Department of Psychiatry
Penn Behavioral Health

Child & Adolescent OCD, Tic, Trich & Anxiety Group

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Other Anxiety Disorders



There are several other types (or diagnostic categories) of anxiety in children and treatment for these conditions is also available. Below is more information about each.




Separation Anxiety Disorder

A child or adolescent with separation anxiety fears something terrible may happen to cause a lasting separation from home or loved ones. As a result, the child has extreme difficulty being away from home or the parents and tries to avoid these situations.

Common difficulties:

  • Sleeping alone
  • Reluctance to go to school or friends' homes
  • Clinging to parents
  • Refusing to stay with a sitter or relative
  • Tantrums
  • Physical complaints

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Social Phobia

Children who are socially anxious experience extreme distress in social situations and may exhibit excessive shyness. They fear being rejected or judged by others and may try to avoid situations involving other people, such as school situations, play dates, sports events, parties, or taking tests.

Common difficulties:

  • Avoidance of situations involving other people, such as school situations, play dates, sports events, parties, or taking tests
  • Starting or joining a conversation
  • Reading aloud
  • Performing in sports or musical events
  • Having pictures taken

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Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

These children and adolescents are the worriers. They experience excessive and uncontrollable worry about various topics, including school, their health and the health of family members, past events, and issues going on in the world or heard on the news.

Common difficulties:

  • Excessive worries about school, the child's own health and the health of family members, past events, and issues going on in the world or heard on the news
  • Physical complaints (may include difficulty falling asleep, trouble concentrating, restlessness, irritability, or muscle aches)

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Specific Phobias

Phobias are irrational and excessive fears of specific objects or situations. Common phobias include insects, animals, vomiting, blood or injections, thunderstorms, darkness, and doctors/dentists.

Common phobias experienced by children and teens:

  • Insects
  • Animals
  • Vomiting
  • Blood or injections
  • Thunderstorms
  • Darkness
  • Doctors/dentists

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Panic Disorder with or without Agoraphobia

Typically not experienced until adolescence, panic disorder includes unexpected and recurrent panic attacks often comprised of dizziness, racing heart, sweatiness, shortness of breath, and fears of losing control. These children often experience a fear of future panic attacks and may therefore attempt to avoid situations in which these attacks may occur, such as school, stores, movie theaters, or their friends' homes.

Symptoms of a panic attack:

  • Dizziness
  • Racing heart
  • Sweatiness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fears of losing control
  • Sweating
  • Hot or cold flashes
  • Tingling sensations
  • Nausea

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Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Children and adolescents experience this type of anxiety following a traumatic event, such as accidents, fires/floods/tornados, or physical/sexual abuse. These children often experience heightened levels of anxious arousal, as they may feel they are re-experiencing the traumatic event, and they may avoid situations that remind them of the traumatic event.

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