In order to bring you the best possible user experience, this site uses Javascript. If you are seeing this message, it is likely that the Javascript option in your browser is disabled. For optimal viewing of this site, please ensure that Javascript is enabled for your browser.

Anxiety in Children

- Summary
- About child anxiety
- Types and differences
- Potential causes
- Signs and symptoms
- Diagnosis methods
- Treatment and prevention
- Questions for your doctor

Reviewed By:
Steven A. King, M.D.


Anxiety is a natural physiological and psychological response to certain stressful situations. Normally, anxiety is part of the body’s alarm system, alerting a person to danger or providing extra energy to help accomplish a task. However, some children experience excessive anxiety that may indicate the presence of an anxiety disorder or another mental health condition.

Anxiety causes symptoms such as racing pulse, sweating, dry mouth, tremors and stomach upset. Children who are anxious may worry about situations before they even occur and may feel a general fear about the well-being of family and friends. They may worry about potential problems at school or when engaged in activities. Severe anxiety can interfere with a child’s ability to live a productive life.

A single stressful event can trigger temporary anxiety in a child. The cause of long-term anxiety is often more difficult to trace. Family difficulties – such as marital strain, financial problems, parental alcoholism or illness of a family member – may create an atmosphere of tension that breeds long-term anxiety. Genetic factors may also play a role.

Anxiety disorders are among the most common psychological conditions to affect children. Up to 10 percent of children may have at least one anxiety disorder, according to the National Mental Health Association. Examples of anxiety disorders that commonly affect children include generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), separation anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder and phobias.

Early diagnosis and treatment of anxiety in children is crucial. Failure to adequately treat anxiety can result in loss of friendships, social and academic difficulties, and feelings of low self-worth. Physicians and mental health professionals can work together to rule out other physical or emotional disorders before diagnosing a child with an anxiety disorder. Sometimes, anxiety may be a symptom of another psychological disorder such as depression.

Children diagnosed with anxiety disorders have a number of effective treatment options. In many cases, a combination of psychotherapy and medications may be the best treatment.

page 1 of 8 | Next Page

Review Date: 01-29-2007

If pain lingers for months and interferes with your life, chances are...

Tina Johnson of Women's Health magazine discusses the symptoms...

Dr. Gail Saltz talks about the red flags for chronic worriers and how they can lessen...

Dr. Saltz tells Maria Menounos how to recognize them and keep them...

Coronary artery disease patients are more likely to suffer chest pain...

The threat of losing your home or savings can really make couples...

News from Dr. Nancy Snyderman

Dr. Nancy Snyderman

Helpful tips and information on health and weight loss

Get the information you need


Home  |  Health Centers  |  Health A-Z  |  Staying Healthy  |  Diet & Fitness  |  Woman & Family  |   |   |  

also on iVision:  |   |   |   |   |   |   | 

 |   |  Site Map  |   | 

Copyright (c) 2000-2009 iVision Inc. All rights reserved. The information provided on this site is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.