Anxiety in Children
Some worrying and anxiety is a normal part of childhood, especially as it relates to specific times in development. Perhaps your young child is afraid of the dark, spiders, or storms. These are common fears that likely do not greatly impact their everyday lives. Anxiety can become a problem in children when they become overly tense, seek a lot of reassurance, and their worries consistently interfere with their daily activities. They may start to avoid places or things and seem to always be nervous. This is when parents should consider speaking to their child’s pediatrician, mental health provider, or psychiatrist about their concerns.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders affect one in eight children. However, there are many different types of anxiety disorders and children are affected in different ways. Common childhood anxiety disorders include: Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Panic Disorder, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Separation Anxiety, Social Anxiety, and Specific Phobias. You can find out more about each one of these disorders and how it affects children at www.adaa.org/living-with-anxiety/children/childhood-anxiety-disorders.
With proper support and treatment, children can learn to better manage their anxiety and lead healthy and successful lives. Therapy, especially cognitive-behavioral therapy, and medication have both been shown to be helpful with children with anxiety disorders. Early identification and treatment can help prevent future difficulties for your child and give them needed tools to reach their full academic and social potential. For more information, please visit the Anxiety and Depression Association of America or the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.