Panic/anxiety attacks in children?? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 11-23-2010, 05:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Does anyone know anything about panic or anxiety attacks in children? What do they look like? DS has autism and we are well versed in the meltdowns he can have. We've been dealing with them for years (he's 7 now) so those are no big deal. But today he did something that was totally different.

 

We were getting out of the car (to walk into a restaurant to get the food ds wanted- it was one of his favorite foods and he requested it tonight). He freaked out. Screaming, wouldn't get his shoes on, wouldn't get out of the car, etc. We figured it was just another one of his "issues" and started dealing with it the same way we always do. But that wasn't working. He was completely freaking out yelling that he wanted his food but he couldn't go inside to get it. At one point he started yelling "I'm panicking! I'm panicking!" over and over again. He had a look on his face like a caged wild animal would. Like he was somewhere horrible and he couldn't find an escape. It was like he was paralyzed and couldn't even get out of his carseat without issues. We eventually got him calmed down and back in his carseat. I went into the restaurant and grabbed his food and then went back to the car and let dp go into the other restaurant (we didn't want what ds wanted so we got food from the restaurant right next to the first one) to get our food. DS was still calming down and told me "I couldn't breathe mama. I thought I was having a heart attack". First of all- I have no idea if he even knows what a heart attack is or if he just heard it somewhere. It's entirely possible he's just repeating something he heard/read (he does echolalia a LOT).

 

But what the heck was this?!? This was not his normal meltdown at all.


Steph, DH Jason (1-1-11), DS Owen (10-3-03) and DS Kai (10-13-11)

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#2 of 5 Old 11-23-2010, 06:58 PM
 
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Has he had a blood test lately to rule out any underlying issues?  (Anemia, hyperglycemia, etc...things that can cause icky body feelings like low iron and low blood sugar)

 

Panic attacks are definitely possible.  Jocelyn used to have them as part of her RAD.  She was non-verbal at the time, but she used to turn pale as a ghost and just scream at the top of her lungs and start shaking uncontrollably.  Nothing would comfort her and then all of a sudden, it'd be gone after 20ish minutes.  She was never medicated for it because by the time she was old enough for us to consider medication, her panic attacks had become far less frequent (she was having them multiple times daily at one point, and it was really affecting her development).  They were scary as heck to watch.

 


~Brandon Michael (11/23/03), Jocelyn Lily Nữ (2/4/07, adopted 5/28/07 from Vietnam), Amelia Rylie (1/14/09), & Ryland Josef William (9/7/05-9/7/05 @ 41 wks). 
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#3 of 5 Old 11-24-2010, 05:27 AM - Thread Starter
 
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He had the finger prick to check his iron last month and it was fine (the first time in 6 years he hasn't been anemic!). Other than that he hasn't had any blood tests for awhile (except whatever they tested in March when he was admitted to the hospital- I'm not sure all they did though. I know they did the iron and he was really anemic then).

 

I'll have to ask his doctor about it. Thanks.
 

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Originally Posted by AllyRae View Post

Has he had a blood test lately to rule out any underlying issues?  (Anemia, hyperglycemia, etc...things that can cause icky body feelings like low iron and low blood sugar)


Steph, DH Jason (1-1-11), DS Owen (10-3-03) and DS Kai (10-13-11)

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#4 of 5 Old 11-24-2010, 05:31 AM
 
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My DS had one last year when he was 6. Everything was fine, and he, DH, and I were walking through the woods. Let me add that, to us at least, they weren't even spooky scary woods and every once in a while a jogger or walker would go by. DS started freaking out. He almost hyper ventilated, kept begging to Get.Out.Now and couldn't be comforted til we showed him our exit route on the map. He was almost crying and it was like he was suddenly trapped.

It was really weird because it was the middle of the afternoon and, as I said, it wasn't very spooky and there were other people in the woods. At any rate, he's never had anything like that since then. We thought of taking him in to a child psychologist, but decided to wait and see if it happened again. It hasn't, so maybe it was just a freaky one off (I hope so!).

Wish I had more that was useful to say. I can imagine that the autism makes it harder to know what's going on.
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#5 of 5 Old 11-24-2010, 05:34 AM
 
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Yeah, I wonder if maybe his blood sugar was crashing?  I've had that happen and it makes me feel really dizzy and makes my chest feel tight.  If it happened right before meals, it might have been what it was. 

 

Other than that, I'd keep an eye on it...hopefully it was just a one time thing.  If it happens again, maybe one of Owen's service providers (if he sees a psychologist or behaviorist) might be able to work on ideas for how to get through panic attacks.  Has he had to deal with particularly crowded places or overstimulating stores/restaurants recently because of the holidays?  Could he be having something related to social anxiety knowing that things will be crowded?


~Brandon Michael (11/23/03), Jocelyn Lily Nữ (2/4/07, adopted 5/28/07 from Vietnam), Amelia Rylie (1/14/09), & Ryland Josef William (9/7/05-9/7/05 @ 41 wks). 
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