Childhood anxiety disorders are the most common type of sychiatric problem in children. These disorders cause severe impairment and excessive distress. Although effective psychosocial and drug therapy exists, these anxious youngsters are virtually ignored compared with children with other psychiatric problems. Few clinically anxious children come to the attention of physicians or other mental health providers. In 11 of 15 studies worldwide of impairing childhood anxiety disorders, the prevalence was greater than 10%. In four of five large US surveys, prevalence was between 12% and 20%. Other psychiatric problems are common in anxious children, particularly depression, behavior disorders, and substance misuse. Childhood anxiety disorders typically onset in early childhood and follow a chronic and fluctuating course into adulthood.
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