Anxiety disorders differ from normal feelings of nervousness and involve excessive fear or worry that last several months. Anxiety disorders are the most common type of psychological disorder in the united states. The lifetime prevalence of anxiety disorders in children and teens ranges from about 15% to 20%. According to a recent survey of over 2,000 college students, 90% of students reported that anxiety and stress related to COVID-19 has negatively impacted their academic performance within the last 12 months.

In general, for a person to be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, the fear or anxiety must:

  • Be persistent and out of proportion to the situation or age-inappropriate
  • Cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, academic, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

There are several types of anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, specific phobias, and separation anxiety disorder.

Children may lack the cognitive capacity or experience to understand that their feelings and symptoms are out of proportion to the situation or are not developmentally appropriate. Additionally, children may have difficulty communicating the nature of their fears and feelings of nervousness. Furthermore, some anxious behaviors in children may be normal developmental anxiety such as a toddler becomes anxious because she believes her mother has disappeared when she is out of sight.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) has shown to be effective in treating children, adolescents, and adults experiencing anxiety disorders. CBT can assist children, adolescents, and adults with adopting a more adaptive understanding of the anxiety-provoking situation and restructure cognitive distortions related to anxiety disorder.

A collaboration between the psychologist and patient helps identify the most appropriate therapeutic method and treatment plan for an individual with anxiety disorders.  An understanding of the individual’s cognitive, social, developmental, and emotional functioning helps identify the most effective treatment approach for anxiety disorders.

SageForth Psychological Services is here to help.  Contact us at 703-999-8636 for a consultation.