04-07-2022 07:51 AM - last edited on 04-13-2022 10:26 AM by Philippa-RO
My son is 15 and a sophmore in high school. While he is more introverted and timid, he's never had extreme anxiety above what kids normally experience growing up. This year he has had 7-10 days long anxiety attacks (not panic attacks) that happen every 5-6 weeks. In between episodes, he's fine and says he doesn't have any anxiety. The attacks come on gradually and he says he can feel it coming on. It starts with him not being able to go to sleep at night, then after a couple of days it balloons into a full anxiety attack that stays for several. days then tapers down. Then he's "normal" and functioning again. During the full blown portion of the attacks he can't function or go to school or concentrate - and sometimes can't even urinate. We started counseling and finally got in to see a psychiatrist (but only got 90 minutes). He started an antidepressant several months ago. It helped his mood, but the anxiety attacks have still reoccurred every 6 weeks like clockwork. This last attack happened 2 days after the therapist was ready to step back seeing him every other week or whenever we needed it. She thought he was doing just fine. Then it just came back out of the blue. Can anxiety attacks (not panic attacks) occur cyclically? In someone who is normally fine, then come on for a week then off again?
04-07-2022 04:57 PM
Firstly, we want to welcome you to the ReachOut Online Community and we are really glad you found us. It sounds like it has been a difficult and unpredictable time for you, you son and your family. It must be heartbreaking to see your son experience anxiety in such an unpredictable way, especially when he appears to be doing everything possible to heal.
I am curious around whether you have an open line of communication with your son's psychiatrist and even a family doctor? It can take time to find the right balance of therapy, medication, and lifestyle elements that work together for an individual's recovery. Having an open communication with your son's health practitioners can help all parties understand what is working and also what is not working. This resource might also be valuable for you to review that explores a range of anxiety disorders and how they impact young people and how we can support our young people impacted here.
In terms of your question around how anxiety presents, it is difficult to answer as anxiety can show up in different ways for people and it can take time for the individual impacted to understand what triggers a relapse. Therapy is an excellent space to learn what might trigger an attack, as well as how to manage an episode when it occurs.
I am also curious how you are doing with all this as well? It must be very hard to watch your son go through these episodes and feel almost helpless around how to prevent him from having to experience this every few weeks. I really want to commend you on the steps you have taken so far to support your son. Getting the right support is instrumental to recovery and it looks like you are keeping a watchful eye on what he is experiencing and how it unfolds.
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