Teenage daughter's health anxiety issues

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Red_34
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 22020
   Posted 9/12/2011 8:29 AM (GMT -6)   
I haven't posted on here in a while because I believe I finally got a handle on my own anxiety issues with therapy, behavioral modification and occasional medication. So I guess you can say I graduated! smilewinkgrin

Anyway, I have a lot of health issues. I have dealt with them for a long time and did not try to say anything about it to my children (on how I was hurting, feeling etc). I learned that was a mistake because when my daughter was 11/12 she started self harming herself. I took her to a therapist and found out that she was full of anxiety over the possible thought of losing her mother (me). So than I started being more open about what was wrong with me and assured her that I intend to be around for a very long time, that what I have is not fatal.

Now I don't know if THAT was a mistake because it seems she every single ache or pain she gets makes her think something is wrong. How do you handle a teen child (she's 16 now btw) that has a mother who is chronically ill?

Also too, there is part of me that wonders - maybe SOMETHING is wrong with her. I was about her age when weird things started happening to me but no one took me seriously because nothing ever showed up on testing - though at that time testing was a bit primitive. I do know for a fact, that my daughter inherited my Raynaud's.

Is she doomed to follow in my footsteps? <--rhetorical question btw. In any case, I am ready to handle the outcome but how can I help her overcome her health anxiety?
SHERRY
Moderator-Allergies/Asthma and Alzheimer's, Co-moderator-UC
~Left sided Uc-'92**Unable to tolerate ALL mesalamines**
Colazal(9 daily)/6mp(50mgs), Remicade/Bentyl-Prilosec~allergies-Singulair/Zyrtec~Reynauds~OA-Tylonel Arthritis~Scoliosis~Sacroilitis~Dry eye-Restasis~GAD-Klonopin (.25mgs)~Rosacea~IBS~Diverticulosis~Fibromyalgia

Scaredy Cat
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 13759
   Posted 9/12/2011 11:09 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Red, I am glad to hear that you are feeling better anxiety-wise, but your daughter's situation is very sad to hear about:(

It is devastating when our children are suffering... much worse than going through it ourselves. Rest assured that you did all of the right things...but anxiety happens. It runs in families, and there is just a high chance that a young person will have some form of anxiety anyway these days. I believe that with all of the pressures and constant device stimulus (cell phones, computers, video games, ect...) they are very prone to it!

I would recommend that you do two things. First rule out any real physical causes of her complaints with a thorough health screening. Then if nothing shows up, you can proceed to treat it as anxiety.

If her health anxiety is affecting her ability to function well and be happy, get her back into therapy, because the quicker it's addressed and treated, the better her chance of successfully recovering will be:)

CBT is the treatment that is very effective in long-term anxiety reocvery. It was really amazing in helping me eliminate my panic attacks, and manange my general/health anxiety.

I hope that this gives you a place to start. Good job mom, everything is going to be fine with your daughter...she's got you on the scene:)

Take care,
S.C.
Moderator:Anxiety/Panic

"Courage is not the abscence of fear, it is feeling afraid and doing it anyway!"

"It is when we are most lost that we sometimes find our truest friends"

Panic Syndrome recovery due to CBT

Red_34
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 22020
   Posted 9/12/2011 11:25 AM (GMT -6)   
Thanks for the reply SC. It does not interfere with her happiness nor doing things so I am grateful for that. But she does come to me often and asks (for instance), "I keep getting a sharp pain in my side, what does that mean?" "I am getting shooting pains in my legs, what's wrong with me?" That kind of thing. I try to give her logical reasons why she hurts in various places and she seems fine with those answers but I can tell it bothers her (mentally).

I have taken her in to the doctors for a few things, but normally that was justified (bladder infections, bronchitis etc) and she gets physicals every year because she plays sports. Her Raynaud's concerns me though. I try not to let on how much it does to her but I have a sense that she knows that it's not normal. I imagine I can always take her in to see if she has any ANA readings, but if nothing shows won't that just increase the anxiety of the unknown?
SHERRY
Moderator-Allergies/Asthma and Alzheimer's, Co-moderator-UC
~Left sided Uc-'92**Unable to tolerate ALL mesalamines**
Colazal(9 daily)/6mp(50mgs), Remicade/Bentyl-Prilosec~allergies-Singulair/Zyrtec~Reynauds~OA-Tylonel Arthritis~Scoliosis~Sacroilitis~Dry eye-Restasis~GAD-Klonopin (.25mgs)~Rosacea~IBS~Diverticulosis~Fibromyalgia

Scaredy Cat
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 13759
   Posted 9/12/2011 11:44 AM (GMT -6)   
Good point, I was thinking the same thing...it is a fine line between awareness and hyper-vigilance. I walk the same line with my daughter. My husband is type I diabetic, and when our daughter has 'symptoms' of thirst, going to the bathroom more...I get worried.

I told her that there is a slightly higher chance that she could get it, so we just have to be aware. I will have here tested yearly, which I believe is prudent, but not going over the top.

What you decide is up to you, but considering your history, I would say that a yearly auto-immune screening would be appropriate...just approach it casually and maybe ask for it to be included on her yearly CBC/physical:)

Best to you both,
S.C.
Moderator:Anxiety/Panic

"Courage is not the abscence of fear, it is feeling afraid and doing it anyway!"

"It is when we are most lost that we sometimes find our truest friends"

Panic Syndrome recovery due to CBT

Hibee
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 2205
   Posted 9/12/2011 2:43 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Red

Sorry to here about your daughter having problems with health anxiety. I agree with SC about getting other causes ruled out that will not only put your daughters mind at rest but yours as well. I suffer with health anxiety and do have an understanding doctor who is able to reassure me.

I think it does sound like anxiety and maybe you need to bring this up with her doctor and there are lots of things which can be done to help her dealing with anxiety.

Take Care

Hibee
I try not to worry about the future -- so I take each day just one anxiety attack at a time.

Diagnosed with:- Asperger's Syndrome, dyslexia, gad, sad, ocd, depression, reactive arthritis
Medication:- 400mg Lyrica, 15mg Escitalopram, Serequel 25-50mg, 4mg Diazepam !000mg Naproxen

bethlany889
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2011
Total Posts : 41
   Posted 9/12/2011 7:25 PM (GMT -6)   
MSN Dr. Rob "Wheat allergy is not known to trigger Raynaud's disease. However, some individuals with celiac disease develop an inflammatory and/or autoimmune reaction to gluten, which is one of the proteins contained in wheat. This raises the possibility of a link between the two, since autoimmune disorders may trigger the symptoms associated with secondary Raynaud's. That said, testing for celiac disease may be part of your medical evaluation." -

Me, and my two sisters were perfectly healthy and mentally "normal" until age 14-16 when we all started exhibiting "mental illness" Myself panic disorder, like your daughter I was terrified of every ache, pain, twitch, etc. and always felt like I was in a fog, my oldest sister became bi-polar, anxiety disorder, and suicidal, my younger sister suffered with adhd, bi-polar, depression, and anxiety.

All my tests for years were "normal" even the first Celiac test came back negative. Test is only 75% accurate. Later my two children tested positive, its genetic, and then my sisters and I all found out we had Celieac disease 2 years ago. Treating the Celiac reversed the "mental illness" and all other chronic ill issues, joint pain, bone pain, chronic fatigue, mood swings, heart palpitations, blurred vision, etc etc.... too many illnesses mimic others and too many are not easily diagnosed.

Check all possibilities, all associated illnesses and make sure to ask for all labs to see the values on the reports yourself. A negative that is close to positive is often just that .... positive. Hope you both find better health and healing!

Red_34
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 22020
   Posted 9/13/2011 7:02 AM (GMT -6)   
Thank you all so much for the advice.

She is due for a sports physical soon anyway so I will bring these possibilities up with her doctor.

I had a health anxiety in the past as well - perhaps for good reason! lol And I thought I wasn't projecting but maybe I was. Maybe she picked up on it? I've since overcome that anxiety and I am in the mindset now that if something happens, it happens and just go with the flow - to put it on a different level of conscious thinking (my therapist helped me achieve this).

But I will have her doc check her over and make sure nothing is wrong - to put both of our minds at ease.

Thanks again :)
SHERRY
Moderator-Allergies/Asthma and Alzheimer's, Co-moderator-UC
~Left sided Uc-'92**Unable to tolerate ALL mesalamines**
Colazal(9 daily)/6mp(50mgs), Remicade/Bentyl-Prilosec~allergies-Singulair/Zyrtec~Reynauds~OA-Tylonel Arthritis~Scoliosis~Sacroilitis~Dry eye-Restasis~GAD-Klonopin (.25mgs)~Rosacea~IBS~Diverticulosis~Fibromyalgia
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