Real Life Stories

Charlie, 8, is entering 3rd grade. Each September since kindergarten the start of school has always been a struggle for him. This year his distress escalated with the added demand of starting in a new school due to a family move, and by November he missed twenty-six days of school often complaining of headaches or stomachaches. His academic work has suffered, and his teachers have sent his assignments home. Charlie insists that he can't complete them without his mother's presence. He worries that something bad may happen to his mom while he is in school. Charlie has been diagnosed with Separation Anxiety.

Corinne's mother tried everything she could think of to get her 14–year–old daughter to join an after–school club or accept invitations to parties. Corinne insisted that she would rather stay home and read; she said she was afraid she didn’t fit in with her classmates and didn't know what to say to them. Her grades have suffered because of lack of class participation. Whenever she was in a group social situation, as in class or at a party, Corinne suddenly became frightened and her heart pounded. Corinne has been diagnosed with Social Phobia.

Amy, 10, is called “the worry expert” by her family. She worries about many things -- whether she can pass her math test (“I’m going to fail!”), whether she can learn her part in the class play (“There's no way I can memorize all this!”), and whether the family summer plans will work out (“It’s dangerous to fly and I just feel totally stressed out!”). Amy has been diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

Anxiety in children and teenagers can take different forms.