Generalized Anxiety Disorder:
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is characterized by excessive worrying about a variety of events, including those in the past, present, and future. Children with this disorder worry excessively about a number of issues, including past conversations or actions, upcoming events, school, family health, their own health, competence in sports or academics, and world events. Typically, children experiencing such excessive worry find it difficult to control the amount of time that they worry, and the worrying interferes in their daily life.

Primary Symptoms:
Excessive anxiety and worry, occurring more days than not for at least six months, about a number of events or activities. The anxiety and worry are associated with at least three of the following six symptoms: restlessness or feeling keyed up or on edge, being easily fatigued, difficulty concentrating, irritability, muscle tension, and sleep disturbance.

The studies that have been done on the treatment of Generalized Anxiety Disorder in children have shown that education about the nature of anxiety, education about ways to identify, evaluate, and change anxious thoughts, and training in relaxation strategies have all been used with some success. Children with Generalized Anxiety Disorder are also taught to learn to recognize the physiological symptoms of anxiety, and are taught to use positive “self-talk” rather than negative self-talk. Parents are included to provide reinforcement and rewards for children’s success, and to learn to implement and practice the skills with their children.


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Last Updated
February 3, 2005