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Severe anxiety

(15 Posts)
Afteradviceplease Tue 14-Jun-11 20:25:35

I posted this in primary education where it was recommended I posted here. Any advice gratefully received. Thank you.

My dc (yr 2) has severe anxiety, when school day changes, i.e. school trips/play/sports day etc.

They become ill - raised temperature, clammy, diarrhoea, bed wetting, stomach cramps, nausea - about 3 days before, and remain ill until after the event has occurred.

They are upset as they want to partake and don't want to miss out, but school won't accept them due to diarrhoea/sickness even though it's not a bug, it's fear.

Anyone any experience of this and able to offer advice?

moosemama Tue 14-Jun-11 20:33:48

First of all, my own ds1 suffers badly with anxiety including a raft of physical symptoms, so I know how awful that is for both the child and the parent to go through.

My first thought is to ask whether you have spoken to your gp about the anxiety at all? They can refer for counselling or to CAMHS, (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service) where they can assess the situation and decide what sort of counselling/treatment might help.

Does your dc suffer from similar anxieties relating to home life, or do they handle change better in their own enviroment.

Finally, do you have any other concerns about his/her behaviour, or is it just the anxiety relating to school?

Afteradviceplease Tue 14-Jun-11 20:42:26

I've been to GP re stomach cramps, but have only just made the link myself (okay only just admitted to myself that my doubts are correct) that all he is only ever ill when something changes at school. Therefore haven't spoken to GP about anxiety. I will take him to GP tomorrow, and see what they say, but am researching tonight so that I can understand situation.

Is very cautious at home, and likes to know what is going on and relies heavily on older siblings, but doesn't become physically ill as we are accompaning him and he is happy with that.

No other concerns as such - but he is what I would call a quirky child, he is much older than his years, and everything has to be just so, he's musically talented and very methodical in his approach to life.

deadendsvillediva Tue 14-Jun-11 21:05:43

I also have a child who has severe anxiety, he's been put on prozac and was supposed to be getting CBT, however they now say his learning disability is too severe for CBT.
I would talk to someone in school, maybe teacher, deputy head, headteacher, school nurse and senco to name a few. Or an email. I would also start the ball rolling with your GP.

moosemama Tue 14-Jun-11 21:10:40

By methodical, would you say he's quite rigid in his thinking, so he needs things to be done a certain way in order to cope?

How is he getting on at school other than the anxiety around change?

Has he always struggled with school related change and transition, or is it a relatively new thing?

The reason I'm asking is that, as you'll know already - having older dcs, things change quite a lot when they leave infants and go into juniors and this can be a big source of stress for some children. My own son went into freefall and almost had a breakdown as soon as he went into year 3. After some advice from the lovely people on MN SN, we booked an appointment with the GP - without him present in the first instance - to discuss our concerns and he referred us to a Paediatrician, who referred him on and he was eventually diagnosed with Asperger's around 18 months later (January this year).

I'm not suggesting your ds has Asperger's or anything else significant, just that for children who are quite anxious, the whole transition thing can be really huge for them, so they end up in a state of almost constant heightened anxiety, which means the physical symptoms of anxiety are triggered more easily than they would be otherwise.

What helped our ds was involving the Ed Psychs, who did an 8 week course of 1 hour sessions with him at school around recognising and managing his emotions. If the GP doesn't feel an CAMHS referral is appropriate, you could try speaking to his teacher and the school SENCO to ask what support they can offer him.

MigratingCoconuts Tue 14-Jun-11 21:12:02


I posted on your other thread.

I am just wondering about a link between anxiety over a change in routine and the austic spectrum.

I don't know enought about the autistic spectrum to know if this is relevent and I certainly don't know your child smile

Just wondered if anyone out there might

moosemama Tue 14-Jun-11 21:22:01

I've just seen your other post and that the school aren't being supportive. Who have you spoken to at the school so far?

I think you are doing the right thing starting with the GP, as once you have spoken to them you have something to take to the school, iyswim.

Once you have something to go on from the GP, be it advice or referral, put it in writing to your ds's teacher with a copy to the SENCO and ask for a meeting to discuss what they are going to do to support your ds.

Afteradviceplease Tue 14-Jun-11 21:23:18

He's rigid in his thinking in as much as if things are going to change then a good reason needs to be given, and he has to have it fully explained but he has clear rational.

School say he's very able, and works very hard and is very concientious.

He has always been like it, but I've only just stopped thinking coincendental bugs at key points, and recognising what I thought was disappointment in being ill, as being fear of the event. This makes me sound like a terrible mother, and I'm not, I just was not aware a child could have anxiety issues, and noone ever suggested it.

MigratingCoconuts Tue 14-Jun-11 21:27:33

you are certainly not a terrible mother!

Unpicking the way the mind works is nearly impossible, especially when that person is too young to articulate how they see things!

moosemama Tue 14-Jun-11 21:34:30

It doesn't make you sound like a terrible mother at all, none of us expect young children to suffer from severe anxiety and to be honest, I don't think they used to - I think its a sad fact of modern life, unfortunately.

As I said in my last post, the GP is your best bet initially and probably without him in the first instance, as if he's anxious, discussing it in front of him is likely to make him worse, iyswim.

I would try and think of as many intances of change that have coincided with a mystery 'bug' as you can and write a list to show the GP that their is a definite pattern.

Be prepared though, as any GP worth his salt is likely to raise the possibility of ASD even from the very few details you have given here - again, that's not to say I think it's the case - no-one can diagnose over the internet and it frankly it would be wrong to even try. If he does think its a possibility, he will most likely want to see your ds himself and then possibly refer for assessment - but he won't refer unless you want him to, its entirely your call. If your ds isn't having any other problems and is otherwise happy at home and at school, there is no reason to believe that he needs anything other than a little extra support around change and transition and perhaps some counselling or CBT.

MigratingCoconuts Wed 15-Jun-11 17:54:25

how did it go today?

Afteradviceplease Wed 15-Jun-11 18:29:18

Thank you for asking.

Went to see GP, who has prescribed medication to help with the symptoms, and we are going to explain everything to him, and the school are going to provide us with all changes in advance so we can prepare him. The GP is hoping that without physical symptoms he'll be able to work through his fear of the change.

We'll give it a go and see what happens.

MigratingCoconuts Wed 15-Jun-11 18:52:15

excellent! that sounds like a step in the right direction...hopefully, the school should be supportive now you have the GP involved.

Still might be worth keeping a log to see how or what works.

good luck!

devientenigma Wed 15-Jun-11 20:21:04

I agree. What meds have they put him on?? Glad you got to the docs and made progress.

Afteradviceplease Wed 15-Jun-11 21:32:25

Imodium syrup for cramps and dirrahoea and Desmopedia for bed wetting.

Good idea re log - will do that.

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