Anxiety is the fearful anticipation of further danger or problems accompanied by an intense unpleasant feeling (dysphoria) or physical symptoms. Anxiety is not uncommon in children and adolescents. Anxiety in children may present as:
- Separation Anxiety Disorder: Excessive anxiety concerning separation from home or from those to whom the child is attached. The youngster may develop excessive worrying to the point of being reluctant or refusing to go to school, being alone, or sleeping alone. Repeated nightmares and complaints of physical symptoms (such as headaches, stomach aches, nausea, or vomiting) may occur.
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Excessive anxiety and worry about events or activities such as school. The child or adolescent has difficulty controlling worries. There may also be restlessness, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, irritability, muscle tension, and sleep difficulties.
- Panic Disorder: The presence of recurrent, unexpected panic attacks and persistent worries about having attacks. Panic Attack refers to the sudden onset of intense apprehension, fearfulness, or terror, often associated with feelings of impending doom. There may also be shortness of breath, palpitations, chest pain or discomfort, choking or smothering sensations, and fear of "going crazy" or losing control.
- Phobias: Persistent, irrational fears of a specific object, activity, or situation (such as flying, heights, animals, receiving an injection, seeing blood). These intense fears cause the child or adolescent to avoid the object, activity, or situation.
For additional information see:
Anxiety Disorders Resource Center
Facts for Families: #47 - The Anxious Child