This story is part of Speak Up for Kids, an annual public education program held during National Children's Mental Health Awareness Week (May 6-12, 2012)
Kids worry. Whether it’s fear of the dark, starting at a new school, or getting another pimple, children can take life very seriously. But some kids worry more than others. It’s always painful to watch a child suffer from anxiety, but it’s especially difficult if you’re not sure whether she’s worrying too much and might need help.
The difference between normal worry and anxiety disorders is the severity and duration of the anxiety. While feeling anxious is a natural and even healthy reaction to stressful situations, anxiety becomes a disorder when it interferes with a child’s ability to handle everyday situations, or prompts her to avoid things that most people her age enjoy.