What are the common types of anxiety disorders in children?
Children diagnosed with separation anxiety experience significant distress when separating from their parents.
Children with social anxiety disorder experience significant anxiety during social situations. These social situations may include performing in front of others, eating in front of others, reading aloud, being observed, or interacting with others. They often worry about being made fun of by others.
Children diagnosed with specific phobias have intense fear related to certain objects or situations. Common specific phobias include fear of heights, fear of bugs, or fear of the dark. It is important to note that many people may have some slight anxiety over certain situations. For children who have a phobia, the fear is intense, persistent, and interferes with their functioning.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Children diagnosed with a Generalized Anxiety Disorder have uncontrollable worry about lots of different activities and situations. They have difficulties controlling the worry and often experience physical symptoms such as being tired, having difficulties concentrating, and being irritable.
What will treatment look like?
Before beginning treatment, a comprehensive anxiety interview will likely be completed. The interview will ask detailed questions related to the onset, frequency, and severity of the anxiety. The most effective therapy for children with anxiety is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).
Through CBT, children will learn how their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors all contribute to the anxiety. The cognitive portion of therapy will focus on challenging your child’s negative thoughts and helping your child to replace the thoughts with more balanced thoughts.
Behavioral techniques are also often used to gradually confront the anxiety-provoking situations while using coping skills to manage the anxiety.
Signs of Anxiety
Asking lots of questions to get reassurance
Complaining of headaches, body aches, and/or stomachaches
Refusing to go to school
Getting easily upset in stressful situations