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Old 02-15-2007, 09:51 AM   #1
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11 y/o Child W/anxiety disorder/school phobia/fear of father's death

Hey all, If anyone has a child with this or has been through this, please give me some guidance.

My 11 y/o child has been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. He has been unable to go to school for 3 weeks. We will have to go home bound if he can not return soon. His problems consist of: severe panic attacks in the mornings when he tries to get ready for school because he fears his dad will die in some way; recurring thoughts that something will happen to his dad; school phobia, he's afraid he'll have a panic attack at school as he has before; and social anxiety because he's afraid that the kids at school will ask him questions that he doesn't know how to answer such as, why he hasn't been at school. He's very fragile right now and even panics at a ballgame when his friends are around. I do not know what has triggered this, but I have known for a while that he has had an emotional disturbance, as I had him tested at school, because I really felt he was not just ADHD.

He's on Zoloft, the dosage just increased, and he's on Risperdal...has only taken one dose so far, and the klonopin was changed to ativan.

Anyone take these meds? I'm interested mostly in the Risperdal benefits/effects.

Help...how to get my child back to school?

Melinda

 
Old 02-15-2007, 10:33 AM   #2
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Re: 11 y/o Child W/anxiety disorder/school phobia/fear of father's death

Melinda - my daughter is 8 and has anxiety. Her biggest fear is vomiting at school or on the bus. She does worry about a lot of other things but that is the major problem right now. She was evaluated this year for attention deficit disorder (not hyperactivity) but I don't really think she has it. I think her problem is anxiety. She has never been treated for her anxiety. I have anxiety so I know how she feels and I try to talk her through it. I have had to take her to school a few times this year because of her fear that she will throw up on the bus but for the most part I've been able to get her to school. She goes to the nurse nearly every day and the nurse reassures her she is okay and sends her back to class. I'm not really sure what to tell you about your son but I wanted you to know you are not alone. I'm afraid my daughter's anxiety is going to get worse as she gets older and she will need some kind of therapy. I hope someone here can give you some ideas on how to help your son. Anxiety can be a very, very scary thing to deal with and I can't imagine how it must feel to a child. Take care.

 
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Old 02-15-2007, 11:12 AM   #3
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Re: 11 y/o Child W/anxiety disorder/school phobia/fear of father's death

Thank you for the reply. I know that I'm not alone, but it's very, very, difficult to find message boards and chat about these things for kids. If you know of any, please let me know.

For what it's worth, my child started feeling bad at school every day and then it eventually got to where I had to go get him.

I pray for your child and all children who have mental health problems.

Mel

 
Old 02-15-2007, 01:12 PM   #4
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Re: 11 y/o Child W/anxiety disorder/school phobia/fear of father's death

Smurfy -

I've had a vomiting phobia since I was 6! I can tell you exactly what sparked it, and I'm wondering if your daughter has had the same thing happen to her.

In first grade, from what I remember, there was a "massive" stomach-flu epidemic. My friends in class would throw up ALL THE TIME, and it never bothered me. Until I was the one who threw up...at home one night...violent and terrible - it only lasted a few hours. I guess that left some kind of "trauma" on me, because I carried around a bucket for SIX MONTHS (except when I went to school.) I went to the nurse EVERYDAY, just like she does. I developed superstitions that to this day, I still can't shake.

To this day, I tell my parents, they should've gotten me therapy back then. Because I'm 22, and I am currently STILL dealing with my vomit phobia. It's weird, but I COMPLETELY understand why she is scared of riding on a bus and vomiting.

I'm in therapy now for it, especially since I suffer from daily dry heaves. The doctors nor the psychiatrist/psychologist know exactly WHY. I have acid reflux/IBS/anxiety/panic attacks. I'm on prozac and xanax now, which to tell you the honest truth, I'm finally regaining my life back, after being anti-anxiety medicine since all of my physical symptoms started when i was 16. I finally gave in and it was probably the best choice I ever made.

I'm no expert of course, but I guess I'm just suggesting that you should seek therapy for your daughter's phobia now, if it's debilitating. Just a pediatric psychologist she can talk to. My phobia evolved over the years and NOW I'm finally getting treatment. My dry heaves haven't stopped, but I am finally functioning (going to work everyday...seeing friends....doing errands that once seemed scary, because I'd be too afraid to go to a public place and throw up.)

My psychologist told me that I had (and probably still have) separation anxiety from my mom. Which in first grade, when the phobia started, I DEFINITELY did have. She said those two matters could go hand in hand.

If you want to learn more about the phobia (clinically called emetophobia) you should google it.

I wish your daughter all the best - I know exactly what she feels like and it's a terrible feeling to be scared and anxious of something on a daily basis! Please let me know if you need any advice. Sorry if this was kind of long!

 
Old 02-15-2007, 02:27 PM   #5
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Re: 11 y/o Child W/anxiety disorder/school phobia/fear of father's death

I had irrational fears when I was young as well. It is a stage that I went through in 2nd and 3rd grade. It was horrible. I was always worried about my parents when I was at school and there were a lot more obsessive thoughts as well. The only thing that helped was talking to my parents. It was a hard time in my life but I got through it.

Just my opinion, but I wouldn't put my kid on any of those drugs at that age. Those drugs can later the growth of the brain and cause long term effects. Most kids get over their phobias at a young age and then deal with them again when they get older. It came back when I was 22 or so. I would suggest a Cognitive Behaviroal Therapist to help with the obsessive thoughts. This "school fear" is very common with people with anxiety dissorders and it goes away on its own. ADHD is probably not the problem.

When your child gets older then let him decide if he wants to be on medication or not.

Good luck,
OE

 
Old 02-15-2007, 02:52 PM   #6
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Re: 11 y/o Child W/anxiety disorder/school phobia/fear of father's death

Melinda, I sympathise with you because I have an 11 year old boy and throughout his life he's had all sorts of anxiety problems - when he was in grade 1 he had a long stint of not wanting to go to school, of crying the night before at the thought of it. Separation anxiety, I think. He also worries that something will happen to us (his parents) - he says if he sees an ambulance go past school during the day heading in our direction he thinks something's happened to us. Oddly enough my son is very extroverted and sporty - the type of kid you'd think wouldn't have any problems but he does, and always has, and it's obviously a genetic predisposition because I have anxiety stuff too.

At present he's ok, but I'm almost expecting an episode of school refusal some time in the future. (Not trying to be negative or anything, but it wouldn't surprise me).

Perhaps you could try taking your son to a nutritionist or naturopath and getting him some sort of natural therapy. Because I agree with the previous poster - long term medication is not the answer :-(. Sorry. I know you probably feel desperate but look at the medication as a short term measure while you look for the real cause. I read a lot about nutrition at present because I'm trying to find a cure for my own anxiety issues, and what seems to come up a lot is how anxiety can be helped by extra vitamins and minerals. For example, extra vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is needed by people whose systems are are 'stressed' because the stress uses up all the available vitamin C so they need more. Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin meaning you can't overdose on it, what isn't required will be urinated out.

The other thing I was reading (the book is called Mental and Elemental Nutrition by Carl Pfeiffer) was that excess copper build up in the system can cause problems like anxiety and ADHD. The way to remove excess copper is by supplementing with zinc. Patrick Holford, a British nutritionist, recommends giving children a therapeutic amount of 5 - 10 mg of zinc. Also get your son on to a child's multivitamin. Many vitamins, especially the B vitamins, are especially good for the nervous system.

Sorry if this is confusing and not the sort of help you're looking for. But it sounds to me that, like my son, your son has an anxiety problem across the board. You need to treat the root cause, whether it be physiological or psychological. Otherwise it's just going to keep coming back as he gets older and might get worse when he hits puberty.

I was an anxious ten year old with all sorts of phobias and fears, I became an anxious teenager and an anxious adult. It never went away. I could always find something to worry about - it didn't matter how wonderful my life was, I was always worried.

Look for a book by Patrick Holford called 'Optimum Nutrition for your Child's Mental Health.' It might offer some suggestions about vitamins and supplements that will help your child's anxiety.

Maybe your son could also do with some CBT. I took my son to a child psychologist when he was 7 and he saw her a couple of times and she helped him a bit just helping him change his thought processes and unlocking his anxiety.

Hope this helps and good luck.

 
Old 02-15-2007, 02:59 PM   #7
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Re: 11 y/o Child W/anxiety disorder/school phobia/fear of father's death

Smurfy, I feel for you, too because I had a vomiting phobia when I was about ten, and it must have driven my parents insane. I used to look in the mirror every night before I went to bed to see if I looked pale. It's unbelievable when I look back on it now. I was a very anxious child.

All I can say is get her some help now because I read a post on another board where one woman said she was too scared to get pregnant because she still had this vomiting phobia and I thought that was so sad.

I didn't vomit from the age of 10 to 17, then my cousin accidentally put salt in my coffee instead of sugar and I vomited and for some reason that got rid of my fear. Then I discovered alcohol and vomited a few more times and hey presto, no more vomiting phobia!! I mean, I still don't like vomiting, it's a horrible thing, one of those things like childbirth where you feel you've NO CONTROL over your body, and maybe that's part of it - the fear of losing control.

Good luck with it.

 
Old 02-16-2007, 11:28 AM   #8
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Re: 11 y/o Child W/anxiety disorder/school phobia/fear of father's death

LauraDaydreams - thank you so much for all the info. My daughter did have an episode that started all this. She went to school and ended up going to the nurse and throwing up in the nurses office. When she threw up there, one of her friends was there and she said she was staring at her the whole time she was throwing up and my daughter was really, really embarassed. She tells me probably once a week how someone on the bus throws up (not the same person) and I swear I don't remember kids getting sick on my bus that often! I think my daughter does have separation anxiety from me. She hates when I go anywhere without her and sometimes I think she depends way too much on me. She needs me to tell her that she will be okay every day before she gets on the bus.

Do you have other phobias or just the vomiting phobia? My daughter is also terrified of those glasses that have a mustache, nose and eyebrows attached. I put a pair of those on when she was 1 year old and she still remembers that and everytime she sees them, she freaks out. She even ran out of class one day because they were in her reading book.

Trixibel - thanks for your post. My daughter has not vomited for 2 years. I can't believe she can control that. I hope someday she can overcome it like you.

 
Old 02-18-2007, 05:34 PM   #9
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Re: 11 y/o Child W/anxiety disorder/school phobia/fear of father's death

I've suffered from anxiety for 10 yrs and was sad to learn my 10 yr old niece had developed the family phobia. To help her deal with the fears, I told her, she needed to find a SAFE PERSON at school. This person could be anyone she wanted and then we could talk to that person about the fear, so they would understand. Taking her thru these steps helped her understand why she felt this way and that other people can always help us. It worked for my niece and now we have many safe people in our life. Hope this helps!

 
Old 02-19-2007, 05:55 PM   #10
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Re: 11 y/o Child W/anxiety disorder/school phobia/fear of father's death

I too can sympathize with what you are dealing with. I usually read the depression board which also deals with anxiety issues. I have a 15 year old daughter who last fall was dealing with depression which went into anxiety. She was out of school most of December because of this. Crying in the mornings, with fear. Going back after x-mas break was tough but a good time to return. She is on fluoxetine in the a.m. and trazadone in the p.m. as she was not sleeping. Counseling has been a lifesaver. The combination of the two have really helped. Some of her problems are the typical "teen years", but as far as the depression and anxiety, the meds and counseling are working wonders. Perhaps having your son talk to someone knowing it's private may help. Thinking of you, and good luck.

 
Old 02-19-2007, 05:59 PM   #11
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Trixibel HB User
Re: 11 y/o Child W/anxiety disorder/school phobia/fear of father's death

Thought i'd bring this one back up because my 11 yo son is currently having a flare up of his anxiety. Heading for high school next year he's started saying things like 'what if I go to high school and no one likes me?' and saying that he feels his friends are leaving him out. It's heart breaking to see a child feeling these things. Melinda how are you going with your son? I today started mine on zinc and a vitamin B supplement and am going to investigate fish oil because I've heard that helps with anxiety.

good luck to everyone and their kids...

 
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