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Anxiety and Stress Disorders (Children)

Nighttime Anxiety

07/24/2007

Question:

My 7 year old little girl has recently become VERY afraid at night time. For some reason she is convinced that someone is going to break into our house and hurt her or us. She is afraid of being shot as well. We aren`t sure why or where this has come from. I was thinking that maybe she heard something on the evening news. For a few weeks now we haven`t had it on for her to see or hear and we have been trying our best to reassure her. Her Daddy has shown her that our house has an alarm on all windows and doors, he walks around the house at night for her to reassure her nobody is out there, we have held her and tried to get her to believe in us and we aren`t getting any where. We are losing massive amounts of sleep along with her and missing work because of it. This is a brand new thing and we would like to nip it quickly. Any suggestions??

Answer:

Your child has developed a phobia and apparently support and assurance has been unable to correct the problem.  I would suggest that you consult your health care professional regarding a mental health referral.

For more information:

Go to the Anxiety and Stress Disorders (Children) health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Floyd R Sallee, MD
Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati