Worried Sick: Dealing with Anxiety in Children

The Best Treatment for Anxiety Disorders

Experts typically use cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which involves gradually exposing a child to anxiety-provoking situations and teaching him to breathe deeply and verbalize his fears. However, a recent study found that kids had improved most when they had CBT and took the medication sertaline (Zoloft). Other meds that may be helpful: Prozac, Paxil, and Luvox. Below are the most common anxiety disorders.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Having ideas that are intrusive and senseless, or repetitive behaviors like hand-washing or counting

Phobias Fear and avoidance of specific objects and situations, such as dogs, clowns, or bees

Separation Anxiety Significant worry when leaving or being away from parents, fear of being/sleeping alone, school-related difficulties

Chronic Anxiety Persistent worrying in the presence or absence of stressful events

Social Anxiety Fear of being embarrassed in front of others, which can lead young children to avoid speaking, eating in public places, or using public bathrooms

Originally published in the March 2010 issue of Parents magazine.

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