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Biol Psychiatry. 1999 Dec 1;46(11):1567-78.

The treatment of anxiety disorders in children and adolescents.

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Department of Psychiatry, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.


Anxiety disorders are the most common psychiatric conditions in the pediatric population, with prevalence estimates ranging from 5-18%. Children and adolescents with excessive anxiety often meet diagnostic criteria for a number of disorders within the DSM-IV. Unfortunately, the current diagnostic system is controversial because of high rates of symptom overlap, comorbidity with other psychiatric disorders, and lack of biological markers that would support a more empirical anxiety nosology. Treatment strategies for pediatric anxiety disorders have important historical roots. Several controlled studies of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) demonstrate efficacy for pediatric anxiety disorders. In contrast, no controlled psychopharmacology studies have demonstrated efficacy in children and adolescents with anxiety disorders, except obsessive-compulsive disorder; however, several large, methodologically sound psychopharmacotherapy trials are underway for pediatric anxiety disorders. This update will review the current status of psychosocial and psychopharmacologic treatment of pediatric anxiety disorders. In addition, a brief discussion of nosology, epidemiology, and developmental course of anxiety is included. Preliminary psychopharmacology treatment and CBT treatment algorithms are presented for pediatric anxiety disorders, based on the best available data. Recommendations for future research directions are also discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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