In this medical health video Dr. Daniel Pine shares the latest research on pediatric anxiety including how it manifests itself both in childhood and later in life.
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Female Speaker: These days anxiety seems to be a natural part of life. Even children feel the stresses of a fast pace world. But how does a parent know if their child is experiencing something more serious than a case of butterflies. At a recent public symposium held by Narsad, The Mental Health Research Association, experts gathered to discuss mental health issues relating to children and adolescence. Doctor Daniel Pine, Chief of the Child and Adolescence Research Program within the mood and anxiety program at the National Institute of Mental Health shared his research on childhood anxiety. Daniel Pine: In terms of giving advice to parents, probably the most important that parents should think about is to what extent does the anxiety that a child is having interfered with what that child has to do in life. So in any child who is having, what we call impairment, or interference with the degree to which that child can function. So children who can't go on play dates, children who are having trouble going to school, children whose parents can't go out at night because their children get too upset. In those circumstances, parent should think that it's really time that I talk to a competent mental health professional to think about whether my child may or may not have a problem that could be helped by various kinds of treatment. Female Speaker: Treatments are available but more research needs to be done to understand what therapies work best for the anxious child. Daniel Pine: In terms of kinds of treatments that have been shown to work for children with anxiety, there are basically two. So one form of treatment is a kind of talking therapy, and that's a therapy known as a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT and what happens in CBT is children work with a therapist to make a list of all the different things that make them afraid or the different things that they avoid because they afraid and then children are taught how to better tolerate those circumstance or those situations and gradually overtime, they enter into those situations a little more and a little more, eventually to the point where the anxiety dissipates or it's gone. So that's one very effective form of treatment. The other very effective forms of treatment are medications and among the medications, those that have been shown to work best are the Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors or the SSRIs. And these have been shown to work very robustly for anxiety in childhood. There has also been some concerns about the safety of these medications in children and clearly we need a lot more research in terms of understanding what are the circumstances where it's best to treat a child with anxiety with medication like an SSRIs as suppose to when its best to treat a child with psychotherapy like CBT. Female Speaker: Doctor Pine's research has found that anxiety in children is common and usually transient, persistent long-term childhood anxiety however, can lead to problems later in life. Daniel Pine: It can be very, very short, a matter of hours to days. It can be kind of medium length in duration, a matter of days to weeks to maybe, a month or it can be what we call persistent, the third kind of anxiety. And persistent anxiety is the kind of anxiety that manifest over many months to years and that's the type of anxiety that we really need to understand a lot better, because it's that kind of anxiety as oppose to the first two kinds of anxieties that probably show the strongest relationships with problems throughout life into adulthood. Female Speaker: And there in lies the dilemma for doctors and researchers; how do you treat children with anxiety disorders if you are not sure a child is suffering from transient or persistent anxiety. Daniel Pine: One of the major things that we don't understand right now is when we see a child who has anxiety today, how can we predict how long that anxiety is going to go on. And it's the type of question for which current research doe