How to Spot Anxiety Disorders in Kids, Tweens and Teens

Written in Partnership with In the City Camps

Kids, tweens, teens and even adults all experience fears and worries. But when they become frequent and interfere with the person’s ability to fully live their life, it has crossed the line into an anxiety disorder. Let’s discuss the different types of anxiety disorders and how to spot them. 

Types of Anxiety Disorders 

These are sometimes called “internalizing disorders,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The most common types of anxiety disorders in young people include: 

  •         General anxiety: worries over bad things happening now or in the future
  •         Panic disorder: when anxiety suddenly causes physical symptoms such as difficulty breathing, a racing heart, shaking and sweating
  •         Phobias: debilitating fear around specific things, such as driving, animals, insects and doctors
  •         Separation anxiety: excessive fear when a child is away from their parents or other primary caregivers
  •         Social anxiety: wanting to avoid school or other social situations where there are a lot of unknown people


Some young people don’t talk about their symptoms, so anxiety disorders can be harder to spot. As always, talk to your doctor or another professional such as a teacher if you have any concerns. 

Symptoms may include: 

  •         Acting irritable or angry
  •         Withdrawing from family members and friends
  •         Avoiding activities once enjoyed
  •         Excessive fatigue
  •         Stomachaches
  •         Headaches
  •         Changes in eating or sleeping habits

Treatment Options 

Because the symptoms of anxiety disorders can mimic other conditions such as depression or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), it is important to have a thorough evaluation. A pediatrician, psychologist or psychiatrist can do this. 

While medication is a good option, it is not the only option. Therapy is important in all cases and can help your kid, tween or teen better handle their emotions. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is especially useful for anxiety disorders.

The Blue Dove Foundation recently partnered with In the City Camps, to talk about important issues related to raising mentally healthy children and fostering mental wellness within our children. We hope you find them as helpful and impactful as we do.

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