Psychiatric Annals

Guest Editorial Free

Pediatric Internalizing Disorders

Muhammad Waqar Azeem, MD, DFAACAP, DFAPA

I am very excited to be the guest editor of this issue of Psychiatric Annals on pediatric internalizing disorders. Pediatric internalizing disorders are some of the most common disorders seen in various child and adolescent psychiatry settings. These conditions are associated with significant morbidity. The effect on the lives of children, adolescents, and families is significant. It's important that clinicians who treat these conditions are knowledgable so these disorders can be diagnosed and treated timely and effectively.

The first article, “Generalized Anxiety Disorder in Children and Adolescents: An Update,” by Drs. Nazish Imran, Imran Ijaz Haider, and myself provides a comprehensive overview of epidemiology, etiology, comorbidity, and the assessment and treatment of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Many children and adolescents with GAD also meet diagnostic criteria for at least one other psychiatric disorder.1 GAD has a significant effect on children and their families, and it requires early detection and comprehensive treatment to improve the lives of people who are affected.

In the second article, “Pediatric Depression: The Latest in Diagnoses and Treatment,” Dr. Salma Malik and myself explain the effect of depression in children and adolescents. We describe that the prevalence of major depression is around 2% in children and 4% to 8% in adolescents.2 Various psychotherapies like cognitive-behavior therapy (CBT) and interpersonal therapy have been found to be effective for treating depression. Psychopharmacological interventions can be effective, and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved certain antidepressants for pediatric depression.

The next article, “Pediatric Somatic Symptom Disorder: An Overview,” by Drs. Neha Sharma, Mary Daley, and Teresa Vente describes the estimated prevalence rates in which higher numbers of somatic symptoms are reported in adolescent girls. The most common psychiatric comorbidities with somatic symptom disorder include anxiety, depression, and panic disorder. The treatment is multidimensional and may include behavioral interventions, physical therapy, and pharmacotherapy.

The last article, “Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder in Children and Adolescents: An Overview,” by Drs. Ammar Albanna, Khalid Bazaid, and myself explains the epidemiology, etiology, clinical presentation, differential diagnosis, assessment, and management of pediatric obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). CBT has been found to be effective in multiple studies. Medications from the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) class have been shown to be effective for pediatric OCD;3 however, not many SSRIs have been FDA-approved for the treatment of pediatric OCD.

I am thankful to all the contributing authors, who are well-respected clinicians, educators, and researchers in this field. We are hopeful that you will find these articles useful for your clinical practice.


  1. Masi G, Millepiedi S, Mucci M, Poli P, Bertini N, Milantoni L. Generalized anxiety disorder in referred children and adolescents. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2004;43(6):752–760. doi:10.1097/01.chi.0000121065.29744.d3 [CrossRef]
  2. Son SE, Kirchner JT. Depression in children and adolescents. Am Fam Physician. 2000;62(10):2297–2308.
  3. Grados MA, Torrico H, Frederick J, Riley T. Pediatric obsessive-compulsive disorder: a psychopharmacology update. Child Adolesc Psychopharmacol News. 2016;21(1):1–5. doi:. doi:10.1521/capn.2016.21.1.1 [CrossRef]

About the Guest Editor

Muhammad Waqar Azeem, MD, DFAACAP, DFAPA

Muhammad Waqar Azeem, MD, DFAACAP, DFAPA, is the Inaugural Chair of Psychiatry/Child Psychiatry for Sidra Medical and Research Center in Doha, Qatar. He is a Professor of Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College/Cornell University. Dr. Azeem is also the Chair of Qatar's National Autism Plan Working Group and Co-Chair of the World Innovation Summit for Health Autism Forum. He is member of the Qatar National Mental Health Strategic Committee.

He has presented nationally and internationally and has published in peer-reviewed journals. He has served on various boards and committees at regional, national, and international levels.

Dr. Azeem joined the Sidra Medical and Research Center after departing from the Albert J. Solnit Children's Center, one of the premiere child and adolescent psychiatry teaching facilities in the United States, where he was the Chief of Psychiatry and Medical Director. He also served as an Associate Clinical Professor and Associate Residency Training Program Director for the Yale Child Study Center/Solnit Center Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship with the Yale School of Medicine.

Dr. Azeem did his general psychiatry training at Hennepin-Regions Psychiatry Training Program in Minnesota, where he also served as the Chief Resident. He completed his child and adolescent psychiatry training at Boston Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Azeem collaborates with various professionals and medical schools in South East Asia and the Middle East on various projects including autism spectrum disorder and developmental disabilities, psychiatric comorbidity in medical conditions, as well as in improving child and adolescent services and child and adolescent psychiatry training. Dr. Azeem is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry as well as a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association.

Address correspondence to Muhammad Waqar Azeem, MD, DFAACAP, DFAPA, Sidra Medical and Research Center, Department of Psychiatry, P. O. Box 26999, Doha, Qatar; email:

Disclosure: The author has no relevant financial relationships to disclose.


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