Generalized Anxiety Disorder in Children

Small worried girl
Generalized Anxiety Disorder in Children. Deborah Faulkner / Getty Images

Children with generalized anxiety disorder (or overanxious disorder of childhood) worry excessively about all manner of upcoming events and occurrences. They worry unduly about their academic performance or sporting activities, about being on time, or even about natural disasters such as earthquakes. The worry persists even when the child is not being judged and has always performed well in the past.

Because of their anxiety, children may be overly conforming, perfectionist, or unsure of themselves. They tend to redo tasks if there are any imperfections. They tend to seek approval and need constant reassurance about their performance and their anxieties (DSM-IV). About half of all adults seeking treatment for this disorder report that it began in childhood or adolescence, but the proportion of children with this disorder who retain the problem into adulthood is unknown.

Source: Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General, Chapter 3 Generalized Anxiety Disorder

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