Anyone's child have an anxiety disorder? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 15 Old 07-12-2008, 03:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My ds11 is going for an evaluation. I'd like to ask questions of parents in the know, beforehand.
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#2 of 15 Old 07-12-2008, 03:43 PM
 
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my son does, I don't have time to write about it right now but I'll come back, I promise.
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#3 of 15 Old 07-12-2008, 04:17 PM
 
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I have social anxiety. I was diagnosed at 16; the same time I was dxd with Asperger syndrome. The tests they gave me focused more on the Asperger's, but they might be the same for your child. I was given a series of tests that had to do with how I interpreted things, usually with words and pictures. The first one I was given was where I had to fill in a blank to end a sentence, like, "I feel __". I then got a Rorschac test and another picture test where I had to make up a story based on what the people were doing in the picture. She had me draw a person and describe how that person was. She also had me copy shapes by looking at them, and that part might be more useful to an Asperger's dx than to an anxiety dx. All in all, it wasn't too bad. At the psychologist's visits after I was dxd, she would try to encourage me to work on my anxieties. Your child will probably go through a similar procedure. The psychologist might also ask to see you for a session to ask you questions about what you've observed in him.
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#4 of 15 Old 07-12-2008, 06:30 PM
 
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My son is 4 and has anxiety issues. He had an evaluation, but not psychological testing. The psychologist asked us a lot of questions about his behavior, responses to things. She probably would've asked him more questions if he was older, but since he is so young, she mostly talked to us. She did observe him with play therapy for two sessions, also.
My 20 year old nephew was evaluated for anxiety disorder in his mid-teens. He was prescribed medication and went to individual therapy, which I think helped him a great deal. It also validated for him, what he was experiencing, and I think he then was able to talk about it and get some support from friends and family members.
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#5 of 15 Old 07-12-2008, 06:42 PM
 
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My oldest two both have anxiety disorders. What do you need to know?
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#6 of 15 Old 07-12-2008, 07:51 PM
 
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My son is now 7, we have known he has anxiety since he was an infant. He was Dx'd with Generalized anxiety disorder and Seperation Anxiety disorder when he was 4.

What are your questions?
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#7 of 15 Old 07-12-2008, 11:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have so many questions, but I guess the most pressing one is-- where is the line that separates a kid who is, say, "more anxious than the norm" and a kid who "has an anxiety disorder"?

Ds has always been intense, emotional, highly sensitive. He is gifted, and was quite high needs as a baby and young child. He was very attached to me as a little guy, but as long as I was present and providing intellectual stimulation, he was Mr. Sunshine.

He's never been very fearful-- not of noises, dark, storms, etc. In fact, he used to thrive on change. For example, when he was 4.5, we moved to a new state. He accepted our new home, made friends, and started school, happily. In fact, he weaned and started often sleeping in his own room shortly after the move!

Since infancy, ds has had emotional outbursts. They weren't frequent, but that seemed to make their intensity all the more surprising for people watching him melt down. Mostly the outbursts would be (still are) yelling/crying/arguing, but sometimes he would hit, knock things over, or stomp around.

His meltdowns always seemed to be precipitated by frustrations-- being treated unfairly, losing a game, being teased.

When he was younger, no one said he was anxious-- immature, overdramatic, and high-strung, but not anxious!

Do these sort of meltdowns go along with anxiety, or are they a different issue?

Ds didn't have a lot of trouble making friends/"relating to peers" when he was younger, but he does now. He's become much shyer with agemates in the past few years. He's afraid to approach them, then either says nothing or mumbles answers when they talk to him.

Little kids and adults love ds, but he can't connect with a lot of kids his age. He's afraid they're going to tease him, and they often do. Sometimes it's sort of friendly "kids being kids" joking around, and sometimes it's mean-spirited, but ds reacts to either type by freaking out. Then, of course, they have reason to tease him.

I thought he would outgrow the meltdowns-- and they are usually very few and far between, now. But, he has gotten more anxious, despite IMO, very little stress in his life. We unschool, so he controls his education. We go a lot of places, and he gets low-key opportunities to socialize. He has a somewhat "challenging" relationship with his dad, but a close and generally easygoing relationship with me.

The reason he's going for the assessment is his disastrous day camp experiences this summer. He went to 2 camps, and apparently had several minor and a few major "fits" at both.

He selected both camps. I did not in any way compel him to go. One was a theatre camp, the other outdoor "adventuring." Both camp directors (separately) spoke to me about his "anxiety."

What do you all think? Is this anxiety? Something else? Anxiety and something else? I'm feeling pretty anxious, myself.
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#8 of 15 Old 07-13-2008, 01:10 AM
 
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My 10 year old DS has an anxiety d/o. He was diagnosed at around age 4 with Sensory Processing Disorder. It wasn't until he was a little older that he was diagnosed with anxiety d/o and a mood d/o nos. Your son in many ways reminds me of our son. We always called our DS "high need" as an infant and toddler.

I think your question regarding the line that separates a normal kiddo from an anxious one for us was simply looking at our other children. It started to become apparent to us that the meltdowns were more than just a "temper tantrum" when our DS's younger brother was able to handle situations a lot better than he was. Like you mentioned, the simplest of stressor would (and sometimes still) sets him off into a meltdown. I hope I'm interpreting your question correctly- please tell me if I'm not. My profession is psychology, so as a therapist I would pour through the DSM looking for criteria to see if my son's behavior fit a diagnosis. I soon realized that it totally doesn't matter- we need to look at the behavior for what it is and deal with the each specific behavior and not worry about a label. So I think the answer to your question may be how does his behavior effect everyday living for you and your son? KWIM?

You also mentioned the stress issue. We've noticed a huge difference when there is less pressure with day to day activities and the anxiety level. Our son is able to keep it together when he is with other people or at school, but the second he gets home if he's had a stressful day he lets it out on his family. We also have the gifted issues as well. All of these things combined can be quite challenging!

I just want you to know that my heart goes out to you! I know how difficult this whole process can be. Please feel free to PM me if you would like! Good luck with everything!
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#9 of 15 Old 07-13-2008, 08:15 AM
 
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If you want to know the specific diagnostic criteria a mental health professional will use to diagnose you child, go to the library and look at the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in the reference section. This can also give you an idea of the different types of diagnoses for anxiety. Your son may fit one of these, or he may have anxiety issues but not enough to qualify for a diagnosis, but still something that you can help him with. Social anxiety in pre-teens and teens is not unusual and making it a "disorder" is not always on target, IMO. Social skills groups can be helpful.
Before I became a SAHM, I was a clinical social worker working with teenagers and saw this a lot.
Let us know how the eval goes.
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#10 of 15 Old 07-13-2008, 11:51 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darien View Post
I have so many questions, but I guess the most pressing one is-- where is the line that separates a kid who is, say, "more anxious than the norm" and a kid who "has an anxiety disorder"?

Ds has always been intense, emotional, highly sensitive. He is gifted, and was quite high needs as a baby and young child. He was very attached to me as a little guy, but as long as I was present and providing intellectual stimulation, he was Mr. Sunshine.

He's never been very fearful-- not of noises, dark, storms, etc. In fact, he used to thrive on change. For example, when he was 4.5, we moved to a new state. He accepted our new home, made friends, and started school, happily. In fact, he weaned and started often sleeping in his own room shortly after the move!

Since infancy, ds has had emotional outbursts. They weren't frequent, but that seemed to make their intensity all the more surprising for people watching him melt down. Mostly the outbursts would be (still are) yelling/crying/arguing, but sometimes he would hit, knock things over, or stomp around.

His meltdowns always seemed to be precipitated by frustrations-- being treated unfairly, losing a game, being teased.

When he was younger, no one said he was anxious-- immature, overdramatic, and high-strung, but not anxious!

Do these sort of meltdowns go along with anxiety, or are they a different issue?

Ds didn't have a lot of trouble making friends/"relating to peers" when he was younger, but he does now. He's become much shyer with agemates in the past few years. He's afraid to approach them, then either says nothing or mumbles answers when they talk to him.

Little kids and adults love ds, but he can't connect with a lot of kids his age. He's afraid they're going to tease him, and they often do. Sometimes it's sort of friendly "kids being kids" joking around, and sometimes it's mean-spirited, but ds reacts to either type by freaking out. Then, of course, they have reason to tease him.

I thought he would outgrow the meltdowns-- and they are usually very few and far between, now. But, he has gotten more anxious, despite IMO, very little stress in his life. We unschool, so he controls his education. We go a lot of places, and he gets low-key opportunities to socialize. He has a somewhat "challenging" relationship with his dad, but a close and generally easygoing relationship with me.

The reason he's going for the assessment is his disastrous day camp experiences this summer. He went to 2 camps, and apparently had several minor and a few major "fits" at both.

He selected both camps. I did not in any way compel him to go. One was a theatre camp, the other outdoor "adventuring." Both camp directors (separately) spoke to me about his "anxiety."

What do you all think? Is this anxiety? Something else? Anxiety and something else? I'm feeling pretty anxious, myself.
I have a daughter that is diagnosed with generalized anxiety, separation anxiety, sensory processing disorder, and selective mutism.

The "fits" and meltdowns my daughter would have are due to her SPD. Her inability to talk in certain settings (namely, school, and with certain adults) is due to the selective mutism. The selective mutism is due to her anxiety.

She is only 4.5, but she was tested by a neuropsychologist. In some areas, she tested as high as an 8.5 year old, in others, as high as a 2.5 year old (because her mutism prevented her from talking initially so she lost points there). She probably will test gifted if we can get her over the selective mutism.

The qualities that make your son gifted are the things that also affect him. Think of it this way: being so "switched on" to the world around him, it's hard for him to switch off. It makes perfect sense that he has heightened sensitivity with heightened intelligent. They often go hand in hand.

I would want to know what the complete picture is of my child (which is why I pursued testing). Fortunately, even though older children are often medicated, she is too young for the neuropsych to consider it for her. Instead, we are just using sensory OT at home, and a lot of cuddling and patience to help her get through the rough spots. When she starts school, I will also start official OT for her and something called feldenkrais movement therapy. In the meantime, she's in ballet to help promote body awareness.

There is a wealth of information on the SENG website for social and emotional issues:

http://www.sengifted.org/articles_index.shtml

Mama of 3 girls: 7.5 , 6 , and 4.5
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#11 of 15 Old 07-13-2008, 04:07 PM
 
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My son has a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, generalized anxiety disorder and separation anxiety disorder. He is 7 years old. I can't really answer your questions because in his situation the anxiety is so wrapped in the bipolar disorder that I don't know what is the anxiety disorder(s) and what is the bipolar. A complete assessment for anxiety and mood issues would probably be a good idea. Good luck to you, I know how hard it is to deal with all of this.

Shawna, married to Michael, mommy to Elijah 1/18/01, Olivia 11/9/02, and Eliana 1/22/06
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#12 of 15 Old 07-13-2008, 05:21 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darien View Post
I have so many questions, but I guess the most pressing one is-- where is the line that separates a kid who is, say, "more anxious than the norm" and a kid who "has an anxiety disorder"?
Here is a book that can answer this for you:

http://www.amazon.com/Freeing-Your-C...5980515&sr=8-1

This is really a great book for any one who has a child that struggles with anxiety whether it is severe enough to be a disorder or not. The author specifically outlines when anxiety goes from being normal (ie. getting nervous before making a speech) and when it may be a disorder (not being able to speak in front of strangers) -- and everything in between.

You may also want to take a look at this book since you have a gifted child:

http://www.amazon.com/Misdiagnosis-D...5980701&sr=1-1

Laura - Mom to ds (10) and dd (7) "Time stands still best in moments that look suspiciously like ordinary life." Brian Andreas.

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#13 of 15 Old 07-14-2008, 05:24 AM
 
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My DS, who is six, has anxiety/OCD and SPD. He sounds so very much like your kiddo. The OCD has turned out to be the largest component, and that surprised me a bit. The anxiety was obvious, but after neuropysch testing he scored in the severe range for OCD and generalized anxiety. He's doing really well already in therapy and we are seeing positive changes early on.
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#14 of 15 Old 07-15-2008, 10:46 AM - Thread Starter
 
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These responses are so helpful! Thank you all so much!

[QUOTE=mamaof5boys;11683093I think your question regarding the line that separates a normal kiddo from an anxious one for us was simply looking at our other children. [/QUOTE]

This one is a no-go for me. I have one other dc, who is 3.5. He's a cantankerous little banshee who likes to keep me within reach even when he's screaming at me to go away.

It sounds like ds really might have an anxiety disorder. I always thought he was just sensitive, and that he'd learn to cope as he matured. Guess not! He seems much "worse" to others than he does to me.

Maybe my perceptions are skewed? Ds' best friend from preschool now attends an ED school. His kindy best bud has ADHD. My sister has ADHD, and her 5 year old dd is very moody, tempermental, and slow to warm up. My best friend's son, a year older than ds, goes to school-requested counseling for behavior issues. Ds' current best (only ) friend has PTSD. My dp quite likely has social phobia. Etc, etc.

Ds' discomfort with peers and his outbursts don't affect day-to-day life too much, but he's already "acommodated" by unschooling. If he was in school, life would be hard for all of us.

He does want to feel more comfortable and in control in social situations, so I think we'll get some professional assistance with that, dx or not.
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#15 of 15 Old 07-15-2008, 10:34 PM
 
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We have an anxious and very bright 7 year old. She does present with typical anxious behavior but is not the kind to tantrum, she would be to afraid to tantrum actually (just how her's manifests). She's more the type to completely shut down.

Darien - you noted your perceptions may be skewed, and this is something I go through too. Our anxious DD is our eldest, so we really didn't have anything to compare too. I know lots of parents say their kids have anxiety, so sometimes for me I wonder if this is just a normal stage of development. I feel though that if you are asking, you have reason to be, which like giftedness is one of my first clues that something is indeed outside the realm of normal from your own perception. In our case our DD's anxious response were extreme which sent up red flags for us. It was easy to right it off though on her being a perfectionist.

DD1 started having migraines when she was 5 (we didn't know it was migraines for many months). Through her neuro we met with a child psychologist who deals with pain management in children, she also specializes in stress management. It seems anxiety is a big trigger for migraines. The psych offered to see DD independent of the neuro to help her manage these things. DH and I discussed it and we do believe that stress management skills are useful to anyone so we're taking advantage of it. She (and we) are learning some great tools.

Our DD has had some very unique and extreme responses to different kinds of situations, mostly revolving around her biggest fear in life: To get in trouble which we've learned really comes down to a fear of not being liked or of disappointing people. The psych is really helping us to understand what the root of her anxiety is. I don't know if it will help her migraines, but we are feeling like it's helping her anxiety. I think this may be one of those 'no harm, no foul' things. If it would help I can give you more specifics about our DD if you are interested in about her anxiety issues.

And yea, while DD1 was a very attached to mama baby and high needs, she turned into an independent little lady pretty quick. The most common words used to describe her were 'easy going'... she stills gives off that impression to people, only some get to see how her anxiety manifests.

Here's a book we've been working through rec. by the psych, it's a workbook for kids and we've enjoyed it so far:
"What to Do When You Worry Too Much: A Kid's Guide to Overcoming Anxiety (What to Do Guides for Kids)"

http://www.amazon.com/What-When-You-...6089173&sr=1-1
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