Treating Children With Social Anxiety Disorder

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There has been a lot of concern over children being prescribed pscyhotropic medications, but the studies available today are largely incomplete. Children are in a state of rapid growth and change; treatment and diagnosis of mental disorders which include anxiety should be considered with developmental changes in mind.

It was thought, in the past, that many brain disorders such as anxiety disorders developed after childhood, but scientists and researchers now know that these disorders can develop during early childhood. An estimated 10% of all the children and adolescents in the U.S. suffer from mental illness that is severe enough to cause a level of impairment; less than 20% of those will receive treatment.

This article will help you become more informed on how to help your child if he or she seems to have mental disturbances.

Q: What should I do if im concerned about behavioral, mental, and emotional symptoms that my child is exhibiting?

A: First, talk to your child’s doctor. Find out everything you can about the symptoms or behavior that bothers you, concerning your child. If your children is in a daycare or school ask the teacher or caretaker if she or she has noticed any worrisome behavioral changes.  Share all of your collected information with your child’s doctor.

Q:Who should I talk with to help my child?

Your child’s doctor should be your first option. Describe, in detail, the symptoms that worry you. If the situation warrents more help, a social worker, psychiatrist, or child psychologist maybe be needed.  One of your child’s educators may also play an important role in your child’s treatment.

Q:Why haven’t many medications been tested in children?

A: Many of the anxiety medications available today were not studied in children because of ethical concerns involving children in clinical trials. The lack of testing in children has led to a shortage of knowledge about how to treat children with mental disorders.  Currently, the Food & Drug Adminstration (FDA) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) are looking at the issue of medication research in children and developing research approaches.

Q:Which medications are used for treating childhood anxiety disorders?

A: The medication drug class widely prescribed for use in treating children with anxiety disorders are the SSRI’s.

In the brain, there are many neurotransmitters that affect the way we think, feel, and act. SSRI’s affect mainly serontine and have been found to be effective in treating anxiety and depression without many side effects.

Q:Should medications be included in my child’s overall treatment plan?

A:If medications are recommended, they should not be the only strategy in treating your child’s anxiety.  Behavior management or family therapy should also be considered.

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