In this medical health video Dr. Pine elaborates on the benefits and obstacles of the two main treatments for pediatric anxiety: cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, and medication.
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Female Speaker: Treatments are available, but more research needs to be done to understand what therapies work best for the anxious child. Dr. Daniel Pine: In terms of the kinds of treatments that have been shown to work for children with anxiety, they are basically two. So one form of treatment is a kind of talking therapy and that's a therapy known as 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're afraid. Then children are taught how to better tolerate those circumstances or those situations and gradually over time 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 form 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 are also been some concerns about the safety of these medications in children. 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 SSRI, as opposed to when it's best to treat a child with psychotherapy like CBT.
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