Many people who have a diagnosis of depression also have an anxiety disorder; thus, both disorders probably have a similar biology. And because of the putatively similar biology underlying the two disorders, it is hardly surprising that the SSRIs can counter anxiety as well as depression, said Charney. What’s more, evidence is emerging that the SSRIs can also combat anxiety in children. For instance, Daniel Pine, M.D., a child psychiatrist and head of the NIMH’s section on development and affective neuroscience, and his colleagues conducted a study showing that the SSRI fluvoxamine can alleviate social phobia, separation anxiety disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder in children and adolescents. Their results are reported in the April 26 New England Journal of Medicine(Psychiatric News, May 18).
"I think this is a potentially important study," Charney commented, but investigators should also determine whether various kinds of psychotherapies might benefit anxious children.