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.

Evidence-based treatment plans for children with anxiety disorders involve addressing both the physical symptoms of anxiety and the impact on daily functioning, and are aimed at helping the child fully embrace and experience the present. Treatment will involve some combination of: psychoeducation for both the child and caregivers, individual, parent, and family therapy, mindfulness training, Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), and/or exposure therapy for phobias.