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Teenagers and anti-anxiety medication - does anyone have any experience

(32 Posts)
JamiesJammy Fri 06-Oct-17 07:07:34

My dd 14yrs was diagnosed with anxiety and depression last year. She did a course of CBT which helped. I would say her depression is improved. However, she has just started her GCSE courses and her anxiety has returned. She is under the care of a child psychiatrist who is now suggesting that we try anti-anxiety medication. Dd has only partly engaged with the CBT and doesn't really believed it has helped (although it has). Her psychiatrist says things will not improve with her anxiety over the next few years of increased pressure at school without us doing something.

Dh and I are very concerned (but not totally dismissive) about medicating a child of her age and some of the side effects on adolescents of anti anxiety medication - SSRI's in particular - (suicidal thoughts) are very worrying.

Does anyone have any experience of their teenager taking anti-anxiety medication and could offer any insight? Thanks.

JamiesJammy Fri 06-Oct-17 12:10:12

A leeetle bump.

HairyMaclary Fri 06-Oct-17 12:13:45

I'm very interested in this too, although my DS is a year or so younger. Also any complementary things, e.g. Homeopathy/ massage anyti g else that works well for anxiety?

MaggieMeldrum Fri 06-Oct-17 12:16:34

My ds is 16 and was diagnosed with anxiety and OCD two years ago. He did CBT which did help but the thing that really got him back on track was Sertraline. He had a couple of weeks of feeling the side effects but then after that it was like I'd been given my son back. He went from a child who I couldn't get into school to thriving again and subsequently passing his GCSE's. I wouldn't hesitate to let your dc take medication. There's no need for her to suffer when there are medicines that can help her.

JamiesJammy Fri 06-Oct-17 12:51:22

Thanks Maggie. On a day to day basis dd seems ok. She’s her usual self, sees friends, laughs (and argues) with ds. But schoolwork is causing anxiety (unnecessarily, she doesn’t struggle academically) and going to sleep is the biggest issue - actually fine at the mo as the doc has upped her dose of melatonin - so there is still underlying anxiety but I don’t feel I’ve lost her as such. And I do know what you mean, 18 months ago she was a different child.
What you say about suffering is true though, if she had a physical condition I wouldn’t hesistate to medicate her. Having said that the side effects of SSRIs do concern me. What side effects did your dd have?

MaggieMeldrum Sat 07-Oct-17 12:30:01

I was very worried about the side effects too. The doctor started him on a very low dose and built it up over a few weeks to minimise the side effects. The first week or so he had slight headaches and also a few night sweats but after that non at all. He also didn’t need a very high dose of sertraline to improve his anxiety. The sertraline helped him enough that he was in a better place to follow the strategies he had learned in his CBT.

JamiesJammy Sun 08-Oct-17 08:45:00

Sorry ds not dd!
Thanks for the info on side effects, those don't sound too bad in the scheme of things.
Reducing anxiety to a level where dd can access CBT techniques is exactly what her psychiatrist said to us that the medication is for so it's good to hear that works.

Goldmandra Mon 09-Oct-17 17:30:48

I've been in the same position with both my DDs. I was reluctant to medicate both times and gave in when there was no other option.

It has worked well for both my DDs. No noticeable side effects but a definite improvement in anxiety which enabled them to access the treatment they needed. I remained clear throughout that I would never agree to medication in order to help them cope with inadequate education provision. The LA tried this but gave in both times.

I hope that helps you.

KatieB55 Mon 23-Oct-17 10:57:08

@JamiesJammy - has your daughter been checked for POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome) as this is often misdiagnosed as anxiety? has all the info.

Rockbottom11 Wed 06-Dec-17 13:20:15

This is really interesting. my daughter is covered head to foot in eczema. every part of her is covered so she has high care needs. mentally, shes unrecognizable. she cries all the time, has possible ptsd and has been unhappy for so long. she has strange thoughts and self harms from time to time. shes begged me to get her on medication and until now I have refused. Now im respecting her needs and saying what ever it takes to be happy for a while. Camhs wont see her and the gp said hes not allowed to prescribe pills but cahms can. I wish I had access to medication for her as im so desperate and hate the fact I have to wake up each day... i hope things work out for you . You have this bunch of amazing people behind you remember!

Tullula Wed 06-Dec-17 17:33:42

My daughter has anxiety as part of her Tourette’s. She was struggling with Maths homework on a nightly basis and doing her best to avoid it. A small dose of propanalol really helped that 10mg twice daily.

It’s a small dose because she’s sensitive to side effects and has asthma. B blockers can precipitate wheeze in sensitive people, and she’s one of them.

She was briefly on sertraline for anxiety, but it sent her mood high.
I wouldn’t hesitate to try meds either, but there are other options besides SSRIs.

fidgettt Wed 06-Dec-17 18:00:37

Yes, go for another option besides SSRIs. Anxiolytics or beta blockers.

OneInEight Sun 10-Dec-17 07:11:58

Medication, prescribed for severe anxiety, was a disaster for ds2 as he became paranoid on it., very aggressive and suicidal. It maybe in part a predisposition (am picking up courage to start a thread of my own as the paranoia seems to be coming back) but I do think that side effects need more careful monitoring. In hindsight side effects we could have picked up earlier were sleeplessness and dramatically increased need to go to the loo. He was prescribed risperidone, ironically given the side effects, supposedly an anti-psychotic.

LoniceraJaponica Sun 10-Dec-17 07:15:00

DD is on Fluoxetine and it has made quite a difference. It has worked for her.

bigsexywalker Wed 20-Dec-17 01:04:34

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Nutella3 Mon 08-Jan-18 00:36:35

Both my ds suffering at the moment. My 14 year old has OCD and has just started having CBT. My 17 year old suffering from panic attacks and anxiety - gp has prescribed 10mg of Citalopram. I am nervous about side effects but think it might help him get more out of his counselling. Have just joined mumsnet as feeling really low and powerless to help them both :-(

Greebz Mon 08-Jan-18 01:09:36

Posters who have mentioned Propranolol, did you have to ask lots of different doctors for this? I feel my DD (15) would really benefit from it (it has worked for me and my anxiety) but have had 2 psychiatrists refuse to prescribe it because of her age.

OP - Sertraline really helped my daughter out. Good luck flowers

linhan47 Thu 18-Jan-18 09:48:46

Hello, my 14 year old daughter is on 50mg sertraline for social and separation anxiety. She has been on it for around 12 weeks now and it really seems to have helped alot. Can anyone recommend how long to stay on sertraline and has anyone had any issues of anxiety returning once off meds?

Tullula Thu 18-Jan-18 10:18:09

@Greebz, It was my daughter’s Psychiatrist who suggested Propanalol. She was 16, I think. Now 18.

She only takes 20mg twice daily. On 80mg longacting she became wheezy, and on about 40mg her pulse did slow too much and she was dizzy. So maybe that’s why your Drs aren’t keen.

But this baby dose of Propanalol has made a difference to my daughter- she wouldn’t have got her Higher Maths exam without this help.

Greebz Thu 18-Jan-18 12:10:10

Thank you Tull. I will try and speak to the dr again. I have taken propranolol (small dose like your daughter) as I've suffered from anxiety myself and found it to be life-changing. Wish psychiatrist would reconsider sad

Greebz Thu 18-Jan-18 12:11:20

Tull - was this a CAMHS psychiatrist who prescribed it or private? Sorry for more questions! Thanks

ihatethecold Thu 18-Jan-18 12:21:20


verystressedmum Thu 18-Jan-18 12:58:57

My dd is on fluoxetine and it’s helped massively, she became a different child after starting it after 2 years of fighting for her to get medication.
She was initially put in sertraline but it didn’t suit her but fluoxetine has been good.
It was prescribed by CAMHS psychiatrist.

We’ve recently discovered she’s B12 and folic acid deficient and this coincides with a real deterioration in her mental (and physical) health and an overdose after being relatively stable for a long time.
I 100% believe her levels were dropping when she was young which caused the psychiatric symptoms from a young age.
She’s on injections and tablets etc and the real dark thoughts that had started have subsided and her anxiety levels which were really bad have gone down too.

I’m not saying all people who have anxiety and depression have deficiencies but there’s definitely a lot that do. I wish I’d known years ago.

verystressedmum Thu 18-Jan-18 13:00:46

She’s 17 now but started on medication when she was 15.

Tullula Thu 18-Jan-18 23:31:56

CAMHS Psychiatrist. Don’t think he’d tried it before
Interestingly she’s recently been referred onto adult services and that Psychiatrist seemed to think Propanalol was a good idea, and that GPs used it a fair bit.

Could you google use of Propanalol for anxiety in adolescence? See if there’s any evidence for it working

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