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  ANXIETY DISORDERS - PART I


Minerva Psichiatrica 2009 June;50(2):147-69

language: English

Childhood anxiety disorders

Demeter C. A., Rowles B. M., Hall-Mennes M., Findling R. L.

Department of Psychiatry University Hospitals Case Medical Center/ Case Western Reserve University Cleveland, OH, USA


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Although anxiety disorders are commonly found in children and adolescents, these disorders often go undiagnosed and untreated. Unfortunately, suffering from an anxiety disorder during childhood or adolescence puts an individual at higher risk for developing anxiety disorders and other psychiatric conditions in adulthood. This article will review the phenomenology, longitudinal course, neurophysiology and treatment of children and adolescents with anxiety disorders. Recent research supports a combination of genetic and environmental factors contributing to the occurrence of anxiety disorders in youth. Advances in technology, particularly in neuroimaging, have allowed for progress to be made regarding the characterization of the biological underpinings of emotion processing. Moreover, methodologically rigorous treatment research in both the psychosocial and pharmacological realms has provided data suggesting that cognitive-behavioral therapy and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or a combination of the two, are perhaps the most effective treatments for youths suffering from anxiety disorders. There is a clear need for increased awareness by clinicians and educators of the long-lasting impact of anxiety disorders in children and adolescents. Furthermore, future research in the accurate identification of anxiety symptoms that are not developmentally appropriate and the long-term, effective treatments of early onset anxiety disorders are necessary in hopes of improving the outcomes of youths in adulthood.

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