Anxiety Is Surprisingly High Among Children

It is well known that anxiety is common in the United States—approximately 40 million American adults have a diagnosed anxiety disorder.

However, many may not realize how often mental illness affects children. About 1 in 12 children in the U.S. struggle with diagnosed anxiety and depression—not to mention the thousands, if not millions, who are undiagnosed. 

In children, anxiety can look like irritability, sleeplessness, jitteriness or physical symptoms such as headaches and stomachaches, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. 

Anxiety disorders are often coupled with other disorders, such as ADHD, in children and if left untreated, can cause children to perform poorly in school or miss out on important social experiences, according to the ADAA. 

Anxiety disorders that affect children include: 

Generalized Anxiety Disorder – Your child may worry excessively about things like natural disasters, grades, health or punctuality.  

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder – Your child may experience intrusive thoughts that prompt compulsory actions, such as an obsession with cleanliness. 

Panic Disorder – Your child may have a panic disorder if they suffer at least two panic or anxiety attacks followed by at least one month of concern over having another attack. 

Social Anxiety Disorder – Your child may exhibit an intense fear of social activities and performance situations. 

Selective Mutism – Your child may refuse to speak in certain situations to the extent that they are unable to function in a social or public setting. 

If your child suffers from an anxiety disorder or you suspect they may have undiagnosed anxiety, Stanford University has compiled a list of anxiety resources for both parents and children.