The team at the Center for Anxiety & OCD provides treatment to individuals of all ages with anxiety, OCD, depression, and related disorders. With deep knowledge of developmental psychology and research, we have unparalleled understanding of how particular challenges manifest at different stages of development. This allows us to work with patients across the lifespan within a framework of growth and change.
We treat patients as young as preschool age. Like adults, children and adolescents can struggle with anxiety, OCD, depression, and related disorders; however, there is often more variability in their ability to identify and verbalize anxious thoughts and feelings. Because of this, other behavioral indicators are used as clues to assess and address concerns unique to our pediatric patients. These include but are not restricted to: somatic complaints (frequent flyers at the nurse’s office at school), clinginess, irritability, temper tantrums, excessive questioning, and reassurance seeking. A hallmark of anxiety, OCD, and depression in the pediatric population is avoidance of developmentally typical activities such as schoolwork, sports, novel tasks, or plans with friends. Notably, children and teens may often provide reasons such as boredom or disinterest for their avoidance, when, in fact, anxiety is the culprit.
At this crucial time of development, we help parents understand the function underlying their child’s difficulties, respond more effectively to anxiety, and successfully manage behavioral concerns. We empower our young patients to face their fears and develop confidence and competence in their lives.
Emerging adults are those between the ages of 18 and 29. Emerging adults fall in the gap between adolescence and adulthood, an inherently transitional time with its own pressures and identity development. At times, emerging adults experience a “failure to launch” and have difficulty individuating from parents to create their own path with increased independence. While the developmental milestones in this age group can be challenging, they may be particularly complex for those with anxiety or mood disorders. Typical stressors of moving away from home, starting / graduating college, entering the workforce, establishing social / romantic relationships, and managing academic / work pressures are made more complex when the worry brain is activated. Emerging adults are particularly susceptible to getting stuck in the cycle of avoidance and / or procrastination, and are at increased risk for substance abuse.
With the developmental context in mind, we approach the emerging adult patient as neither a child nor an adult, and collaboratively establish goals for developmentally appropriate functioning. When appropriate, we also work with parents to guide them on how to work through this unique stage to facilitate mastery and independence in their children.
Across the lifespan, adults face a number of transitions, both joyful and difficult. From younger to older adulthood, developmental milestones can be challenging for many individuals and this progression can be particularly complex for those with anxiety, OCD, or mood disorders. Whether it is uncertainty about a new job, establishing social / romantic relationships, children moving away to college, or facing life’s turning points, these normative stressors can challenge one’s ability to cope effectively and exacerbate symptoms of anxiety and OCD. Similarly, patterns of avoidance, procrastination, and unhealthy thinking can interfere with living life to its fullest potential. It can be incredibly difficult to confront worry and tackle unhelpful patterns of behavior, especially when anxiety feels overwhelming.
We work together with our patients (and partners when appropriate) to encourage courageous action, facilitate positive growth, and improve behavioral health as they navigate busy and complex life circumstances. We empower our adult patients to face fears head on (at any stage of life!), resulting in significant and meaningful change.