Children and adolescents with anxiety disorders experience extreme feelings of panic, fear or discomfort in everyday situations.  Anxiety is a normal reaction to stress, but if the child’s anxiety becomes excessive, irrational and he/she avoids feared situations that interfere with daily life, it may be an anxiety disorder.

Anxiety disorders are the most common type of mental health disorders in children, affecting nearly 13 percent of young people.  Overall, nearly one quarter of the population will experience an anxiety disorder over the course of their lifetimes.

Symptoms of many of these disorders begin in childhood or adolescence.

Common types of anxiety disorders in children are:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Panic Disorders
  • Separation Anxiety Disorder
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Specific Phobias
  • Social Phobias

 Signs & Symptoms

  • Heart palpitations
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Anxiety
  • Intense fear reaction to object or situation
  • Persistent recurring thoughts (obsessions) and engaging in compulsive ritualistic behaviors in order to reducethe anxiety associated with these obsessions
  • Reliving a traumatic event
  • Avoidance behaviors
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Irritability
  • Poor concentration
  • Experiencing six months or more of persistent, irrational and extreme worry

Children’s Mental Health Matters Anxiety Disorder Fact Sheet >>