Brain Facts

Posted by Safe In4 Hub

How can you tell if a child’s anxiety is normal or a part of an anxiety disorder?

There are three things that we usually look at to tell the difference between abnormal anxiety that is part of an anxiety disorder, and the anxiety that children, or really anybody, experiences as a normal part of life.

The first and probably the most important thing we look at is whether there is impairment?anxiety that interferes with a person’s ability to function and leads to avoidance. Most people feel anxious when they’re in a new social setting, or when they’re starting out a new job. But someone with an anxiety disorder may miss work because they’re so nervous, or they’ll refuse to go to school or attend a party, for example.

A second thing we look at is what we call extreme distress? whether a person is experiencing distress beyond what is typical. There is some amount of clinical or subjective judgment in determining whether stress is extreme.

The third thing we look at is whether abnormal anxiety goes on for many weeks or months. A person with abnormal anxiety is persistently worried or afraid of the same thing over and over again.

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