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Anxiety and Stress Disorders (Children)

Anxiety Over Locked Doors

05/31/2001

Question:

My 4 year old grandson is terrified and gets all panicky when he finds that a door is locked. He gets all hysterical and you can hear the fear and panic in his voice. It is like its a phobia in a way, how can we help him overcome this fear.

Answer:

I don`t understand all the details of the problem to make a reliable determination of the context and past history leading up to this point. In preschool children, the most common form of anxiety disorder is separation anxiety which occurs on separation from a secure individual. Separation anxiety is treated with reassurance and exposure. Every parent who has left a child at daycare knows the drill. I would seek advice from a health professional about your particular circumstance as all anxiety symptoms are dependent upon the context in which they occur.

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Response by:

Floyd R Sallee, MD
Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati