Study Finds Effective Treatment for Childhood Anxiety

A combination of talk therapy and medication is best, according to a new study.

Friday October 31st - 2:29pm

Children and adolescents with anxiety disorders benefit most from a combination treatment of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) with antidepressant medication, according to the largest study to date on children with anxiety disorders. The study, called the Child/Adolescent Anxiety Multimodal Study (CAMS), was sponsored by the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), and was published online October 30, in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The study found that 80 percent of the children who received the combined therapy of CBT and the antidepressant Zoloft improved significantly within 12 weeks. About 60 percent of those in the CBT-only group improved, while 55 percent of the Zoloft-only group improved. Children taking the medication had no more side effects than those taking a placebo.

Study participants included children ages 7 to 17, with moderate to severe separation anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder or social phobia. Many also had coexisting disorders, including other anxiety disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and behavior problems.

Read more in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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