For some children, worry is a way of life, undermining their success at school and jeopardizing their friendships.
For those with common anxiety disorders, a combination of psychotherapy and antidepressant medication is the most effective treatment, according to a recent study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health.
About 13 of every 100 children and adolescents ages 9 to 17 suffer from some kind of anxiety disorder, according to the National Mental Health Information Center; left untreated, childhood anxiety can develop into more serious problems in adulthood.
John T. Walkup, first author on the paper and deputy director of the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, emphasized how common and destructive anxiety disorders are.
The take-away message for parents is "that we have three great treatments," he said. "The best of the lot uses medications and psychotherapy together."
The study was released online by the New England Journal of Medicine.