Anxious Children May Suffer All Their Lives

If you have an anxious child, chances are you've taken her to therapy, maybe even tried some meds.  But a disturbing new study has found that less than half of all kids treated for the condition get over it permanently.

Fewer than one in two children and young adults treated for anxiety achieve long-term relief from symptoms, according to the findings of a study by investigators from the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center and five other institutions, as reported by

“Our findings are encouraging in that nearly half of these children achieved significant improvement and were disease-free an average of six years after treatment, but at the same time we ought to look at the other half who didn’t fare so well and figure out how we can do better,” the Web site quotes lead investigator Golda Ginsburg, Ph.D., a psychologist at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center and professor of psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.  “Just because a child responds well to treatment early on, doesn’t mean our work is done and we can lower our guard,” Ginsburg says.

Who gets better and who doesn't?  And why?  Family dynamics and gender were the two most powerful predictors of long-term anxiety risk, points out. "Stable families with clear rules and greater trust who spent quality time together diminished a child’s risk of relapse, as did being male. Girls were nearly twice as likely to relapse as boys, a finding that may connote sex differences in outcomes, the investigators say."

So is your child doomed to a lifetime of nail-biting, refusal to leave the house or avoidance of people and events?  Let's face it.  We've all been nervous or stressed at times, afraid of people and outcomes, competition and achievement.  But for a child to suffer lifelong from this traumatizing disorder is tragic. Clearly, more work needs to be done on treatment or cure. 



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