The Doctors share the troubling statistic that more than 4 million children in America have been officially diagnosed with anxiety and we welcome child psychiatrist Dr. Domenick Sportelli to help understand why the rates are increasing. Also, of those 4 million kids, nearly 80 percent of them are not getting treated.
In his practice, Dr. Sportelli says he sees a common issue with young patients dealing with anxiety and many of them say they "feel overwhelmed." He mostly encounters patients with generalized anxiety disorder, in young ger kids separation anxiety, and patients dealing with social anxiety.
He feels there is a connection with the spike in anxiety and how much time young people engaged with social media, the news (which is often negative) and our current "pressure society." "Children's pressure to succeed is higher than ever," he notes, explaining for many kids they cannot process their anxiety and will tell parents they have a stomach ache or headache.
Despite these rising and alarming rates, Dr. Sportelli says 70 to 80 percent of kids can be treated and their anxiety levels will improve with psychotherapeutic intervention and will not require medication.
Dr. Sportelli also urges parents to assure their children that feeling anxious is normal and something we all experience. If their anxiety is affecting their learning or social growth, he suggests intervening with the help of a trained professional. First, he suggests trying cognitive behavioral therapy, which he says is a great option for treating anxiety, will teach the child coping skills and how to process the anxiety.