Most kids have a bit of anxiety or worry from time to time and this is perfectly normal. However, when it gets out of hand or is a constant struggle, children may have an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders can be hard to detect and can have a negative impact on a child’s life. Luckily, there are ways to help children with anxiety. A child anxiety test can be a great first step to identify anxiety and start treatment early.
Anxiety symptoms can vary from child to child, but there are several types of anxiety disorders that are most common in youth. These include generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, phobias, social anxiety, separation anxiety disorder, and specific phobias. All of these can cause symptoms like a knot in the stomach, sweating, or difficulty breathing. In addition to these physical symptoms, anxiety can also affect a child’s mood and behavior. Kids who have an anxiety disorder might feel irritable or angry, be more withdrawn, or act aggressively or irrationally.
These symptoms can interfere with daily activities such as going to school, getting a job or having friends. It can also affect a child’s ability to sleep and concentrate in class. Some kids with an anxiety disorder have a hard time talking about their feelings and might not be able to describe what is bothering them.
Many parents are not able to recognize that their child is suffering from an anxiety disorder, which can lead to untreated symptoms. Anxiety can manifest itself in different ways such as tantrums, a refusal to attend school, or avoiding situations that trigger anxiety. These behaviors are often misinterpreted by adults as oppositionality or disobedience and can make it difficult to diagnose an anxiety disorder.
The good news is that an anxiety screening can be very easy to do. It only takes about 10 minutes and can be incorporated into a regular checkup. A pediatrician or family doctor can administer one of two commonly used anxiety tests, the Spence Children’s Anxiety Scale and the GAD-7.
Anxiety is a common problem that can be treated with medication, therapy, or both. A child’s primary care provider is likely to be the first person to notice anxiety symptoms and can help them get the treatment they need. Anxiety is very treatable, and catching it early can make all the difference in a child’s life. To learn more, read this article.