Children & Adolescents
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental, emotional, and behavioral problems to occur during childhood and adolescence. About 13 of every 100 children and adolescents between the ages of 9-17 experience some kind of anxiety disorder. Girls are affected more than boys. (U.S. Surgeon General’s report on Mental Health).
Young children often express their anxiety externally. They show it by crying, meltdowns, and asking for reassurance. Preschool and Elementary kids often act more restless, irritable, and experience body or stomach aches. Adolescents often deal with their anxiety differently than younger children. They may internalize their anxiety, which means they often withdraw from people because of their fear.
How can parents know when their child’s anxiety is normal or problematic? Normal anxiety is reasonable, productive, manageable, specific, and usually time limited. Problematic anxiety is excessive, detrimental, paralyzing, chronic, and pervasive.
Young adults include college age and adults through their 20’s. These are very transitional times. It can be a difficult time for people to adjust to becoming an adult and dealing with many new challenges. Anxiety can become debilitating as they try to figure out their future and what they want to accomplish in their lives. College brings with it pressure, high expectations, and the unknown about their future. Entering into the workforce can be exciting, but also frightening and anxiety provoking.
Families are affected by anxiety is many different ways.
- A child with anxiety can create conflict between the parents as they negotiate behavior modification strategies
- It can cause problems between siblings because the child with anxiety gets more attention
- It can also make the child or adolescent with anxiety feel guilty for all the distress they are causing their family