Research Review: Pediatric anxiety disorders - what have we learnt in the last 10 years?

Research paper by Jeffrey R JR Strawn, Lu L Lu, Tara S TS Peris, Amir A Levine, John T JT Walkup

Indexed on: 10 Jun '20Published on: 06 Jun '20Published in: Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry


Anxiety disorders first emerge during the critical developmental periods of childhood and adolescence. This review synthesizes recent findings on the prevalence, risk factors, and course of the anxiety disorders; and their neurobiology and treatment. For this review, searches were conducted using PubMed, PsycINFO, and clinicaltrials.gov. Findings related to the epidemiology, neurobiology, risk factors, and treatment of pediatric anxiety disorders were then summarized. Anxiety disorders are high prevalence, and early-onset conditions associated with multiple risk factors including early inhibited temperament, environment stress, and structural and functional abnormalities in the prefrontal-amygdala circuitry as well as the default mode and salience networks. The anxiety disorders are effectively treated with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). Anxiety disorders are high prevalence, early-onset conditions associated with a distinct neurobiological fingerprint, and are consistently responsive to treatment. Questions remain regarding who is at risk of developing anxiety disorders as well as the way in which neurobiology predicts treatment response. © 2020 Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health.