12 y/o and panic disorder - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 06-05-2012, 11:13 AM - Thread Starter
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This past year my dd has had several episodes of anxiety/panic disorder or panic attacks.


I'm hoping to find some good resources for both myself and her. She is 12 years old.


The attacks seem to be brought on during travel (starts worrying about motion sickness which leads to an attack where she believes she is dying). As they are related to her believing she is going to die and no one will be able to help her she has also experienced them during swimming lessons and at school during discussions related to death (reading bridge to terrabithia as well as discussions of wars.)


I have found one helpful website: anxietybc but would like other helpful tools.


She has an overnight year end trip coming up with school that I would like to prepare her for.


Thanks in advance.

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#2 of 7 Old 06-05-2012, 11:32 AM
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I would start with her doctor for some guidance in seeking professional help with the anxiety. If she's had several episodes triggered by rather common events like swimming and school discussions, then you may need a specialist to help her learn some coping mechanisms. It's always in your power to reject medications and therapies but it might be helpful for you to hear all the options and perhaps find a teammate to help you help your DD.

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#3 of 7 Old 06-05-2012, 11:58 AM
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Cognitive Behavioral therapy and desensitization therapy are very helpful for anxiety. It helps one to rationalize why/what they are afriad of, to explore their fears in a safe environment and to strategize what to do when one feels a panic attack coming on. A psychologist (not MD) could help with this. In most states, only an MD can prescribe meds.


I would also explore relaxation/breathing/meditation techniques. I was part of a study a few years ago that explored Mindfulness Based Stress Relief as an intervention for people with both anxiety and depression.


There are also nutritional helps for anxiety. Can you find a good integrative medicine physician who works with natural remedies for anxiety?


Good luck!! Anxiety is very common and there are a lot of great ways to learn to cope/overcome it!

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#4 of 7 Old 06-13-2012, 12:52 PM
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I suffered from anxiety in my adolescence through young adulthood, and I know that a fear of vomiting or otherwise publicly humiliating oneself is a pretty common trigger especially in teens and young adults. I have heard many anecdotes and know people who would avoid even the most mundane situations where they might witness someone throwing up or do so themselves. Has she tried meditation? If she can learn to regulate her breathing it might help with panic attacks. Yoga is also great for kids and young teens, any kind of physical activity really helps with anxiety and depression. Finding the right balance of activity and therapy or perhaps medication if all else fails is going to be important. Once I was able to extract myself from a fear based way of thinking I immediately had a significant drop in panic episodes and haven't had any in the last 10 years. If she can learn what she is thinking and actively isolate the thought patterns leading up to an episode, she can turn it around given the right tools. Good luck to both of you.

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#5 of 7 Old 06-13-2012, 09:01 PM
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My 9 year old son has been struggling with anxiety since he was about 5 years old.  He has (now) mild panic attacks about the weather & various types of physical symptoms, such as a stomach ache, a cut or a slight sore throat.  Dealing with anxiety, for both the child and parent, is not easy.  hug2.gifto you both!


What has helped us is finding a therapist (our's is a MFT - Marriage & Family Therapist) who does a mindfulness-based cognitive therapy  AND is specialized in Child & Family therapy.  It was incredibly helpful for me to also meet with his therapist because she worked with me on how to help him at home.  Ds would go for 3 weeks, then I would go on the 4th week.  Sometimes we would go to a session together.  But, it was a collaborative process with all three of us. 


This is a great website with lots of information and resources:  The Child Anxiety Network


Here are some books that I found very useful:


Freeing your Child from Anxiety

Helping your Anxious Child

Child's Mind:  Mindfulness Practices to Help our Children

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#6 of 7 Old 06-13-2012, 09:18 PM
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I just wanted to add that I started suffering panic attacks as a pre-teen myself.  In my case, I could link my panic attacks to an autoimmune disorder.  They stopped after being treated.  My mother also suffered from fibromyaglia and her panic attacks started as a teen as well.  Have you ruled out thyroid issues and anemia, both of which can be linked to panic attacks?

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#7 of 7 Old 06-15-2012, 10:24 PM
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There's a really good book called "Freeing your child from anxiety" by Tamar Chansky.


Given that she's 12, I'd also look into a good Cognitive Behavioral therapist for her too. It sounds like these panic attacks are very debilitating, and she might need some outside help to learn to process these feelings. Her hormones are going to be going up and down over the next few years and that can exacerbate anxiety attacks.

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