Question: How is an anxiety disorder diagnosed in children and adolescents?
Answer: Anxiety disorders in children and adolescents are diagnosed similarly to that in adults. Many questions are asked about what's happening. So we want to know are there behavioral things happening, avoidance of certain situations? Are there thoughts happening that are negative, such as catastrophic thinking that really bad things are going to happen? And are there physiological reactions that are also happening, where the heart rate is really rapid or there's heavy breathing or sweating?
And you want to ask a lot of questions -- a lot of questions will be asked about how these things are happening. Is there avoidance? Is there school refusal? And all of those things put together will diagnose with it some kind of anxiety disorder -- either a panic disorder or a generalized anxiety, depending on how many symptoms in each of those three categories exist.