Kids with Anxiety Disorders Benefit from Family-based Cognitive Therapy

Children as young as 5 years old who suffer from obsession-compulsive disorder (OCD) benefit from family psychotherapy, according to a new study from Hasbro Children’s Research Center.

OCD is an anxiety disorder characterized by repetitive behaviors like hand washing, counting, checking, and cleaning. It interferes with a child’s schoolwork, social life, and normal routine.

Researchers enrolled 42 children ages 5 to 8 in either family-based cognitive-behavioral therapy or family-based relaxation therapy. The cognitive-behavioral approach was more effective in achieving clinical remissions.

Lead author Dr. Jennifer Freeman said that the therapy has to be geared to the child’s level, parents need to be involved in all aspects of treatment, and clinicians need to understand the child as an individual within a particular family context. This study appears in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adult Psychiatry.