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Long-term CBT efficacious for youth with anxiety disorders, suggests study

Long-term CBT efficacious for youth with anxiety disorders, suggests study

“Man is not worried by real problems so much as by his imagined anxieties about real problems”

― Epictetus

Anxiety disorders, one of the most common mental disorders affecting a major population in the United States, have become prominent among teenagers due to the onset of various technological and social changes. While there are a number of proven ways to help individuals deal with this condition, a new research published in the Journal of Anxiety Disorders found that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the most effective treatments available for youngsters dealing with anxiety disorders.

CBT, a goal-oriented psychotherapy, focusing on developing a new set of behaviors by replacing unhealthy thinking and behavioral patterns, has emerged as the first line of treatment among teenagers. By combining both behavioral and cognitive treatment approaches, it assists them in developing adequate personal coping strategies and gaining control over emotional and cognitive functions like problem-solving, memory, etc.

The above-mentioned research titled “Long-term effectiveness of cognitive behavioral therapy for youth with anxiety disorders” highlighted that CBT delivered in community clinics helped in attaining positive long-term outcomes among teenagers suffering from anxiety disorders. The noticeable improvements in their condition were testified nearly four years after the treatment.

Key findings of the study

The study was conducted on 139 children and adolescents aged 15.5 years on average and included 54.47 percent females. All the participants were treated with CBT in randomized controlled trials and the outcomes were evaluated after a period of 3.9 years. On screening the participants at the time of treatment, researchers found the prominence of anxiety disorders like separation anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder (SAD) and/or generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) in them.

After the completion of treatment, a follow-up study was conducted to assess the presence of all inclusion anxiety diagnoses, loss of the principal anxiety diagnosis, and changes in youth- and parent-rated anxiety symptoms in the participants. The assessment highlighted the following results:

  • Approximately 53 percent of participants did not have any symptoms of inclusion anxiety.
  • Around 63 percent did not meet the criteria for their principal anxiety diagnosis.
  • Compared to the follow-up assessment results, significant improvements were witnessed in their long-term outcomes.
  • The assessment of the participants who still had anxiety disorder during post-treatment evaluation revealed that around 53 percent lost their diagnosis at the time of long-term follow-up.
  • On assessing another group of participants who did not lose all inclusion anxiety diagnoses during the post-treatment assessment, around 45 percent lost those diagnoses at the time of long-term follow-up.
  • The changes that occurred between post-treatment assessment and long-term follow-up did not complement the additional short-term treatment.
  • Compared to the post-treatment outcomes, a significant reduction was witnessed in the clinical severity of the principal, secondary and tertiary diagnoses during the long-term follow-up.

Apart from these, there were no significant differences in the outcomes between a group and individual CBT. It was also found that individuals with SAD were less likely to show any signs of improvement during the long-term follow-up compared to those with separation anxiety disorder or GAD.

Seek treatment for anxiety disorder

Psychotherapies, counseling sessions, self-help groups and stress-management techniques are some of the commonly recognized techniques to treat anxiety disorders. Among all available treatments, CBT is undoubtedly the most effective way to treat anxiety. CBT works by breaking the vicious cycle of negative thoughts in patients. This is certainly a practical approach toward all kinds of anxiety disorders.

If you or someone you know is suffering from any form of anxiety disorder and wants to understand the benefits of CBT, contact the Anxiety Disorder Helpline for assistance. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-971-7951 or chat online with our representatives to get the complete details about the best anxiety disorder treatment centers in different parts of the United States.