Are recurring thoughts about death normal?

Anxiety disorders in children




Separation anxiety disorder

Fear of separation from caregivers or from home that is not age-appropriate

Excessive grief at impending separation; Fear of calamities that cause separation; Reluctance / refusal to go to another place (e.g. school); Fear of going to sleep alone; Breakup nightmares; physical discomfort (e.g. headache or abdominal pain) when separation is imminent

Panic disorder

Recurring panic attacks and fear that they might recur

Sudden and unexpected feelings of fear that peak within a few minutes; Panic attacks are accompanied by palpitations, sweats, tremors, dry mouth, difficulty breathing, feeling tight, stomach upset, dizziness, fear of loss of control, fear of dying


Fear of situations in which escape is not possible and no help can be sought with panic symptoms (e.g. traveling alone, in crowds)

Fear in crowds, in public places, of traveling (alone or over long distances); same symptoms as panic disorder

Specific phobia

Fear of certain objects (e.g. animals, syringes) or situations (e.g. on a plane, in a car)

Panic attacks are triggered by a specific stimulus (e.g. spider, visit to the dentist); in children, fear is expressed by crying, tantrums, freezing, clinging

Social phobia

Fear of embarrassment in social or performance situations

Fear of being the center of attention or that something embarrassing will happen to you; Blushing or trembling, fear of vomiting, or urination or defecation; Crying, tantrums, freezing or falling back in a dreaded social situation

Obsessive-compulsive disorder

Obsessive thoughts and fear of dire consequences if compulsive actions are not performed (e.g. counting things)

Recurring thoughts, impulses and ideas that are experienced as unpleasant; repeated behaviors (e.g. hand washing); Actions are designed to prevent dreaded events


Generalized anxiety disorder

Fear of events that the child cannot control, e.g. natural disasters, war, death

Restlessness, easy fatigue, difficulty concentrating, irritability, tense muscles, sleep disorders; Problems controlling worries; excessive fear of several events at the same time; symptoms like panic disorder are also possible

Post-traumatic stress disorder

Fears that arise after a traumatic experience (e.g. accident) so that it cannot be concluded; Duration: longer than 1 month (sometimes with a delayed start)

Recurring memories of traumatic experience; repetitive dreams; Fear in situations that resemble a traumatic experience; Avoiding stimuli associated with trauma (e.g., activities, places, people); Inability to accurately remember the trauma; Difficulty sleeping, being irritable or angry, having trouble concentrating, being startled, being overly alert, feeling alienated from others

Acute stress disorder

Like post-traumatic stress disorder, but for a shorter duration (2 days to 4 weeks)

Symptoms as in post-traumatic stress disorder; Withdrawal from social interactions, restricted attention, disorientation, despair, overactivity, uncontrollable grief