Anxiety for a 7 Year Old Boy

Updated on August 25, 2011
L.C. asks from McKinney, TX
13 answers

My 7 year old son has been coping with anxiety since June. He was having physical symptoms that caused me take him to the doctor and have several tests run. Everything came back negative and now we know that it is his anxiety that is causing it. We have an appointment with a "play therapist" on the 30th. His pediatrician is recommending that we start him on prozac. I'm so confused, I feel sick thinking abut starting my son on prozac but I also feel sick seeing him suffer. I was just wondering if there were any other parents out there dealing or have dealt with this.

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So What Happened?

Thank you so much for the comments. Funny how I didn't say anything about tornados and it was brought up. He goes into a state of panic if there is a cloud in the sky because he thinks a tornado is coming. I love the idea of finishing the story of the "what if there was a tornado". I also had not even thought of a homeopathic remedy. I have ordered Bach Kids Rescue Remedy from a recommendation from a health food store. I also ordered K-OK KIddie Calmer as a back-up if that doesn't work. Thank you!!

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answers from San Francisco on

Yes! My daughter is 12 and has always been anxious, but it wasn't until this spring that it started to affect her physically and mentally. She has been in therapy once a week for the past two months and has gotten better, though she still has a ways to go. If therapy is not enough (I'm going to give it another few months) I will consider putting her on medication because what matters most to me is that she feels good and happy again.
So my advice to you is to see how the therapy goes before starting the medication, he may not need it after all. Good luck :)

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answers from Denver on

His anxiety is likely driven by a story or stories in his head that he isn't completely aware of. Support him in verbalizing as best he can what his deepest fears are. (play therapy is great for this!) Allow him the space to really describe what he is thinking. Just listen. Do not try and make it all better by invalidating or shutting down his irrational fears. Instead support him in becoming aware of the whole story and then taking him to the next step.

For example, if he were afraid that a tornado was going to hit his house, walk him through all the things that he thinks would happen. Then ask him what would happen next. Then what would happen next. And ask him what kinds of things you guys would do to deal with the situation such as going to stay with family or friends or purchasing new things or helping other people.

The problem with the vicious, scary voice in our heads is that it has a tendency to dwell on the catastrophe and never allows us to go to the bigger picture of what would we be able to do next. No matter how terrible the catastrophe, life always goes on. Support your son in learning how to move through the irrational story and on to the next steps into how the problem always can be resolved even if it is painful for a while. Too many of us get stuck in trying to avoid the pain rather than learning that we have inner and outer tools that can support us in moving through the pain. Such as: humor, friends, family, therapy, determination, hope, compassion, etc.

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answers from Houston on

Personally I would try any other more "natural" way than starting him in such a complicated medicine. There is this tea brand... YOGI.... the name of the tea is Kava Stress Relief.... It has helped me, try it for this days until your appointment... the tea works wonderfully and almost immediately so is not like you need to wait a lot to see if it works or not....also there are some homeopathic pills called child Calm Forte, they may help. The homeopathic and the tea you can find at wholefoods market... the tea you may find also at Kroger or Randalls.

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answers from Dallas on

My 7 year old is quite anxious too and flips out over things like storms because the tornado is going to rip down our house. I take him to a chiropractor. Sometimes adjusting him can relieve tension on a nerve that is increasing (but probably not the root) of his anxiety. The reason I take him to Dr. Kathi Perry (in arlington) is that she also does accupuncture and alterntive treatments. As long as we make periodic visits, he does okay but he still has issues. I'm not a fan of drugs until it's the last option. You may also want to ask around for a nutrionist that specializes in kids. There are so many paths that may or may not help. Good luck to you and your son.

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answers from Boca Raton on

I would look into an integrative physician to make sure you're not missing underlying physical issues. In my personal experience mainstream peds do not run enough, or the right, tests.

I love a book by Kenneth Bock, MD called "Healing the New Childhood Epidemics . . . " I would check my library for it, as well as alternative treatments for anxiety.

My biggest concern with Prozac was (if I remember correctly) that there is a rat study out there that shows stunted growth. A neuro-psychiatrist reassured me that she hadn't encountered that problem in her practice - but this was a gal who was 4'10 probably and I'm not sure she'd ever acknowledge anyone else as "short."

If my child were 7 looking at Prozac I would be very concerned. I would ask the prescribing physician about all the possible side effects, including stunted growth (i.e., whether, indeed, that is a possibility - no matter how small).

Anxiety is very, very tough to handle. My heart goes out to you and I hope that you can get good solutions for your child.

I am not a health care provider of any type - this is just my "mom" opinion.

PS: I just noticed that it's your ped who wants to prescribe. Before doing that I would go to a pediatric neuro-psychiatrist for another opinion.

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answers from Detroit on

take him to a psychiatrist. I would not have a regular dr prescribing this drug to a small child.

find a good child psychiatrist.. there are not many out there and good ones are rare...

prozac is one of the stronger antidepressants.. zoloft is milder.

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answers from Dallas on

Please Please try not to do the prozac! There are many new studies showing the harmful effects of this drug. Have you considered Classical Homeopathy?
There are others avenues to pursue also. If you are interested in names I can connect you to some wonderful doctors who DO NOT use drugs!



answers from Tyler on

My daughter was diagnosed with anxiety around this time last year. She was six. I did not get supportive responses from relatives and friends. They thought it was ridiculous. That was the most difficult part for us. We took it seriously and do the best we can to help her. I don't know how to tell you how to handle it. Research the options and choose what you honestly feel best about. We have not medicated her and have worked with her to redirect her when she is experiencing a stressful situation. She is much better now:) Best wishes!



answers from Dallas on

Go to & learn about Dr. Sandy Gluckman. She is wonderful & helps parents understand how stress (emotional or physical) leads to inflamation in the body & affects us all in a variety of ways.

To determine if there are biomedical reasons to explain your son's anxiety, you can contact Dr. Cavazos with BrainworX Center in Plano

I was also told to put my son on medication, but I didn't go that route & am so glad that I contacted these providers to help us instead. We have seen tremendous progess & are so thankful that we got to the root of the issue instead of masking it.

God bless & good luck



answers from Dallas on

Hang in there. My daughter had similar issues. She went to a play therapist and within a couple of months she was TONS better. With the therapist she made a list of coping techniques or things she could do when she was anxious (think of something happy, blow raspberries at what scared her, etc.) and had relaxation passages i read to her at night. She is now a well adjusted, bubbly and happy teenager. A psychologist once told me that behavior modification usually works just as well if not better than medication (although medication is sometimes needed in the interim while coping techniques are learned). With a child though, I'd definitely try the therapist first. You may be surprised at how much better he feels when he knows his concerns are being taken seriously and a "dr" is going to help him. Good luck!!



answers from Dallas on

My son is on Lexapro and it's helping with day to day issues. A major problem he has is with kids his own age. He's in group therapy, but we still have a major hill to climb.



answers from Dallas on

Please stay away from anti-depressants, your kid is too young for that and I have heard really scary things about their side-effects (esp. prozac). You should have him checked by a homeopathic doctor, they might be slower to effect but very long-term and without side-effects. Dr. Alex Bekker and Dr. Dan Cook are the ones I know here.
Hope your son feels better, I have been there in my adulthood and its not easy, but doable without drugs!



answers from Los Angeles on

I'd go ahead with the prozac on a tiny dose (whatever you can do that is bare minimal for his weight/size) and when you see the therapist review what else can be done, explaining that you want him off the prozac asap. Get his anxiety under control for now and then when he's more "normal" wean him off the prescription stuff and try something more natrual.

I'd also have the therapist screen him for ADD. My second kiddo has ADD (no hyperness) can often be anxious. I do a lot of talking, letting him know what the plans of the day are, if and when/where we are going out and keeping him in a set routine to keep keep his anxiety level low. My ADDer often "over thinks" things which can lead him right into an anxiety attack and has a couple times in the past 5 years put him into a panic attack. For example, just simply going over what he "should" do if he gets lost while we are at disneyland can put him into an anxiety tailspin because he starts over thinking it... lose mom, lose dad, am lost, nobody around, gets dark, past bedtime, scary scary scary - i literally have to "catch" him and remind him that if he's lost he has to find a stroller or another mom or park/store employee and I'll be looking for him too! He has a "look" and when i see it then its time to stop and talk him out of the circle he gets into.

HTH and best wishes.

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