Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety Disorders

There are different anxiety disorders, which all have different key features.


What are the different types of anxiety disorders? 

There are different anxiety disorders, which all have different key features. It is important to know that signs and symptoms of anxiety disorders may be shared with other childhood problems and can require professional help to assess properly.

Specific phobias

These are fears about particular objects or situations. Some common phobias include fear of the dark, dogs, heights, injections and needles.

Separation anxiety

This is the fear of being away from a main caregiver. Children will become very upset when they have to separate for any reason, and will try to keep their parent(s) with them at all times. Often the fear is that something terrible will happen to the parent or the child when they are apart.

Generalised anxiety

This is a general tendency to worry about all sorts of things and expect the worst to happen. Common areas they worry about include their schoolwork, relationships, health, burglaries and sport performance.

Social anxiety

This is a fear or worry about social or performance situations, and tamariki are often described as shy. They often fear people will think badly of them.

Obsessive compulsive disorder

This is a form of anxiety where there is a pattern of worrying thoughts and repetitive actions that are difficult to overcome. For example, children may be concerned about dirt or germs continually and may wash themselves repeatedly over and over again, even though they are not dirty.

Panic disorder

This is a fear or worry about having panic attacks in situations where most people would not be afraid. Panic attacks involve a sudden rush of fear and a number of physical feelings.

More KidsHealth content on emotional and mental wellbeing 

Find out more about anxiety

Find out more about depression

Get parenting support for your child’s emotions and behaviour

See KidsHealth's section on emotional and mental wellbeing

This page last reviewed 14 July 2022.

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