Diagnosing Anxiety Disorders in Children

To diagnose a childhood anxiety disorder, clinicians from NYU Langone’s Child Study Center team meet with you and your child to perform a comprehensive evaluation. A psychologist or psychiatrist conducts interviews with you and your child—both individually and together. The doctor may ask about the symptoms your child is experiencing, as well as about any other conditions he or she may have, such as mood disorders, behavioral disorders, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The goal is to determine your child’s strengths and the areas in which he or she may need some help.

You may also be asked to complete questionnaires that can give our psychologists and psychiatrists details about your child’s anxiety, the possible causes, and the ways in which it affects his or her daily life. These questionnaires can indicate whether the child’s symptoms are excessive compared to his or her peers. Our clinicians also speak with your child’s teachers, caregivers, and doctors, if appropriate, to get a more complete picture of the situation.

Assessments are conducted at the Child Study Center and typically last about two to three hours. They occur during one or two sessions. After evaluating the information, our psychologists and psychiatrists plan a feedback session to discuss the diagnosis and talk about treatment options. Our child anxiety specialists aim to help you understand your child's behavior and the difficulties it may cause, and provide your child with the most appropriate treatment plan.

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