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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5808
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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MY youngest has suffered for mental health issues OK104

Customer Question

MY youngest has suffered for mental health issues since she was about 7, it started with a phobia of saliva where she was very worried about being clean…. she spent a month almost confined to her room just leaving to go to the bathroom etc…. Then she will only clean teeth with a new toothbrush every day… She has a restricted diet of chips, broccoli, olives chocolate cake and fruit…. and we give her vitamins and mineral supplements…. She panics about going to the dentist and worries about everything, my partner stays up sometimes until dawn in the morning with her as she (my daughter ) cannot sleep. She is very intelligent certainly more so than I and I am a genius (IQ level, not that I really put must store in that kind of thing). I have to get up early (7:00) to work and often work through until 23:00 or later so I am just not able to stay up with my daughter to talk her through this… We have taken her to various therapists and nothing has helped, my partner is at breaking point and we simply don't know what to do. Money is no object currently and I would happily pay for anything… My daughter really wants to be better and I feel if only we could find the right treatment / path she would find the skills required to overcome her compulsions / fears and restrictions… Currently she is 15, studying (with private tutors ) in Drama, Maths, English & Film studies. She wants to do all the sciences as well… What options should / could we consider now ?

Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 3 years ago.
Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.

It sounds like your daughter might be suffering from either OCD- Obsessive-Compulsive disorder, or severe anxiety. Children who suffer from OCD can experience intrusive thoughts/obsessions, over things like being clean, eating certain foods and other simple daily tasks or activities. Most kids worry or experience anxiety, but for children with OCD, they often experience extreme worry to the point they may feel emotionally paralyzed, which may be why your daughter wants to stay in her room. It is easier to manage her fears and anxiety when she is isolated rather than being exposed to many stimuli at once.

The best option for your daughter is to have a full mental health evaluation if she has not already. She needs to be diagnosed by a Master's level therapist, Psychologist or Psychiatrist. By having a full mental health evaluation, the clinician can determine exactly what your daughter is suffering from so she can receive the correct treatment. Ask her doctor for a referral in your area.

The best treatment for OCD or severe anxiety is a combination of medications and therapy. If your daughter does have OCD, medications help because OCD is thought to be an imbalance of brain chemicals. The medications can help correct the imbalance and help your daughter feel calmer and not as anxious or obsessive.

Therapy also helps your daughter learn new ways to cope with her obsessions or fears. She will learn how to calm herself and ways she can work through her symptoms.

You and your partner can also help. There are a number of resources available to help you learn more about OCD/Anxiety so you can in turn help your daughter. Here are some ways you can assist your daughter:

Help her learn to relax- this helps a lot because one of the main issues with OCD thoughts and compulsions is the anxiety experienced with them. So learning how to keep calm when dealing with these thoughts can help. Here is a link to help your daughter learn Progressive Relaxation, one of the best ways to control anxiety:

Write down any thoughts- have her keep a journal so she has a place to express her thoughts when they do bother her. It can also help her to go back and see her progress or look at repeating patterns and how she handled them.

Ask her to make a list of activities- things she can do to distract herself when she does experience OCD thoughts. Exercise, calling someone or watching a movie for example.

Here are other resources:

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Most of all, keep in mind that you are doing all you can to help your child. It can be a struggle when your child is suffering and you need answers. While your instinct is to give everything to care for your child, you also need time to recharge so you can be there for her. Take breaks, have a night out and if you feel you need to talk, consider therapy for you and your partner. You are in the best shape to care for your daughter if you are not exhausted and worn out.

I hope this has helped you,
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 3 years ago.
I hope my answer was helpful to you. You may also find these resources helpful for your daughter:

Freeing Your Child from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: A Powerful, Practical Program for Parents of Children and Adolescence by Tamar E. Chansky

Freeing Your Child from Anxiety: Powerful, Practical Solutions to Overcome Your Child's Fears, Worries, and Phobias... by Tamar Chansky Ph.D


May I please request that if you find the service I provided helpful at all that you rate me with three or above? Your rating is the only way I am reimbursed for my answer. Thank you so much!

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