Anxiety disorders are among the most common types of mental health problems that occur in childhood and adolescence.
While experiencing a certain amount of anxiety and apprehension may be within the normal range of behavior for a particular age group, children and adolescents with an anxiety disorder exhibit an excessive response to a presenting set of circumstances. The fear or dread a youngster with an anxiety disorder experiences can be so overwhelming that normal daily function is impaired.
Children and adolescents with an anxiety disorder may have trouble sleeping, exhibit a decline in academic functioning, as well as have difficulties with peer interactions and family relationships. The physical manifestations associated with anxiety disorders can include trembling, sweating and shortness of breadth, or complaints of other ailments such as stomachaches, headaches, and muscle aches.
Some of the most common anxiety and related disorders include:
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Panic Disorders (PD)
Specific Phobias (SD)
Separation Anxiety Disorder (SAD)
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Genetic and environmental factors may contribute to an individual’s risk of developing an anxiety disorder. In some individuals more than one type of anxiety disorder is present. Also, anxiety disorders can comorbid with other psychiatric disorders like depression or ADHD.
Left untreated, anxiety disorders that begin in childhood can persist into adulthood. Depending on the severity of the diagnosed anxiety disorder and the level of impairment, treatment for a child or adolescent may include a variety of psychotherapeutic approaches including cognitive behavioral, parent training, and family therapy. In some cases, medications or a combination of therapy and medications may be recommended.