Signs and Symptoms of Childhood Anxiety Disorders

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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.