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Generalized anxiety disorder in children: causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment

Medical expert of the article

Psychiatrist, psychotherapist
, medical expert
Last reviewed: 19.10.2021

Generalized anxiety disorder is a persistent condition of an increased level of anxiety and fear, characterized by excessive anxiety, anxiety and fear, all the way to horror. Physical symptoms may include tremor, hyperhidrosis, numerous somatic complaints, as well as weakness and exhaustion. Diagnosis is based on anamnestic data. Treatment includes behavioral therapy sometimes in combination with medication.

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is diagnosed in children and adolescents with severe and disturbing anxiety symptoms, not sufficiently narrow to meet the criteria of specific disorders such as social phobia or panic disorder. In addition, generalized anxiety disorder is an appropriate diagnosis for children with specific anxiety disorders, who also have other expressed anxiety symptoms that go beyond the characteristics of a particular disorder.

Sometimes generalized anxiety disorder can be mistaken for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Children with common anxiety often have trouble with attention, and their anxiety can also lead to psychomotor agitation (ie, hyperactivity). The key difference is that children with ADHD tend to worry no more than children without ADHD, while children with generalized anxiety disorder have anxiety and a lot of traumatic experiences.

Because the spectrum of symptoms is wide, generalized anxiety disorder is especially difficult to treat with the use of behavioral therapy. Often more effective in these situations is the use of relaxation techniques. Patients with severe generalized anxiety disorder who do not respond to psychotherapeutic methods of treatment may need an appointment of anxiolytics. As with other anxiety disorders, SSRIs are usually the drugs of choice. Buspirone is a possible alternative, especially in children who do not tolerate SSRI; The starting dose is 5 mg orally twice a day and can be gradually increased to 30 mg twice a day (or 20 mg three times a day) depending on tolerability. Symptoms on the part of the gastrointestinal tract or headache may be limiting factors in increasing the dose.

trusted-source[1], [2], [3], [4], [5], [6], [7], [8]


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