The Pediatric Stress and Anxiety Disorders Clinic (PSADC) specializes in early identification, comprehensive evaluation, and evidence-based treatment of anxiety disorders in diverse youth from age 4 years through older adolescents. The PSADC has a multidisciplinary team that includes Liza Suarez, PhD (Clinic Director and Clinician), Kelley Volpe, M.D. (Medical Director and Clinician), Lauren Cox, LCSW (Research Coordinator and Clinician); and multidisciplinary trainees including child psychiatry fellows, psychology interns and externs, social work interns, and medical students. The PSADC team strives to work with families to create and individualized treatment program tailored to each patient and their symptoms. Individualized treatment programming may include cognitive behavioral therapy, parent guidance, family therapy, coordination with schools for school-based interventions, and medication management. Treatment provided is on an outpatient basis.
Clinicians and researchers work collaboratively in the PSADC to understand risk and protective factors in diverse youth with anxiety disorders, facilitate transportability of evidence-based practices for anxiety to the school and community, and explore neurobiological correlates of childhood anxiety. Anxiety disorders treated include: Separation Anxiety Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Social Phobia, Selective Mutism, Specific Phobias, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Panic Disorder, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Anxiety-related school refusal/school phobia behavior, and adjustment to a variety of stresses or traumas. More specialized assessment and treatment expertise includes Selective Mutism, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and Trauma along with its comorbidity with Substance Abuse.
PSADC is also accepting referrals for enrollment in a treatment programs for teens aged 13-17 who have experienced trauma and are using drugs or alcohol.
The Pediatric Stress and Anxiety Disorders Clinic at UIC is offering group treatment for anxious youth and their parents. The 8-week program applies cognitive behavioral therapy approaches to provide youth and their caregivers with a greater understanding and tools to manage anxiety. After participating in the group program, families are eligible for individual and family treatment through PSADC. To participate in the group youth must receive an evaluation at UIC and experience significant and impairing anxiety and worry.
For more information, please download Child Anxiety Treatment (CAT) Group Brochure.
A detailed history of the concerning symptoms, medical and family history, and semi-structured anxiety disorder based interview will be conducted by our multidisciplinary team.
The treatment plan is developed collaboratively with the family considering the anxiety based diagnosis, comorbid conditions, and individual child and family needs.
Education for care-givers to manage difficult behaviors and learn new ways to support their child’s needs.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is the first line treatment for most anxiety disorders in children. Evidence-informed therapeutic approaches are tailored to the child’s individual needs and might include:
Collaborating with schools as necessary to identify needs for accommodations and advocate for school based interventions
Many children with anxiety disorders benefit from the addition of evidence based management of medication to their treatment.
Dr. Suarez’ interests focus on adolescent traumatic stress and substance abuse, treatment for anxiety disorders among urban youth, and empowering communities to address community violence and its impact on youth and families. Dr. Suarez has developed and is currently evaluating and disseminating an integrated intervention targeting traumatic stress and substance abuse problems in adolescents.
Dr. Volpe is the Medical Director of the Pediatric Stress and Anxiety Disorder Clinic. She is also the Program Director of the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship. Dr. Volpe is interested in the diagnosis and treatment of anxiety disorders; particularly selective mutism, OCD, and posttraumatic stress disorder.
Lauren Cox is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the Pediatric Stress and Anxiety Disorders Clinic. She received her Master’s degree in Social Work from Florida State University in 2012 and has remained committed to work with children and families. She has experience in the treatment of complex issues including trauma, anxiety, and mood disorders across the lifespan.
Call today to speak with one of our intake coordinators. 312.996.7723