Anxiety in Children
While most children worry, and some anxiety is both normal and healthy, problematic anxiety is best addressed by a professional when it begins to inhibit a child’s full participation in the formative experiences of childhood. Problematic anxiety in children may manifest as perfectionism, excessive worry about and/or refusal to engage in activities, somatic complaints, difficulty separating from parents or caregivers, panic attacks, selective mutism, or specific phobias.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder in Children
In children, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder may manifest in a variety of ways. Common presentations in children involve: obsessive worry about loved ones, over-concern with the appearance of school assignments, rituals involving washing, specific bedtime rituals, repeatedly asking questions, checking and/or ordering objects, counting, or praying. A child with OCD will become markedly distressed when not able to complete a ritual; some children are able to articulate specific fears related to completing or not completing the tasks, while other children may express more general worries or discomfort, such as “something bad will happen,” or “it just doesn’t feel right.” If a child’s ability to fully engage with and enjoy life appears to be impacted by worries or rituals, a professional evaluation is indicated.