Signs and Symptoms

Signs and Symptoms of Childhood Anxiety Disorders

All anxiety disorders involve fear, worry, and excessive distress. There are many types. Some common signs and symptoms to look for in kids and teens include

  • Excessive discomfort in front of others or in public
  • Avoidance of social or public situations
  • Inability to speak in select social or public situations (such as at school, in a store, at a restaurant, etc.)
  • Worry or fear before or during separation from parents or loved ones
  • Frequent nightmares involving the loss of parents or loved ones
  • Obsessive thoughts or compulsive behaviors
  • Panic attacks, or fear of panic attacks
  • Specific fears or phobias (such as of bees, dogs, etc.)
  • Fear of natural disasters or other large-scale accidents
  • Unrealistic or unfavorable opinion of one’s own performance or abilities
  • Excessive need for reassurance and approval from others

These are just some signs that a youth may have an anxiety disorder. All of these symptoms can occur in kids and teens without anxiety disorders; however, for youth with anxiety disorders, these feelings are more intense and more persistent, and they can cause difficulty on a regular basis.

In all cases, it is up to a healthcare provider or mental health professional to make a diagnosis. As a provider, it is important to determine whether the symptoms a child is experiencing are temporary responses to a difficult or stressful life situation or associated with a specific anxiety disorder or medical condition.

There are a number of effective treatment methods for childhood anxiety disorders.