Anxiety Disorder

Intense, persistent, and disproportionate fears and worries.


Youth shouldn’t be a stressful time of life, but around a quarter of children and teenagers experience anxiety disorders. Colleen Copelan, MD, a board-certified child and adolescent psychiatrist, based in Camarillo, California, offers expert diagnosis and treatment to help your child recover from an anxiety disorder and develop the skills they need to thrive. Call Dr. Copelan today if your child has symptoms of an anxiety disorder.

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What are anxiety disorders?

Anxiety disorders cause intense, persistent, and disproportionate fears and worries. Anxiety disorders are common in children and adolescents but are manageable with appropriate treatment. 
Several different types of anxiety disorders can affect young people. Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is the most prevalent type of anxiety disorder. It causes worries about regular day-to-day activities like schoolwork, riding the bus, and birthday parties. 

Young people also often experience separation anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, and specific phobias. Anxiety can also manifest as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). OCD causes intense and persistent thoughts that trigger compulsive behaviors that temporarily soothe the negative feelings.  

What are signs of anxiety in young people?

Anxiety causes various symptoms in children and teens, including:

Excessive fears or worries about things before they happen

Persistent concerns about school, activities, and friends

Worries about safety

Increased irritability

Clinging behavior

Trouble relaxing

Reduced concentration

Easily alarmed or startled

Problems sleeping

Your child might also complain of frequent headaches, stomachaches, or muscle tension. They might have increased reluctance to go to school.

OCD causes ritualistic behaviors, like touching, counting, or checking that a task, like turning a light off, is complete. Your child might also become extremely distressed if they can’t complete a ritual or are interrupted.

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When should I talk to a doctor about my child’s anxiety?

Modern life is full of stressors and worries, and children and teens aren’t immune to these feelings. If your child’s fears and anxieties seem disproportionate or interfere with their health, academic performance, or overall quality of life, make an appointment with Dr. Copelan.

Anxiety often co-occurs with other mental health issues like depression, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and substance abuse.
Getting treatment for anxiety is essential to your child’s health. When left untreated, your child’s symptoms can intensify and become more disruptive.

How do you treat anxiety disorders?

After Dr. Copelan completes her evaluation of your child’s mental health, she creates a treatment plan, carefully tailored to address your child’s specific needs.
Treatment for anxiety disorders often includes a combination of medication and counseling. Medication can relieve your child’s symptoms, which can help them focus on counseling. During counseling, they learn to identify negative thoughts and anxious feelings. Your child also practices techniques to manage anxiety and stress. They learn to express their thoughts and feelings appropriately.

Call Colleen Copelan, MD, today to make an appointment, if your child has anxiety symptoms or signs of a related disorder.