Effects of Childhood Anxiety Disorder & the Need for Treatment

Like adults, children experience varying degrees of anxiety in response to the world around them. While the overall behaviors may differ between adults and children, the effects of anxiety remain the same.

Compared to the energy and chaos that comes with childhood ADHD, a childhood anxiety disorder condition can easily go unnoticed. That being so, childhood anxiety disorder exists as the most common psychological disorder in children, according to Harvard Health Publications. When left untreated, this condition can interfere with most every major area in a child’s life and likely follow him or her into adulthood.

Normal Anxiety vs. Childhood Anxiety Disorder Signs

Effects of Childhood Anxiety

Anxiety can impair a child’s ability to perform in school.

Under normal conditions, new environments and situations naturally predispose children to feelings of fear and anxiety that tend to be temporary in nature. Experiences, such as the first day of school, imaginary monsters under the bed and learning to ride a bike can all prompt a certain degree of anxiety in a child.

It’s when a child has difficulty getting passed these feelings that the risk of childhood anxiety disorder becomes an issue. Much like adults who are unable to resolve difficult emotional conflicts, children can also get caught up in a cycle of distress and dysfunction.

Effects of Childhood Anxiety Disorder

Poor Coping Behaviors

Prolonged states of anxiety inevitably affect a child’s thinking processes. The subsequent tendency to dwell on a perceived threat or worry only works to reinforce feelings of anxiety. In order to adapt or cope with worries, a child may develop unhealthy ways of coping, such as avoidance or having his or her parent deal with the situation. Over time, this effect of childhood anxiety disorder can greatly impair a child’s ability to function and thrive at school, at home as well as with peers.

Physical Problems

Incessant worry can get the best of a healthy adult, affecting his or her health in damaging ways. This is even more so the case with children child. Much like any fear-based condition, the feelings that characterize childhood anxiety disorder affect a child’s brain chemistry. Over time, this degree of disruption predisposes a child to any number of health concerns, including:

  • Problems sleeping
  • Difficulty concentrating in school
  • Irritability
  • Headaches
  • Stomach aches
  • Fatigue


According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, children struggling with childhood anxiety disorder are more susceptible to developing depression disorders when anxiety conditions go untreated. In effect, the poor coping behaviors that develop out of a child’s fears not only reinforce his or her emotional turmoil, but also create a lifestyle that’s more so prone to avoidance- and isolation-based behaviors.


The Need for Treatment

In the absence of needed treatment help, children living with childhood anxiety disorder can carry this condition into their adult years. Over time, the traits of this condition leave these individuals at risk of becoming overly dependent on their parents, getting stuck in low-paying jobs and developing more serious forms of psychological disorder, according to the Western Journal of Medicine.

If you suspect your child may be struggling with childhood anxiety disorder and have questions about available treatment options, please don’t hesitate to call our toll-free helpline at 800-598-5053 (Who Answers?) to speak with one of our addictions specialists.


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