Pediatricians to Promote Treatment to Children Suffering from Anxiety

BY Rachel Cagle
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Nearly two in five (38%) parents say their child suffers from anxiety, according to a new survey commissioned by the American Osteopathic Association and conducted online by The Harris Poll.

The survey of over 600 parents with children younger than 18 showed that anxiety crosses economic, educational and gender lines. The findings reinforce research that shows anxiety has become more common among children.

The survey found that for parents of children who experienced anxiety, most often (37%) the source of the anxiety is related to comparing oneself to peers. Pressure to perform well academically (35%) was the second most cited cause, followed by concerns related to social media (29%). Of the parents of children with anxiety, 20% said their child worries about the potential for a school shooting and 19% worry about violence at home or school.

Some osteopathic physicians are concerned that notable increases in access to anxiety medications and cannabis, which may be prescribed to parents or friends, mark the early signs of a drug epidemic.

The survey found 16% of parents who reported their children have experienced anxiety say their children have self-​medicated with alcohol or recreational drugs and 13% have been hospitalized for abusing anxiety medications.

Parents with children who have experienced anxiety report that therapy is the most common method of managing their child's anxiety (30%). This was followed by exercise or sports (28%), TV, movies or video games (27%) and medication (21%). Just 11% attend a support group.

Last year, 62.8% of Pediatrician Patients used a search engine to research a product or service they were considering for purchase, such as anxiety management methods, according to AudienceSCAN. However, they're 47% more likely than other adults to never go past the first page of results, so keep your SEO up-to-date.

Identifying the trauma and the triggers at the heart of the child's anxiety is essential to managing the condition. Behavioral family therapy is recommended, which Dr. Charles Sophy, DO, a psychiatrist in private practice in Beverly Hills as well as the medical director of the County of Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services, says has the added benefit of improving communication at home. Group sessions also create a safe space for children to air their feelings and an opportunity to map out coping mechanisms.

Survey data separated parents by household income, education, employment and marital status. Wealthier parents ($100k+ household income) were more likely to report their child had been hospitalized for abusing anxiety medication than parents with lower household income (less than $50k), 19 vs. nine percent.

Anxiety levels improve when a child has a healthy balance of what Dr. Sophy calls "SWEEP" metrics. If a parent notices two or more behaviors have changed in recent months with their child, he recommends seeking help.

  • Sleep: is the child sleeping significantly more or less than in previous years?
  • Work: have there been changes in academic work or after-​school job quality?
  • Eating: is the child avoiding food or family meals, or overindulging compared to past behaviors?
  • Emotions: is there unusual irritability, rage or ambivalence?
  • Play: is the child still engaged in hobbies or sports they used to enjoy?

"Allowing anxiety to persist can lead to depression, self-​harm and tragically, suicide," Dr. Sophy says, "but when treatment focuses on the whole person, it is a condition that can be successfully managed and overcome as a child matures."

Concerned Pediatrician Patients can be encouraged to speak to their doctors about their child's anxiety through a number of advertisement media. Last year, 58% took action after receiving an email ad, according to AudienceSCAN, and 56% reacted to either a text ad they received or an ad they saw on their mobile smartphones. They're also 34% more likely to click on text link ads on websites and, last year, 70.2% took action after seeing a commercial on TV.

AudienceSCAN data is available for your applications and dashboards through the SalesFuel API. Media companies and agencies can access AudienceSCAN data through the AudienceSCAN Reports in AdMall.