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Torie

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I can't believe how long it has taken me to figure out how much anxiety has impacted my household.  Truth be told, I still haven't figured it out, I think.  I'm starting to wonder if the things I always attributed to depression in my own mental state were actually more akin to anxiety.

The topic came into focus when my non-Ed d asked to get a mental health evaluation because she thought she might have schizophrenia.  She was pretty sure she also had depression.  Her diagnosis ended up being extreme anxiety (Unspecified Anxiety Disorder, to be exact).  

The topic of AN / anxiety / missing school has come up on heartbeat's thread.  As I noted there, my Ed-d missed a lot of school (absences, tardies) due to what I now see (in retrospect) was anxiety.  I'm not sure what I thought at the time, other than that she had at least two life-threatening illnesses, was near the border of being pulled from school entirely, and in my professional judgement as a mom, there were many days when she needed to stay home.

I wanted to sign her up for DBT which I still would be the most helpful to her.  The problem was, the two certified providers in my general area both said it's a 6-month commitment, two sessions per week.  Miss two and - bam - you're out.  My d has extracurriculars (non-athletic) that take loads of time and are not compatible with the DBT schedule.  Since I wasn't willing to pull her from her extracurriculars, she didn't get to do the DBT.  Maybe we should try a different (i.e., uncertified) DBT provider this summer?

I bought Tamar Chansky's book long ago, but never got past the first chapter.  So, yeah, I need to dig that up and actually read it.  But that's all I know.

What does everyone else have to say about anxiety?

Thanks. xx

-Torie

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ooKoo

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Reply with quote  #2 

Anxiety runs amok in our house too, Torie.  [rolleyes]

In hindsight, it has probably always been lurking, but I wasn’t really aware of its existence until sometime after my D1 was diagnosed with AN.   She actually had some insight following her last relapse (this time last year) and she said that the anxiety needed addressing, and not the AN.  As she wasn’t underweight at this point, the team agreed to try this.   She was put on medication and things have fallen into place for her since.

My D2 also suffers from anxiety hugely - possibly due to seeing her older sister so unwell with AN or possibly due to the fact that when she was 4 she was very seriously ill and had to spend 6 weeks in hospital. 

Like you, I wonder if the Anxiety comes from me.  I hugely over-think.  I worry about things that may never even happen, but I worry about them anyway.  I play out every scenario in my head and then worry about each one.  My head is permanently buzzing.  Not sure if that IS anxiety, but I guess it could be.  My father and my brother-in-law were both alcoholics because they couldn’t cope socially without drinking heavily beforehand.  So there is a history of anxiety in the family. 

My D1 has been going to CBT for a few months and has built up a good relationship with her therapist, but because it is through the NHS, it is only one hour every 3 weeks.  My D has benefitted from this hugely.  Her sessions are (by the grace of god) on her day off work, so she attends, although if they were to change day, I am not convinced that she would go). Her therapist is pregnant, so I know the sessions will stop at some point.  *sigh*

It is such a shame that the DBT clashes with your  Ds schedule.  Maybe, as you say, you will be able to find a more intensive course over the Summer break, which would be less intrusive.

I do feel that when weight recovered, it is important to address the anxiety.

Kxx


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UK - South East

17.5 yo D

Dx AN Feb 2015 (Aged 15). Pre-existing low self-esteen and high anxiety. 

2015: 3 x medical hospital admissions. 1 month in IP which she self discharged from [eek].
2016: 3 x hospital admissions.
2017: Currently attending CAMHS CBT. WR, at college, living life to the max.

On particularly rough days when I am sure I can't possibly endure, I like to remind myself that my track record for getting through bad days so far is 100% and that's pretty good. [Author Unknown]
FaithKeepsMeGoing

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Reply with quote  #3 
Our family, too, has a history of anxiety.  Torie, I found your observation interesting:

I'm starting to wonder if the things I always attributed to depression in my own mental state were actually more akin to anxiety.

From the time I was about 10, I suffered bouts of what I thought was depression.  It wasn't until my oldest daughter self-diagnosed her ocd and I embarked upon a campaign to learn everything that I could about ocd, that I realized that what I'd thought was depression was actually the result of anxiety.  So we have one with an eating disorder, another with severe ocd, and the other two kids . . . well, I'm pretty sure that one of them has ocd, although much less severe than his sister, and the 4th kid struggles with some level of anxiety.  Sigh.  A "gift" I wish we hadn't had to give them.  Now that I'm aware, I realize that anxiety disorders plague both sides of the family tree.
melstevUK

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Reply with quote  #4 
I think there are two very different facets to anxiety, the anxiety-type thinking (often a result of trauma early on in life) and having a physiological predisposition to anxiety, which means the 'fearful thought' is immediately felt as an adrenaline type response in the body and which itself is extremely unpleasant. 

After years of suffering anxiety and depression - the depression treated initially successfully with years of psychotherapy and reading lots of self-help books, and learning lots of positive self-talk - my conclusions are that it is very difficult to get rid of the 'rapid reaction' physiological anxiety.  Maybe mindfulness and yoga work.  For me the only thing that has worked on all levels is an ssri - I never felt well until I tried an ssri in my forties and it seemed to help on both levels.  

I believe there is an interplay with serotonin levels and adrenaline levels, and that raising the first lowers the latter.  A lot of people feel that this can be a bit numbing but for me it makes such a huge difference.  

I have a friend who developed severe OCD in her teens and she is on a low dose ssri - I never developed any kind of OCD because I think I am of a lazy disposition and I just was depressed.  I would always lose myself in a book or my studies and that would help me escape from the world for a while.

Ultimately all medication is about alleviating suffering - and evidently emotional pain affects the brain in the same areas as physical pain.  I believe we all have to learn to be 'sensitive' to our brains and our physiology as well, not just to our moods, to be able to respond to what medication is best for us, and be able to weigh up the benefits.  I found propanolol (beta blocker) helpful for a while, but then after a certain period of time I felt too lethargic.  

What is difficult to work out is what is a 'normal' level of anxiety and what is not.  When we only have our life experiences to go on, it is hard to know that what you may be experiencing is outside healthy 'normal' parameters.  Certainly none of my therapists ever suggested that I may benefit from an antidepressant - they thought that 'talking therapies' were enough.  But the difference an ssri made to my life made me see just how ill I had been since my teens.  Even though serious clinical depression runs in our family, I never realised that this was what I was experiencing because it was all I had ever known.

Ultimately we all want to function at our optimal level, and we also want optimal wellness.  Which is why I am very hard now on my d if she stops taking her antidepressant and is then all weepy and lacking in confidence.  She now has to manage her own brain and health and work out what is manageable, acceptable, bearable in terms of her moods and responses.  I think we should all be encouraging our children to get into this way of thinking - and teach that suffering unnecessarily is not worth doing.  But I have a very pro-medication outlook because of my own experiences.


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HateEDwithApassion

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Reply with quote  #5 
Hi Torie,

I believe my D struggles with anxiety. I almost wonder where anxiety ends and depression begins. The DBT module, distress tolerance, is all about dealing with feelings of fear, anxiety, sadness, etc. It gives specific practical tools on how to help minimize those feelings instead of find ways to escape from those feelings that might not be helpful. It is a game changer in terms of providing our teens with tools that they can actually use day-to-day to hopefully make better decisions when they want to do something that really isn't helpful, long-term. Anxiety is tough. My D wants to not face it. DBT taught me as a parent that making her face her anxiety is actually better long term. The module, Walking the Middle Path was eye opening to me about how I was reinforcing anxiety, avoidant behaviors we didn't want and not necessarily reinforcing behaviors I did want. You might be able to read about those tactics online.

I can't say enough about the power of DBT. In our group, there was a teen who started out not able to come into the room or stay in the room for more than a few minutes without breaking down. When we finished our 6-months of sessions, she was the one volunteering thoughts and experiences and how she was using the skills. It was remarkable to see the changes in the other participants. So, that being said, if there's any way you can fit it into your schedule, I think it is a true gift to our children to teach them these skills now.  

My D is still struggling but the seeds are planted and hopefully, as she matures, she'll use them more. She still sees her adherent DBT therapist every week. And her dietician 1 x/week while in track.

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17 yo D. Diagnosed in July 2013. W/R in Sept. 2013 and has remained so. Roller coaster on and off since, mainly with ED under control but co-morbid depression and other negative coping mechanisms making our life hell. Trusting in God for daily strength and wisdom.
iHateED

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Reply with quote  #6 
What an important topic to discuss.  I knew both of my D's had anxiety before they were hit with ED's in high school.   Both in a good recovery now, but their anxiety has really spiked.  I am quite concerned with how quickly the professionals just wrote them prescriptions and sent them on their merry way!  Both D's went to different psychiatrists and both were prescribed 3 medications (daily medication, one rescue medication for in the moment attacks, and sleep meds) with less than 30 mins of taking their personal history.   Both were sent on their way with their prescriptions and told to come back in a few weeks for follow up!   No mention of "let's hook you up with a therapist", DBT or CBT skills, or other calming solutions (yoga, meditation).  Just here's your medications and don't let the door hit you on the way out!  WTF

When I try to pose this question, "what comes first, the anxiety or the depression?" I always think the answer is the anxiety (even though for me, it's internal and unfounded anxiety, like getting in a bad car accident or something you cannot predict),  and the depression hits when the anxiety is just too overwhelming. 
heartbeat1

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Thanks Torie, for staring a thread on Anxiety, as it really will be interesting to see how different children display symptoms of anxiety. I myself also suffer from anxiety, but whilst growing up did not know I was feeling anxious, just thought I was depressed from school friends, falling out and bullying etc.

I take medication and the one I take still lets me think clearly, (the one I took years back from other problems made me act like a zombie!) and definitely relaxes my mind, to not worry about anything and everything. I saw a councillor for 6 sessions but as it was NHS only saw him every 2/3 weeks, but he had a good analogy like I have my shopping bag, and my son has his shopping bag, I can look in his shopping bag, but don't take stuff out and put it in mine, as I then take on his worries, and a good way not to take on more problems, but hard when it's your own child.

My son keeps saying he does not have anxiety, but his body language says differently. I used to be anti medication, but now I think if it helps us get over a bad few months, years or forever, then so be it. If you had diabetes you would take insulin, so as I see it, no different, as anxiety is a chemical imbalance in the brain, and we take what we need to help us through bad times.
sweetblossoms05

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Reply with quote  #8 
I'm about to start looking for resources about retraining the brain in respect to anxiety. has anyone come across any good literature? My D has had anxiety/fear issues since a very small child. My other 3 girls do not have these issues so her therapist things she may have inherited a predisposition for the disorder.  I'm really keen to try to find a way to change her neural pathways as we know brains are so complex- surely there must be a way! I'm living in hope [smile] Just got to get through Anoreixa first- nearly at Phase II Maudelsy.
braveMom

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Very relevant topic for us as we now understand that all my daughter's issues stem from anxiety. She is in solid recovery ED wise and is a freshman in college. But she gets caught in the vicious cycle - procrastination from anxiety to the point she is too overwhelmed because the work is piling and that leads to depression and worthlessness and more anxiety. Yoga and meditation do help her but she doesn't make time for these. She has tried SSRI/SNRI in the past that increased depression and suicidal thoughts and is not on any medication at present. She takes Xanax very sparingly if she's having a anxiety attack and does help at that moment. Although she is managing in college and has come a long way in terms of social life, she still struggles especially during the week of exams and quizzes. She will always be a worrier probably and like one of the moms in this post thinks through all scenarios. But, now, she is very aware of her anxiety and I think it helps knowing that it is her anxiety talking and the situation she is in is not too bad. I encourage therapy and relaxation (yoga/meditation) but she has asked to give some time before starting therapy as this is just her first year and she thinks it will be better in the coming months and years. I think this semester is better than last.

She's come a long way in terms of social anxiety though, although she still likes to be alone for sometime every day and she probably will always need that downtime. She has made a lot of friends in college and is very engaged. She had severe social anxiety when she had ED and early stages of recovery. Most of her anxiety, at the moment, is around school work as her major involves pretty intense work and we are asking for reduced load starting next semester and hoping will help with the cycle of anxiety->procrastination/avoidance->anxiety/depression.

She always had anxiety but was highly intensified with ED and is getting better as she recovers, but she will always be a worrier. I agree with melstev and tell my daughter that it's not worth suffering when there is help out there with medication, therapy and yoga/meditation. But my daughter is anti medication. She believes therapy helped her come out of her ED trenches but does not want to try for anxiety. She is too lazy to do yoga/meditation although meditation helped her with sleep and calming in her early stages of recovery.
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Reply with quote  #10 
Really interesting subject, Torie.

BraveMom, there's a great book that I've come across called Overcoming Perfectionism (Roz Shafran and colleagues). It's based on the cognitive-behavioural model and describes exactly the situation you've outlined with your daughter. It also mentions how EDs commonly co-occur with perfectionism.

It's part of a series of books that in the UK are now 'prescribed'. I've seen it have a really positive impact with a young lady with very entrenched perfectionism. Maybe it would help your D, if and when she feels she wants to address her anxiety.

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Reply with quote  #11 
Although my D is in recovery, the anxiety still remains but is now far more manageable. It was the crippling anxiety which made us take her out of school. Now it just rears its ugly head whenever there is an assignment that needs to be handed in at college.  She always achieves top marks but the day before it is due to be handed in she goes into a meltdown - literally freezes.  During her GCSE's she was almost paralyzed with fear to the point that she couldn't even open a book.  She still managed to pass with top grades though.  I think she has suffered with this to a lesser degree for many years pre ED.  We know the routine now and her college know the situation.  We only see this reaction with the written element of things though.  D is studying Performing Arts and has no problem with the performing element whatsoever - that is so amazing when I look back to a year ago when she refused to even see her friends.  I am hoping the further along the road to recovery the more she will be able to manage her anxiety.
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Anxiety is what started my daughter down the road of not eating.  She found that not eating helped her feel better and at a young age that was all she really understood.  Add in the genetics and a bout of food poisoning that led to not eating for a week (and then a lessening of her anxiety) and away we went.  I wish I knew then what I know now and had been better equipped to help her.
Torie

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Reply with quote  #13 
Thanks for all the replies.  So interesting!

The most dramatic demonstration of anxiety in my own life relates to childbirth.  When we got to the hospital to give birth the first time, everything was going swimmingly.  But then they did a series of boneheaded things, and my labor stopped.  Ended up being induced.  (Ugh.) 

So, after that, I picked a different hospital for the next kid.  Everything was going fine for a while, but then, again, my labor stopped.  We waited hours and hours, with me asking, begging, pleading to be able to go outside for a while.  They said I couldn't leave the building because then when I came back it would count as a second admission, and the insurance will only pay for one admission per childbirth.  But eventually they let me leave.  Literally before I out the door of the building, I was again having strong, effective contractions.  (We went to get breakfast, and the line was r-e-a-l-l-y slow.  When they finally asked how many in our party, our friend said, "Five.  Well, maybe six depending on how long it takes.")

Back inside the hospital ... they said I had come back at the perfect time and that there was no way my labor would stop at that point.  Well, it did.  I went outside a second time, and, again the contractions were coming fast and furious before I was even out the door.

The looks we got!  There we were in downtown Philadelphia right outside a hospital with me very visibly in labor.  "Do you need help?"  "There's a hospital right there - why don't you go in?" asked the helpful passers-by.

Eventually we went back in.  She said there was really no way, now, for the labor to stop as birth was imminent.  I could sense an internal war with one side fighting to shut down labor, but, thankfully, the baby was born very shortlythereafter .

What is interesting to me is that I wasn't aware of a difference in anxiety level between when I was inside the building as compared to when I was outside.  I didn't feel the adrenalin rush of pounding heart and sweaty hands or anything ... rather, I just watched my labor grind to a halt.

So I had a dramatic demonstration of the power of anxiety - even though I couldn't feel the difference in anxiety level, it made the difference between productive labor and labor coming to a screeching halt not once but twice.  (Or, three times if you count the birth of Kid1). 

Curious.  xx

-Torie

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heartbeat1

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On the subject of anxiety, can you maybe tell me the ways in which the anxiety shows in your children. My 17 year old son went to see year head yesterday and was visibly nervous, wringing hands together, red in face, and you could see him itching to escape as soon as he could. Today whilst going back to school for 8.40 was horrendous, because he got all bad tempered at me, as I said its 8.30 and you should be gone by now! He blames every thing, ie lack of concentration on lack of sleep(sleeps from 10.30-6.30) not engaging, getting annoyed etc, but can't see that it is anxiety, and definitely won't accept he has Briian illness, and if you mention it gets so mad.

Do your children get irritable, angry or do girls act differently with signs of anxiety to boys ?
mjkz

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Quote:
Do your children get irritable, angry or do girls act differently with signs of anxiety to boys ?


My daughter did a lot of the same kinds of things that your son is doing and would bite my head off anytime I mentioned anxiety.  I eventually required her to try meds and after being on them for awhile, she noticed a huge difference in what she was able to do, the fact that she could concentrate and that she could cope with social situations.  Total turnaround now.
braveMom

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Reply with quote  #16 
hi Heartbeat, My d was very irritable and would blow up too. She was very clear that she couldn't go to school as a Senior. Her anxiety spiked the week before school started and her behaviors returned. We tried for a week and then opted for home bound school and online schooling to graduate from high school. But staying at home made her feel guilty. She always has this indecisiveness about her and whatever she chooses she beats herself...or maybe the voice in her head abused her. I tried reminding her that she is home to recover effectively. Anyway fast forward end of Senior year and she was so behind in her online classes because she just couldn't start them (avoidance from anxiety). And obviously depression because she didn't see a future for herself and a little relapse. She was admitted into her dream college and she wanted to go to college because she thought it would be a new start and pushed through her classes. She wrote her last online exam 4 days before starting college. She still has anxiety but is at least able to go to classes and is somewhat enjoying friends and college. I think brain healing helped but I think she needs help with her anxiety. I feel she is still so fragile especially when there are lot of assignments due or exams. But is more rational now than a year ago (she was 17 then) and will converse about what will help. A year ago, it was impossible to have a conversation with her to get help...just like your son. Any conversation about her issues and help would blow her up. He may be at a stage where his brain is not there yet where he can focus and handle stress. You may have to find a balance where he's doing something working towards his goals but not too much that is overwhelming. From what you describe he definitely has anxiety and his brain is still healing and the brain is just not able to handle school at this point. Will 2 classes per day help?

Hi mjkz, May I know what meds helped your d. I know each one reacts differently but want to see what kind of meds are prescribed for anxiety

Hi cjac16, Thanks for the book recommendation. I will look into it. My daughter manages to get decent grades in college too but can go downhill very fast when overwhelmed. She had to drop one of her class recently to reduce the load and she said all her old vibes came back like the voices saying she is a failure. She was depressed for few days and skipped few classes for the first time in college. But the difference now is she bounces back. And she says her other voice automatically fights back. I'm just so glad that she's just an hour away.
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Quote:
Hi mjkz, May I know what meds helped your d. I know each one reacts differently but want to see what kind of meds are prescribed for anxiety


The meds that have helped the most have been a low dose of an atypical antipsychotic (Seroquel for my daughter, olanzapine for a lot of others here) and low dose of a med like Klonopin or Ativan.  We have never found an antidepressant that has helped with anxiety and she has a lot of side effects to most antidepressants.  The best antidepressant she has been on that did help with anxiety was low dose Remeron.  Remeron is unique in that at low doses it can help with sleep, anxiety, and appetite and then as you get to higher doses, it hits other neurotransmitters so those effects can lessen. 

I wish she could take SSRI's but she gets severe hair loss on every single one of them (independent of ED).  By the time she gets to a good dose, she is highly distressed with the hair loss so we have had to try others that aren't as typical.  We actually got the genetic testing done for antidepressants and it was extremely helpful.  She was already on Effexor and the med that came up as the most effective with her genes was Pristiq which is an active metabolite of Effexor.  She did a swap from one to the other and the effect has been nothing short of a miracle.  She went from a nearly fatal Tylenol overdose and begging me on a daily basis to just let her die (when she was home, I hired help to keep an eye on her at night and used my sister-in-law to help when I had to sleep) to now working, volunteering and functioning pretty well.  I wish I had gotten the genetic testing sooner.
berry75

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Reply with quote  #18 
Both of my twins suffered from generalized anxiety from a young age..My daughter with Ed was always worse.We have done alot of different therapies over the years but most stopped with my daughters diagnosis of anorexia.We just needed to focus on the most important thing which was her weight.As she slowly inproves with ups and downs and set backs.It has become more obvious to me now that i can catch my breath,how much anxiety has become part of our everyday lives.After 18months with the ed i finally put my daughter onto prozac at her request as she was sick and tired of being anxious all the time.It has made a big difference and is still early days Definitely not a fix all.So now we are looking new ways to bring relaxation into our lives.
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Reply with quote  #19 
My S is suffering really badly with anxiety/depression. A large part is due to the forthcoming GCSES which he could obviously do next year, but he really wants to plough on. He was never noticeably anxious previous to AN - quite the opposite, so I think that must play a large part.

He reached a healthy weight about 6 or more weeks ago and maintained for about 4/5 weeks, but has started to cut back and has lost weight in the last week or 2, with his mood much lower and him very, very anxious despite good Mocks results. He is still in a healthy weight range, but his mind is not in a good place at all. He also finds it really difficult to find ways of relaxing, as sport used to be his outlet. He has had loads of support with therapies to change his thought patterns, etc, but he just doesn't/can't properly engage.

His psychiatrist prescribed Fluorexetine (in addition to the Olanzapine he is already taking) yesterday, so we are really hoping it will help.
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Reply with quote  #20 
Hi Torie,
Thank you so very much for starting this thread. Anxiety is a huge problem in our household and is still a huge problem for my D even though she is starting month 5 of DBT (very helpful) and is on Effexor (I question the helpfulness) and Seroquel (helpful) for sleep. I also suffer from anxiety but I never knew it until I was diagnosed by a T in 2014 when my daughter began her long, slow relapse. Al Anon, and having a sponsor, has done wonders for my anxiety level and for reducing the anxiety level in our house, which I think is step 1 for my d's recovery. There is no chance she will eat normally if we couldn't do that for her, at least.

I think back to when and how anxiety began in our family. My d as a very young girl (age 5,6) would not be able to eat at birthday parties. I now see it was due to anxiety. Long ago I remember her telling me from the back seat of the car on the way to a classmates birthday party that she felt nervous. I thought nothing of it and thought I was giving her good advice when I shrugged it off, saying 'oh, everyone feels that way'. I had no idea how huge a problem anxiety was for her then, or how huge a problem it would become in her life now. Meadow brought up the idea of perfectionism - my d definitely has that and has had it for a looooong time. It leads to a cycle Bravemom described in this thread of anxiety->procrastination/avoidance->anxiety/depression.

Torie, I too have Tamar Chansky's book and I have only gotten a few pages past where you are.  I picked it up again this week as I now consider it essential reading. I will continue reading it if you will! I would definitely put DBT as a high priority for your D if you are able, and I would definitely make it with a certified DBT therapist. I totally get the not wanting to pull your D from extracurriculars, which are healthy endeavors. Perhaps over the summer will be a good time.


Again, Torie, thank you so much for starting this thread. XO

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Reply with quote  #21 
I think this is a great post. When I think back when things started to go downhill, I would have to say 6 months before restricting when puberty just started. That was the first time I saw anxiety in her eyes. That was also when spiders started to frighten her. At that stage she still ate normally. A couple of months later the compulsive exercise started and 3 months later the restriction. I believe that at the heart of this horrible illness for my D is brain changes due to hormones (puberty), stressful circumstances (change in school) and a growth spurt. She has been diagnosed as being low in phosphate, which is needed for bone and tooth growth. According to the University of Maryland's website low phosphate can lead to "loss of appetite, anxiety, bone pain etc". Just by not being able to absorb enough phosphate at a crucial developmental stage made her susceptible to ED.

Julia Ross wrote in "The diet cure" that low levels of serotonin could cause obsessive thoughts, which may lead to ED: http://www.dietcure.com/aminoacids.html

I'm quoting a couple of paragraphs below:

"Serotonin, perhaps the most well known of the brain’s four key mood regulators, is made from the amino acid L-tryptophan. Because few foods contain high amounts of tryptophan, it is one of the first nutrients that you can lose when you start dieting. Studies show that serotonin levels can drop too low within seven hours of tryptophan depletion. Let’s follow this single essential protein (there are nine altogether) as it becomes more and more depleted by dieting, to see how decreased levels of even one brain nutrient might turn you toward depression, compulsive eating, bulimia, or anorexia.

In his best seller, Listening to Prozac, Peter Kramer, M.D. explains that when our serotonin levels drop, so do our feelings of self-esteem, regardless of our actual circumstances or accomplishments. These feelings can easily be the result of not eating the protein foods that keep serotonin levels high. As their serotonin-dependent self- esteem drops, girls tend to diet even more vigorously. “If I get thin enough, I’ll feel good about myself again!” Tragically, they don’t know that they will never be thin enough to satisfy their starving minds. Extreme dieting is actually the worst way to try to raise self- esteem because the brain can only deteriorate further and become more self-critical as it starves. More and more dieters worldwide are experiencing this miserable side effect of weight reduction on the brain.

When tryptophan deficiency causes serotonin levels to drop, you may become obsessed with thoughts you can’t turn off or behaviors you can’t stop. Once this rigid behavior pattern emerges in the course of dieting, the susceptibility to eating disorders is complete. Just as some low-serotonin obsessive-compulsives wash their hands fifty times a day, some young dieters may begin to practice a constant, involuntary vigilance regarding food and the perfect body. They become obsessed with calorie counting, with how ugly they are, and on how to eat less and less. As they eat less, their serotonin levels fall farther, increasing dieters’ obsession with undereating. As their zinc and vitamin B1 (thiamin) levels drop low as well, their appetite fades. This can be the perfect biochemical setup for anorexia.

Control, which so many therapists and researchers have observed as the central issue of anorexia, often comes down to this: tryptophan (and serotonin) deficiency result in an outbreak of the obsessive behavior that we call “controlling.”  There may be psychological elements in the picture, too, but a low-serotonin brain is ill equipped to resolve them. Several large international studies of the causes of anorexia have concluded that the cause is a genetic serotonin-related mood disorder, not a psychological one."

Sotired

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Reply with quote  #22 
My d has always been anxious.i remember going to parent /teacher conferences at the school and saying to the teacher"can you just tell her it's ok to make mistakes,because she worries about everything ".
Now I realise just how anxious I am as a person ,my h is very anxious,my other kids are too.everyone on my side of the family seems to be more than usually anxious.
I don't look anxious, I don't necessarily appear that way to others because I've trained myself to look confident,but so often I stress about everything.
To help I still sometimes take lorazepam,I am focusing more on body balance classes (combination of yoga,taichi and Pilates)and because I find being around water very calming I try to walk near a lake or a beach once a week.ive also installed a waterfall feature-smallboy loves it too,says he finds it calming as well.
Anxiety is really hard.ironically,I think I'm suffering from it worse than former an daughter now!

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Sotired42
melstevUK

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Reply with quote  #23 
Mamaroo,

Thumbs up to you for your reply Mamaroo - there is definitely a 'low serotonin' aspect to both my depression and my d's ed.  I saw her depression starting in her adolescence before I realised she had an ed.  Evidence and research have shown that there is some kind of difficulty with the serotonin system in eating disorders as well.  Personally I think the surge in oestrogen during adolescence impacts on the brain in some way that affects serotonin levels but that is just a feeling I have.

In terms of books - I really rate 'Parenting your anxious child with mindfulness and acceptance'.  It is easy to understand, gives practical help and I read it our of interest rather than need.  I experienced anxiety as a child - although I did have lots of friends - but I was easily bullied and felt insecure.  So all through my d's own childhood I was consumed by the requirement to give her skills in managing every kind of difficulty, whether it was dealing with difficult friends, managing exams and assessments, going out to new places, how to handle new situations, etc.  It did mean that she had all those skills in place before she became ill, which meant she never isolated herself through the illness - she still kept friendships going, and she has transitioned into adulthood well. What I probably missed was that her eating difficulties may well have been a reflection of the illness and loss of her father which she had no way of articulating at such a young age.  I never made this connection - and it is too late now, so I will never know how much that was part of the picture. 

I have never been able to 'cure' her of her fear of spiders, haha!  She can get professional help if she wants to do anything about that.   But this book is great for providing practical exercises so that you can have a bigger input in helping to manage your child's anxiety.  Definitely worth purchasing and reading.  I have never read Tamar Chansky's book so I cannot compare the two.

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Kali

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Reply with quote  #24 
Quote:
Anxiety is really hard.ironically,I think I'm suffering from it worse than former an daughter now! 


Sotired42 I am with you on that one. Even though we have seen much improvement and d. is not at an unhealthy weight, and she is working hard and going to all of her appointments, she is still clearly struggling with the AN thoughts. MY anxiety is through the roof and I just can't seem to find ways to alleviate it. My energy reserves have been slowly depleted throughout this process and I don't know how to get them back. i just feel worried and exhausted all the time and I have a hard job and in addition to d. and work, my parents are elderly and have been ill and I've been helping them this past year. I tried taking antidepressants but didn't like how they made me feel. (in a fog and high all the time) D is on an antidepressant which seems to be helping her and right now she is enjoying her life more than I am enjoying mine!!

I spend a lot of time worrying that something will happen to me (I have a congenital heart defect) and then d. will die because I'm the one who can override the ED voice in her head.

Ok sorry for the pity party and the rant. Going to look for my big girl panties now and put one foot in front of the other with what I need to do today.

Kali



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mjkz

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Reply with quote  #25 
Quote:
I spend a lot of time worrying that something will happen to me (I have a congenital heart defect) and then d. will die because I'm the one who can override the ED voice in her head.

Ok sorry for the pity party and the rant. Going to look for my big girl panties now and put one foot in front of the other with what I need to do today.


Right there with you Kali.  I worry a lot about what would happen to my daughter if something happened to me.  Sometimes I think it is irrational but then I had surgery just before Thanksgiving and she did well while the crisis was going on but fell apart afterward and avoiding a hospital stay by about an hour.  I don't think it is a pity party when you have legitimate concerns.
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