Identifying Anxiety in Children: Signs & Symptoms

Adaptive & Problematic Behavior, Bipolar & Mood Disorders, Grieving, PTSD & Trauma, Trauma & Child Abuse

Identifying Anxiety in Children: Signs & Symptoms

Anxiety disorder in children tends to be an overlooked topic. Usually, anxiety is associated with complications that arise in adulthood. However, the truth is that anxiety disorder does not discriminate when it comes to age. At our mental health clinic in Denver, we often see cases of anxiety in children of a very young age as well as other various mood disorders.

Unfortunately, this results in children not getting the care and attention they need. If you think your child may have anxiety, or mental health issues run in your family, it’s important to know what signs and symptoms to look for.

How Anxiety Affects Children in the U.S.

A recent study conducted by the Society for Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics in the year 2012 concluded that over 2.6 million children in the US suffer from some form of depression or anxiety disorder. Unfortunately, many of these children are not getting the proper mental health care that they need.
In fact, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America estimates that about 80% of children who have anxiety are not receiving treatment for their condition. Often, this lack of treatment leads to the development of complications later in life, especially in matters regarding a child’s education and development of social skills..

How to Recognize Anxiety in Children

Recognizing anxiety and mood disorders in a child can be difficult. Children are limited in their ability to communicate their feelings and, unlike adults, they often do not understand what’s wrong to begin with, much less feel compelled to speak about it and tell someone.
However, there are some signs that parents and caretakers can look for to help identify the potential presence of anxiety disorder. Some such behaviors include, but are not limited to:

  • Inability to concentrate or focus
  • Easily irritated or agitated
  • Tantrums, meltdowns, or defiant behavior
  • Patterns of negative thinking or self-criticism
  • Frequent headaches, stomach aches, or fatigue
  • Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
  • Avoidance of places or activities
  • Unusual eating habits such as hiding food
  • Withdrawal from social interactions

When to Consider Psychological Evaluation

It’s normal for all children to experience some level of anxiety. After all, kids are experiencing new things all the time and it’s normal to have some feelings of nervousness when it comes to learning or trying something new. However, when feelings of anxiety begin to interrupt daily activities or interfere with a child’s education or well-being, then there is most likely some reason for concern and psychological evaluation should be considered.

Schedule an Appointment for Psychological Evaluation

At Emerge, we offer evaluation services for anxiety disorder for Denver children, adults, and families. If you are interested in scheduling an appointment to be seen by one of our mental health professionals, please contact our office.