Anxiety is the leading mental health issue among kids in America and New Jersey is no exception.

A recent published study based on data from the National Survey of Children’s Health found a 20 percent increase in anxiety cases, among child patients (ages 6 to 17) over a five-year span.

Dr. Steven Tobias, director of the Center for Child and Family Development in Morristown, said he's seen an 'explosion in anxiety disorders' among young patients. He said there seems to be stress from every angle, from stringent educational requirements to rigorous athletic teams and more demanding extracurricular activities.

Tobias said it's likely a reflection of increased anxiety and stress among guardians, too. One solution, among the over-extended crowd, is to "do less."

Seven-in-ten parents say their school-aged kids participated in sports in the past year
Tobias said unstructured free time not only is enriching but also stress relieving. So, for ambitious New Jersey families setting up kids’ schedules, “more” isn’t always better.

He adde another factor is time spent on technology. Tobias points to research on extensive social media use and a potential correlation with anxiety disorders and depression.

Temporary feelings of anxiety are a normal part of childhood. But children who suffer from an anxiety disorder experience fear, nervousness and shyness and start to avoid places and activities.

Proud Jersey Girl Erin Vogt’s first reporting gig involved her Fisher Price tape recorder. As a wife and momma of two kiddies, she firmly believes that life’s too short to drink bad coffee.  A fan of the beach, Dave Grohl and karma, in no particular order.

Follow her on Twitter and on Facebook as ProudJersey.

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