Anxieties are grouped on what the fear or the worry is about. These groups are helpful in understanding your difficulties are and treating them.
Fears and phobias
You might remember being scared of the dark or insects when you were little. This is normal and as we get older, we usually grow out of these fears or are able to manage it without worrying too much about it.
Sometimes fears about particular things (e.g. needles, animals) or places (e.g. darkness, heights) can be really strong and don’t go away.
They stop you from doing normal things and interfere or take over your life. These fears are called phobias. We may need extra help to cope with a phobia.
Some people feel anxious most of the time for no obvious reason. When it is really bad, it can stop you concentrating at school or having fun with friends and family.
Sometimes feeling anxious and sad can go together. You may need help to be able to feel and cope better.
Separation anxiety is feeling worried or anxious when you are away from your parents/family/guardians.
It is normal for very young children to feel scared and worried when they are not with the people who normally look after them.
If it is still a problem when you are older or a teenager, this can make it difficult to go to school or go out with friends. If this happens it is best to get help.
In simple terms this is really bad shyness. You may be comfortable with people you know well, but find it very worrying to be with new people, places or social occasions like parties.
Standing up in class or assembly can be extremely difficult for you, as you are worried about making mistakes or what others think of you.
This means you may tend to avoid situations which involve other people. When this happens, it is important to seek help.
A panic attack is an extreme episode of anxiety that seems to occur for no reason. It may feel as if your mind has gone totally out of control. Panic attacks have a start and a finish; they are not continuous, although you might worry about when the next one will happen.
During an attack, you can have physical feelings of anxiety (see above) along with frightening thoughts, like thinking you are going to die, or “go mad”.
It is rare for younger children to have panic attacks on their own, without another form of anxiety like those mentioned above.
In teenagers this becomes more common. When the fear of having one or frequent attacks stop you from doing your daily routine or enjoying life, this is called panic disorder.
Some children and young people may have other types of anxiety, such as post-traumatic stress disorder or obsessive compulsive disorder.