A new study finds that less than 25% of American youths that are treated for anxiety disorders are able to keep their anxiety subdued. Anxiety disorders are chronic, according to a study found in the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
The study, one of the largest comparative studies of its kind, found that pediatric anxiety affects 10% of children. The study examined children that underwent a 12-week treatment of either cognitive behavioral therapy or sertraline.
The treatments were initially successful, with a noted reduction in anxiety and improved function.
A reassessment, conducted an average of six years post-treatment, along with annual assessments over a four-year period were made. The reassessment found that just 22% of those that received treatment had long-term success and did not meet the criteria for having an anxiety disorder.
Researchers found that 30% of participants still suffered from chronic illness and 48% had relapses during follow up visits.
“However, we found no difference in outcomes by treatment type. Children were just as likely to stay in remission after treatment with medication as they were after treatment with CBT,” said Dr. Ginsburg, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine.
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The reassessment followed up with 319 youths that had a median age of 17 years. Researchers followed up with all 319 participants through 2011 and 2015. The initial study included 488 youths, with the reassessment including 65% of the original participants.
Each year of follow ups found that nearly 50% of youths remained in remission, suffering from anxiety disorders.
Researchers found several factors leading to participants staying out of remission, including better family function, fewer negative life events and youths that did not suffer from social phobias.
Researchers concluded that while the 12-week treatment had optimistic expectations, more needs to be done to help treat anxiety disorders among youths. Recommendations for further treatment includes regular check-ups and a better mental health model to follow.
Anxiety and depression are not unique problems to the United States. A 16-year-old girl from the United Kingdom who was a victim of social media bullying hung herself despite repeat attempts to seek help from mental health experts. The girl’s anxiety was not a problem until she received a mobile phone as a Christmas present.
The girl was said to be on social media frequently after receiving her present. A link between anxiety and social media has been found, with users from England stating that Instagram and Snapchat cause depression, anxiety, body image issues, fear of missing out and an increase in bullying.