Does Your Child Have an Anxiety Disorder?
Children and adolescents with anxiety disorders can benefit from a variety of treatments and services. Following an accurate diagnosis, possible treatments include:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy, in which young people learn to deal with fears by modifying the ways they think and behave
- Relaxation techniques
- Biofeedback (to control stress and muscle tension)
- Family therapy
- Parent training
While cognitive behavioral approaches are effective in treating some anxiety disorders, medications work well with others. Some people benefit from a combination of these treatments. More research is needed to determine what treatments work best for the various types of anxiety disorders.
If parents or other caregivers notice repeated symptoms of an anxiety disorder in their child or adolescent, they should:
- Talk with the child's healthcare provider. He or she can help determine whether the symptoms are caused by an anxiety disorder or by some other condition and can also provide a referral to a mental health professional.
- Look for a mental health professional trained in working with children and adolescents who has used cognitive behavioral therapy or behavior therapy and who has prescribed medications for this disorder -- or someone who has cooperated with a physician who does.
- Get accurate information from libraries, hotlines, or other sources.
- Ask questions about treatments and services.
- Talk with other families in their communities.
- Find family network organizations.
People who are not satisfied with the mental healthcare their child receives should discuss their concerns with the provider, ask for information, and/or seek help from other sources.