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19 Year old son developing panic attacks/social anxiety

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19 Year old son developing panic attacks/social anxiety

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19 Year old son developing panic attacks/social anxiety

I noticed my sons social life decreasing about 2 months ago. We went from a house full of his friends that all called me mom to just his siblings around, one mainly. He's recently started having panic attacks out of no where, even while alone. We went to dinner, he ordered a salad, which he hardly ate, he was quiet then suddenly he got up and said he had to go. He couldn't take being out with so many people and so much going on around him. I made an appointment for his PCP but he walked out because he was overwhelmed by the amount of people and environment. Last night I was woke by a text from him saying he didn't feel well. I went downstairs and tried to help him breathe and tried to talk to him just to take his mind off what he was feeling but it didn't help and we ended up in ER.  They gave him medication and sent him home to follow up with PCP. I don't want my son to become dependent on them. He's 19 and a year ago he was fine, or at least we thought he was. I'm scared, worried, and concerned. This all so new to me. I just want to be able to help him and don't know how.


Re: 19 Year old son developing panic attacks/social anxiety

Hi @Penguin5 


Thank you so much for opening up about what is happening for your family. It must be so hard for you to see your sons social life disappear and the panic attacks emerge. It's great that your son messaged you to tell you he wasn't feeling well - that really shows that he feels safe to reach out to you even though he's struggling. A strong support network is the most important thing to have when you're experiencing mental health challenges and it sounds like you are giving support and making the right steps for your son Heart 


I'm just wondering if you have support for yourself while you go through this difficult time? 


Do any of our wonderful parent champs have some words of support? 

@Dad4good @taokat @PapaBill 

Casual scribe

Re: 19 Year old son developing panic attacks/social anxiety

Unfortunately I haven't spoken to anyone other then my other boys that can't help but know there's something happening as siblings are often around one another. But I haven't actually let anyone in on it because I'm still blindsided by it. Also, my son is a bit paranoid because I always raised them that we are all we have so what happens home stays home. We're tightly knitted. I don't know how he would react to someone else knowing especially family since they can be so judgmental and/or ignorant and make insensitive jokes. I think I need to let someone in because it's a lot for me. And Thank You for asking that...

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Re: 19 Year old son developing panic attacks/social anxiety

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Hi @Penguin5 and thank you for getting back to us!


I am glad to hear that writing the words and telling someone else has helped- that is what we are here for! Heart Whenever you need to get something off your chest, we are here to listen. One thing I have found is that overtime it gets easier to share with the important people in your life, but that you have to feel ready to take that step- certainly a hard thing and a brave thing to do!


I can understand your point about not feeling ready to talk to family about this, that is 100% okay! 


I thought I might link you some resources that may be helpful in supporting your son through the panic attacks, and coping with the anxiety. ReachOut have an app called ReachOut Breathe which can really help during a panic attack. This link also takes you to a page with a ton of different apps for coping with panic attacks you might find helpful. 


Panic attacks can feel really scary when they happen, and are also really common (more common than people realise!)- your son is not alone and you are not alone Heart We get a lot of young people coming to our youth forums community to talk about social anxiety and coping with panic attacks, this could be something your son might be interested in too.


You mentioned that your kids send a time together at home, have your other boys been concerned about your 19 year old? What are their thoughts?


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