High Anxiety and getting Higher - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 07-19-2012, 08:42 AM - Thread Starter
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Hey there everyone,


I am glad I found a site that can offer support.... I need it. I am at wits end!


My son (6 yrs old) was diagnosed with PTSD when he was 2 years old.  The PTSD led to an Anxiety Diagnosis.  We've had ups and downs and things  have been bad then great for several months at a time.  I have managed the last 4 years with therapy sessions as needed and our last one took about 8 sessions or so and they "released" him from therapy.  We went 8 months almost without any real issues.  


One day in May something (not sure what) triggered a PTSD flashback and he hasn't been the same since. Anxiety is at an all time high, the tantrums and violent lashing out is unreal. He holds a lot of anger toward me for "taking his daddy away" and at his age doesnt realize what I saved him from (when I found out).  So his tantrums are ONLY DIRECTED AT ME.  


He freaks out over little things but allows other adults when I am not around to talk him back down before he falls over the edge.  With me- he gets more angry when I talk to him and lets himself fall over the edge without so much as an attempt to control himself.  He falls into violent rages or screaming and crying fits and eventually is so far out of control he can't control himself and starts pleading with me to help him stop.  It breaks my heart.  The worst part- is when it is said and done with he usually doesn't remember how bad it got.  He remembers getting angry and throwing a fit- but if I tell him you pushed mommy, or you ran out the front door etc.... he gets upset again and insists he did not do that. It's like he doesn't remember it at all.


Yesterday at the clinic his ped wanted to run a blood panel for his allergies. And he flipped out over having his blood sucked.  He started screaming and running (and this was only after hearing her say "I'd like to get a quick blood drawn as opposed to the spot testing that requires 6 pokes".  He went into full panic. We could NOT calm him down.  His ped immediately referred us to pscyh to talk about med management. 


I have a 4 year old daughter as well who needed the same work done- so I took her up to the lab and he kept freaking out wanted me to promise him it would not happen to him too.  I couldn't make that promise.  He was going ballistic and they called in 4 other people to help catch him and pin him down to get it done. (NOT exactly beneficial for PTSD) He was carrying on so badly- that security came running and started pacing the floor outside our room.  


It was miserable.  I feel like meds might be our only option now- but I HATE the idea. He's done soo well for so long and to have a set back like this............. I am at wits end. I love him soo much but differentiating between normal 6 year old tantrums and anxiety tantrums is exhausting. Handling them with consequences and still teaching my daughter what is allowed and not allowed is frustrating.


And listening to him on the back end of anxiety attack cry and ask me why God made him this way is heart breaking.


I am just frustrated and heading down a path I thought I had avoided.


Any advice??  

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#2 of 7 Old 07-19-2012, 09:07 AM
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I understand your reluctance to use meds, but consider how it must feel to live in his brain. I know you do, from the clear empathy in your tone, but I mean even between episodes. PTSD and anxiety can be so all-encompassing that there is no time left to just be a relaxed kid, and learn all the "normal" tasks of childhood, like playing, making friends, exploring the world. Aside from academics, manners and the more formal childhood learning, he is missing out on a lot of good stuff that would be hard to recover. Gentle medicine choices can give a child the peace to just be a kid, not always on hyper-alert.


A good doctor will start with the tiniest dose of the most gentle medicine, and probably need to experiment to find what works with the individual child. At any point, you could back out, if you saw side effects you were uncomfortable with. It is possible that the right meds could give him the peace to work on his issues from the past in therapy, to come to an understanding about your role, and help him cope with life in the bigger sense. Therapy will perhaps need to be revisited as he reaches new developmental stages, but maybe for now, meds might be needed to give him some time to just be a regular kid.

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#3 of 7 Old 07-19-2012, 09:47 AM
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I strongly agree with the previous post. I get it, i truly do, I have been there myself with my DD1. She always had anxiety issues, from birth it seemed. At age 5, she had an incident, looking back there probably was some PTSD going in. It was really bad for almost a year, she spent six months sleeping four hours a night, I could not even pee alone, many, many other issues. We did intensive therapy for years. By age 8, I was thinking that this was good as she would get. She was sleeping, she was going to school where at one point that was not even a possibility, she wouldplaywith friends, do sports, but she never was a normal child. But for her, maybe this was all it would be. Or that is what I kept thinking. Right on her 9th birthday, we had a set back and she spiraled down hill again, not severely like before. She was old enough by now to be able to acknowledge her feelings. She told me that she was miserable, she did not want to feel like this, she wanted to be normal, be a normal child. It broke my heart. We decided to try meds. I have one regret and that is that I did not push harder for meds years ago. DD1 still has some issues, but the meds have allowed her to be more normal then she has EVER been before in her life. Most days, I have a different child. We were actually talking about her meds last night and DD1 said that she loves them, she doesn't ever want to stop taking them. Most days she remembers them herself because she doesn't want to forget, she knows the difference in how she feels without them.

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#4 of 7 Old 07-19-2012, 09:24 PM
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Originally Posted by JesIsa View Post
 His ped immediately referred us to pscyh to talk about med management. 


grouphug.gif  Getting your son the help he needs, even if some of that help comes from meds, is the right thing to do. Because of modern medicine,  he doesn't have to suffer.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#5 of 7 Old 07-19-2012, 11:27 PM
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I'm going to ask a pretty blunt question: If he had diabetes that you couldn't control with diet alone, would you give him insulin?


Medication for severe anxiety is as important to his functioning as insulin is for a diabetic. Without intervention, which looks like it's going to have to include meds for a while, your son is at risk. He's at risk for 'simple' things like poor self-esteem, depression, hurting you, hurting himself. He will be at risk for suicide later. He will be at risk for drugs and alcohol later because they can take him out of the pain he feels, at least for a moment. The reason he gets 'so bad' with you is because you are his safe person. But he's growing. You're not going to be able to keep him from running/harming himself forever.


I'm not trying to paint an utterly bleak picture. You've come a long way with him. You've done a ton. But as he grows, other things will trigger his PTSD. He's a couple of years away from being able to start using things like cognitive behavioral therapy to help manage his anxiety, and probably a couple more years before he can reliably use it. And then he's going to hit puberty. He needs more tools in his tool box. Meds will give him time to learn the skills he needs. When your brain is controlled by anxiety, you can't learn very well at all (I know this from personal experience). If he can get some meds to smooth the way, and work on some skills as he grows, he's likely not to need meds all his life.


I don't think any parent wakes up and says "Gee, it's a great idea to put my kid on medication!" It's what you do when other things aren't working.


I'd also hope that if you're referred to a psychiatrist, you can get a team of people to help. It would be really nice if he could get a doctor to work with the meds, an experienced therapist to work on the therapy and stay in touch, even if it's just a once a month check in, and maybe a social worker or someone who can work with the family on resources. I'm really suspicious about your having been released from therapy after 8 weeks. It sounds to me like that's the number of sessions the insurance would cover, and they didn't feel like fighting for more. A good team can make the case for more. You shouldn't have to deal with this alone.

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#6 of 7 Old 07-20-2012, 07:03 AM - Thread Starter
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Wow!  Thank you to everyone for their support.  


Just to clarify some things......


He see's his psychologist on and off. He may have 16 sessions, then be good for months then go back and need a refresher for just a few weeks.  Its an on and off process, and they never release him unless I agree it's time.  He's back in and they are working on a new form of therapy with him.  His pediatrician did refer us to a psychologist and she plans to meet with me and the pediatrician before meeting with my son.  She is on the same team as his psychologist so I think we should be ok there.  The biggest set back is that we can't get in to see her until September 4th and to me right now it seems like an eternity. Granted every night seems to last forever. :-(   We see his psychologist once a week now so next week I plan to ask her to see if she can get us a sooner appointment. 


You are right though....... if he had diabetes I wouldn't blink before agreeing to the insulin.  I hate the fact that it has to resort to this. School starts in September and he won't let me out of his sight for a minute without panicking.  He gets into rages if his sister doesn't comply with going upstairs with him so he can brush his teeth (she's younger).  Last night he wanted one of her stuffed animals  to sleep with (she sleeps with it every night), so he asked her nicely and she said no but he could have another one. He started kicking and throwing things at her screaming he wanted the pillow pet.  I took him out of the room and tried to calm him down and he laid on his bed, rolling back and forth screaming pillow pet for 20 min.  She held on as long as she could and eventually brought him in the pillow pet and returned to her room and cried.  I am trying to teach her NOT to cave to his demands- but I think she is just as tired of it all. She is going to begin to resent him and me soon for this.... if I dont fix it....... I am going to loose both my children (from an emotional relationship stand point) . :-( 

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#7 of 7 Old 07-20-2012, 06:12 PM
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Originally Posted by JesIsa View Post


It was miserable.  I feel like meds might be our only option now- but I HATE the idea. He's done soo well for so long and to have a set back like this............. I am at wits end. I love him soo much but differentiating between normal 6 year old tantrums and anxiety tantrums is exhausting. Handling them with consequences and still teaching my daughter what is allowed and not allowed is frustrating.


And listening to him on the back end of anxiety attack cry and ask me why God made him this way is heart breaking.



I would say that "normal" six year olds don't have tantrums like this.


This actually sounds quite a bit like my ds before he started medication for ADHD. For my ds', the violent tantrums (with "amnesia") ended immediately, and what was left over that first year was laying on the floor and kicking his hands and feet a bit instead. Now, occasionally he'll just lay on the floor if he gets that worked-up. Ds' anxiety gradually decreased as well; at first it would take 20 minutes for his teacher to talk him out of a "freeze" (no communication at all) but by spring it was down to a couple minutes, and by the next year it was down to 15-20 seconds.


Also, it may be a better idea for your ds to keep up "maintenance" visits instead of just doing "intensive care" whenever there is a crisis.

"It should be a rule in all prophylactic work that no harm should ever be unnecessarily inflicted on a healthy person (Sir Graham Wilson, The Hazards of Immunization, 1967)."
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