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How to spot anxiety in children

The Herald-Dispatch - 8/18/2017

Now that the school year is underway in most schools, some students may be having trouble adjusting to their new routines and classroom settings. Being nervous about school in these first few weeks is common, but make sure you pay close attention to your children for signs that normal fears may have escalated to the point of an anxiety disorder.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says when children do not outgrow the fears and worries that are typical in youngsters, or when there are so many fears and worries that they interfere with school, home, or play activities, the child may be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. The CDC says examples of different types of anxiety disorders include:

n Being very afraid when away from parents (separation anxiety)

n Having extreme fear about a specific thing or situation, such as dogs, insects, or going to the doctor (phobias)

n Being very afraid of school and other places where there are people (social anxiety)

n Being very worried about the future and about bad things happening (general anxiety)

n Having repeated episodes of sudden, unexpected, intense fear that come with symptoms like heart pounding, having trouble breathing, or feeling dizzy, shaky, or sweaty (panic disorder)

Anxiety in children may look like fear or worry, but can also appear as anger and irritability. Symptoms can also include trouble sleeping, as well as physical symptoms like fatigue, headaches, or stomachaches. In some cases, anxious children keep their worries private and, thus, the symptoms can be missed. You should consult your family practice provider if you suspect your child might need help. Source:

Healthy Habits 2017 is a partnership among Cabell Huntington Hospital, Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine and St. Mary's Medical Center. We are a community working together to improve our health. Our goal is to inform and encourage area residents on ways to improve their health. Join our conversation and "like" us on Facebook at


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