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Anxiety is an extreme response to a situation that is not dangerous, or not as dangerous as the individual perceives it to be. The response is typically fear, worry, nervousness, or feelings of unease. Most children experience anxiety occasionally, such as before a test, presentation, or sports game; this is considered normal. However, if these feelings are prolonged, begin to interrupt daily life, or are not age appropriate (e.g., a 16-year-old who doesn’t want to leave his parents to go to school out of fear for everyone’s safety), a child might be experiencing an anxiety disorder.

Anxiety disorders can be ranked as mild to severe anxiety. The onset of anxiety disorders can take place from early childhood to late adolescence. Anxiety disorders can co-occur with other mental health issues such as, depression, learning disabilities, and substance use.

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