What is Generalized Anxiety Disorder in Children? (GAD)  

Children who have generalized anxiety tend to worry a lot about a lot of things like natural disasters, school, friends, family or maybe their health. 

A child who has generalized anxiety may often require a lot of reassurance. Children who struggle with GAD usually ask what if questions and worry about things that are out of their control. 

Childhood Generalized Anxiety Disorder is a type of anxiety disorder that affects children. While it is normal for children to worry and have anxiety, children who have generalized anxiety disorder have these feelings that are so intense for them that it is debilitating.

Children with Generalized Anxiety Disorder may experience physical symptoms of anxiety like headaches or stomachaches. When a child is diagnosed with GAD, there are treatment options that can help them manage their symptoms. Cognitive behavioral therapy for generalized anxiety disorder because it helps children develop coping strategies to manage their anxiety. 

According to the American Psychiatric Association, about  3-5% of children in the United States have generalized anxiety disorder. It is more common in girls than in boys. The symptoms usually begin during middle childhood.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder
- worries about things before they happen
- refusing to go to school
- worries about friends and family
- extreme tired and fatigued
- inability to relax
- clinging to family members
- constant thoughts and fears
- difficulty concentrating
- easily startled
- worries about being away from home
- difficulties sleeping
- worries more than their peers
- frequent stomach aches or headaches
- fidgets and unable to sit still
- reassurance seeking
- excessive studying
- asking a lot of "what if" questions
- overthinking situations
- lacking confidence

Regular exercise, therapy, mindful activities, breathing techniques and good sleep hygiene can contribute to reducing symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder. It is very important that parents are supportive and understanding. 

DISCLAIMER: I am not an Occupational Therapist. I am an adult who has Sensory Processing Disorder, a sensory parent and a Grandma. The information on this website is not medical advice and does not replace the information that your child's therapists gives you. These are just ideas and information that I have learned myself over the years of being a parent and an adult living with SPD. If you are concerned for your child, please always seek medical attention through a family doctor, pediatrician or therapist. This website is for suggestions and informational purposes only. Each child is different and what works for one child may not for another because all children have different needs. Please always consult with a professional.

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