Pediatric Anxiety Disorders Clinic

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Mayo Clinic's Pediatric Anxiety Disorders Clinic provides advanced, evidence-based medical and psychological treatment for anxiety disorders, including:

  • Panic disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Social phobia
  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Separation anxiety
  • Specific phobia

Outpatient services

The Mayo Clinic Pediatric Anxiety Disorders Clinic includes three primary services:

  • Diagnostic clinic
  • Outpatient treatment
  • Intensive treatment services

Diagnostic clinic

The diagnostic clinic provides a comprehensive, one-day assessment for children and teenagers with heightened anxiety, fears, nervousness and worry. Clinic staff thoroughly evaluate the patient and provide diagnosis and treatment recommendations in a time-efficient manner. A structured diagnostic interview, questionnaires and clinical interviews are used in the evaluation process.

The clinic is staffed by a clinical child and adolescent psychologist and psychiatrist who specialize in anxiety disorders, which allows for an integrated medical and psychological understanding of the child's symptoms.

Child outpatient anxiety treatment

Cognitive behavioral therapy and medication management are available on an outpatient basis. Psychotherapy treatment consists primarily of exposure-based cognitive behavioral therapy. This treatment teaches children skills to manage their anxiety and teaches parents to effectively provide support.

With these tools in place, the child and therapist develop a list of situations that cause the child to feel anxious. With the help of the therapist, the child then gradually faces these fears and learns that they can be managed. Treatment typically consists of about 10 sessions completed on a weekly basis.

Intensive child anxiety treatment

Treatment for child and adolescent anxiety disorders also is available in an intensive format for families unable to spend extended time at Mayo Clinic. Treatment can be provided in a nine-session format over five days. The goals of these intensive treatments are to:

  • Teach the child and parents to be experts on anxiety and how behavioral treatment works
  • Decrease the child's symptoms through successful completion of exposures to anxiety-inducing situations
  • Teach the child and parents how to conduct exposure therapy on their own so they can continue working at home

Follow-up care is provided by phone.

Clinical trials

Children and families receiving treatment through the Pediatric Anxiety Disorders Clinic can participate in clinical trials. These trials include the development of diagnostic tools; development and improvement of treatment approaches; understanding the individual and environmental factors that contribute to anxiety disorders; and using neuroimaging to investigate the neurobiology of anxiety disorders.

Current studies include randomized controlled trials comparing different versions of cognitive behavior therapy for childhood anxiety disorders and examining the use of technology in providing treatment.

July 22, 2014