Childhood Anxiety

Home Health News Childhood Anxiety
Black and white photo of a child with anxiety sitting in a hallway.

Childhood Anxiety

Anxiety disorders are the most common psychiatric illnesses, affecting both children and adults. An estimated 40 million American adults (almost 1 in 10) suffer from anxiety disorders, but only about 13 million receive treatment, even though the disorders are highly treatable. ( When it comes to mental health challenges, rather than asking how to get rid of anxiety, it’s often more useful to ask about how to deal with anxiety. For most people, anxiety requires an ongoing management strategy. It’s not a one-and-done thing.

What is anxiety?

Anxiety disorder” is an umbrella term that includes a broad array of symptoms, all of which involve varying levels of fear. Acute anxiety comes on quickly. Separation anxiety makes it hard to leave someone. Generalized anxiety makes you feel worried much of the time.

Childhood anxiety symptoms

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America lists the following symptoms for childhood anxiety and depression.

  1. Depressed or irritable mood
  2. Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
  3. Change in grades, getting into trouble at school, or refusing to go to school
  4. Change in eating habits
  5. Feeling angry or irritable
  6. Mood swings
  7. Feeling worthless or restless
  8. Frequent sadness or crying
  9. Withdrawing from friends and activities
  10. Loss of energy
  11. Low self-esteem
  12. Thoughts of death or suicide


If your child demonstrates any of the symptoms above for more than a couple weeks, consider seeking anxiety treatment. Our therapists can support children and their families in learning to manage anxiety. We can provide parents with the skills they need to help their children thrive.

Coping with childhood anxiety

Skills may include:

  1. Learning how to help children calm themselves and stay grounded when anxiety threatens to overwhelm them
  2. Setting age-appropriate boundaries
  3. Helping children gain independence while remaining safe.
  4. Reinforcing positive behaviors rather than only punishing bad ones.
  5. Helping children express themselves
  6. Providing children with the vocabulary and emotional safety to share their thoughts, so others can understand the problem and begin to address it.
  7. Feeling more confident in how to deal with children’s anxious behaviors


Childhood anxiety treatment

At MCHC Health Centers, our therapists typically work with young patients who have mild to moderate mental health challenges. If patients need higher-level care, we refer them to qualified providers at Redwood Community Services and Tapestry Family Services, where patients can receive intensive case management, home visits and family therapy to address more severe mental illness.