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Angela Paige
08-16-2011, 06:39 AM
I am at a loss for how to help my son. Joel (age 11) has Asperger's. Now, I am pretty sure that he is dealing with anxiety issues as well. :(

I know that anxiety (or depression, OCD, etc) is common with children on the autism spectrum. It also seems that Joel is just beginning to enter into puberty and it seems logical that all of the preteen hormones might trigger anxiety or make it worse. Joel has always been a worrier ... so I guess it really doesn't surprise me that he is feeling extremely anxious.

However, I don't know how to help him. Always before I could help him by praying, reading scriptures, talking with him calmly, etc. But throughout the spring and summer, this has grown into such a problem that nothing helps. He has developed a lot of nervous tics ... chewing on his shirt, covering his nose with his hand or a cloth, hunching his shoulders up and down, standing in strange poses (which he says help him to breath). He eats strangely too ... seems to think that eating something will make him feel better and so he will binge on something (like an entire stick of crackers), but then "worry" incessantly that he will become overweight (even though he is so thin you can count his ribs) and refuse to eat anything for a period of time. He comes and stands forlornly next to me and sighs, but when I ask him what's wrong he will just reply that nothing is wrong and walk away. He cries easily. He can't sleep. I don't know ... after reading what I wrote, maybe he is depressed. I can't figure it out.

Last night, during dinner, he had an anxiety attack. It was scary for me to watch particularly because I've had anxiety attacks in the past. Joel said it was as if suddenly every part of his skin turned cold and he just wanted to get out of his own body. I remember that feeling so well, but to watch my son go through it was awful. :cry:

We are already going to Christian counseling. Some sessions are for our entire family and others are just Jon and me. This is for just helping us all "blend" together in healthy ways as a new family, for strategies to help us parent step-children, and for helping us all cope with the enormous changes we've had this year from new living situations to new schooling situations to new church to serious illness). I plan to talk to our counselor at the next session.

Meanwhile, I'm trying to figure out how to best help my son. So ... what can be done to help a child with anxiety or depression? Herbal supplements? Particular minerals or vitamins? Can a child be put on anxiety/depression medication? Is that something worth looking into? This anxiety has totally affected life in my home. I have a child who cannot sleep, who takes a large amount of attention, who struggles to cope with simple daily things, etc. I am just not sure how to deal with this. :(

Paige

Rachel Jane
08-16-2011, 06:48 AM
:group:
Love you, Friend and am so sorry he is suffering. I would get him seen by a professional right away. Deal with it now before it gets any bigger, y'know?
:group::group::group:

ShelleyW
08-16-2011, 07:40 AM
We have had great success in our house with some herbal remedies for anxiety. I get them from www.nativeremedies.com. This has helped my dd sleep at night as well as lessen her overall anxiety.

Laura F
08-16-2011, 07:45 AM
I

Meanwhile, I'm trying to figure out how to best help my son. So ... what can be done to help a child with anxiety or depression? Herbal supplements? Particular minerals or vitamins? Can a child be put on anxiety/depression medication? Is that something worth looking into? This anxiety has totally affected life in my home. I have a child who cannot sleep, who takes a large amount of attention, who struggles to cope with simple daily things, etc. I am just not sure how to deal with this. :(

Paige

First of all, :group:

Next I want to tell you about my oldest dd. About a year ago she started showing signs of severe anxiety. She slept on my bedroom floor for 4 months because she couldn't sleep without me or dh in the room. And then there was the night that she never went to sleep. We were so worried and exhausted and already were taking her to a Christian counselor for weekly appointments. We were doing everything that you described as well. It took me 2 weeks to find a psychiatrist who had an opening, but it was the best decision we made for dd.

The psychiatrist immediately put dd on Zoloft. It's now been almost a year, and we are weaning her off very slowly. Zoloft changed dd's life--and our family's as well.

I would not give my child any herbal supplements without talking to a doctor for specific dosage advice.

Zoloft is commonly prescribed for children when it's needed, but know that it's a minimum of a 1-year commitment to taking the drug.

:group:

debbie in ak
08-16-2011, 12:19 PM
Paige- This post caught my eye as I suffer from anxiety and depression that is normally triggered by hormones. I think that you have the right idea when you say this is being brought on because he is reaching the teen years. I have a close friend that her son went through terrible anxiety at the onset of puberty. It is very common!

Anxiety and depression go hand in hand...many drs. will tell you that. Also, God's word says it too...."An anxious heart wears a man down." If you have ever been depressed it is very much a worn down feeling. So he is probably anxious which leads to the depression.

I would totally get him to a dr. and get him on medication if he/she sees it as a need.

Praying for you and him!:group::group::group:

TonyaP
08-16-2011, 12:23 PM
This hit my Ds like a truck when he turned 10. We are still seeking answers and will see a pyschiatrist for new medicine recommendations/adjustments in September. Yes, you can use medication, sometimes even a combination of medications depending on the severity. It's obviously a very personal decision and I know there are folks that didn't see DS in his "before" situation that would question our choices, but he was in BAD shape.

DS is already casein free due to a dairy allergy, but we also eliminated gluten- though I'm not sure it has made a difference. These eliminations are in addition to the medications. We may try to limit sugars, etc. as some point but he's not emotionally ready to handle that and I don't want to overwhelm him. There are supplement programs that have been suggested to me- clearing the system with probiotics, adding fish oil, etc. But again, you have to have a cooperative "patient" to do those things. ;) A meal with protein every two hours has been very important for Ds. If we are out and about and he doesn't feel hungry and I skip a "feeding" we have all kinds of trouble later.

You might consider keeping a journal for a day or two- look at the peaks and valleys and what was going on during those times. My DS has lots of "triggers" and I am slowly working to get those under control so we can reach a baseline. It is hard to see your baby suffer. :group:

Angela Paige
08-16-2011, 03:31 PM
Thanks, Ladies. :group:

I am not happy with our new pediatrician since we moved in January ... I'm currently looking for a new one that would be a better fit. I'll work on getting Joel an appt ASAP. I'm also going to see what our family counselor has to say.

Thanks for the encouragement and suggestions.
Paige

Carol S
08-26-2011, 08:45 AM
Peter is on an anti-anxiety med in addition to his ADHD med. The sensory issues that go along with the Asperger's made him pick at his zits in a pretty compulsive way so that they were never healing. My sister-in-law thinks she has seen it really helping him.

I really wasn't picking up on the anxiety until about six weeks before he left, but I really think the Lord was trying to bring it to my attention as a major component of his overall picture. So I did want to make sure that the psychiatrist they saw after he went away was sensitive to that in evaluating his overall picture.

Are you open to seeing a psychiatrist instead of the ped? Or do you have to get a referral from a primary care? I think specialty care might really be the way to go if possible.

Lisalyn
08-26-2011, 09:25 AM
My 10 yr old ds has Asperger's, too. One of his biggest issues has always been anxiety. I hope and pray it doesn't get worse with puberty!

When our neurologist did testing for other possible medical issues, we discovered that ds has abnormal brain activity. It looks like seizure activity without actual seizures of any type. The neuro told us that 20% + people on the spectrum have this type of issue.

Anyway, the anti-seizure med he takes is also used as a mood stabilizer. Plus, he takes ADHD meds. (We've tried several-a low dose of Vyvanse is working great!) This combination has made a HUGE difference overall.

He is calm, much less anxious and attentive, and able to deal with transitions without freaking out on us.

I always said I would not medicate. It's scary! The change is so drastic, though. And he is still himself. It took a few med trials to find the right ones.

No real help, here. Just wanted to give you our experience. :)

Tiffany
08-30-2011, 05:34 PM
I am so sorry your son is going through this, and you too as a mama watching him. :group: My son (9 1/2) is currentlly being evaluated for being on the autism spectrum. I'm certain that he is, but we don't have a firm diagnosis yet. He has all the sensory issues and OCD signs and anxiety. I was one who said I would NEVER medicate my child. I guess no one probably ever thinks they are going to need to take their child to a psychiatrist... Anyhow, I brought up my concerns with our pediatrician who referred us to a psychiatrist. God blessed us with one who was a very good fit for our family. He was easy to talk to and very knowledgeable. The first medication we tried (prozac) has been really helpful and we haven't had any side effects. It has been a process to get the right dose. We have increased twice but he is still on a very low dose (started on the meds about 6 months ago). It takes several weeks/months for the medication to take full effect. I was very fearful of my ds going on the medication and it was one of the most emotional and difficult decisions for me to make for him. However, I will say that on this side of it, I really believe it was the right decision and has made a very big difference in my son's life and in our family's. I don't have any advice for you specifically, but I wanted to share my experience in hopes it is helpful for you. I will pray that you are able to find the right doctor who will listen and have wisdom and knowledge to help you make the best decision. More :group:

Alice R
08-30-2011, 08:33 PM
I don't have anything to add but I think one of Linda's children deal with this also. Hopefully she will pop in. If not, send her an e-mail.

normafl
11-05-2011, 08:42 PM
My 14 year old really went to a tough time when she turned 11. Holy Toledo!! She went from a nervous/anxious but sweet child to a argumentative, mean, threatening to hurt herself child. We didnt know what to do.

At the time we tried several anti anxiety meds plus therapy. Meds helped but we didnt keep her on them. She gained a lot of weight and kept telling me the meds made her feel sad. But it did show her what calm felt like. Aspies sometimes need to be shown what calm feels like even if just for a short time.

Thou meds and therapy helped I would say time was the best remedy. Just stay really connected to your family and trusted friends as they are a great source of encouragement during such difficult time and this too shall pass when his hormones stabilize I did read that Aspies generally have a difficult time around 11
My daughter is now 14 and doing fabulous. She still will have a few episodes but nothing like that time in her life. One of the things that really has helped take the edge of her is Sam-e plus vitamin B12. HTH's :group: