Anxiety Disorders

  • A systematic review and meta-analysis aimed at assessing the efficacy and tolerability of medication for treating anxiety disorders in children and adolescents found medications can be effective in reducing symptom severity associated with all anxiety disorders in this age group.1
  • There has been no empirical support found for the effectiveness of benzodiazepines, although they continue to be prescribed for anxiety disorders in youth.1
  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) has been found to be significantly more effective than no therapy in reducing symptoms of anxiety in children and adolescents. There is no evidence indicating which method of CBT delivery is preferable (e.g. group, individual, or family).2
  • The findings of a meta-analysis conducted on psychosocial treatments for phobic and anxiety disorders in children and adolescents indicate CBT is efficacious in treating these mental disorders. No differences were found between individual and group CBT.3
  • Ethnic Minority Populations: The findings from two RCTs suggest cognitive and behavioural therapies are likely to be efficacious in the treatment of phobias and anxiety disorders in ethnic minority populations.4,5

 

1Ipser, J.C., Stein, D.J., Hawkridge, S. & Hoppe, L. Pharmacotherapy for anxiety disorders in children and adolescents. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2009, Issue 3. Art. No.: CD005170. DOI: 1002/14651858.CD005170.pub2
2James, A.C., James, G., Cowdrey, F.A., Soler, A. & Choke, A. Cognitive behavioural therapy for anxiety disorders in children and adolescents. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2013, Issue 6. Art. No.: CD004690. DOI: 1002/14651858.CD004690.pub3
3Silverman, W.K., Pina, A.A. & Viswesvaran, C. (2008). Evidence-based psychosocial treatments for phobic and anxiety disorders in children and adolescents. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 37(1), 105-130. DOI: 10.1080/15374410701817907
4Pina, A.A., Silverman, W.K., Fuentes, R.M., Kurtines, W.M. & Weems, C.F. (2003). Exposure based cognitive behavioural treatment for phobic and anxiety disorders: Treatment effects and maintenance for Hispanic American relative to European American youth. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 42, 1179-1187.
5Ferrell, C.B., Beidel, D.C. & Turner, S.M. (2004). Assessment and treatment of socially phobic children: A cross cultural comparison. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 33, 260-268.

 

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

  • The greatest number of trials demonstrating efficacy up to 2008 have assessed Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI) in treating pediatric obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).1
  • A systematic review to compare the efficacy of behavioural therapy or cognitive behavioural therapy with medications for children and adolescents with OCD found behavioural or cognitive-behavioural therapy alone appears to be an effective treatment for pediatric OCD. It is as effective as medication alone and potentially may lead to better outcomes when used in combination with medication versus medication alone.2

1Ipser, J.C., Stein, D.J., Hawkridge, S. & Hoppe, L. Pharmacotherapy for anxiety disorders in children and adolescents. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2009, Issue 3. Art. No.: CD005170. DOI: 1002/14651858.CD005170.pub2
2O’Kearaney, R.T., Anstey, K., vonSanden, C. & Hunt, A. Behavioural and cognitive behavioural therapy for obsessive compulsive disorder in children and adolescents. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2006, Issue 4. Art. No.: CD004856. DOI: 1002/14651858.CD004856.pub2