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Anxiety in adolescents: Update on its diagnosis and treatment for primary care providers

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Rebecca S Siegel, Daniel P DicksteinPediatric Mood, Imaging, and NeuroDevelopment Program, EP Bradley Hospital, East Providence, RI, USAAbstract: Anxiety disorders are the most prevalent mental health concern facing adolescents today, yet they are largely undertreated. This is especially concerning given that there are fairly good data to support an evidence-based approach to the diagnosis and treatment of anxiety, and also that untreated, these problems can continue into adulthood, growing in severity. Thus, knowing how to recognize and respond to anxiety in adolescents is of the utmost importance in primary care settings. To that end, this article provides an up-to-date review of the diagnosis and treatment of anxiety disorders geared towards professionals in primary care settings. Topics covered include subtypes, clinical presentation, the etiology and biology, effective screening instruments, evidence-based treatments (both medication and therapy), and the long-term prognosis for adolescents with anxiety. Importantly, we focus on the most common types of anxiety disorders, often known as phobias, which include generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety/social phobia, separation anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and specific phobias. In summary, anxiety is a common psychiatric problem for adolescents, but armed with the right tools, primary care providers can make a major impact.Keywords: anxiety disorders, adolescents, presentation, etiology, assessment, treatment, primary care


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