July 26, 2018 – Mind-body therapies – biofeedback, mindfulness, yoga, and hypnosis – provide a promising approach to the very common problem of anxiety in adolescents, according to a review in the March issue of The Nurse Practitioner. The journal is published in the Lippincott portfolio by Wolters Kluwer.
"A growing body of evidence supports the implementation of mind-body therapy as a low-risk and cost-effective strategy in the management of anxious teenagers," write Bernadette Fulweiler RN, MSN, CPNP-PC, and Rita Marie John DNP, EdD, CPNP-PC, DCC, of Columbia University School of Nursing, New York. They highlight the role of pediatric nurse practitioners (NPs) in integrating screening and treatment for adolescents with anxiety.
Mind-Body Therapies – Promising Approach to Dealing with Teen Anxiety
Anxiety affects approximately one-third of US adolescents, with more than eight percent experiencing severe impairment in daily functioning. "Whereas anxiety and fear are typical reactions to the academic, social, and developmental challenges common during the adolescent years, clinical or pathological anxiety is excessive, persistent, and disruptive," according to the authors. While anxiety is often situational and time-limited, many teens develop chronic anxiety lasting six months or longer.
But currently recommended treatments for adolescent anxiety – cognitive behavioral therapy and/or antidepressant medications – have important limitations. They are expensive, often difficult to obtain, and in the case of antidepressants, can have side effects. Studies suggest that most adolescents with mental health disorders, especially anxiety disorders, do not receive any form of mental health care.
"Mind-body therapies encompass self-regulation and positive thinking…to help promote self-control, physical health, and emotional well-being," Ms. Fulweiler and Dr. John write. They reviewed and analyzed published research on mind-body therapy for anxiety in teens, focusing on four approaches:
Mind-body therapies can help to meet the "dire need" for affordable and accessible mental health strategies in pediatric primary care, Ms. Fulweiler and Dr. John believe. But they note some persistent barriers to integrating mind-body medicine in primary care, including constraints on time, finances, and administrative support.
Nurse practitioners can play a vital role in screening for anxiety in adolescent patients at every health visit and creating a personalized plan to combat anxiety, when present. While NPs are highly supportive of complementary and alternative medicine practices, they need ongoing education regarding the benefits and methods of integrating mind-body medicine into patient care.
About The Nurse Practitioner
With a circulation of 75,000, The Nurse Practitioner is the leading monthly source for clinical, practical, cutting-edge information for advanced practice nurses and other primary care clinicians. Each issue presents peer-reviewed articles that range from clinical topics and research to political and practice issues. In addition, The Nurse Practitioner provides regular features, columns, continuing education, staff development education, and more. In addition, The Nurse Practitioner holds a biannual educational meeting—the National Conference for Nurse Practitioners (NCNP)—which draws approximately 3,000 attendees annually.
About Wolters Kluwer
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