Anxiety/Panic Attacks

(3 Posts)
Marbleslostthem Mon 07-Mar-16 22:12:54

I need some help as I don't think I'm helping with my lack of understanding. My DD17 is having daily anxiety attacks, some are worse than others. She gets fixed to spot and can't move or something bad will happen. This has only happened in the house but at school she's managing to stop the hyperventilation but needs to remove herself and has a full blown attack in the toilets, she's blacking out with them. She has a referral for help (CAHMS) at the end of the month and has been to see the Doctor who has advised Beta Blockers or Citrapolform? She hasn't decide if she wants to take meds. Ive tried backing off and letting her control what she wants as she rails at my interference and I think it's important she has 'some control'. Any advice please on how to help her without overwhelming her? I'll post this on the MH board too.

Peebles1 Tue 08-Mar-16 12:34:50

Hi marbles. Sorry you are going through this. My DD started with panic attacks in year 11 (yr 13 now). We were all at sea and felt very alone, not knowing what to do. She was off school for three months, and at her worst could only go out very locally - no buses, trains, shops, cinema, long journeys. The good news is she is able to do all those things now and the panic attacks are few and far between. It took three months to get back to school part time, and probably about six months to start feeling much, much better and able to cope.

Whilst waiting for CAMHS I downloaded a booklet by 'Moodjuice' (just google it - social anxiety) and gave it to her to work through herself. This may work with your daughter if she's refusing to talk to you. It did help mine. My DS1 had something bad happen to him at uni two years later and suffered PTSD. Moodjuice did a booklet for that too, which he found helpful. In both cases I just gave them the booklets and left it up to them to read/work through in private.

We had two different experiences of counselling - hers no good, his brilliant. So don't put all your faith in it but fingers crossed you get a good one. May I also say he engaged much more than her, which makes a difference.

Re: medication. None for DS and he's fine now. DD had beta blockers for a flight abroad, which worked well. 3 months ago she asked for medication as her panic attacks were getting worse again and she felt very low (17 yrs old by this time). GP put her on Citalopram. We've had a long battle with excessive tiredness, but she seems to have come through that now and they've helped enormously.

Other than that, we tried to remove all pressure from her when they first started. Told her she didn't need to pass her GCSEs, study at school (home instead), go anywhere she didn't want etc. I've no idea if that was right but bit by bit she eased herself back to things. She learned to recognise what the panic attacks were and deal with them (breathing techniques, removing self from room etc)

Sorry for the long post, I hope it helps a bit. You're not alone!

PS. We never found a 'reason' for DD. People often ask why, but I don't think there necessarily is one.

JustDanceAddict Thu 10-Mar-16 13:12:02

Sorry you are going through this. Sounds a bit similar to my DD who had a massive panic attack in year 7 (with hyperventilation)- she called Childline to get some advice and the woman calmed her down (we were with her at the time). Things seemed to calm down, after that then a few months later (to me) she admitted that she had 'intrusive thoughts' re self-harming although hadn't actually gone through with it thankfully. She was still feeling anxious and bottling it up, although she couldn't really put her finger on why, but we reckoned it was to do with school pressure (academic mainly). I took her to GP then and we were referred privately for CBT which DD said didn't really help. I sat in a couple of sessions with DD's permission and I felt it was all 'do you know what anxiety is?' and 'oh, then you can control it by doing X, Y and Z', but I think it would've benefitted DD to dig deeper as to the causes if there were any. So, now nearly 2 years on from the first attack, she seems to be doing OK (10 months on from end of CBT). I have encouraged her to talk to me when pressure is building up and she even says she is feeling less anxious now, which is good. We also decided that she wasn't to take 'extra' GCSEs as offered by school (although she is academic) as it would be too much. And I think one of the triggers for her is 'shouting' so, if I'm rowing with DS or DH she hates it (at the time of the first attack she had an argument with her brother that seemed to set it off, so maybe that is why?). It's really hard - DS has suffered with it too as did my late father, and it can be inherited either in genes or just a behavioural thing they pick up. I have a bit of an anxious personality, but I have never suffered from anxiety itself (if that makes sense).
I agree with Peebles that all pressure should be removed, although some of the pressure comes from them as well!! It's a bloody minefield!! Hope that you get some effective help soon, it's hard being a mum of an anxious child. I would be cautious in medicating a teen, but if she is having panic attacks in school and blacking out, that could be quite dangerous (hitting her head possibly).

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