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Everyone feels anxious from time to time – it is a normal reaction to a stressful situation. For most people the worry passes when circumstances change and/or the individual adapts, but for
some anxiety occurs for no obvious reason and/or persists beyond what would normally be expected. 

Children and young people, like adults, can suffer from severe anxiety. While a person’s genetic makeup can play a part in the development of anxiety, so do the stresses of normal life.

Experiencing a significant change such as moving house or school, feeling overwhelmed by work, exams or social pressure, having caring responsibilities at a young age, facing housing or financial insecurity, or going through a traumatic event such as parental separation or bereavement can all contribute.

The coronavirus pandemic, with the changes it has wreaked on education and home life, has also placed a considerable psychological and emotional burden on young people.

Key facts 

  • Anxiety disorders affect a significant number of young people and appear to have increased in prevalence during the coronavirus pandemic
  • Anxiety can have both physical and psychological symptoms and leads to changes in behaviour and a deterioration in everyday functioning
  • There are many different anxiety disorders, each of which has different diagnostic criteria and treatment approaches
  • Talking therapies and medication have a place in treatment, as do referrals to specialists and multidisciplinary services
  • There is a wealth of resources available to support patients with anxiety and their caregivers.