Mental Health

Have Mental Health Questions? Ask a Psychiatrist Online

Ask an Expert,
Get an Answer ASAP!

Mental Health
This answer was rated:

Dear Dr, Our 21mnth old baby got an "anxiety attack" this

Dear Dr, Our 21mnth old baby...
Dear Dr,
Our 21mnth old baby got an "anxiety attack" this morning, after waking up his father brought him to our room...and we were making fun...laughing....teasing as always..... He started "hissing like a snake" few days ago....thought he was taught something like that at the creche....but his teacher denied it when I asked her....only bees & flowers etc....zzzzz.....she said.
The attack was quite severe....he screamed and started clinging onto his father & me.....seemed afraid that there was a snake or spider in the bed......We reassured him, cuddled him etc.....a little later on the same thing happened....slightly less severe intensity.... We are worried that it might need special attention and do not just want to wave it away.
He also had almost the same reaction towards the noise of a roaring motorbike +- 1week ago.... happened 3 times in the past week.
Do we need to be concerned?
As this behaviour is increasing now....
Show More
Show Less
Ask Your Own Mental Health Question
Answered in 47 minutes by:
8/2/2012
Steven Olsen
Steven Olsen, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1,765
Experience: More than twenty years of expertise in counseling, psychological diagnosis and education
Verified

Wonderful question.

The bot***** *****ne here is that your baby is normal. Some children, often the creative and highly intelligent ones, tend to show significant anxiety responses to things like bugs and snakes and noises etc. The reason for this is how the young child's mind works.

To an adult these scary things, bugs and snakes and so on are processed much more in the brain's logic center than in the part Zander is accessing called the Amygdala. Adult reaction, even if fearful, tends to be somewhat logical. And, we know as adults that bugs and snakes do not suddenly arrive in beds, basements and so forth because our brains prepare us for where they should/might be. Sounds also are not treated in a reactive manner but in a more logical one.

However:

Your son is so young that his brain cannot yet distinguish between what is real and imagination. And, some reactions to things such as to bugs and snakes and loud noises are instinctual to being human child. Some of us just have the reaction a bit more pronounced than others, but it is still normal. As a matter of fact, between 18-2.5 years of age, fears of this type are very common.

What to do? First off, I think you can relax. Although a bit more reactive than some children, Zander is well within normal behavior patterns. Fear response at his age can be quite harsh and scary for the parents though, and as the father of three myself, I saw this reaction many, many times.

Realize that Zander thinks in an imaginative world that seems totally real to him. Use that to your advantage. We created invisible "sprays", light switches that made bugs go away, monster barriers made of paper and tape...anything really that reassures the child that they are safe. It doesn't matter that it is not real or effective to us adults, it is real for him.

Unless Zander shows reactions of a severe nature such as marked insomnia or a consistent more than thirty-forty minute severe fear reaction I think he will be fine. Indeed, some studies I read show that children who have these strong emotional reactions turn out to be adults who possess creative intelligence, the most valued type.

A pleasure helping you. Steven

Ask Your Own Mental Health Question
Customer reply replied 5 years ago
Steven, I just want to make sure...forgot to add....that he also wakes up a lot during the night.....between 3 to 5 times or sometimes more.... Seems as if he was dreaming and will comment on that.... Struggle to get him back to sleep at times. Will then call for his father....and I have to stand back....as his father cuddles & put him back to sleep then. The sleeping problem is since birth. Still drinks a bottle of milk once or twice during the night......

I do not believe the two issues are related and I feel confident that your son is totally fine as far as his fear reaction.

However, this is a different issue and could be one of two things. Now, your son is of an age where he should be sleeping through the night and should not need to wake up to drink milk.

Let's approach this as best practice: Although I feel this is behavioral there is a small possibility that your son has a sleep disorder. Breathing related issues; REM cycle problems, etc. can exist and cause sleep issues.

I suspect this is not the case, but to be safe he should be evaluated by a pediatrician for a sleep issue. If there is a problem a treatment plan can be created to help your son sleep deeply.

If this is not a physical issue, and I suspect it is not, a behavioral method can be used. First, the feedings at night must be eliminated. We do walk up several times during the night naturally but then fall asleep again in seconds. In children who are used to being fed, they wake fully and disturb their (and your) sleep.

This process is typically done by reducing the richness of the milk 20% every other night until plain water is given. This usually takes about a week and a half and typically the child will no longer wake to drink plain water as the reinforcement is not great enough.

If this is related to separation anxiety that can be dealt with similarly, with a parent each taking a turn on a two week deconditioning process. It is simple and effective. Each night a parent sleeps near Zander, in a cot a sleeping bag or similar, but each night thereafter the parent moves further and further away until both are fully separated in one another's respective rooms. In conjunction with the milk reduction strategy this is often very successful in restoring sleep to its desired pattern.

Thank you for your questions. If you're satisfied with my response, please rate me highly

Steven Olsen
Steven Olsen, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1,765
Experience: More than twenty years of expertise in counseling, psychological diagnosis and education
Verified
Steven Olsen and 87 other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Ask your own question now
Customer reply replied 3 years ago

Hi Steven,

I would like to ask.... our son is now 3yrs and 5months.

1. We still struggle to wean him off his night milk comsumption..... He refuses to wear nappies, but still drinks 4 - 5 servings of milk per night. We reduced the amount per serving - drinks from a sippy cup. We wake him up every 2 hours during the night to pass urine or else he wets the bed, and is VERY upset, with everybody...... then he drinks milk again to fall asleep...if he doesn't get the milk....he doesn't fall back to sleep again.... and it is tantrums galore!!

2. He touches his private parts ALL the time. Initially we didn't say much about it as we hoped that it was just a phase that will pass, but it actually got worse..... we started to tell him gently not to do that everytime he does that, but he still does it.

His teacher from creche also commented on that and that he touches (rubs) his hair a lot. He usually does that in order to fall asleep, but does that now also more frequently, even after his naps / night's sleep.....

I will appreciate your feedback on this as we are quite concerned.

Kind regards,

Nicolene.

Ask Steven Olsen Your Own Question
Steven Olsen
Steven Olsen
Steven Olsen, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1,765
1,765 Satisfied Customers
Experience: More than twenty years of expertise in counseling, psychological diagnosis and education

Steven Olsen is online now

A new question is answered every 9 seconds

How JustAnswer works:

  • Ask an ExpertExperts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional AnswerVia email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction GuaranteeRate the answer you receive.

JustAnswer in the News:

Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.

What Customers are Saying:

I can go as far as to say it could have resulted in saving my sons life and our entire family now knows what bipolar is and how to assist and understand my most wonderful son, brother and friend to all who loves him dearly. Thank you very much

Corrie MollPretoria, South Africa

I thank-you so much! It really helped to have this information and confirmation. We will watch her carefully and get her in for the examination and US right away if things do not improve. God bless you as well!

ClaudiaAlbuquerque, NM

Outstanding response time less than 6 minutes. Answered the question professionally and with a great deal of compassion.

KevinBeaverton, OR

Suggested diagnosis was what I hoped and will take this info to my doctor's appointment next week.
I feel better already! Thank you.

ElanorTracy, CA

Thank you to the Physician who answered my question today. The answer was far more informative than what I got from the Physicians I saw in person for my problem.

JulieLockesburg, AR

You have been more help than you know. I seriously don't know what my sisters situation would be today if you had not gone above and beyond just answering my questions.

John and StefanieTucson, AZ

I have been dealing with an extremely serious health crisis for over three years, and one your physicians asked me more questions, gave me more answers and encouragement than a dozen different doctors who have been treating me!!

Janet VPhoenix, AZ

< Previous | Next >

Meet the Experts:

Dr. Keane

Dr. Keane

Therapist

1,379 satisfied customers

Clinical Psychology PhD, Licensed Professional Counselor with experience in marriage/family, teens and child psychology.

TherapistMarryAnn

TherapistMarryAnn

Therapist

3,984 satisfied customers

Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.

Dr. Olsen

Dr. Olsen

Psychologist

2,336 satisfied customers

PsyD Psychologist

Norman M.

Norman M.

Principal psychotherapist in private practice. Newspaper contributor, over 2000 satisfied clients on JA

2,246 satisfied customers

ADHP(NC), DEHP(NC), ECP, UKCP Registered.

Dr. Michael

Dr. Michael

Psychologist

2,177 satisfied customers

Licensed Ph.D. Clinical Health Psychology with 30 years of experience in private practive and as a clinical psychology university professor.

Steven Olsen

Steven Olsen

Therapist

1,765 satisfied customers

More than twenty years of expertise in counseling, psychological diagnosis and education

Anna

Anna

Mental Health Professional

1,656 satisfied customers

Licensed Clinical Social Worker with 29 years in addictions and mental health.

< Previous | Next >

Related Mental Health Questions
I have generalized anxiety disorder with panic attacks at
I have generalized anxiety disorder with panic attacks at times. For the most part I have improved a great deal through BCT and other lifestyle changes. I had it terrible after I quit smoking for abou… read more
Linda D.
Linda D.
Master\u0027s Degree
721 satisfied customers
OKMH1212211 I have an extreme medically diagnosed anxiety
OKMH1212211 Hello. I have an extreme medically diagnosed anxiety disorder. Recently, it's been getting worse. Everything makes me anxious and I have panic attacks regularly. I am allergic to all SSRIs… read more
Dr. Ravoof
Dr. Ravoof
Doctoral Degree
1,880 satisfied customers
Im stopping 25mg zyprexa used for insomnia and dr prescribed
Im stopping 25mg zyprexa used for insomnia and dr prescribed me restoril and cogentin as a replacement will i have any withdrawls … read more
Dr. Scott
Dr. Scott
Doctor
885 satisfied customers
Ocd self doubts. I take sleeping tablets to help me sleep.
Hi Pearl, I take sleeping tablets to help me sleep. My mood is a bit depressed and I started taking medication as prescribed by my GP yesterday thanks. … read more
LeahMSWuofm
LeahMSWuofm
Clinical Social Worker
Master\u0027s Degree
717 satisfied customers
Ever since my mom died I have extreme anxiety. Sleep. Good
Ever since my mom died I have extreme anxiety JA: How long have you been dealing with this? Is there anything in particular that seems to make the symptoms better or worse? Customer: Sleep JA: Anythin… read more
JohnMichaels,MS,LPC
JohnMichaels,MS,LPC
Counselor
Master\u0027s Degree
166 satisfied customers
I've had anxiety due to trauma... I've had anxiety due to
Hello, I've had anxiety due to trauma... Hello, I've had anxiety due to trauma in the city I lived in, I moved out to a different city, I accidentally spoke to somebody associated with the trauma , in… read more
Vakul Aren
Vakul Aren
Consultant Physician
Post graduation (Liverpool, U.K.)
3,904 satisfied customers
I'm experience what I believe to be adjustment anxiety. I've
I'm experience what I believe to be adjustment anxiety. I've moved a long distance for the first time in 40 years. I have to telecommute for my job but only a few days a month. I have one daughter who… read more
LeahMSWuofm
LeahMSWuofm
Clinical Social Worker
Master\u0027s Degree
717 satisfied customers
I have been taking .25 Ativan to sleep for seven months, due
I have been taking .25 Ativan to sleep for seven months, due to taking Levaquin, which brought on terrible anxiety and many other symtoms which were horrific. I feel I am hurting my Gaba transmitters … read more
Dr. Kaushik
Dr. Kaushik
PSYCHIATRIST ( MD Psychiatry)
Doctoral Degree
203 satisfied customers
I am on escitalopram 10mg....I can't sleep at night....what
Hi ...I am on escitalopram 10mg....I can't sleep at night....what is a good drug to use? … read more
LeahMSWuofm
LeahMSWuofm
Clinical Social Worker
Master\u0027s Degree
717 satisfied customers
I have anxiety issues as well as insomnia and I no longer
I have anxiety issues as well as insomnia and I no longer have a PCP and am looking for a good dr … read more
Dr. Mo
Dr. Mo
Urgent Care
MD
1,231 satisfied customers
I I have extreme anxiety especially social anxiety I over
I I have extreme anxiety especially social anxiety I over worry about everything and I have PTSD from being stabbed and assaulted I've been prescribed Xanax for years and I got up to 2 mg which was wo… read more
Vakul Aren
Vakul Aren
Consultant Physician
Post graduation (Liverpool, U.K.)
3,904 satisfied customers
I have a question regarding anti-anxiety and sleeping
I have a question regarding anti-anxiety and sleeping tablets. Can you help me with this? … read more
Linda D.
Linda D.
Master\u0027s Degree
721 satisfied customers
I have depression, anxiety, some OCD and racing thoughts. I
I have depression, anxiety, some OCD and racing thoughts. I also have insomnia. I always get insomnia when depressed. I was prescribed Prozac but am wondering about Lexapro due to the fact that I'm ge… read more
LeahMSWuofm
LeahMSWuofm
Clinical Social Worker
Master\u0027s Degree
717 satisfied customers
I have unbearable anxiety, Too much sleep makes it worse.
Too much sleep makes it worse. Xanax has qorked in past … read more
LeahMSWuofm
LeahMSWuofm
Clinical Social Worker
Master\u0027s Degree
717 satisfied customers
I'm having problems sleeping and having anxiety about bills
I'm having problems sleeping and having anxiety about bills and my new job as well as my children which my son was born a month ago and daughter is 4 just not feeling like myself just want to hide in … read more
JohnMichaels,MS,LPC
JohnMichaels,MS,LPC
Counselor
Master\u0027s Degree
166 satisfied customers
I was dx with add, ocd tendencies and anxiety 10 years ago.
I was dx with add, ocd tendencies and anxiety 10 years ago. I stopped the adderal.meds bc if the crash they caused. I hear there is a time release that works good but in a new state and need doc tnst … read more
llw26
llw26
Private Practice
Doctoral Degree
11 satisfied customers
Klonopin at nite to sleep and zanax by day for anxiety,
klonopin at nite to sleep and zanax by day for anxiety … read more
Vakul Aren
Vakul Aren
Consultant Physician
Post graduation (Liverpool, U.K.)
3,904 satisfied customers
I'm having severe trouble with anxiety and sleep and panic
I'm having severe trouble with anxiety and sleep and panic attacks I've been going through a lot I cannot seem to get a doctor to understand how important it is for me to calm down so that I could sta… read more
llw26
llw26
Private Practice
Doctoral Degree
11 satisfied customers
Disclaimer: Information in questions, answers, and other posts on this site ("Posts") comes from individual users, not JustAnswer; JustAnswer is not responsible for Posts. Posts are for general information, are not intended to substitute for informed professional advice (medical, legal, veterinary, financial, etc.), or to establish a professional-client relationship. The site and services are provided "as is" with no warranty or representations by JustAnswer regarding the qualifications of Experts. To see what credentials have been verified by a third-party service, please click on the "Verified" symbol in some Experts' profiles. JustAnswer is not intended or designed for EMERGENCY questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals.

Disclaimer: Information in questions, answers, and other posts on this site ("Posts") comes from individual users, not JustAnswer; JustAnswer is not responsible for Posts. Posts are for general information, are not intended to substitute for informed professional advice (medical, legal, veterinary, financial, etc.), or to establish a professional-client relationship. The site and services are provided "as is" with no warranty or representations by JustAnswer regarding the qualifications of Experts. To see what credentials have been verified by a third-party service, please click on the "Verified" symbol in some Experts' profiles. JustAnswer is not intended or designed for EMERGENCY questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals.

Show MoreShow Less

Ask Your Question

x