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Worried about daughter's panic attack - can you help me think this through?

(15 Posts)
Flamingoose Fri 29-Mar-19 06:19:51

Posting in the hope of someone pointing out something I've missed, or asking a question that makes me think...

Dd is 12, generally healthy, fit and active, plays on a couple of sports teams, has friends, and no big stresses in her life that we know of.

This morning, on the bus to school, she had a massive panic attack. It was very frightening for everyone involved, the bus had to be diverted, her friends were brilliant and found her phone and called me.

We've since taken her to a dr who checked blood sugar and blood pressure etc and said she was fine. No follow-up necessary.

It started with a headache during sports practice before school. She stopped practice and drank some water. Then she felt dizzy and lost coordination. She managed to get on the bus, but quickly felt much worse. Lost feeling in her hands and feet, couldn't speak, had a panic attack.

A couple of weeks ago she fainted at school after sports practice.

I feel like there's something going on that I want to get to the bottom of. Any ideas?

I'm going to take her to another doctor but without any symptoms I'll probably be told she's fine again. Am I overthinking this?

I'm also going to look at getting her some help with techniques in case she has another panic attack.

OP’s posts: |
Laterthanyouthink Fri 29-Mar-19 06:24:35

One thing that occurred to me is that at 12 there could be some hormonal changes going on?

Bleary3000 Fri 29-Mar-19 06:27:37

IS this a panic attack? Unless theres mental triggers it all sounds rather more physical than panic? If it was a panic attack you could identify the triggers

Soontobe60 Fri 29-Mar-19 06:31:12

If these episodes are linked to sports practice she may need more food before practice.
It sounds like she's fainted and then panicked about it. I fainted a lot at that age, usually after having a headache or not eating enough.
I'd say don't go to another GP if she's already been checked over, that will increase her anxiety and make it more likely that it will happen again. But do talk to her about how to manage an attack.

HeronLanyon Fri 29-Mar-19 06:32:12

I’m also thinking hormones may be involved. I developed migraines out of the blue at puberty. Speaking to my ma she says they were worried about stress/anxiety/mental health etc but they were wholly hormonal. They stopped after around 6 months.
Symptoms you describe could be a form of migraine - I had some where rather than eye disturbance I had really odd ‘disconnected’ feeling which led to things very like panic attack.
It’s complex and you are of course right to be worried and get advice and keep an eye on things. Hoping it is something simple and non-troubling.

Flamingoose Fri 29-Mar-19 06:38:25

Thank you for your replies!

Yes, she's almost 13 and definitely hormonal. Hadn't thought of that playing a part.

Blearly and Soon I think you both could be right - it was physical (fainting) and then she panicked because she wasn't sure what was happening.

Heron, that's reassuring that you grew out of it. I hadnt thought about migraines.

I have always fainted a lot too, but my style was always more 'quietly slip under my seat' than 'hysterically divert a bus'.

OP’s posts: |
Seaweed42 Fri 29-Mar-19 10:12:49

Dehydation could be a factor. Think about the last 24hrs before the episode happened in relation to her food and drink intake and activity - rather than just the hour before.
If she is doing sports practice before school, then think about the food intake from lunchtime the previous day. A big dinner and big breakfast before the sports mornings.
I was a big fainter in my teens. I still faint an odd time, but there's always a traceable reason - heat, shock, standing up too long in crowded place etc. Remind her to put her head down between her knees if she feels like this and stay like that until she feels completely better.
Those glucose, Lucozade tablets you can buy in the pharmacy are also great as they give you a sense of control and can help you feel better after fainting. A more sugary drink might help for the sports too. Not that it's a blood sugar issue, but it helps in the recovery after feeling dizzy.
It is scary but you can try to normalise it for her, in that there's nothing really wrong.

BlueMerchant Fri 29-Mar-19 10:29:05

Possibly the fainting previously has caused her to associate sports practice with fainting (subconscious association that your daughter has no control over) and she's been uptight and a bit stressed ( headache) and this has caused more physical anxiety symptoms and she has 'panicked'.
I live with panic attacks. Once the cycle has started mine seem to come from 'nowhere' and I can be fine one minute then my body starts to go into fight-or-flight. I get the typical dizziness and numbness in arms and legs too.
I'd ask G.P for an initial appointment with one of the counseling team (usually attached to a G.P practice) who will chat about what's happened and offer a few coping techniques. This may just lift your daughters confidence in feeling she can cope if this happens again and put the event into perspective before a cycle begins.

Tomtontom Fri 29-Mar-19 10:31:37

It needs looking into, but just to say that panic attacks can occur with no particular reason and can appear very physical. I have episodes where my legs can just go from under me, including one where I managed to dismantle a display in Tesco as I went! They can be very very scary, especially if you're not used to them.

SapatSea Fri 29-Mar-19 11:25:44

It could be a migraine variant, the symptoms/aura can include all the things you have mentioned and it can be very scary. Look at the MIgraine trust site. keep a diary to see if the symptoms coincide with menstruation and/or ovulation. Stress can exacerbate things. Perhaps get Iron checked as low levels can make things worse.

AnnaMagnani Fri 29-Mar-19 11:36:04

Likely by the time she got to the doctor her blood pressure and blood sugar were fine. But at the time of the fainting her blood pressure would have been low.

She needs to know about drinking plenty, particularly in the early part of the day and eating salty foods to keep her blood pressure up. If she feels faint the worst thing to do is fight it - go flat on the floor with your legs up as the longer you fight it the weirder the world seems and panic sets in. Plus loads of drinks and salty food.

She possibly has developed migraine as well with the first headache but it's hard to say from a one off.

Fidgeting is really good to stop fainting as it squeezing your bum to keep blood flowing and not pooling in your legs if standing or sitting for a long time.

As you can see, I am a veteran fainter and migraineur and it is v common for it to start at puberty.

AnnaMagnani Fri 29-Mar-19 11:38:03

Oh, and if you have always fainted a lot it's likely she has inherited it from you.

My DM has always fainted a lot, as did my GM. So really not surprising that I do too.

Seaweed42 Fri 29-Mar-19 11:45:25

I wouldn't go calling it 'a Panic Attack' when speaking to her. Because those labels bring another set of issues with them as well.
Just talk about the symptoms as they happen.
She needs reassurance of having normal teenage reactions to dehydration, hormones etc rather than a premature escalation of the issue into Panic Attack territory.

Applesbananaspears Sat 30-Mar-19 16:22:11

Really interesting you posted this as I’ve had similar with my nearly 13 year old. Twice she has got herself into a terrible state of a kind of panic attack triggered for no reason. The first time she then came down with nasty bug and the second time by the time I calmed her down all she wanted was a drink and some crumpets and she was totally fine. I also think hormonal, she hasn’t started her periods yet, and I think hunger. She used to have terrible tantrums when she was little which disappeared the moment she put food in her mouth and I’m sure it was hunger. I’m wondering if what she has now is the older version of the same

CharlesChickens Sat 30-Mar-19 16:28:13

I also instantly thought migraine when I read the post. She might then be getting panicky at the symptoms, but the migraine in itself can make you feel very strange.
I fainted a lot as a teenager, low blood pressure/low blood sugar I assume, i never knew why it happened, although i did start to see some possible reasons.

gP could check things like blood pressure and thyroid.

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