Parents have choices when it comes to treating anxiety in children.
Like other medical conditions, anxiety disorders in children tend to be chronic unless properly treated. Parents find that most kids need professional guidance to successfully manage and overcome their anxiety.
Several scientifically proven and effective treatment options are available for children with anxiety disorders. The two treatments for anxiety in children that most help are cognitive-behavioral therapy and medication.
Your doctor or therapist may recommend one or a combination of treatments. Choosing Therapist
No one treatment method works best for every child; one child may respond better, or sooner, to a particular method than another child with the same diagnosis.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT, is a type of talk therapy that has been scientifically shown to be effective in treating anxiety disorders. CBT teaches skills and techniques to your child that she can use to reduce her anxiety.
Your child will learn to identify and replace negative thinking patterns and behaviors with positive ones. He will also learn to separate realistic from unrealistic thoughts and will receive “homework” to practice what is learned in therapy. These are techniques that your child can use immediately and for years to come.
The therapist can work with you to ensure progress is made at home and in school, and he or she can give advice on how the entire family can best manage your child’s symptoms.
CBT is generally short-term—sessions last about 12 weeks—but the benefits are long-term.
Other forms of therapy
Acceptance and commitment therapy, or ACT, uses strategies of acceptance and mindfulness (living in the moment and experiencing things without judgment) as a way to cope with unwanted thoughts, feelings, and sensations.
Dialectical behavioral therapy, or DBT, emphasizes taking responsibility for one’s problems and helps children examine how they deal with conflict and intense negative emotions.
Prescription medications can be useful in the treatment of anxiety disorders. They are also often used in conjunction with therapy. In fact, a major research study found that a combination of CBT and an antidepressant worked better for children ages 7-17 than either treatment alone.
Medication can be a short-term or long-term treatment option, depending on how severe your child’s symptoms are and how he or she responds to treatment.
It is also essential to let your doctor know about other prescription or over-the-counter medications your child takes, even if it is for a short period. You should check with your doctor and online for all side effects on medications.
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Children can learn 4 research-based stress management techniques in a fun and creative way by reading or listening to the stories from the Indigo Dreams CD. Children follow the characters along as they learn belly breathing with A Boy and a Bear, make positive statements with The Affirmation Web, visualize with A Boy and a Turtle and relax with The Goodnight Caterpillar. All four of these stories are also available in book format.
From the ADAA Website