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Anxiety in my pre teen daughter

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Hi guys,

I have a 12 year old daughter, who has had a hx of anxiety for quite a few years, but recently it has stepped up a few notches, and I am not sure I'm able to cope for much longer using only cognitive therapy (taught by me through reading, my job as a Paramedic and my own experience with Bi Polar and depression). The anxiety can be about anything from worrying she is going to vomit (this is everyday starts from the minute she wakes up), or whether her friends are setting her up, whether she will have a heart attack.


Has anyone else had to finally resort to medicating their kids?


Sometimes the panic attacks last for 45 minutes, we have parked outside the school while she has been crying, hyperventilating, and I am so worn out from trying to calm her down. I don't know what else to do.


We recently had to fire our au pair, so we are trying to get through without having one, and she has had to be home on her own in the mornings to get herself ready for school and walk to school on her own. Am I putting too much on a 12 year old anxious girl?


She often tries to sleep in my bed (sole parent here) to avoid being on her own, I let her sometimes, but mostly not. I work shift work, and we have a babysitter that comes in for my night shifts.




Advice please.

Edited by lwinter
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Welcome to Crazyboards.


It's perfectly okay to ask about your daughter, since you are also Mentally Interesting.  However, I am going to move your post to the parenting forum, where you will get more responses.



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Hello. I am so with you on this! I have a daughter who is about to turn 12. For the past 2 years we have noticed her anxiety getting worse and worse (as well as a whole host of OCD behaviours). She has been in therapy with a tdoc for the last 12 months solid but has made almost no progress. OCD cycles aside she panics about everything and anything. Burning the house down, tsunami's and cyclones (even though we don't get those where we live at all, ever), storms, people breaking into the house, being abducted, us dying while she's not around, her friends at school suddenly hating her. I noticed this last 2 years that it was affecting her friendships at school. She struggles to relate to kids who don't suffer like she does. It's really tough. She's always been like this but it's steadily been getting worse since she was about 8 or 9.

I don't think you're putting too much on your daughter. I wake her up in the morning but she's expected to get her own breakfast, dress herself, do her own hair, own teeth, pack her lunch and morning tea and drink bottle and anything else she needs. I drop her at school but she walks home (700m) although she hates it because she's convinced she will get abducted on the way.

If your daughter is used to having help, maybe set her a new task every week and in the meantime help her with the rest? We set our daughter "tasks". The first one this year was she had to start doing her own hair. I only do it for special events and once a week, the rest of the time it's up to her (previously it was a daily battle getting her to do it), the next few weeks we worked on bag packing (but she had to continue the hair) etc etc.

The drop off I find works the best if it's swift. It sounds really mean but sometimes allowing them to sit in the car howling gives them time to work themselves up a whole lot more until they can barely move. We don't turn off the car. It's pulled up, a quick kiss, have a good day, we love you so much and will see you this afternoon and off we go the minute she's at the gate. It's taken time but we no longer have those morning fall aparts.

She also sleeps terribly. It comes in cycles but we'll spend months with her coming in because of nightmares etc etc. Her therapist had us meet with their resident child pdoc a couple of months ago. His opinion is that she won't get better without help.

Initially we were really hesitant. They don't really *know* how SSRI's work on the brain, just that they do, so I can't imagine that they *really* know what effects these can have on a brain that is still developing, however, the 2 that are approved here for use in kids, have been being used for a long time with no major issues. He stated that the increased suicide risk on them generally comes from teenagers who are ill informed by their doctors and think that they'll pop a few pills and feel all better while self medicating with alcohol and that our child (too young for drinking) will be so closely monitored.

So we have decided that that's the path we are going to take. If she feels awful on the medication or they don't work, she can always be taken off them but she's really at the point where her OCD and anxiety are affecting her daily life so much that we can't really let it go on and we're hoping that we can get her started and feeling a bit better by the time she starts high school next year.

Not sure any of this has really been helpful to you but just know that you are not alone and I'm happy to talk about it further :)

Edit: Sorry it's a bit of an essay!

Edited by Jessamine
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