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by Kristen McClure

A study published in May of this year ( 2018) which followed over 300 children and teens from 7-17 with separation anxiety, social anxiety and/or generalized anxiety disorder found that only 1/5 were able to maintain the gains ( considered in stable remission) made from anxiety treatment four years later.

The treatment protocol was approximately 12 weeks, and the researchers followed up every six months for four years.

Negative life events and social anxiety both seemed to be predictors of relapse or chronicity of the anxiety. Boys seemed to fair better, as did younger children.

They concluded that we need to find better treatment methods for helping children, but also that we need to inform parents about the true prognosis of anxiety when they bring children in to see us. It is likely that in the short term, anxiety will improve. However, it is very important for parents to continue to monitor children, because their symptoms are likely to come back, and they will need to reenter therapy.

What does this mean for you?

If you are a parent of an anxious child, it makes sense for you to find a therapist that you and your child trust, and can form a long relationship with.
12 weeks may not be enough time for your child to get better.
You may need to go back at different times to get help with anxiety, and monitoring how your child is doing, especially during stressful events, may be an important part of their health and well being . It also may be important to prepare the child for this as well.

Ginsburg GS, Becker-Haimes EM, Keeton C, et al. Results from the Child/Adolescent Extended Long-Term Study (CAMELS): primary anxiety outcomes Published online May 9, 2018. J Am AcadChild Adolesc Psychiatry.

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