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Anxiety Disorders in Children

Anxiety Disorders in Children


Everything you need to know
about Anxiety Disorders in Children

From time to time, all youngsters have worries and fears. Whether it’s the monster in the closet, the huge test at the end of the week, or making the soccer team, kids, like adults, feel anxiety about a variety of things.

Children’s anxiety, though, can occasionally cross the line from routine worries to a disorder that keeps them from accomplishing the things they need to do. It may even prevent them from fully appreciating life.

How can you determine whether your child’s worries and fears are more than just passing thoughts? Here are a few questions:

  • Do they frequently and for extended periods of time display dread or anxiety?
  • Do they have trouble falling asleep at night? Do they seem abnormally drowsy or exhausted during the day, if you’re not sure (they might not tell you)?
  • Is it difficult for them to concentrate?
  • Do they seem angry or easily irritated?

Anxiety disorders can manifest themselves in a variety of ways in youngsters. Among the most common are:

Generalized Anxiety Disorder Children (GAD)

Remember Lucy asking Charlie Brown whether he has “pantophobia” in an old Peanuts cartoon? “That’s it!” Charlie Brown exclaims when they explain that pantophobia is “the fear of everything!”

GAD is similar to Charlie Brown’s fear of clowns. GAD children are overly concerned about a variety of things, including school, their own safety and health, the health of family members and friends, money, and the security of their families. The list could go on indefinitely. A child suffering from GAD may constantly imagine the worst-case scenario.

These anxieties may create physical symptoms in generalized anxiety disorder children, such as headaches and stomachaches. Because they are so burdened by their fears, your child may isolate themselves, avoiding school and friends.

Panic Disorder

A panic attack is a sudden, acute episode of worry that occurs for no apparent reason. Your child’s heart may race, and he or she may be out of breath. Your youngster may have tremors, dizziness, or numbness. (If your child is hyperventilating, encourage them to breathe gently and deeply.) Breathing through a brown paper bag can be beneficial.)

Panic disorder is diagnosed when your child has experienced two or more of these episodes and is preoccupied with fears of them happening again.

Separation Anxiety Disorder

Separation anxiety affects all children to some degree. It’s a natural developmental stage for babies and toddlers. Even older children, especially in new situations, may become clingy with their parents or guardians.

A separation anxiety disorder may affect older children who become especially upset when leaving a parent or another close relative, who have difficulty calming down after saying goodbye, or who become highly homesick and disturbed when away from home at school, camp, or play dates.

Social Phobia

In typical, everyday social circumstances, a child with social phobia experiences significant anxiety and self-consciousness. This isn’t just a case of shyness.

When talking with classmates, answering a question in class, or doing other regular tasks that require interacting with people, the socially anxious child is scared of embarrassing themselves.

This dread may prevent your youngster from attending school or participating in extracurricular activities. In some instances, some youngsters may even be unable to speak at all.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Children

Obsessive-compulsive disorder children (OCD) is a mental illness characterised by recurrent unpleasant thoughts or feelings (obsessions) or a strong need to repeat a behaviour (compulsions). Obsessions and compulsions can coexist in some persons.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder children aren’t about bad behaviours like chewing their nails or obsessing over negative ideas. The idea that specific numbers or colours are “good” or “evil” is a common obsessive concept. Washing your hands seven times after handling something possibly filthy might become compulsive behaviour. Even if you don’t want to, you feel powerless to stop thinking or acting in these ways.

What options are available?

There’s a lot you can do to aid if your child is having anxiety issues.

Above all, it’s critical to discuss your child’s anxiety or concerns with them.

Read on for more information on how to help a nervous child, including self-help strategies for anxious parents.

Many children of all ages may have anxiety that may subside with your reassurance after a period of time.

However, it’s a good idea to seek reassurance from professional help if your child is constantly anxious and:

  • Neither the situation is improving nor is it worse.
  • Self-help is ineffective.
  • It has an impact on their schoolwork, home life, and friendships.

Where to get help

A visit to the doctor’s surgery is a fantastic place to start.

You can see the doctor alone or with your child, and your youngster may be able to see the doctor without you.

If your child’s GP suspects they may have an anxiety condition, they may refer them to your local children and young people’s mental health services for an examination (CYPMHS).

Specialist CYPMHS are NHS mental health services aimed specifically toward children and teenagers. Workers in the CYPMHS are trained to assist young people with a variety of issues, including anxiety.

If your child refuses to see a doctor, a local youth counselling programme may be able to assist them directly. For further information, please visit Youth Access.