Pige læser i psykiatrien

This page provides you with information about the diagnosis and gives advice on what you can do if you suffer from anxiety.

Børne- og Ungdomspsykiatrisk Afdeling (The Centre for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry) is responsible for the treatment of anxiety in children and adolescents in Central Denmark Region.

What is anxiety?

All people experience anxiety and worries from time to time. This is completely natural. Anxiety can protect you when you feel threatened because it makes you protect yourself. Worries may also be a good thing because they make you think before you act.


It is natural for a child to experience anxiety. Anxiety may, for example, occur when a small child is separated from his or her parents when starting in a day nursery. A slightly older child will typically be afraid of the dark or strangers. A teenager may find it difficult to deal with social changes in relation to friends, a boyfriend or girlfriend and parties. Experiencing shorter periods of anxiety is common and does not mean that the child suffers from anxiety.

Why do some people develop anxiety?

There is no single explanation for why some children and adolescents develop anxiety. Several factors are of importance to the occurrence of this disorder.


In some cases, a specific event triggers the anxiety. This may, for example, be if your parents get divorced or if you are bullied at school.


In other cases, anxiety appears out of the blue. What may lead to anxiety in one child may simply be a temporary stress factor for another child.

I didn’t dare go to school. I was so afraid of saying something stupid, blushing, stuttering or giving wrong answers in classes, so that both the teacher and my classmates would laugh at me. In the end, I didn’t dare go outside at all, I was afraid of behaving incorrectly in any and all respects.


Examination for anxiety

Samtale mellem ung pige og behandler i bua

Types of anxiety

Concomitant disorders


My anxiety decreased a lot when I started seeing a psychologist. It was so liberating when I discovered that my ugly thoughts of disaster weren’t rooted in reality. I learnt to say to myself: Maiken, you can imagine a great many awful things that may happen, but remember, they are only thoughts, and thoughts are fortunately not reality. After all, you could also start thinking positive thoughts about what might happen instead.

Advice for people who suffer from anxiety

Advice for relatives

Text on this page updated December 2021 (version 1.02).

Author: Anette Damsgaard Nielsen, Psychologist at Centre for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Aarhus University Hospital – Psychiatry. 


Most recently revised by: Merete Juul Sørensen, Consultant at Centre for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Aarhus University Hospital – Psychiatry.