Problems We Treat

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

While everyone worries sometimes, children with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) experience persistent, excessive, and unrealistic worry about everyday things.  They fear the worst will happen and they dwell on the future, their family’s heath, their performance at school, or on little mistakes they have made.  These children find it difficult to control this worry, and may even feel anxious without reason.  They may also experience physical symptoms, such as feeling excessively tired, experiencing nausea, having aches and pains, having difficulty swallowing, and experiencing muscle tension.  Children with GAD also experience distress because they feel they cannot control the worry, and feel powerless to stop it.  In severe cases, children with Generalized Anxiety Disorder can be debilitated by their fear, unable to engage in seemingly mundane everyday activities.

Panic Disorder

Panic Disorder is characterized by recurring panic attacks and the fear of these attacks, and that they will lead to physical or psychological harm.  A panic attack is an episode of intense fear characterized by physiological symptoms (heart racing, difficulty breathing, sweating) and fear ("I am dying," or "I am going crazy").  Panic attacks are unrelated to other medical conditions and are unpredictable and occur "out of the blue" without an obvious trigger.

Many children with Panic Disorder may become very afraid of places or situations where they have experiences panic attacks before, or where they think they may be likely to have an attack or would be unable to escape if they did.  Children may begin to avoid shopping malls, movie theaters, crowded arenas, or other places they used to enjoy.  This avoidance of places and situations is called Agoraphobia, causes significant distress, and may be experienced as a result of Panic Disorder. Other symptoms of Panic Attacks include: sweating, increased heart rate, chest pain, difficulty breathing, nausea, hot or cold flushes, dizziness or lightheadedness, shaking or trembling, fear of death or "going crazy", or numbness/tingles in extremities.

Selective Mutism

Selective Mutism (SM) is often thought of as an anxiety disorder in which a child who is capable of understanding and producing speech is unable to speak in specific settings, or with specific people.  For instance, a child might speak freely to his parents and a close family friend, but might never speak in school or appear frozen in social situations. Although a child may experience the symptoms associated with SM at an early age (usually developed by the age of five), SM may not be diagnosed until a child enters school, and is consistently in situations where she feels unable to speak.  She may use nonverbal gestures to communicate her needs, such as nodding or pointing.  Other children with SM may remain motionless and expressionless until someone correctly guesses what they need or want.  SM is related to Social Anxiety Disorder, and children with SM may experience similar symptoms, such as being shy and being afraid of social embarrassment.

Separation Anxiety Disorder

Children with Separation Anxiety Disorder (SAD) experience excessive and persistent unwillingness to be away from their parents, caregiver or home.  They experience significant distress that interferes with their ability to engage in independent activities.  They may feel like they must always know where their loved ones are, and must call to check up on them often.  They experience terrible worry, and may fear that something terrible will happen to their loved ones when they are separated.  They may also experience extreme homesickness, and avoid school, sleepovers, or camps.  Children diagnosed with SAD may also experience physiological symptoms during separation, such as stomach aches, headaches, sweating and nausea.

Social Anxiety Disorder

Social Anxiety Disorder is characterized by a fear of or extreme discomfort in social interactions or situations.  Children with Social Anxiety Disorder are afraid that people might think that something they do is stupid, or may laugh at them.  They worry they will feel ashamed or embarrassed where they may experience this distress.  Children with Social Anxiety Disorder may be very fearful answering questions in class, taking tests, using public bathrooms, going to group meetings, speaking to adults, or speaking up for themselves when someone is bullying them. This anxiety leads children to avoid situations where they will experience this discomfort, and this dread and avoidance can severely disrupt their life.

Specific Phobias

Specific Phobias are characterized by unreasonable or excessive fear of certain things or situations. Children with specific phobias may cry, freeze up, or get angry when they are forced to be in situations that cause them excessive fear.  They actively avoid the situations or objects that frighten them and may try to alter their lives significantly (staying inside to avoid dogs or bees, never traveling to avoid planes).  This avoidance can lead to severe restriction of the child’s activities and lives. Common phobias include: snakes, spiders, heights, thunderstorms, darkness, getting shots, and vomiting.