Recognition of Pediatric Anxiety Disorders by Monica Urquiola, APRN


Anxiety disorders are increasingly common among today’s children. Your pediatrician routinely screens for mental health disorders once your child hits adolescence. The importance of recognizing an anxiety disorder in children and creating a treatment plan is of paramount importance.


Signs your child might have an anxiety disorder:

  • Excessive worry about social or school performance
  • Anger outbursts and irritability
  • Avoidance/refusal of school and social interactions
  • Reassurance behaviors such as seeking excessive approval from peers or parents
  • Physical complaints including headaches, stomachaches, and sleep disturbances

What causes anxiety?

  • Anxiety is due to a combination of genetics, environmental stressors, family dynamics, and personality traits. Girls are at increased risk.

What are the risk factors associated with untreated anxiety?

  • Substance abuse, poor school performance, and depression can be co-morbid conditions associated with untreated anxiety.

What can I do for my child if I suspect they have an anxiety disorder?

  • Talk to your child’s pediatrician about your concerns. Your doctor will screen the patient and make the appropriate recommendations. Treatment often includes therapy (visiting a psychologist or licensed mental health counselor) and medication if necessary.


  • Recognizing, Diagnosing, and Treating Pediatric Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  • Panganiban, Marinela PA-C; Yeow, Michelle PA-C; Zugibe, Kaitlyn PA-C; Geisler, Sheryl L. PA-C
  • Journal of the American Academy of PAs: February 2019 – Volume 32 – Issue 2 – p 17–21 doi: 10.1097/01.JAA.0000552719.98489.75 CME: Pediatrics

Read the full newsletterDec19