Brain Facts

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Childhood Anxiety - Types of Anxiety Disorders

There are different types of anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, separation anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, and phobias.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

A child with GAD will worry excessively about a variety of things, strive for perfection, and seek constant approval.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

A child with OCD may experience unwanted and intrusive thoughts (obsessions) or feel compelled to preform rituals (compulsions) in order to reduce anxiety.

Separation Anxiety Disorder

Children, most commonly 7-9 years old, who experience significant anxiety when separated from parents and are extremely homesick. These children typically refuse to have sleepovers and may even refuse to attend school.

Social Anxiety Disorder

A child that has intense fear of social or performance situations and activities. Social anxiety can significantly impact academic achievement.


A child with an intense and irrational fear of strangers, heights, darkness, flying, animals, blood, insects, or being left alone, to name a possible few. Children may often begin to fear a specific object or situation after having an upsetting or traumatic experience, such as a dog bite or a car accident.

Keep in mind that your child’s anxiety disorder is not a sign of poor parenting. Anxiety can be successfully managed, and parents play a key role in helping their children manage their anxiety. When coping skills and positive behaviors are rewarded and practiced in the home, children and teens can learn to face their fears, take reasonable risks, and ultimately gain confidence.

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