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Anxiety Disorder

A fourteen old male patient that I’m going to call Kevin, was brought in to the practicum site by his father. The patient was in his first year of high school and very talented in athletics. He is an excellent basketball player and aiming at getting a college scholarship. The father explained that Kevin had always been doing very well in class and sports. He is however concerned that his son always worries uncontrollably about his performance in the field, his scholarship to college, how he is doing in class and even worries about keeping friends. He reports that his son occasionally has migraine headaches, especially when they are preparing for a game competition and tests. His father explains that his son has a big game in a few weeks and he has recently been very restless, irritable and the headaches have been more frequent. Patient reports that he cannot help worrying about his performance in class and the field since they are his ticket to college. He was worried that he might do something that will cost him his scholarship and therefore, everything had to be perfect and as planned. Patient also reported that he had been having sleep problems the past few weeks. 

After carrying out screening and assessments to confirm the diagnoses, patient was diagnosed with anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorder is a psychological health disorder that is characterized by symptoms of anxiety, worry or fear that recur (Wehry et al., 2015). It is among the most common psychiatric disorders in adolescents and children (Wehry et al., 2015). The approach used to treat his anxiety disorder was cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). This is a very productive evidence-based treatment for childhood and adolescence anxiety disorders (Wehry et al., 2015). Being an effective treatment approach, it was chosen as the preferred treatment for the patient. The CBT intervention included his parents for support purposes. This is because they were his support system and the patient was more relaxed and receptive when his parents were present. The decision to include his parents was in order to improve the effectiveness of the CBT. According to a study, the effectiveness of CBT plus the family was compared to CBT only and the interventions that included members of the family were more favorable and effective (Davis et al., 2014).

A number of components were included in the CBT intervention. First, the parents and the adolescent were provided with psychoeducation concerning the nature of patient’s anxiety, which was a generalized anxiety disorder. Second, it was noted that the patient had occasional headaches as somatic reactions when anxious. In order to manage the somatic reactions, patient was taken through relaxation training, which is effective in relieving these reactions. The third component of CBT used was cognitive restructuring. This would help patient identify and be able to challenge any thoughts that provoke anxiety. By provoking these negative thoughts, he would be successful in inhibiting anxiety. 

The expected outcome of the treatment was a decrease in instances where he would be anxious and worried over something. This expected treatment outcome can however be affected negatively if he does not get the support he expects from his parents. The parents were encouraged to continue supporting their son, because he trusts them and their support would help tremendously in his response to treatment. Therefore, family support should be consistent throughout the treatment period and post treatment, in order to help with complete recovery for the patient.. 

References

Davis, R., Souza, M. A. M. D., Rigatti, R., & Heldt, E. (2014). Cognitive-behavioral therapy for anxiety disorders in children and adolescents: a systematic review of follow-up studies. Jornal Brasileiro de Psiquiatria, 63(4), 373-378.

Wehry, A. M., Beesdo-Baum, K., Hennelly, M. M., Connolly, S. D., & Strawn, J. R. (2015). Assessment and treatment of anxiety disorders in children and adolescents. Current psychiatry reports, 17(7), 52.