What are "internalizing" problems?

Internalizing behavioral problems include issues that are directed "inward." This encompasses signs of depression or an anxiety disorder, which can manifest in symptoms such as social withdrawal and feelings of sadness or fear. Physical complaints such as stomachaches, nausea, or persistent fatigue can also indicate internalizing problems.

Depression falls under the category of affective disorders. This means that the illness pertains to a person's emotional state. Depression can manifest in various ways. Typical symptoms include loss of interest, joylessness, sleep disturbances, concentration and/or thinking problems, restlessness, feelings of worthlessness, thoughts of death, or changes in weight.

Experiencing sadness and phases of grief are familiar to every person. The difference between these phases and depression is that the latter persists for a minimum of two weeks, and the individual feels significant distress due to the symptoms, which restrict their daily life and functioning.

Just as every person has felt moments of sadness, nearly everyone has experienced significant fear. Fear is a normal and innate emotional reaction to dangers and threats. It motivates one to end this negative emotional state through reactions like fleeing or fighting.

This "normal" fear can be distinguished from pathological fear. In an anxiety disorder, an excessively intense fear reaction occurs in situations that are actually safe. This means the fear is not in an appropriate relation to the real threat. For those affected, the anxiety manifests both psychologically and physically, intensely and persistently, occurring excessively frequently. This anxiety leads to severe impairments in professional, everyday, and social life. Thus, there is significant distress for the affected person in this context as well.