Sedative addiction, anxiety on the rise among children: study

Sedative addiction, anxiety on the rise among children: study

An apparent rise in anxiety among British children has prompted concern from mental health experts.

Two reports reveal an alarming surge in medication addiction and the number of young people seeking counseling for the disorder.

Childline, the phone counseling service run by UK children’s charity the NSPCC, took 21,297 calls about anxiety in the past year — a 55percent increase on the previous year, when 13,746 children rang the hotline about the problem.

Almost nine in 10 of those calls were made by girls, the charity said in its annual review for the service.

The hotline also received 24,549 calls from children suffering suicidal thoughts and feelings, its highest-ever rate for that category.

“Anxiety can be a crippling illness and it is deeply worrying that the number of counseling sessions we are delivering for this issue is rising so quickly,” Peter Wanless, NSPCC’s chief executive, said in response to the Childline report.

He added that the hotline is finding itself “filling the gap left by our public mental health services, providing young people with a place they can go for round the clock help and advice.”

In a separate report on substance abuse among young people from Public Health England (PHE), it was revealed that the number of children needing treatment for Benzodiazepine sedative addiction, used to manage anxiety, has almost doubled in a year, from 161 to 315.

Xanax was the benzodiazepine which saw the biggest rise — its use among young people needing treatment rose almost seven-fold, from eight people to 53.

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