Help! I've Got an Alarm Bell Going Off in My Head!: How Panic, Anxiety and Stress Affect Your Body ISBN: 9781849057042
Published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2015
There are triggers that can set off a panic attack, stress, or serious anxiety, and this explanation of the brain and how it reacts to fears in our lives will be of great use to children whose 'alarm systems' have got a bit out of control. First comes the alarm bell, the danger, the trigger that causes the amygdala to tell the adrenal glands to start pumping adrenalin through our bodies. (Amygdala and adrenal are about the only words that might have to be explained to younger children.) The adrenalin gets us ready for action, either to run or fight - or to play dead! Thinking gets turned off, so there is no escape that way. With some people, the alarm is often a false one and there is no emergency, but the person gets reactions anyway: shakiness, anger, tears, aggression, dizziness, 'shutting down', or a surge of energy. All this is caused by a 'trigger', something that sets the person off, and these triggers can be mental or physical. Often the person him or herself is not aware of what these triggers are, but they are usually caused by fear. Writing down such fears can be a start, but some of them can be from when we were so young that we can't remember them. If one has had lots of dangers in life, then his alarm system is bound to go off more often. Some people with autism, Asperger's or ADHD can have particular trouble with triggers. There are ways to switch off the problem, and one of the greatest strengths of this little book is the explanation of how to do this, with lots of coping strategies. Training one's amygdala takes patience and help from others, and once you have done so, you must continue to check your 'alarm system patrol', in other words, your mind, your body, and your feelings to make sure that you are doing all you can - and, again, there are coping strategies for keeping that naughty amygdala under control. The comic black stick figures that are continually found through the book make a great way to help understand the text, and the text itself is clear and unambiguous. Managing to couple humour with serious information is a talent one doesn't often find, but it is here in abundance. Great for any over-anxious kids. Available from good book shops, from Amazon, and from the publisher: www.jkp.com.