Record Anxiety Levels Over Terrorism
Men, Women Have Different Ways of Dealing With Worry
Whether this means that men are less scared or just less willing to admit it is up for debate. But it may help explain why depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress disorder are more common in women. Clinical assessments of these conditions are largely based on physical symptoms such as sleep problems or a loss of interest in sex -- as well as admitting to these and other symptoms. "There's an old adage in depression: Women internalize and men externalize," Nuccitelli says.
And kids? They seem to be doing both.
Nuccitelli's counseling center reports a flood of recent inquiring and appointment-making phone calls -- mostly from anxious mothers about the terror they feel in themselves or have seen in their children. "There's a big increase in sleep disturbances among children because of fears of terrorism," he says. "I'm counseling one young child now who was brought in for bedwetting. It took six sessions to find out it's because she fears that al-Qaida is living in the cubbyhole in her closet, where you can access the bathroom pipes."
To help your kids deal with current events, you need to inspire safety and security in a way that is best suited for your child. "Whatever you tell children, they take their nonverbal cues from their parents," says Barnett. So if you suddenly duct-tape your windows and stock up on food and water, that drastic disruption in daily routine can be shocking to kids -- or reassuring by showing that you're taking action.
"There are two groups of people," she says. "When anxious, some people like me want to know every single detail, they go to the doctor and want to know everything about that disease. But others trust the doctor will take care of them and don't need to know. If your kids want the details on what you are doing and how you are feeling, it's reassuring for them to get it. But if your child is one of those who doesn't need all the details, all that information may just add to worry. Either way, they all need reassurance that you're able to reach them and they can reach you."