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May 13, 2020

Childhood Anxiety—If We Know So Much, Why Are We Doing So Little?

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • 2Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee
  • 3Department of Veteran Affairs, Tennessee Valley Healthcare System, Nashville
JAMA Psychiatry. 2020;77(9):887-888. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2020.0585

Anxiety disorders are the most prevalent mental health conditions among US youth, with more than 30% experiencing an anxiety disorder by the time they reach age 18 years.1 Childhood anxiety is associated with significant impairment across family, social, and academic domains, typically affecting every area of life. Longitudinal research suggests that this dysfunction persists into adulthood; youth with anxiety are significantly more likely than counterparts without anxiety to go on to develop mood and substance use disorders, drop out of school early, and die by suicide.2 The high prevalence of childhood anxiety, combined with its pernicious and often unrelenting course, make it a significant public health issue.

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