Anxiety DisordersChildren's Mental Health

Depression and Anxiety Can Be Childhood Companions

16733828_mWhen most of us think about our childhood memories, we recall digging in sandboxes and playing on swings – not worrying about issues of money, crime, or self-achievement. However, that is not the reality for all children. In fact, according to Rinad Beidas, a professional clinician at Temple University’s Child And Adolescent Anxiety Disorders Clinic, anxiety disorders can affect as many as 12 percent of kids aged 7 to 17.

The Child And Adolescent Anxiety Disorders Clinic at Temple University consists of a team of eight experts who specialize specifically in the treatment of anxiety disorders among children. They focus not on the general issues of self-esteem and emotional transition that many youngsters go through, but rather crippling anxiety and fear that impairs normal, everyday functioning. Common to the clinic are children with persistent separation anxiety that is not age-appropriate and debilitating social anxiety which prevents children from basic interaction.

Beidas says the children they see process things like adults. Third-grade patients, for instance, may already be consumed with whether or not they will be accepted into college. According to a report from the Armenian Medical Network, it’s not uncommon for children to reflect the anxiety of their parents, so if mom or dad is constantly nervous or uneasy, children may feel that way too.

Many children also experience depression. The National Institutes of Mental Health reports that up to 8.3 percent of teens and 2.5 percent of younger children will become familiar with clinical depression of some type. NIMH also reveals that childhood depression can continue into adulthood if it doesn’t receive attention.

Dr. Kendall, Temple Clinic’s Director, says the reality is that these issues exist and will persist if left untreated. But childhood anxiety and depression are highly treatable. Through cognitive-behavioral treatment (CBT), anxiety patients at the Temple Clinic have seen a 72 percent success rate.

Learn the facts about childhood anxiety and depression. Through support from mental health professionals at the Family Guidance Center, children can learn life skills and proper coping mechanisms to aid in handling stressful, real-life situations. A professional assessment of symptoms and an accurate diagnosis is the first step toward a treatment plan that can help a child return to well-being.