GAD involves an excessive worry, occurring more days than not, for at least six months, about a number of events or activities, such as work or school performance; There is difficulty controlling the worry and the worry is associated with multiple physical symptoms. The anxiety, worry or physical symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational or other important areas of functioning (American Psychiatric Association).
Up to 10 percent of the school age population is likely to have mild anxiety (sensitive children) while 2 percent of the school age population meet diagnostic criteria for Generalized Anxiety Disorder (Association of Anxiety Disorders).
Anxiety is a “fight or flight” response and is associated with the perception of danger, threat or vulnerability. Cognitive therapy helps parents and children to identify, evaluate and alter thoughts and beliefs associated with anxiety the child is experiencing.
Without treatment, Generalized Anxiety Disorder can be chronic and persistent throughout lifetime. Cognitive therapy, relaxation training and behavioral therapy have demonstrated in research studies to be very effective in the treatment of Generalized Anxiety Disorder in children (Manassis, 2008).