6 Medical Conditions that Can Cause Anxiety in Kids

Photo of Caucasian female teen holding her hands to her head and a look of pain in her face with eyes closed. Photo could represent the anxiety she feels from having epilepsy and the needs for online solution focused brief therapy in Illinois or Florida.

Anxiety is a common, yet often overlooked, mental health issue in kids and teens. It can manifest itself in a variety of ways, from physical symptoms to behavioral and emotional changes.

While anxiety is usually triggered by life events, there are some medical conditions that can cause anxiety in children as well. Let’s take a look at 6 of the most common ones.


Asthma is a condition in which a person’s airways become inflamed and narrowed, making it difficult to breathe. Children with asthma may experience shortness of breath, chest tightness, coughing, and wheezing. These physical symptoms often cause fear and anxiety in children, as they can be scary and overwhelming.

Many kids find asthma to be a source of anxiety because it can be unpredictable and interfere with everyday life. Other fears include having an asthma attack, worries about not being able to do things other children can do, and overall stress about its potential consequences.

Kids may be scared to leave the house or participate in physical activities or feel embarrassed about having asthma. You can help by talking openly about it, providing reassurance and support, and helping your kids manage their asthma symptoms.

Adrenal Disorders

Adrenal disorders, such as Cushing’s syndrome, Addison’s disease, and congenital adrenal hyperplasia, can cause a variety of physical and mental health problems in children, including anxiety.

Cushing’s syndrome is caused by having too much cortisol (stress hormones) in the body, and can lead to rapid weight gain, fatigue, and irritability. Addison’s disease is caused by a deficiency of cortisol and aldosterone, leading to fatigue, low blood pressure, nausea, and anxiety. Congenital adrenal hyperplasia is caused by an overproduction of androgens, and can result in anxiety and irritability.

All of these disorders can cause anxiety in kids, making it important for you and your child’s physician to be aware of the signs and symptoms and to seek treatment if necessary.


Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that causes recurrent seizures. It can be a source of anxiety in children due to the unpredictable nature of the disorder.

During a seizure, a child may experience a loss of control over their body, resulting in feelings of fear and helplessness. Even when a seizure is not occurring, the fear of when and where the next one will happen can cause extreme anxiety.

For some children, the fear of being judged or feeling different from their peers may increase their anxiety. Additionally, the side effects of medications used to treat epilepsy, such as drowsiness, can lead to a decrease in activity levels, which can further isolate a child and lead to negative emotions.

In order to help kids and teens manage their epilepsy-related anxiety, it’s important to be supportive, provide emotional reassurance, and educate yourself on the disorder. In addition, be proactive in talking to your child’s doctor or mental health professional in order to create a comprehensive treatment plan.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

ADHD is a common condition in children that can cause difficulty with focus and concentration. It can produce frustration and anxiety in kids by creating chaotic environments in their everyday lives.

Kids with ADHD struggle with staying organized, completing tasks, and managing their emotions. This can lead to them feeling overwhelmed and anxious, which can have an adverse effect on their academic performance and social interactions. They may also be more prone to experiencing depression and low self-esteem due to the challenges of living with ADHD.

You can help by providing structure and order to your child’s life, as well as providing emotional support and guidance. Additionally, treatment options such as medication and therapy can help to address the anxiety associated with ADHD.

Sleep Disorders

Sleep disorders can cause a number of issues in children, including daytime fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and irritability. They can have a powerful effect on a child’s emotional wellbeing, with the most common consequences being anxiety and low self-esteem.

The lack of restful sleep can lead to an inability to regulate emotions and reactions, resulting in outbursts or mood swings. Anxiety can also be a direct result of the sleep disorder itself, such as nightmares or bedwetting.

If your child is aware that they’re struggling to fall asleep, they may become anxious about their inability to do so, and this can lead to further stress. It’s important to be aware of the potential impact of sleep disorders on your child’s mental health.


Autism is a neurological disorder that can cause difficulty communicating, interacting with others, and understanding social cues. It can lead to anxiety in children due to the challenges they face in navigating social situations.

In addition to difficulty understanding social cues, they may also feel overwhelmed by sensory input, and have difficulty regulating emotions. This can cause them to feel isolated, confused, and frustrated.

As children with autism grow older, these challenges can become more pronounced, leading to an increase in anxiety. To help lessen anxiety in children with autism, it’s important to create a safe and supportive environment, provide structure and consistency in daily activities, and use positive reinforcement and strategies for calming down when anxious. In addition, seeking treatment from a mental health professional can help children with autism better manage their anxiety.

These are just a few of the medical conditions that can cause anxiety in kids and teens. If your child is experiencing any of these anxiety symptoms, it’s important to talk to a doctor and find out if there is an underlying medical condition causing the anxiety. With the right treatment and support, your child can learn to manage their anxiety and lead a healthy and happy life.

Begin Online Therapy for Kids and Teens with Anxiety in Illinois and now Florida.

If your child or teen is struggling with anxiety, including panic attacks, there is hope! Anxiety is highlyPhoto of Caucasian female teen sitting in a window sill with a laptop on her lap. Photo could represent an online anxiety treatment with her online solution focused brief therapist in Illinois. treatable and online anxiety treatment at Briefly Counseling can help.

Using Solution-Focused Brief Therapy, I help kids and teens reduce their anxiety and build resilience so they can become a happier, more confident version of themselves.

And kids love being able to receive counseling from the comfort and privacy of their own home. Studies have consistently proven that online therapy delivers equal results to in-office counseling.

As an experienced and caring therapist, I love providing counseling for anxiety. To start your child’s counseling journey, call me at 224-236-2296 or email Helena@BrieflyCounseling.com to schedule a FREE 20-minute consultation.

Helena Madsen, MA, LCPC is the founder of Briefly Counseling. I specialize in providing online short-term anxiety treatment for kids and teens ages 7 – 18 as well as Christian counseling.

Whether you’re on the North Shore, in Naperville, Chicago, Champaign, Barrington, Libertyville, Glenview, or downstate Illinois, I can help.

And effective 2024, I am now licensed in Florida! For parents in Jacksonville, Pensacola, Destin, Crestview, Coral Gables, Weston, Parkland, Naples, Marco Island, and Pinecrest, I have immediate openings.

Schedule your appointment or consultation today. I look forward to working with your child to quickly and effectively help them in activating their strengths, resources, and resilience, in order to live with confidence and hope.