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Youth Anxiety Center


Why do we need a Youth Anxiety Center?

The needs of older teens and young adults with anxiety disorders have not been fully understood and their treatment needs have been underappreciated. The Youth Anxiety Center is committed to a better understanding of anxiety disorders as they develop over time, especially through adolescence into adulthood, and to develop innovative treatment strategies to address the needs of this special population of anxious youth.

From John T. Walkup, M.D.

When asked "How do we recognize youth anxiety and its symptoms?" Dr. Walkup provided the following insight:

John T. Walkup, M.D.
John T. Walkup, M.D.

"Anxious young adults differ substantially from anxious younger children and also from anxious adults. The most striking differences lie in the potential impact of avoidant behaviors (a key coping strategy associated with anxiety) on academic, employment, and social functioning during a critical developmental epoch – the transition to an independent adulthood.

When early anxiety and avoidance behaviors (i.e., not going places, being with people, or doing things due to fear or apprehension) are substantial and unaddressed, children and adolescents do not develop the robust coping and adaption skills necessary for young adult functioning. Hence, as anxious adolescents become young adults, they struggle to cope effectively with the demands of independent functioning, may drop out of college/vocational training, or fail to maintain employment.

Anxiety and avoidance behavior also impact every day and intimate relationships and can result in young adults who are solitary, shy, and socially less adept, and feel challenged by even routine social interactions. The challenges these youth and their families face are compounded by educational and work environments that are unaware of the impact of anxiety on young adults' functioning, and similarly unaware clinicians, who are ill-equipped to assess and treat comprehensively anxious youth and young adults."

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