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Signs of Excessive Anxiety in Children

Anxiety is a common experience for children and adults alike, and it often serves a useful purpose. Most parents want their young children to be apprehensive around strangers or to think twice before engaging in daring or risky activities. A little caution can help keep children safe. It is also common for children to be somewhat anxious in the dark, on their first day of school, or when speaking in front of their classroom. However, when a child’s initial anxiety in attending school doesn’t reduce over time, makes it difficult for the them to attend school, or becomes worse as they mature rather than better, then it has become a problem. Problematic anxiety interferes with children’s daily lives and keeps them from meeting developmental milestones. It is the combination of excessive levels of anxiety and interference in daily activities that suggest further assessment and intervention.

Examples of symptoms of excessive anxiety include constantly needing reassurance, difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, crying without being able to be soothed, and throwing tantrums. Examples of interference in daily activities include school refusal, avoiding contact with peers, refusing to try new things.

If your child is experiencing these symptoms, counseling can help. Anxiety is best managed by learning coping skills for both parents and children, leaving psychotropic medication as a last resort. Professionals at the Center for Psychological Development specialize in the treatment of children and adolescents and welcome your referrals.