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Anxiety disorders in Children

  • Overview

    Watching your child struggle with anxiety is incredibly difficult for any parent. While all children go through periods of anxiety, your child may have an anxiety disorder if she:

    • worries excessively about a certain situation, or about multiple situations
    • feels significantly distressed because of his worry
    • finds his schoolwork, home life and/or friendships disrupted by his anxiety

    Anxiety disorders:

    • can’t just be “shaken off” or “gotten over” without help
    • are common among children and adolescents
    • are treatable with the guidance of trained clinicians

    There are several different types of anxiety disorder, including:

    How Children’s Hospital Boston approaches anxiety disorders

    Children’s has long been at the forefront of providing expert, compassionate care to children and adolescents with mental and behavioral health issues. Our Department of Psychiatry team members are leaders in researching, diagnosing and treating anxiety disorders, as well as:

    Children’s approach to mental health care is evidence-based—which means that our treatments have been tested and proven effective through scientific studies, both here at our hospital and by other leading institutions worldwide. We use “talk therapy” as our primary method of treatment for anxiety, focusing on teaching children helpful thinking and coping skills to overcome symptoms and adopt new, healthier thought patterns and behaviors.

    In certain instances, we might recommend that your child begin an anti-anxiety medication regimen—always in conjunction with talk therapy. Children’s has a dedicated Psychopharmacology Clinic to help determine whether medication might be a helpful addition to your child’s treatment plan.

    Our team is always aware that your child is, first and foremost, a child—and not merely a recipient of care. You and your family are essential members of the treatment team, and our compassionate mental health professionals will include you in the therapeutic process at every step of the way.

    Anxiety disorders: Reviewed by David R. DeMaso, MD
    © Children’s Hospital Boston; posted in 2011

The future of pediatrics will be forged by thinking differently, breaking paradigms and joining together in a shared vision of tackling the toughest challenges before us.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO