Anxiety disorders in children and adolescents

Hill, C. et al. Paediatrics and Child Health. Published online: September 10, 2016

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Anxiety disorders are among the most common psychiatric disorders in children and adolescents. They commonly interfere with peer relationships, schooling and family life, and persist into adulthood if left untreated.

This paper gives an overview of the identification, assessment and treatment of anxiety disorders in children and young people. Identification of anxiety disorders is often poor and many young people with anxiety disorders go untreated. We present a brief review of the evidence base for pharmacological and psychological treatment approaches to the management of anxiety disorders in youth. Both have been found to be effective in the treatment of anxiety disorders, although psychological treatments such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) are considered the first-line treatment due to relative benefits in terms of patient safety and parental preference. Low intensity CBT approaches such as bibliotherapy and online therapies are effective and have the potential to improve access to evidence-based interventions. CBT approaches have also been found to be effective with particular patient groups, such as those with long-term physical health conditions and autism spectrum disorders, who are at an increased risk of anxiety disorders.

Read the abstract here

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