What are Anxiety Disorders?

Anxiety Disorders are one of the most common problems of childhood and adolescence.  Between 10 and 20 percent of children experience severe fear or anxiety that interfere with their lives. Common effects of severe childhood fears and anxiety include interference with family relationships, school performance, and friendships, as well as significant personal distress.

Avoidance of the anxiety provoking events, situations, or objects is the most common outward sign of a significant.  It is not always obvious when children’s difficulties are a result of extreme anxiety.  Most children with severe anxiety are not adequately diagnosed and treated. Most children continue to suffer in silence and often children do not receive treatments that are based on strong scientific evidence.

How do you know whether a child is suffering from severe anxiety or fear?
 If your child has any of these difficulties, your child may be suffering from severe anxiety or fears:

School

  • Trouble attending or staying in school?
  • Poor school performance due to anxiety, worry or fear?
  • Constantly visiting the counselor or school nurse?

Family

  • Trouble being away from mom/dad or other loved ones?
  • Worries about health of loved ones?
  • Needs to always be around mom/dad or other loved ones?

Friends

  • Trouble being around other children or grown-ups?
  • Difficulty making or keeping friends?
  • Avoids playing with other children, sleepovers, or after school activities?
  • Refuses to speak, or respond to others, in specific social situations?

Physical

  • Headaches or stomachaches from worrying too much?
  • Feels nauseous before leaving the house?
  • Vomiting with no medical cause?

Duration

Many people believe children will outgrow severe fears and anxiety.  This may be true for some children, but it is not true for all.  If left untreated, severe fears and anxiety in childhood lead to severe fears and anxiety in adulthood. These children also are at increased risk for other emotional and behavioral problems such as depression and substance abuse.