If you have a child, you might be concerned that their attitude or behavior is a sign of an anxiety disorder. Anxiety is extremely common, including in young children and teens. Here are some anxiety disorders your child may be suffering from.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
The first type of anxiety disorder your child might have is called generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). This is one of the most common forms of anxiety for children, teens and adults, It is a type of constant worry or anxiousness not always brought on by something. Some kids have specific triggers, but others just feel the worry at random times. It can really affect their lives, from making it hard to make friends, to affecting their schoolwork. It is not uncommon for children with GAD to become obsessed with perfection, so that is a good sign to look for.
Panic disorder can occur on its own or combined with other forms of anxiety, like GAD. With panic disorder, your child not only has anxiety, but they are prone to panic attacks. These can be brutal for many people, and something children and adults can both experience. Panic attacks don’t last long, but they are often linked to feeling like you are going crazy or are having a heart attack. Some common symptoms of panic attacks include:
- Sweaty hands and increased temperature
- Mild confusion
- Tunnel vision
- Racing heart
- Feeling ‘out of it’
With social anxiety, your child probably only has anxiety or panic attacks when in a social situation. This can vary in severity, from not being able to talk to anyone other than their parents or siblings, to only having issues in large crowds. Your child might prefer sitting in the back of the classroom where they feel they aren’t on display, or sit alone in the playground, but do just fine one-on-one with their friends or cousins.
It is also not uncommon for kids to have separation anxiety, even as they get older. This occurs when your child has major anxiety or panic attacks when you leave them alone with a sitter, or even when they are going to school or church when you won’t be in the room. Separation anxiety has a variety of treatments, so it is best to talk to a therapist about how to help your child overcome it.
Of course, there are also many other anxiety disorders your child could have, from specific phobias like hypochondria, to PTSD following a traumatic event. Talk to a mental health professional for more info.