New Support for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
CBT Helps Half of Kids With Anxiety Disorders
WebMD News Archive
Best When Parents Involved
Does your child suffer from an anxiety disorder? Children with anxiety
problems may or may not act like anxious adults.
"Kids are more likely to have physical symptoms from anxiety
disorders," Hagman says. "They have stomachaches or headaches;
sometimes with vomiting or diarrhea. But they can look very worried, very
stressed, and can have panic syndromes just as adults do."
Before jumping to the conclusion that your child has an anxiety disorder,
Hagman advises parents to consider the child's developmental stage.
"A 2-year-old who won't get in the car because of separation anxiety is
different from an 8-year-old who can't get into the car because he panics and
has trouble breathing," she says. "If a child is afraid of a snake,
that is normal. If a child is afraid to walk down the block because he or she
is afraid of seeing a snake, that is a problem."
CBT helps. But parents can't expect simply to drop their child off at the
therapist's office and expect results.
"Parents should be part of every session in some way," Hagman says.
"If the child is under 12, parents need to be present for every
appointment. In the teen years, we'll have some appointments with just the
child. But you want the parent to learn to help the child use these new skills.
That is real important. The ideal is the kid and the parents learn how to do
this on their own, and the therapist is just directing them on how to use these