Things that happen in a child's life can set the stage for anxiety disorders in childhood or later in life. Loss (like the death of a loved one or parents' divorce) and major life transitions (like moving to a new town) are common triggers. Kids with a history of abuse are also more vulnerable to anxiety.
Experts don't know exactly what causes anxiety disorders. Several things seem to play a role, including genetics, brain biochemistry, an overactive fight–flight response, stressful life circumstances, and learned behavior.
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The good news is that doctors and therapists today understand anxiety disorders better than ever before and, with treatment, can help kids feel better.