Thursday, Oct. 21, 2010

General Anxiety Disorder

Age of Onset
Strikes at all ages but most commonly from childhood to middle age.

When It's Nothing
Kids have three early phases of high anxiety — at 8 months, 2 years and 5 years. All are part of the process of learning to get by in a very big and very scary world, and all should pass.

When It's Something
Beyond age 5, kids who can't let go of Mom or Dad may be experiencing symptoms of true anxiety. Kids who never run out of what-if questions ("What if there's a fire?") may also be sending a signal. One key test: Does your child eventually function in social settings or withdraw completely?

Cognitive therapy can help, as can acceptance and commitment therapy, which teaches kids to tolerate discomfort.