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Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5220
Experience:  Dr. Mark is a PhD in psychology in private practice
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My ten year old daughter suffers debilitating panic attacks.

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My ten year old daughter suffers debilitating panic attacks. When she attempts to talk to an adult about anything she is not comfortable with she has a panic attack. When she has to speak to others sometimes in group settings at her school, she has a panic attack. She did not know what was happening to her. I suffer from panic attacks too and have been prescribed with anti anxiety medications that help me greatly. I want to find a psychiatrist who can help my child with medical therapy in the form of age appropriate anti anxiety medications that she can use when she feels the anxiety attack coming on. I am very worried for her because I know from my own experience how awful a panic attack feels.
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Hi! You know, to give you the best answer, I think I should ask you a few questions first that will help define the problem and the situation with your daughter.


It sounds as if your daughter indeed has an anxiety and phobic problem. I am very concerned, however, about starting her off on medications so young. There are a number of medications approved for children. However, the psychological community is becoming increasingly concerned about overmedicating and children not gaining the skills to learn how to cope with these anxiety and phobia issues. Because medications don't give the kids tools to work with, they just reduce the feeling stress.

Therefore, would you be interested in finding a child psychologist or psychotherapist to work with your daughter on these problems?

If you are unfamiliar with how therapy would work, I'll be glad to help.

Also, what area do you live in? I'll look in my directories to see if there are psychiatrists working with kids in that area to recommend to you.

Any extra information that will help, feel free to share.


Dr. Mark

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Dr.Mark,


Thank you for your comments. My child is experiencing debilitating anxiety attacks. In the long run I certainly want her to learn coping skills to deal with anxiety attacks.


However she is in need help in the form of immediate of anti-anxiety medication to help her now. Many thanks,


Kristina fowler

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

PS, we live in Raleigh, NC. Thanks!


Kristina

Thank you, Kristina, for the replies to the questions and the added information. It helps a lot in understanding what the situation is.

I can imagine how worrisome this situation must be for you. You are clearly a loving and caring mom and to see your daughter go through this when you yourself go through it must be very difficult. It's really good that you are seeking help for her.

Much in terms of finding the right psychiatrist to treat your daughter will be determined by your insurance and how long each psychiatrist's waiting time is for seeing new patients. This problem of waiting times that can stretch from 6 weeks up to even months is a serious issue as there is a shortage of psychiatrists, especially those specializing in children's issues.

Therefore, your first referral source should be her pediatrician. The pediatrician would know the status of the psychiatrists that he/she feels will be able to see your daughter and that he/she trusts with kids.

If there is a university hospital in your area, they may have a pediatric psychiatry section. And that may give you the opportunity to see one of the doctors in that practice. They would have a lot of experience in dealing with child anxiety issues. If so, talk to your pediatrician about referring your daughter there. I have found that the docs in the university hospital pediatric psychiatry units are very experienced in a wider range of issues and have had a lot more experience with a range of medications.

If there is no university hospital in your area, then another informed referral source may be your psychiatrist or doctor who is prescribing your medications for your anxiety issues. Hopefully you have a good relationship with your doctor and can ask him/her who would be the psychiatrist that he/she would send their child relative to for treatment of anxiety issues. This, in my experience, is often a very useful referral source. If the doctor doesn't know of anyone right away, ask the doctor to network with other doctors in the area to see if he/she can give you a suggestion.

I'd like to link for you some guidelines from the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry about medications. It's general information, but these are good things to keep in mind and an introduction to the medications themselves that are approved for kids:

http://www.aacap.org/galleries/FactsForFamilies/29_psychiatric_medication_for_children_and_adolescents_part_two.pdf

And also an article by Dr. John Walkup who is very respected nationally in the children's psychiatric field. It is an excellent introduction to the medications by a true expert:

http://www.childmind.org/en/posts/articles/2012-1-26-best-medications-kids-anxiety

So, stay hopeful. You're doing good things for your daughter and I hope there is a university hospital in your area and if not, that your or her doctor can refer you to someone who accepts your insurance and will see her quickly.

Okay, I wish you the very best!

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