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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5838
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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My son is 16. He is having extreme difficulty attending

Customer Question

Dear Sir/Madame,
My son is 16. He is having extreme difficulty attending school. He has panic attacts, anxiety attacks, vommiting and crying before school each morning and has to return home or stay home two days out of five. He has been in treatment going on seven months and his anxiety has gotten worse if anything and his depresseion is better. He has been taking CLONAZEPAM .5mg,RISPERIDONE 1mg, at bed time, and SERTRALINE 200mg each AM. We don't know what to do and am considering a brief hospitalization for him and are considering natural alternatives. Please help! John
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  KansasTherapist replied 5 years ago.
KansasTherapist :


KansasTherapist :

For anxiety I often recommend yoga and mediation. I think he is old enough to try it.

KansasTherapist :

Meditation is, more than anything, learning to control your thoughts.

KansasTherapist :

In doing that, he can practice making his thoughts peaceful instead of thinking of all the things that could go wrong.

KansasTherapist :

The yoga part prepares the body for meditation. It relaxes, burns some energy, and lets your body heal from stress.

KansasTherapist :

Do you think your son would be willing to do that?


Its someything we've heard before and the answer is not likely.

KansasTherapist :

That's too bad. Does he get any exercise?



KansasTherapist :

Is there something active he likes to do?

KansasTherapist :

Like shooting hoops, running?


He needs to be able to go to school now. What do you think of anxietin.

KansasTherapist :

It wouldn't hurt to try but be sure to let the doctor who's prescribing his meds know about it. The only problem is that natural remedies often have inconsistent amounts of the active ingredients because they aren't regulated as closely. That may not be true of Anxietin.

KansasTherapist :

Have you tried any kind of reward system?


Thanks for your time but I didn't learn much more than I already knew.

Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.

It is helpful to you and your son to understand why panic attack and anxiety occur and what you and he can do about it. Once your son can understand why anxiety and panic occur, treatment at home and with a therapist is much easier. It may be helpful for your son to read this as well.

People with panic disorder often describe themselves as constantly anxious or always feeling panicky. That is because when you are anxious, your thoughts are causing your thoughts are causing your mind to think your in danger. Your body reacts by releasing adrenaline into your system. Adrenaline causes the symptoms you feel, including the panic attacks. It is much like after you have had a bad scare like a car accident. Your body releases the adrenaline and you feel unreal, your legs turn to jelly, you have trouble thinking and your body may feel it's tingling. You just don't notice it as much because your focus is on what is going on around you. Except with anxiety, there is no focus. The only thing you have to focus on is how you feel.

It may not feel like it, but the panic does subside. The adrenaline in your system does deplete and needs time to replenish. But because your thoughts are probably always on alert, so is your body. This is why your son feels panicky and anxious.

Medications are helpful to ease the symptoms but they vary in their effectiveness. Each person has their own body chemistry and what works for one may not work for another. Also, once you take medication for a while, your body becomes accustomed to it and you either need an increase in dosage or you need to try a new medication. And although medication is useful to help control the symptoms of anxiety, it does not cure the anxiety. Only therapy and self help can do that.

The good news is that anxiety is easy to treat with therapy. In therapy, your son can learn to pay attention to what he is thinking to make himself anxious. The therapist then can help him change his thoughts and therefore how his body reacts to his thoughts. He also can learn about how to let himself float through his anxiety thereby gaining more control over how he feels. When a panic attack comes on, tell your son to allow it to flow over without tensing or panicking in response. This makes the panic reduce or go away faster. To find a therapist, talk to your son's doctor about a referral. Or you can search on line at

You can also help your son at home. There are numerous resources to help you and he learn more about anxiety and how to control his panic. Here are some to get you started:

The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook by Edmund Bourne is excellent for any fears. It is self help and contains everything from supplements to relaxation techniques.

The Cognitive Behavioral Workbook for Anxiety: A Step-by-Step Program by Bill Knaus Ed.D. and Jon Carlson Psy.D. Ed.D.

From Panic to Power: Proven Techniques to Calm Your Anxieties, Conquer Your Fears, and Put You in Control of Your Life by Lucinda Bassett

You can find these books on or your local library may have them for you.

I hope this has helped you and your son,

TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5838
Experience: Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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