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Healthy Habits

Stress vs. Anxiety

When the body reacts to stress without a stressor, it may be anxiety.
3 minute read
April 22, 2021
Hazel Team
The editorial staff at Hazel are a diverse group of writers and professionals.

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When your child is stressed about something, they may feel certain emotions or show specific behaviors. For instance, they may be worried because they are late for school or nervous about an upcoming test. They may feel scared about new experiences, like being away from their parents for the first time. These reactions to stress are common, part of everyday life, and an important part of growing up.

If there is no stressor or trigger to upset or worry a child out, this is different from stress. When the body reacts to stress without a stressor, it may be anxiety. 

There are many kinds of anxiety children can experience. The way each child expresses their anxiety will vary from child to child. Some common types of anxiety and associated behaviors include:

General Anxiety

  • Constant worry about everyday things like family, school, and friends
  • Unable to control feelings of nervousness or fear, including fear of embarrassment or making a mistake
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
  • Headaches, muscle aches, stomach aches, or unexplained pains
  • Feeling on edge
  • Repetitive, unwanted thoughts (obsessions) or actions (compulsions)
  • Low self-esteem or lack of confidence

Separation Anxiety

  • Intense fear about the safety of their family
  • Afraid to go to school or sleep away from home
  • Stomachaches, headaches, or physical complaints during separation
  • Clingy behavior 
  • Crying or panic during separation
  • Nightmares and difficulty sleeping

Social Anxiety

  • Afraid to meet new people
  • Avoiding social situations or talking to others
  • Difficulty making friends


  • Extreme fear about a specific thing or situation (ex. dogs, spiders, or needles)
  • The fear causes distress and impacts everyday activities

If your child experiences anxiety that doesn’t seem to go away or it begins to impact their daily life, it can negatively affect their long-term health. Untreated anxiety can cause physical issues, like digestive or cardiovascular problems, or they may be at a higher risk for developing anxiety disorders or depression. 

Fortunately, many health professionals can treat children with severe anxiety and get them the support they need. They may suggest treating anxiety with therapy, medication, or both. Each treatment plan will depend on your child’s needs.

If you think your child has anxiety, talk with their doctor. You can start by discussing your child’s behavior and sharing information about their health history, so your doctor can make sure that an unrelated physical problem is not causing their symptoms. If Hazel is available in your school, you can schedule a visit with one of our doctors as well. 

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Parent Story
A father was concerned when his son was showing COVID-19 symptoms. His school uses Hazel, so he was able to contact a Hazel doctor from home.

The Hazel provider recommended he get a COVID-19 test and shared resources to help find a testing center in their area. The father was eager to help his son feel better and appreciated being able to quickly get answers and advice.
Nurse Story
A student came into the nurse's office with a sprained ankle. After icing her foot, she still was in pain, so the nurse called Hazel. Thankfully, her family had provided consent for over-the-counter pain relief because she was able to take some medicine and return to class feeling better.

After the visit, the Hazel provider reached out to the school nurse to check on the student’s injury. The nurse shared that the student’s ankle was improving, and she appreciated the follow-up.
Parent Story
A mother noticed her son was getting low on his asthma medication. She tried to schedule a visit with his doctor to refill his prescription, but no appointments were available. She didn’t want her son to run out of medicine, so she reached out to Hazel.

The provider was able to send the refill to a local pharmacy within one day. The mother was happy that her son would have the medicine he needed. She was also amazed at how easy and fast the entire process was.
Student Story
A student was coughing and sneezing a lot, but her family wasn’t sure if she was sick or had allergies. Thankfully, her school used Hazel, and they could get an answer.

After talking with the school nurse and the Hazel provider about her symptoms and medical history, the student was happy to find out it was likely allergies. She got some medicine and returned to class feeling better.
Student Story
During the pandemic, a high school student was having a hard time coping. She was sad about COVID-19 impacting her senior year, and she was worried about the state of the world. The student was also struggling with some personal conflicts, and she felt she didn't have the right support at home. After discussing her feelings, a Hazel doctor connected her with resources that she described as “life-changing.” She was very grateful and shared that she didn't know where to go for help before Hazel.
Parent Story
Shortly after COVID-19 began, a student began to develop tics. Her parents took her to a neurologist, but they wanted to get her into counseling as well. The student’s mother was having a hard time finding answers to her questions and didn’t know where to start the process, so she turned to Hazel.

The Hazel doctor listened as the mother shared her concerns and frustrations. Hazel reassured her that they would find the right services for her child. After the initial visit, the Hazel doctor partnered with the school counselor and the student’s mother to identify resources and counseling services that are a good fit.
Student Story
A student came into the nurse’s office because his vision went blurry. The Hazel doctor looked at his eyes, but he did not see any injury. As he asked him questions about his symptoms, he started to sense that he was down about something. After a few minutes, the student shared that he was really sad because his mom was recently diagnosed with cancer. He explained that he feels worried, and it’s hard for him to focus.

Hazel called home, and the student’s mother confirmed her diagnosis. They discussed how to help manage the child’s stress, and Hazel offered to connect the child with counseling resources through the school. The mother was very grateful for the guidance and was eager to get her child help during a stressful time.
Counselor Story
Hazel Health has been integral this year in getting our students the mental health services needed to help them live healthy lives.  The staff has been attentive, prompt, and resourceful. There is an evident sense of caring for the work they do and the students they serve. It has been a pleasure partnering with Hazel Health in providing mental wellness for our Garland ISD families.