Treat the Whole Family, Cure the Individual’s Anxiety?
Anxiety disorders are continuing to become more and more commonly diagnosed by doctors in America as the Anxiety Disorders Association of American (AADA) reported that over 18% of the U.S. population in 2008 suffered from an anxiety disorder. The more freighting fact is that the New England Journal of Medicine reported that 1 in 5 U.S. children suffer from anxiety disorders, but often go undiagnosed or mistreated. Delay in diagnosis and treatment can lead to depression, substance abuse and poor academic performance throughout childhood and adulthood. While the common consensus in the medical world is that anxiety disorders are biological and must be treated with medication, a recent study by John Hopkins University revealed that he key to reducing anxiety symptoms in the children was to treat the entire family.
Senior investigator Golda Ginsberg, PH.D., a child psychologist at Hopkins Children’s and associate professor of psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, says “data show that the children of parents diagnosed with an anxiety disorder are up to 7 times more likely to develop an anxiety disorder themselves, and up to 65 percent of children living with an anxious parent meet the criteria for anxiety disorder.”
Researchers analyzed families in which both parents and children struggled with anxiety disorder. The study found that by treating the whole family through group therapy, the children’s anxiety disorder symptoms decreased by 65% as opposed to 20% to those that received individual treatment.
To learn more about this study parents can email the research team at CAPS@JHMI.EDU. Additionally, to learn more about anxiety disorders and treatment options visit NorthShore University HealthSystem’s neuroscience department.