Anxiety is the brain's helpful and essential internal alarm system that activates our fight, flight, or freeze response. Typically, anxiety is triggered when a child feels vulnerable, in danger of being embarrassed, or in trouble. In children with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), these feelings or worry don’t always have a logical source and they are typically persistent, crippling, and way out of proportion.
It's not uncommon for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) to be mistaken for ADHD symptoms in children. When a child’s attention is consumed by her vigilance and fearfulness, she may be unable to redirect her attention to anything else. She may also appear inattentive when her intense attention and worry is turned inward toward managing fears. Other children with GAD may try to be perfect at school, at home, and in sports. They may constantly worry about performance and want constant reassurance that they are doing a good job. This worry may cause headaches, muscular tension, restlessness, heart palpitations, and stomach upsets.
GAD is more common in girls and rarely emerges before adolescence. If you notice any of the following symptoms in your child, take the results of this screener test to mental health professional for evaluation.
Adapted from the screening for an Anxiety Disorder: Children from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America and the Spence Children’s Anxiety Scale. This is not a diagnostic tool. If you have concerns about possible anxiety see a mental health professional. An accurate diagnosis can only be made through clinical evaluation. This self-test is for personal use only.