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Pediatric Anxiety Disorders

Every child gets scared or anxious sometimes. It’s normal for kids to be afraid of the dark, shy around new people, or become nervous before a big test. It becomes an issue when fear and anxiety cause distress or interfere with everyday activities.

What are Pediatric Anxiety Disorders?

Fear and anxiety are normally healthy emotions. If potential harm is nearby, they prime the mind and body to deal with danger. However, these feelings become disordered when the intensity, duration, or frequency is disproportionate to the threat. Childhood anxiety disorders are conditions where dysfunctional fear or anxiety cause extreme distress and hinder a child’s or teen’s functioning.

Prevalence Among Children and Adolescents

Anxiety disorders are the most common behavioral health conditions in childhood and adolescence, affecting approximately 7 percent of those ages 3 to 17. Certain types of anxiety disorders are found more often in young children than in teens. For example, separation anxiety rarely extends beyond puberty. In contrast, social and general anxiety are more common during the teenage years. Specific phobias tend to emerge early—often between the ages of 5 and 8—and can continue into adulthood.

Treating Children with Anxiety Disorder

When left untreated, anxiety disorders can lead to negative outcomes in childhood and later in life. By working together, clinicians, parents, and pediatricians can determine the best course of care for the individual child. Be sure to read the recently published article from NextStep Solutions which goes into further details on this topic, including:

  • Five Common Types of Anxiety Disorders in Children and Teens
  • Causes of Anxiety Disorder
  • Signs and Symptoms
  • Screening and Diagnosis
  • Child-focused Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Click here to read When Fear Becomes a Problem: Anxiety Disorders in Children and Adolescents.

Darice Warren
dwarren@nssbehavioralhealth.com


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