Anxiety Related to Medical Conditions

Anxiety has a strong physiological component. The physiological symptoms experienced by youth may be due to anxiety or a medical illness. For example, symptoms of panic attacks closely resemble the following medical problems: mitral valve prolapse, heart-rhythm disturbance, asthma attacks, and hyperthyroidism. Thus, a medical examination is important to conduct when trying to determine whether the symptoms are due to anxiety or a medical condition. When the prominent symptoms of anxiety, such as generalized anxiety, panic attacks, or obsessive-compulsive symptoms, appear to be the direct physiological result of a distinct medical condition and cause significant interference in the youth’s functioning, the youth may be diagnosed with an Anxiety Disorder Due to a General Medical Condition.

Anxiety has been associated with physical health conditions, such as sleep disorders, digestive or bowel problems, diabetes, headaches, respiratory problems, and teeth grinding. Anxiety may contribute to the worsening of some of these physical conditions and the youth’s overall quality of life.



  • Blanchard, E. B., & Sharff, L. (2002). Psychosocial aspects of assessment and treatment of irritable bowel syndrome in adults and recurrent abdominal pain in children. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 70(3), 725-738.
  • Farrell, L. J., Donovan, C., Turner, C. M., & Walker, J. R. (2011). Anxiety disorders in children with chronic health problems. In D. McKay & E. A. Storch (Eds.), Handbook of child and adolescent anxiety disorders (pp. 479-503). New York: Springer Science and Business Media.
  • Jerndal, P., Ringstrom, G., Agerforz, P., Karpefors, M., Akkermans, L. M., Bayati, A., & Simren, M. (2010). Gastrointestinal-specific anxiety: An important factor for severity of GI symptoms and quality of life in IBS. Neurogastroenterology and Motility, 22(6), 646-e179.

Coping Cat Parents was developed to serve as a comprehensive and evidence-based resource on child and adolescent anxiety. Here you will get only information backed by research and tips and strategies that have evidence to support their use. We have brought together relevant resources, tools, and tips from the experts in the field that will be informative, and help you feel confident as you move forward in helping your child. Click on any of the links below to learn more:

Symptom Checker

If you’re not sure where to start, take a moment to complete our “Symptom Checker”. Our symptom checker allows you to click on the symptoms that are consistent with what you’re seeing in your child and provides personalized feedback on your child’s symptom status and recommendations for next steps.

By answering a few short questions, you will get some feedback about which categories to learn more about next.

Use the Symptom Checker

Child Anxiety Tales

The Child Anxiety Tales program is an online parent-training program designed to equip parents with skills and strategies they’ll need to help their children better manage anxiety. The program is based on the latest evidence in the treatment of child anxiety and on cognitive-behavioral principals shown to be effective in helping anxious youth. Child Anxiety Tales is an interactive and engaging program that can be completed at your own pace from the privacy and convenience of your own computer. It is not a treatment but an online educational program for parents.
Click below to view a demo or to learn more: