Diagnosis Treatment

How to Diagnose Anxiety in a Child

At Mercy, our pediatricians and behavioral health specialists are experts at diagnosing anxiety in children and teens. Since there’s no single test used to diagnose anxiety disorders, Mercy providers evaluate kids in multiple ways. They assess overall health to rule out medical problems. And they look for other conditions that often occur with anxiety, such as depression, ADHD, sleep disorders and more.

Guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Psychiatric Association are used to diagnose anxiety disorders in children.

Childhood Anxiety Treatment

With treatment, most children learn to manage their anxiety and lead active lives. Mercy’s behavioral health specialists can show you how to help your child make positive changes. While there’s no cure for childhood anxiety, many treatment options are available to manage the condition.

Therapies for Pediatric Anxiety

Therapy can be effective in helping your child learn to manage his or her anxiety symptoms.

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) -  CBT is the most common therapy for treating children’s anxiety. It’s a short-term, goal-oriented form of psychotherapy that helps change negative thought patterns. Unlearning behaviors that feed your child’s anxiety is an important part of CBT treatment.
  • Exposure Therapyexposure therapy allows your child to face his or her fears in a safe environment. 

Anxiety Medication for Children

A variety of medications can be used to treat anxiety disorders in children – and many of them also treat depression. Several FDA-approved drugs are available that are proven to be safe and effective. Medication may be used in combination with other therapies to reduce anxiety symptoms in children.

Your Mercy pediatrician or behavioral health specialist will find the right medication for your child’s individual needs. Your provider will also discuss medication benefits and risks with you. Typically your child will start with a mild dose and be monitored for side effects. If he or she responds well to the medication, the dosage will be adjusted as needed.

Coping with Child Anxiety

Living with an anxiety disorder is manageable when children have the right care and support. Mercy pediatricians and behavioral health specialists offer treatments and therapies to help kids reduce their anxiety and thrive.

Pediatric Anxiety Resources

Help for Child Anxiety

Don’t dismiss the harmful effects of anxiety in your child. Connect with a Mercy behavioral health provider who will develop a treatment plan to help your child along the path to healing.

Find a child anxiety specialist.