my kids!" for parenting resources in these stressful times.
Specific Phobias and Syndromes:
Sigh Syndrome is when a person has frequent sighing or deep breaths, shallow breathing, and/or the feeling of "I can't get a deep breath," or "something is blocking my breathing." If your child has these symptoms, we suggest a prompt evaluation in our office to first make sure your child's airways and lungs are healthy. If a child's lungs and oxygenation are normal, then this feeling is most often related to anxiety. We have seen a large increase in the number of children with Sigh Syndrome since the start of the Covid pandemic, due to increased stress and anxiety. We have yet to find one "treatment" or group of breathing exercises specifically for Sigh Syndrome that works for everyone. While symptoms often go away on their own in weeks to months, acknowledging and addressing anxiety, and developing a strategy to talk to and reassure oneself when that feeling of "I'm not getting enough air" occurs, will help symptoms resolve more quickly. Start with the Lynn Lyons resources above while you begin the search for a therapist!
Emetophobia is the fear of getting sick and vomiting. We see this in children of all ages - sometimes after an illness, sometimes "out of the blue." If your child feels like they are going to vomit often, or worries they may vomit, we suggest a prompt evaluation in our office to first make sure they are otherwise healthy and that there is no physical problem or diagnosis causing these symptoms. In general, anxiety is often the cause here and treating underlying tendencies towards anxiety will help keep children from developing new phobias in the future. The resources from Lynn Lyons (see above), and a mental health counselor or therapist will help your child and your family get control of anxiety. Children need to develop a strategy to calm their "fight or flight response" (with a calming strategy) in the moment, so that they can then use self-talk to reassure themselves (talk back to the anxiety) when that feeling of, "I'm going to throw up" or, "what if I throw up" occurs. Turnaround (an audio/workbook program for children with anxiety) does have a specific Emetophobia supplement. Check out their website to see if your child would be interested in this program.
Globus sensation is the feeling of a lump or tightness in the throat, or the feeling that, "I can't swallow" or "Food is stuck in my throat." We suggest you make an appointment for your child at our office for evaluation so that we can review the possible causes of this symptom and offer treatment that might help. When there is no "physical" cause or disease causing globus sensation, it is usually due to anxiety. We see this often in children starting in elementary school. Globus sensation can go away on its own in weeks to months, but addressing underlying anxiety will likely help this feeling go away more quickly, and will help your child know how to address anxiety symptoms in the future. Children need to develop a strategy to calm their "fight or flight response" (with a calming strategy) in the moment, so that they can then use self-talk to reassure themselves (talk back to the anxiety) when that feeling of "something is stuck" or "I can't swallow" occurs. Start with the Lynn Lyons resources above while you begin the search for a therapist!