It’s common for children to experience fear or anxiety occassionally. It could be about taking a test, or beginnning at a new school, or even staying somewhere without Mommy or Daddy for the first time. For most kids, the anxiety they experience does not become irrational, and does not develop into panic, or an anxiety disorder. There are some children that develop anxiety disorders.

Some Common Childhood Anxiety Disorders

Children can have the same types of anxiety disorders that adults have. There are some kids with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). The GAD in kids shows itself in excessive worry about school or other common events in their life. They tend to be perfectionists and can be quite hard on themselves, even doing things over and over to get them perfect. These kids also will constantly be seeking approval from others.

A second disorder commonly seen in children is Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). This is having constant thoughts about something – like cleanliness, or fire. The child could repeat behaviors or routines to try to calm themselves.

OCD has been diagnosed in children as young as two years old. Some of the signs are excessive hand washing, or having a terrible feeling that something will go wrong, or counting and re-counting the same items in an effort to keep unwanted thoughts at bay.

Panic Disorders, or Panic Attacks, is another anxiety disorder seen in children. If a child experiences two panic attacks, followed by at least one month of anxiety about having another attack, the child may have developed this terrible condition, and advise from a qualified professional should be gotten. Panic disorders generally do not develop until adolescence.

Phobias Can Develop In Children

Specific phobias also fall under the umbrella of anxiety disorders, and can develop in children. Phobias are irrational fears about specific objects, situations or places. Most childhood fears, like being afraid of dogs, or insects, fear of the dark, go away on their own, when the child realizes that there is nothing to be afraid of. However, if the fear presistss for at least six months, and interferes with daily activities, this could be a phobia. Symptoms to watch out for are avoidance, becoming “clingy,” or freezing in place when experiencing fear.

Extreme Stress Can Cause PTSD in Children

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can be found in children. This occurs when the child has been exposed to extreme stress such as the sudden death of a parent or other loved one, natural disasters, physical assault, or just witnessing something traumatic, like a car accident.

The symptoms of PTSD in children may include not eating or sleeping, a lack of emotion, nightmares where they relive the traumatic event, role-playing the traumatic event, or excessive fear that the event may happen again.

PTSD has become common throughout society, and there are many effecitive ways to solve this problem, including counseling, hypnotherapy and even NLP techniques.

In Conclusion

Children and adults may share the same anxiety disorders, but the signs may be different in each. Children may not understand the irrational nature of fear, and may not be able to verbalize what is happening with them, while adults can generally do so. Watch for excessive crying, throwing tantrums for no reason, or becoming excessively clingy. These may be the symptoms of an anxiety disorder, and if left untreated can turn into full blow panic or phobias.

This article should not be the substititue for consultation with a qualified health care provider. Children in households where one or more adults have panic or anxiety disorders have a much higher chance of also developing one themselves. If you suspect your child is suffering from an anxiety disorder, it’s important to seek advice early.

Author's Bio: 

If you want to understand more about anxiety disorders in children, visit this website:, where you will find more articles on panic and anxiety, along with a free course where you can learn much more about how to find natural panic solutions for yourself.

Dan DeLuca is a Hypnotherapist and NLP Master Practitioner.