Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is a condition in which your child has fears and uncontrollable worries that last for at least 6 months. If your child has GAD, he worries a lot about everyday problems. Your child is tense and nervous much of the time. He worries that something bad is going to happen even when there is little reason to think that way.
GAD can last many years and sometimes an entire lifetime.
The exact cause of this disorder is not known.
Symptoms include worrying too much about things that your child can’t control. Your child may be short-tempered and unable to focus or concentrate because of the worrying. Physical symptoms may include:
Your child's healthcare provider or a mental health therapist will ask about the child's symptoms, medical and family history, and any medicines the child is taking. He or she will make sure that your child does not have a medical illness or drug or alcohol problem that could cause the symptoms.
Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) helps your child learn new ways to manage anxiety.
Family therapy may also be helpful. Family therapy treats the whole family rather than just your child. Children often feel very supported when parents and siblings attend therapy with them and work as a group.
If your child has severe symptoms, both behavioral therapy and medicine may be best. Several types of medicines can help treat anxiety. Your child’s healthcare provider will work with you and your child to select the best medicine. Your child may need to take more than one type of medicine.
Claims have been made that certain herbal and dietary products help control anxiety symptoms. Supplements are not tested or standardized and may vary in strength and effects. They may have side effects and are not always safe. Talk with your provider before your child tries herbs or dietary supplements.
Learning ways to relax may help. Yoga and meditation may also be helpful. You may want to talk with your child’s healthcare provider about using these methods along with medicines and psychotherapy.
Stay in touch with teachers, babysitters, and other people who care for your child to share information about symptoms your child may be having.
Get emergency care if your child or teenager has ideas of suicide, harming himself, or harming others.