Types of Anxiety Disorders in Kids

Separation Anxiety Disorder
Children with separation anxiety disorder often have difficulty leaving their parents to attend school or camp, stay at a friend's house, or be alone. Often, they "cling" to parents and have trouble falling asleep. Separation anxiety disorder may be accompanied by:
 
  • Depression
  • Sadness
  • Withdrawal
  • Fear that a family member might die.
 
About 1 in every 25 children experiences separation anxiety disorder.
 
Phobias
A phobia is an unrealistic and excessive fear of certain situations or objects. Many phobias have specific names, and the disorder usually centers on animals, storms, water, heights, or situations, such as being in an enclosed space. Children and adolescents with social phobias are terrified of being criticized or judged harshly by others. Young people with phobias will try to avoid the objects and situations they fear -- as a result, the disorder can greatly restrict their lives.
 
Panic Disorder
Repeated panic attacks in children and adolescents without any apparent cause are signs of a panic disorder. Panic attacks are periods of intense fear accompanied by:
 
  • Pounding heartbeat
  • Sweating
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Feeling of imminent death.
 
The experience is often so scary that young people live in dread of another attack. Children and adolescents with the disorder may go to great lengths to avoid situations that can bring on a panic attack. They also may not want to go to school or be separated from their parents.
 
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Children and adolescents with obsessive-compulsive disorder, sometimes called OCD, become trapped in a pattern of repetitive thoughts and behaviors. Even though they may recognize that the thoughts or behaviors appear senseless and distressing, the pattern is hard to stop. Compulsive behaviors may include repeated hand washing, counting, or arranging and rearranging objects. About 2 in every 100 adolescents experience obsessive-compulsive disorder.
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