13yr old took too many paracetamol(22 Posts)
Yesterday morning my 13yr old had an argument with her sister about what to wear on Red Nose Day to school (home clothes) and ended up taking 5 paracetamol together. She asked me if it was enough to kill herself. I calmly told her it was and that she was to get dressed & that we were going to seek medical attention. The main problem is that younger DD does not have a weight problem but older DD has, and finding clothes to look good is a real issue. This is enough on its own, but DD is due to travel to another continent in a week's time to stay with friends & travel back on her own. Older DD suffers from low self-esteem. If I cancel the trip, DD suffers low self-esteem & disappointment. If I don't cancel the trip, I am placing a burden on the hostess with her own 3 children. When DD is away from her sister, she is removed from the flashpoints that occur in the home - or might something else spark her off? I thought I knew her well and could rely on her, but now I am not so sure.
So did you take her to get medical attention? If not, take her to the GP on monday.
Did she want to kill herself? If so remove all medication and tablets that she could get hold of; make sure there are none stashed in her room. If you are worried that she will take another overdose, or if she does, take her to A&E right away. Keep a close eye on her over the weekend and make sure you take her to the GP on monday.
The rest of your post is not easy to understand, sorry.
Or better still if you didn't seek medical attention then phone NHS direct tonight and follow their advice.
Hi, I'm a Youth Worker and have done some work in the past around body confidence and self esteem with the girls I work with , so it may be worth having a chat with your local Youth Service, or do a google search or local charities who may be able to offer something like this.
If not, or just for your information Gok Wann, from how to look good naked, does a session for parents and schools around body confidence, just search the channel 4 website and you can download it.
In terms of the paracetamol is there a trusted health professional in school or the community, who can have a chat about the potential dangers, and her self esteem , once the immediate medical issues have been addressed ?
What a difficult situation for you, Mumof2. I feel for you.
My reply assumes the immediate crisis is over, and your DD is safe, and you are now 'just' trying to work out what to do about her trip. If this isn't the case, none of the following applies...
There is (IMO) absolutely no way you can say to the host family "Oh, BTW, my DD took an overdose last week, so keep an extra-careful eye on her please"... It is, as you say, an unacceptable burden.
So it seems to me you need to know or find out for certain whether your DD was making an attention-seeking gesture she won't ever repeat, or whether she might. If you think she might - and even a small suspicion would be too much for me - then I don't think she can go on her trip: you can't give another family that worry; you can't expect or trust them to watch her constantly; and their lives as well as yours would be turned upside-down if your DD did it again.
I think you need to talk to her. You need to let her know your dilemma. You need to ask her how she feels about her trip - does she want to go? Does she think it's safe? If I were you, I'd spell it out to her: this is very serious, and you can't let her go if there is any risk at all she might do it again, for all the reasons above. Her responses should help you decide...
Definitely talk to your GP and ask their advice. I have to say, if you or they feel she is a suicide risk, or you're concerned enough to seek a CAMHS referral or other psychological support for your DD, then that probably answers your question for you: you can't let her go.
Thank you all so much for your posts. I have just sent off younger daughter for an activity week with school so can now turn my full attention to the situation, though have family arriving shortly for lunch.
I took DD to A&E for advice at the time & they referred us to CAMHS who interviewed us straight away. It was all positive. They have advised level/stage 2 intervention & support & we are awaiting a call from someone who DD could see for 6 sessions.
DD does not appear at all depressed & has been going about her usual stuff yesterday & today. At the riding stables inbetween showers & snow & helping out. I will be having a one to one chat today when family have left & can then better assess the situation.
DD hid herself under a blanket and refused to talk about how she feels - answered don't know to everything I said. I shall ask to talk to the CAMHS advisers again tomorrow.
mindfulmum - she has never slept very well but doesn't seem to need much sleep. Loves reading avidly.
I am in a real dilemma because I am of the view that withdrawing her from the trip, the very thing that she looks forward to more than anything else, will be counterproductive.
mindfulmum: thank you for taking the time to consider, & to discuss with your DD who has experience. I note what you say & am mindful of my own inexperience in these matters & needing to take advice.
This morning DD wanted to take a print off with her to school of the words she has printed in Swahili with English translation. She is determined to learn them. This trip means everything to her, because she will be riding horses every day, her main enjoyment. The plan is for her to be mainly at the home of the hosts with day trips to see animals. She will undoubtedly work with animals in the future, either as a vet or similar. The trip cannot be postponed since her hosts are returning home for Easter holidays, then return to live there in September. It is a bit of a trip of a lifetime (& already very costly £1000+, but cost must not be considered in these circumstances). She has had 2 injections. This is not your average trip and she is very excited about it. In a way, this is to boost her self-esteem, staying with people she knows.
Over the past year DD has acknowledged mood swings & sought help. She saw a psychotherapist for one session but didn't want to return to her. "sitting on the floor talking was boring, I would rather have seen a hypnotherapist". The therapist worked on anger management. Since moving to Upper school in Sept, her mood has improved immensely along with her self-esteem, & it has all been very positive. She is socially much more settled, full of fun, gets on with her work and is working to a high level. I feel that she is on a road upwards, having had much ill health with eczema in the past that has dragged her down physically & mentally. Consultants were of very little help to her at that time & indeed exacerbated her low mental state by telling her that her perioral dermatitis was her own fault because of lip smacking. Having not been able to go outside for 2 winters due to pain on face with cold, she can now spend all her time outside with horses without ill effect. Under a GP/homeopathist she was found to be yeast intolerant & now only flairs up when she has too much yeast, but at least she knows what to do about it. We have had a very difficult few years. My other daughter has the same medical problem in a less severe form, and is wheat intolerant. They have both required huge amounts of support. I also care for my elderly mother & run a tourism business from home. I have virtually no other meaningful support.
IMO cancelling the trip may possibly do more harm than good, especially as she's been looking forward to it so much. She may take it as a punishment and a personal slight which may in turn drive her to do something again.
I speak as someone who suffered similarly in teenage years. My parents had no idea how to deal with me and I eventually muddled through on my own. I think it's fantastic that you're taking all these positive steps to help and support your DD. I had a similar episode when I was 13/14 - a bit more serious and ended up in hospital. It was brushed under the carpet and I was told to stop being so silly. No counselling, no listening, nothing.
Is there a way for you to be nearer to your DD during the holiday? Put in place a firm contact plan with her perhaps? Call every morning and evening at specific time and if she breaks this then she comes straight home.
Sorry just realised the trip is on another continent! Didn't read properly
Regarding the trip, I would suggest phoning CAMHS and talking it over with the CAMHS clinician who assessed your DD. They may be able to help you weigh up the pros and cons and most importantly weigh up the risk of any possible further self harm and how to manage that i.e. a safety plan. They may be able to offer an opinion on how likely it is that your DD would self harm again, although this can be hard to judge of course.
At the very least, if you agree for your DD to go on this trip I would suggest talking in detail with her about what she can do if she feels like self harming when she is away - practical steps to get help etc. You'll also have to consider telling the host parents what has happened and see how they feel. These are tricky things but they don't have to be insurmountable obstacles.
(Disclaimer - I'm a CAMHS clinician)
Thanks for your further thoughts everyone all of which I have taken on board. Regular contact - yes via Skype. Spoken to her father who backs me up in going ahead with the trip. Spoke to initial CAMHS clinician who has no major concern of repetition, but confirmed DD is referred for level 2 CAMHS dedicated support. She feels that to cancel a trip which is so much looked forward to could cause more problems than it solves, so we go ahead. The last problem as I see it is that if I tell the hostess she may decide that she can't take on board that risk, and cancellation could cause a big drop in self-esteem and low mood. I am confident that she won't do it again & she says she wouldn't risk her trip. When there she will be away from her sister, the main cause of friction at home (The 2yrs younger sister that is taller, brimming with confidence & who she adores really but finds very annoying.). Out there she will be outdoors all day with horses and in her element. This has to be good for her well-being. The deal is that when she gets back she accepts support from CAMHS. Under the circumstances I am loathe to tell the hostess of the recent occurrence, but to emphasise her fears. Her grandmother who lives with us is of the opinion that DD may be found to suffer from neurosis and that we should not over-emphasise the incident to the hosts. She worked for Samaritans in the past. I am open to ideas but due to meet with the hostess tomorrow to finalise arrangements.
Sounds good, Mumoftwo. The only thing I'd add to the plan you have is to talk through with your DD what she would do if she was struggling when out there - who to talk to and how to do it, if she needs help. Sounds like you've got everything else covered. Hopefully the trip away will give her a good positive boost.
I can understand the trip is important to her but my concern would be how she would cope so far away if anything in the trip went wrong (not getting on with the people there, etc)? I also have some qualms about giving this responsibility to another Mum without her knowing anything about it? I know it would be a huge blow to her not to go, but if no one there knows her concerns, what support would be in place for her? Good luck with a difficult decision!
Just to let you know that DD has gone on her trip of a lifetime and I will stay in regular contact. She can call me anytime and I can convey any problems that may arise to her hostess. I have just had every confidence that she will be fine which might sound strange given what happened, but I know my very capable child. I guess being part of a family & one of many is just what she needs.
Just to finish off this story, we received a copy of the CAMHS notes that were forwarded for referral 3 months after the initial interview. Due to the large time gap, my daughter has not wished to take things further with CAMHS as she wished to put everything behind her, and I support her in this. If the offer had been dealt with in a timely manner maybe she would have gone forward for discussion but now it is all in obeyance unless required at a later date.
The upshot is that my daughter had an absolutely wonderful time abroad and the trip did her health and confidence the world of good. She is such a happier person because of her experience and self esteem has increased. It was a hard call for me at the time, but I made the right decision.
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