Mindfulness, Meditation, and Childhood Anxiety Disorders: An Overview of an Effective Psychotherapeutic Approach
Evolve Treatment Centers, California and Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health, Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, Illinois, USA
*Corresponding Author: Shikha Verma, Evolve Treatment Centers, California and Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health, Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, Illinois, USA.
April 26, 2021; Published: June 11, 2021
In US, almost 7 % of children aged 3-17 years are diagnosed with anxiety disorders. Numbers are even higher in adolescence, where up to a third of adolescents between ages 13-18 have anxiety disorders in their lifetime. Global prevalence is estimated to be close to 3 % between 5- 17 years of age. Over the years, multiple treatment approaches, between medications and psychotherapeutic interventions, have been identified for anxiety disorders. As the focus is increasing on this age group, newer, brief, efficacious therapies are investigated, which also have sustained benefits. Generations old concepts of meditation and mindfulness has gained grounds in last couple of decades to address various mental health disorders across the life span. These Mindfulness based interventions (MBI) have evolved significantly recently and they are considered as powerful psychotherapeutic tools in children and adolescents for various mental health disorder including anxiety disorders. This article explores current evidence on this promising intervention and provides further insight into future considerations. Some early studies suggest improvement in anxiety and other mental health symptoms in children and adults. There are no known harmful effects. However, so far studies in children and adolescents have had small sample sizes and mixed results. More robust studies are needed to verify effectiveness of these approaches. Also, long term measures of MBI have found continued effectiveness in few studies done on adults but results yet need to be replicated in children and adolescents. Effectiveness of these psycho- therapeutic approaches should also be compared with and without medications in long term. This will provide more guidance if combined approach has more advantages similar to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and medications or if it can also be used as a standalone treatment approach with similar efficacy.
Keywords: Mindfulness; Anxiety Disorders; Mindfulness - Based Interventions in Children
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