Current treatments for social anxiety disorder in adolescents: A narrative review
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Keywords:Anxiety, children, psychotherapy, social anxiety, treatment
Recent advancements in the developmental epidemiology, neurobiology, and treatment of pediatric anxiety disorders have both increased our understanding of these conditions and heralded improved outcomes for children and adolescents who are afflicted with them. This article reviews the various approaches that are currently being taken to treat anxiety disorders in young people. In addition, we provide a summary of the current evidence for both psychotherapeutic and psychopharmacologic treatments of fear-based anxiety disorders (such as generalized, social, and separation anxiety disorders) in children and adolescents. These disorders include separation anxiety disorders, generalized anxiety disorders, and social anxiety disorders. The available evidence suggests that these disorders begin in childhood and adolescence, that they display homotypic continuity, and that they increase the risk of developing secondary anxiety and mood disorders. Psychopharmacologic trials involving selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and selective serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SSNRIs) have generally demonstrated moderate effect sizes and are effective in treating anxiety disorders in pediatric patients. In addition, recent research finds that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is an effective method for treating these conditions in young people. These same findings also imply that the combination of psychotherapy and an SSRI may be associated with greater improvement than what would be expected from either treatment when used alone as a monotherapy.
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