experience anxiety. Anxiety in children is expected and normal
at specific times in development. For example, from approximately
age 8 months through the preschool years, healthy youngsters
may show intense distress (anxiety) at times of separation
from their parents or other persons with whom they are close.
Young children may have short-lived fears, (such as fear of
the dark, storms, animals, or strangers). If anxieties become
severe and begin to interfere with the daily activities of
childhood, such as separating from parents, attending school
and making friends, parents should consider seeking the evaluation
and advice of a child and adolescent psychiatrist.
of anxiety that may need treatment is called separation anxiety.
This includes: o
thoughts and fears about safety of self and parents
to go to school
stomachaches and other physical complaints
worries about sleeping away from home
or tantrums at times of separation from parents
sleeping or nightmares
type of anxiety (phobia) is when a child is afraid of specific
things such as dogs, insects, or needles and these fears cause
children are afraid to meet or talk to new people. Children
with this difficulty may have few friends outside the family.
children with severe anxiety may have:
worries about things before they happen
worries or concern about school performance, friends, or
thoughts or actions (obsessions)
of embarrassment or making mistakes
children are often overly tense or uptight. Some may seek
a lot of reassurance, and their worries may interfere with
activities. Because anxious children may also be quiet, compliant
and eager to please, their difficulties may be missed. Parents
should be alert to the signs of severe anxiety so they can
intervene early to prevent complications. It is important
not to discount a child's fears.
are concerned that your child has difficulty with anxiety
you should consult a child and adolescent psychiatrist or
other qualified mental health professional. Severe anxiety
problems in children can be treated. Early treatment can prevent
future difficulties, such as, loss of friendships, failure
to reach social and academic potential, and feelings of low
self-esteem. Treatments may include a combination of the following:
individual psychotherapy, family therapy, medications, behavioral
treatments, and consultation to the school.
information see Facts for Families:
#7 Children Who Won't Go to School
#50 Panic Disorder in Children and Adolescents
#52 Comprehensive Psychiatric Evaluation
#60 Obsessive Compulsive Disorder in Children and Adolescents
#70 Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.
Your Child (1998 Harper Collins)/Your Adolescent
(1999 Harper Collins).
#47 Updated 12/00