The Anxious Child: An Overview

The Anxious Child: An Overview

It’s Far too Common

Anxiety in children and teens is one of the most common mental health issues, and also one of the most misunderstood.

Current statistics show that more than 1 in 8 children (ages 5-17) are affected by an anxiety disorder.

Children and teens with anxiety disorders are more likely to struggle in social situations and school and use drugs or alcohol.

In this workshop you will learn:

  • How common anxiety is in children and teens
  • How to identify an anxious child
  • How anxiety is often misunderstood
  • How anxiety interferes with developmental growth
  • How to treat and reduce anxiety
  • Successful outcomes for anxiety issues

It Takes Many Forms

  • Generalized to near constant worries about one’s day-to-day life.
  • Social situations, causing children severe distress when interacting with other individuals
  • Specific phobias are present when an above average level of fear/worry is directed at a non-threatening object or experience
  • Obsessions and compulsions, often needing things to be perfect, ordered or clean and have rituals they must perform to reduce the fear these obsessions create
  • School refusal
  • Separation anxiety, which occurs when a child cannot cope with being separated from a primary caregiver

It Can Be Challenging to Spot

The real struggle with childhood anxiety, however, is that it often does not look like what it is. In some instances, children and teens with anxiety may have the words to express their concerns, or the child’s reaction in a given situation may be so ‘obvious’ that the anxiety is easy to spot. However, more often than not children and teens do not have the language for what they are feeling.

Anxiety reactions may look a lot like defiance, anger, tantrums, outbursts, excessive crying or withdrawal. Considering these responses look so much like ‘typical’ teenage behavior or ‘annoying’ child behaviors, or overall behavior problems in general, often parents are unaware of the anxiety driving the responses, and children and teens are not receiving proper interventions.

The Good News – It Can Be Treated

While anxiety in children may be difficult to spot, the good news is that it can be treated successfully. Evidence on treatment for anxiety disorders in kids and teens show that once properly diagnosed, more than 85% of children show a large reduction in symptoms in 10-12 weekly sessions.

For more information about our workshops, please review our Parent Workshops page or contact us with your questions and ideas.