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  • 编辑:  赵峦   稿源: 国际在线    2004-12-28 09:43:21
    [双语新闻]儿童焦虑症应及时治疗以免带入成年期
      Treating Childhood Anxiety Prevents Adult Disorders
    摘要:
        最新一期的美国心理学期刊《哈佛心理卫生报》日前发表文章指出,儿童时期出现的焦虑症、恐惧症及其他一些行为障碍应该得到及时地治疗,以尽量避免把这些焦虑症的症状带入成年期。
        Panic disorders, phobias and other childhood anxiety conditions should be treated during childhood so that they won't be carried over into adulthood, according to advice in the latest Harvard Mental Health Letter.

        最新一期的美国心理学期刊《哈佛心理卫生报》日前发表文章指出,儿童时期出现的焦虑症、恐惧症及其他一些行为障碍应该得到及时地治疗,以尽量避免把这些焦虑症的症状带入成年期。

        据路透社近日报道,焦虑症是一种普通的心理障碍,其主要症状是患者长期充满了过度的、模糊的焦虑和担心,而这些担心和焦虑又缺少一个明确的原因。目前各种医学和心理学研究表明,焦虑症是儿童时期出现的最常见的精神病症状之一,而且在很多情况下,患有焦虑症的成年人大多是在童年时期经历了他们的第一次症状。

        文章说,许多父母可能并没有注意到自己的孩子正在经历一些异常症状,因为儿童的头脑和情绪会随着时间的发展而不断变化,要区分和判断正常的焦虑和由焦虑症引起的行为障碍会比较困难。比如,两岁大的孩子会害怕陌生人,学龄前儿童通常怕黑等,这些其实都属于与年龄相当的正常焦虑范围。

        科学研究发现,儿童的焦虑症与成年人所经历的焦虑症非常相似;而且和成年人一样,一个患有社交恐惧症等焦虑症的儿童,很可能同时患有其他多种焦虑症。患有社交恐惧症和社交焦虑症的儿童,在陌生人面前或在陌生环境中会极其害羞和害怕,他们可能害怕主动跟别人说话或者不敢参加小朋友的生日宴会。

        儿童时期出现的其他一些焦虑症还包括:强迫症、恐惧症、分离焦虑症、单纯畏惧(比如害怕水、害怕窒息、害怕昆虫等),以及通常因虐待而导致的创伤后压力症等。

        心理学家认为,这些心理疾病的成因非常复杂,它可以是基因方面的,也可能是由后天环境引起的。有些焦虑症可能具有遗传性,一些儿童甚至在4个月大的时候就表现出极度的害羞症状,一见到陌生人就心跳加速、哭泣或害怕。不过随着时间的发展,一些儿童会慢慢长大并摆脱这些恐惧;当然他们还可以通过接受心理治疗来克服这些障碍,比如游戏治疗和认知行为疗法等,这些都是近年来治疗儿童和青少年焦虑症的有效方法。

        心理学家指出,父母也没有必要过分担心自己害羞的孩子,担心孩子因可怕经历而导致的周期性恶梦,或者害怕这些焦虑症会毁了孩子一辈子,最重要的是应该客观对待,积极引导和治疗,毕竟害羞的儿童并不总是变成焦虑的成年人,很多焦虑症的症状也有可能随着年龄的增长而逐渐消失。

        不过,文章还同时提醒说,在某些情况下,害羞和社交恐惧等由非现实经历引起的恐惧症,可能会随着年龄的增长而消失,只要创造一个支持性的交流环境和社会环境即可;但是对于创伤后压力症而言,更多的研究则表明,从儿童到成年所有的时期,除非患者个人进行处理和治疗,否则这些症状不会自行消失。

        专门从事创伤后压力症研究的心理学家约瑟夫·皮罗内博士说:“创伤后压力症是属于我们这个时代的焦虑症……不幸的是,它是由人为因素造成的。要减少儿童出现这种症状,我们需要创造一个世界,在这个世界上仇恨少之又少,因此复仇也会少之又少,那才是一个更加安全的适合儿童生长的环境。”(程瑶)

        Panic disorder, phobias and other childhood anxiety conditions should be treated during childhood so that they won't be carried over into adulthood, according to advice in the latest Harvard Mental Health Letter.

        Various studies show that anxiety disorders are among the most common psychiatric conditions present during childhood. In many instances, adults with anxiety disorders experienced their first symptoms during their early childhood years.

        Yet many parents may not be aware that their child is experiencing such symptoms. Since children's minds and emotions change over time, it may be difficult to distinguish between normal, age-appropriate fears -- such as a 2-year-old's fear of strangers, or a preschooler's fear of the dark -- and real anxiety disorders, according to the Harvard experts.

        Real anxiety disorders in children are similar to those experienced by adults. What's more, like adults, a child with an anxiety disorder such as social phobia is likely to have other anxiety disorders as well.

        Children with social phobia, or social anxiety disorder, are extremely shy and fear unfamiliar people or surroundings. They may, for example, be afraid to initiate a conversation or to attend a birthday party.

        Children with generalized anxiety disorder, previously referred to as overanxious disorder of childhood, experience the same uncontrolled worry that adults afflicted with the disorder experience.

        Other anxiety disorders experienced by children include obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, separation anxiety, simple phobias -- such as fear of water, fear of choking, or fear of insects, and post-traumatic stress disorder, which is often the result of severe child abuse.

        The cause of such disorders can be both genetic and environmental. Studies suggest that some anxiety disorders may be hereditary. Some children can show signs of extreme shyness, for example, as early as 4 months; their heart rate increases and they cry and "shrink back" around strangers, according to the health letter.

        Yet, children usually grow out of such fears or can be treated for them through a variety of means, including play therapy or cognitive behavioral treatment, the best-known treatment for anxiety disorders in children and adolescents.

        Parents need not fear that their child will always be extremely shy, or that those recurrent nightmares from some horrifying event they experienced -- one symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder -- will indefinitely plague their child throughout their adulthood. Shy children do not always become anxious adults and post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms may fade as children grow older, according to the Harvard mental health experts. "This is one field in which optimism is a plausible attitude for mental health professionals," they write.

        Commenting on the mental health letter, psychologist Dr. Joseph Pirone, an expert in reality-based anxiety, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, said that "non-reality based experiences like shyness and social phobia can be, in some instances, undone just by creating a supportive teaching environment or social environment."

        In the case of post-traumatic stress disorder, however, studies suggest that "unless the individual processes it, symptoms will not go away" as children transition to adulthood, said Pirone, of the State University of New York's Rockland Community College campus.

        "PTSD is the anxiety disorder of our time ... unfortunately produced by man-made circumstances," he said. Pirone added that in order to reduce such symptoms among children, like those traumatized by the attacks on the US on September 11, "we need to create a world with less and less hatred, and thereby less and less revenge and a safer environment for children to grow."

     

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