Anxiety disorders in children

Anxiety disorders are the most commonly experienced mental illness in the United States. Kids are not an excepted from this disorder. Roughly one in 8 children may have an anxiety disorder. Childhood itself is quite an anxious process. Kids are tasked with learning new skills, meeting new challenges, overcoming fears and navigating a world that doesn’t always make sense. But sometimes these fears or stressors prove too much to handle and the normal comforts that adults can provide don’t quite seem to be enough. In this case a child may have a diagnosable anxiety disorder.

Types of anxiety disorders

There are many anxiety disorders. But we are discussing about anxiety which experienced by children.

  1. Generalized anxiety disorders: if your child experiences excessive anxiety or worry that result in fatigue, irritability difficulty in concentrating or sleep disturbances, then they may diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder. This worry may be about academic progress, friendships, family relationships or other activities.
  2. Separation anxiety disorder: this is mostly experienced in child between the ages of 1 to 3 year old. If they have excessive fear or anxiety about separated from care givers these children may refuse to go out or go to school or have night mares.
  3. Selective mutism: children with selective mutism may refuse to speak in certaine social situations, even though they are very talkative at home or whenever they feel comfortable. These children may refuse to speak at school and withdraw from others or avoid eye contact. This is most common among children around the age of 5.
  4. Specific phobia: children may exhibit fear or anxiety about a specific object or situation. These children may cry, freeze up or cling to an adult when their fear is present.
  5. Social anxiety disorder: child has an intense fear of having to participate in class or interaction with peers, and then they may have social anxiety disorder. These children may exhibit tantrums, crying clinging to adults or refusing to speak.

How can we help children with anxiety?

We can help those children with cognitive behaviour therapy, play therapy, and social skill training.


Jewel Autism Centre
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