General Anxiety Disorder is characterized by severe, unrealistic worry about everyday responsibilities like arriving to school on time, acing a test or scoring points at a basketball game. Children with this disorder can be self-conscious around their friends and exhibit an intense need for reassurance from authority figures like teachers and parents. General Anxiety Disorder can also cause worries about more adult issues like finances or natural disaster. An unexplainable stomachache the morning before a big test or a headache before a social event can be indicative of this anxiety disorder in children.
Panic Disorder is the most physically evident anxiety disorder in children. Panic attacks are periods of time ranging from seconds, to minutes, to hours, of a pounding heartbeat and profuse sweating, along with dizziness and nausea. The intense fear felt during a panic attack can even be accompanied by an overwhelming apprehension of sudden death. These attacks are so horrific that children living with the disorder may go to great lengths to avoid situations that may bring on a panic attack.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder , also referred to as OCD, is manifested in children who exhibit a pattern of repetitive thoughts and behaviors. Many times children with OCD realize these thoughts and behaviors are irrational. Living with OCD can be described as being trapped within a pattern of thought and action that can’t be stopped. Unnecessary counting, arranging objects and excessive hand washing are common signs of this anxiety disorder in children.
Separation Anxiety Disorder is found in children who display an obvious difficulty leaving their parents to go to school, camp or even slumber parties. The boy clinging to his mother outside the classroom every morning and the girl who is miserable the first few days of summer camp are most likely suffering from separation anxiety disorder. When children with this disorder are separated from their parents, they may have trouble sleeping, eating and relating to their friends.
Phobias are easier to identify than most forms of anxiety in children because they are distinguished by fears of situations and objects that most people would find unreasonable. There are thousands of phobias, each with their own name, but the most common phobia anxiety disorder in children is social phobia. Children with social phobia may have a general fear of people and social situations, which is usually representative of a fear of judgment from others. Children with phobias will go to great lengths, including lying and manipulation, to try to avoid the situations they fear.
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder is a type of anxiety in children that occurs following a traumatic experience like a natural disaster, death of a loved one, physical or sexual abuse or violent event. Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, can cause children living with the disorder to have strong, sometimes violent memories called flashbacks. The disorder often keeps children awake at night for fear that they might dream about the traumatic event. Unexpected loud noises or simple physical contact like a hug may startle them enough to lead to flashback.