Children aren't the same as adults
Before we discuss whether your child has an inflamed brain or not let's first discuss their behaviour and where that comes from.
Something to remember about children is that they are not little adults and therefore should not be treated as such.
A child’s brain is very different from an adult. A child’s nervous system and even the balance of bacteria in their gut – are all different from an adult.
Likewise, a child’s experience of anxiety is quite different from an adult.
For a start, they don’t even know that what they are feeling is anxiety. All they know is that something doesn’t feel right and it’s not pleasant.
Children are in a very vulnerable space. As adults we can look after ourselves, we have that knowledge and certainty that we can deal with it.
Children rely on adults for their survival. This means that they need to meet certain expectation in terms of behaviour from adults. Children generally just want to please and meet this expectation because this makes them feel secure and safe.
If a child is not meeting behavioural expectation there is a reason for it.
Usually, that reason is discomfort and distress. A child has no way of communicating this discomfort and so they show us by way of their behaviour.
This is not bad behaviour, this is a cry for help.
Inflammation causes their behaviour
The cause of their discomfort and distress, which in turn leads to their 'bad' behaviour comes down to one thing - inflammation.
How that inflammation is expressed is different for each child as it depends on their underlying genetics and also on their unique personality.
For example, a similar inflammatory profile in one child could lead to behaviours like avoidance, separation anxiety and withdrawing into themselves (i.e. flight).
Whereas another child may have behaviours like meltdowns, yelling, hitting, manipulation and generally making life pretty uncomfortable for all those around them (i.e. fight).
It depends on their underlying personality and also on how their body utilises their neurotransmitters.
What causes an inflamed brain
So what causes an inflamed brain? that is the million-dollar question.
Inflammation is generally the cause of all chronic disease in the human body. This is so good for all of us to understand.
Inflammation is what happens when the body is exposed to something it wants to keep us safe from.
When you think about all of the inflammatory agents that our children are now exposed to that we didn’t grow up with it’s incredible that they are doing as well as they are.
However, it also explains why we are having increasing incidences of children presenting with mental health, learning disorders, autism, an immune disorder etc.
Inflammatory agents, we currently are aware of include:
- Chemicals in the environment
- Chemicals in our food
- Not belonging/disconnection
- Medications like antibiotics which challenge our gut bacteria
- Imbalance in gut bacteria
All of these put pressure on our DNA and result in an expression of our genetic weaknesses. This is called epigenetics.
So we might have the same genetics as our children but because our environmental stressors were less when we were growing up we have not expressed these weaknesses.
So What to Do? The Love Your Anxious Child Programme!!
This is the program we have developed that mirrors how we have successfully treated thousands of children with anxiety in our clinics and allows us the opportunity to help more mothers and their anxious children.