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Dr_Anderson, Doctor
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  Psychiatrist
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Im 13 Im feeling a lot of anxiety since 3 months ago and

Resolved Question:

I'm 13 I'm feeling a lot of anxiety since 3 months ago and I don't know why, I'm afraid of going to bed and not being able to sleep and my mom is upset, she doesn't know what to do anymore and neither do I, I'm kind of desperate. Can you give me advice.
Thank you,
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr_Anderson replied 4 years ago.

Dr_Anderson :

Greetings, Daniela. I'm sorry to hear you are going through all of this! Did anything happen a few months before all of this anxiety started?

Customer: Not that I can think of but how can I help feeling this
Dr_Anderson :

Since there is no obvious trigger to identify, we'll have to go with more "generic" ways to handle the stress. If the trouble is you're afraid to go to bed because you think you won't be able to sleep, restful sleep is going to be top priority. How is your sleep, is it actually good in spite of your worry, or is it pretty bad?

Customer: I sleep @ my mom's bed and I feel bad because my dad says I have to go to my room but I m soo afraid of being by myself that my mom brought a trundle bed and she sleeps inside the room, so is the 3 of us, and yes I sleep good once I fall asleep
Customer: Actually now that I think about it I have been feeling it since September last year
Dr_Anderson :

So the sleep itself is not so bad, but the time before the sleep is - sort of like a separation anxiety, but not quite. There is a tremendous fear you have with going to sleep alone - if you have the same kind of fear during the day related to be alone, being apart from your family, etc., it could be a sign of an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders are pretty comkon at this age, and more so in females. They usually consist of feeling anxious or worried for no particular reason, more than is expected to feel.

Dr_Anderson :

The amount of time it has been going on also tends to make me think that is what is going on. For some people, especially ladies, they find it starts when they hit puberty.

Dr_Anderson :

Follow me so far?

Customer: Yes, I follow you. I don't feel the separation anxiety because I can be with friends without my parents or at school and all is fine is when the afternoon starts that I feel this pain in my stomach and my hands and feet sweat, before I used to think a lot about it at school but I talked to my mom and she told me that she understood me and that I could sleep with them until I got better, but I feel so anxious and mu Mom is really worried that is why I'm writing to you, she is working in making an appointment with a psycologist but in the meantime she and I are desperate
Dr_Anderson :

I see you are busy, so I'll continue - so, one option is to see if this might be due to hormones from puberty. That means checking with your family doctor to get an eval.

Dr_Anderson :

Another is that this anxiety is due to a generalized anxiety disorder. Therapy (as you ust wrote about) is an excellent treatment for this kind of problem. For some people, they also need to do medications to help with the anxiety. Time will tell if that is the case, but the therapy is a great place to start. Until you get in to see the therapist, here are a few techniques you can use to manage the anxiety:

Customer: What is an eval?
Dr_Anderson :

evaluation - the appointment with the psychologist.

Dr_Anderson :

or with your medical doctor, since hormones need to be checked into

Dr_Anderson :

So, a few things you can try:

Dr_Anderson :

(1) Guided imagery. The idea here is that when you feel anxious and upset, instead you focus on something, or a place, that brings you comfort. It could be a favorite spot, a favorite memory, doesn't matter, as long as it matters to YOU and makes you feel safe.

Dr_Anderson :

So, when the anxiety hits, you focus on the details of that good memory. The more detailed you get, the less anxious you'll feel. In a sense, you're distracting yourself from the anxiety.

Dr_Anderson :

(2) Deep breathing. The idea here is to control your breathing. Just like you have to control your breathing if you want to swim underwater a long distance, deep breathing teaches you to use your ability to control your breathing to help with your anxiety.

Dr_Anderson :

Still with me?

Customer: Yes
Customer: Im reading very carefully because I need help
Dr_Anderson :

It's ok, you're doing great. :)

Dr_Anderson :

So, with deep breathing the idea is CONTROL. Practice it: breath in slowly, count "One-two-three" while breathing in with your nose. Then hold it for a couple seconds, then SLOWLY let it out, same 1-2-3 cadence, but out through the mouth.

Dr_Anderson :

Keep repeating that, nice easy pace, until you can literally feel your heartrate go down and you start to relax. It works even better if you can do the deep breathing while thinking of the image you have for guided imagery.

Dr_Anderson :

Keep in mind, this anxiety you feel, it feels HORRIBLE, but it is not dangerous. Let me repeat that - it is not dangerous! It stinks, yes, but it won't kill you. Knowing that can help release some of the grip the anxiety has over you.

Dr_Anderson :

So, if you can do the breathing, guided imagery, and keep in mind the horrible way you feel will not last forever and won't do you any physical harm, you're well on your way to feeling better. Even before your appointment!

Dr_Anderson :

What thoughts or questions do you have?

Customer: Oh sorry, I was practicing breathing
Customer: I hope this can help me, anything else that you can tell me?
Dr_Anderson :

Awesome. :) you're a real champ. :) These are great places to start. One thing I've learned when folks feel anxious - don't pile on too much, or they'll get anxious about all the new stuff and doing it right! So, try these things for now. There's a lot there! This will work for you, and I am hopeful it'll help you feel better, at least until you can see your psychologist!

Dr_Anderson :

And, reassure your mom you're going to feel better, too! It will help to relieve her anxiety!

Customer: thank you very much for your help
Customer: I hope I can feel better tonight I will try what you told me! And also if I had a bad night for example yesterday I will worry I will have the same bad night tonight
Dr_Anderson :

You are very welcome. :) Best wishes to you, and please let me know if I may be of any further service! (please also click on the accept button!)

Customer: But I will try your methods and hope it will work :)
Dr_Anderson :

So one way to help yourself is to use having a good night, and a good night's sleep, as a focus for your guided imagery. Instead of worrying about a bad night, you'l be focusing on a good one instead. Give it a try!

Customer: I will thank you
Dr_Anderson :

I'm optimistic for you that it will work. :) Best wishes! Regards, XXXXX XXXXX

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