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What are some common symptoms of anxiety disorders in children?

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Symptoms in children vary greatly between different anxiety disorders, though a general fear or worry transcends across all of the disorders, explains the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Common anxiety disorders include generalized anxiety, panic, separation anxiety, social anxiety disorders and selective mutism. Specific phobias can rise to the level of being an anxiety disorder as well.

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Affecting 3.1 percent of the U.S. population at any given point, generalized anxiety disorder manifests as recurring, consuming and unreasonable worry about everyday life, states the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Other symptoms are restlessness, muscle tension, fatigue, sleep difficulties and irritability. To receive a diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder, a child must experience the symptoms for at least six months, and the disorder must interfere with regular life, such as school and friendships.

While 4 percent of children experience separation anxiety disorder, most cases afflict children age 7 to 9, notes the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. If a child is older than 3 and struggles to leave family longer than most other children, separation anxiety may be the culprit. Other indicators include a refusal to attend sleepovers, camp or school, and excessive worry about bad things happening to a loved one when the child is not present. While children are typically distracted from such concerns, a child with this disorder is not.

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