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Anxiety Disorder: Signs and Symptoms

Updated: Sep 30, 2021

Written by Anu


Anxiety disorder is one of the most common mental health concerns in both children and adults. For children, anxiety disorder can cause extreme fear, worry and changes in their behaviour, mood, and attitude. This can come in different forms and children with anxiety could feel symptoms that others may not be able to see, such as worry, fear, nervousness etc. Anxiety disorder in children could also appear in physical symptoms such as, racing heart, rapid breathing, difficulty catching their breath, dizziness, tingling, shaking, sweating, weakness, or tiredness. Furthermore, children with learning disabilities can feel more anxious than children without it.


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Although anxiety is not dangerous as it is adaptive and prepares our body to react to certain situations, it can become a problem if it begins to interfere with daily functioning. It is important to seek help when anxiety disorder in a child begins to disrupt the household and interferes with daily his/her activities. There are ways and treatments to manage and deal with anxiety disorder, most common being Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)—a talk therapy in which children learn to face their fears, worry less, and manage anxiety.

Tips for parents to help their child manage anxiety on their own

  • Have consistent routines.

  • Stay calm especially when your child looks to you in a new or uncertain situation.

  • Acknowledge your child’s feelings and help him/her identify them.

  • Encourage your child to talk about their fears and worries.

  • Teach your child how to problem solve and reassure him/herself.

  • Provide rewards for taking a small step in facing fears.

  • Plan ahead for times that may be difficult.

  • Model and encourage healthy living style including healthy diet and physical activity



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References:

Anxiety. o Kelty Mental Health Resource Center. (n.d.). o https://keltymentalhealth.ca/anxiety.

Lyness, D. A. (Ed.). (2018, October). Anxiety Disorders (for Parents) - Nemours KidsHealth. KidsHealth. https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/anxiety-disorders.html.