According to an April 18, 2017 update from MedPage Today, most children with anxiety relapse, regardless of treatment. From the opening lines “Children treated for anxiety disorders with psychotherapy, antidepressants, or a combination of the two show no significant differences in outcomes or remission at 5-year follow-up. Furthermore, a majority of children experience relapse and chronic anxiety, new long-term data show,” to the mention of various tracking studies and the quote that “”What this tells us is that patients who responded to treatment were more likely to be anxiety free several years later,” a concern about the implications of relapse is forthrightly addressed. It is neatly resolved with the statement that “The [identification of] these variables [Ed: statistical variables regarding children with chronic anxiety, those in remission, and baseline functioning] may help us understand and make better predictions about which patients are going to need additional intervention…”
The article and its conclusion “If relapse does occur, we will need to know the most effective treatment options to help get someone back on track, and we also need to figure out how to better manage those with comorbidities,” however, don’t address the level of relapse severity
The Anxiety Disorders Association of British Columbia does address severity levels. The AnxietyBC site indicates that “A lapse is a brief return to old and unhelpful habits or behaviours. It is a common and normal phenomenon. Sometimes lapses are triggered by stress and low mood or a difficult week at school. A relapse is a complete return to all of your child’s old ways of thinking and behaving when s/he is anxious. Youth who have a relapse are often engaging in the same things that they did before they learned some new strategies for managing anxiety.”
Parental, academic and healthcare professional concerns about relapsed children with Anxiety disorders can thus be limited to dealing with the type of relapse involved. Joint efforts to deal with those relapses can keep everyone’s emotions and focus evenly balanced so that caregivers need not relapse in worrywart mode, too. That matters very much when the anxious behaviors include Encopresis (or fecal soiling, pooping iun one’s pants), clinging to parental arms and legs, restlessness, sleeplessness, trichotillomania (hair pulling), and other life-disrupting activities.
The good news is that there’s hope for ever-improving treatments. An American Psychological Association piece about that was published in March, 2017. The article cites preventive care strategies and the innovations of “out of the box” thinking.
Keep up with the developments in dealing with anxiety disorders by checking relevant literature and joining relevant support groups.
“Brighter futures for anxious kids” – American Psychological Association