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Fears and worries can be common in children and in fact can be very developmentally appropriate. Fears and anxiety become developmentally inappropriate when they begin to effect the way a child functions and performs daily tasks.
Facts about Anxiety Disorders:
· Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18% of the population
· Anxiety disorders are highly treatable, yet only about one-third of those suffering receive treatment.
· Anxiety disorders develop from a complex set of risk factors, including genetics, brain chemistry, personality, and life events (http://www.adaa.org/about-adaa/press-room/facts-statistics).
Types of Anxiety Disorders:
· Children with Generalized Anxiety Disorder experience chronic, excessive anxiety about multiple areas of their lives (e.g., family, school, social situations, health, natural disasters)
· Children with Separation Anxiety experience excessive fear of being separated from their home or caretakers
· Children with Specific Phobia fear a specific object or situation (e.g., spiders, needles, riding in elevators)
· Children with Social Phobia experience anxiety in social settings or performance situations
· Children with Panic Disorder experience unexpected, brief episodes of intense anxiety without an apparent trigger, characterized by multiple physical symptoms (e.g., shortness of breath, increased heart rate, sweating)
· Children with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder perform repetitive mental acts or behaviors (“compulsions”) to alleviate anxiety caused by disturbing thoughts, impulses, or images (“obsessions”)
· Children with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder experience anxiety symptoms (e.g. nightmares, feelings of detachment from others, increased startle ) following exposure to a traumatic event.