Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Anxiety Disorder and Autism

As of the last week, or so, Nick’s anxiety has increased at school—and going to school, as well. About 3, or so, years ago, I had to take him to a therapist and a psychiatrist (for meds) to help him with a, almost debilitating, case of anxiety. We tried Luvox to relieve the anxiety and OCD, and it has worked, wonderfully, for these three years, and on a low dose, too. Just to reiterate, the OCD was like being hen-pecked with his perseveration about obsessive issues—like being nervous at school. I would hear: "I'm nervous in school, Mom" about 10 times just in the 20 minutes he would be getting ready for school. And my response? Well that was well practiced, too. I mean, if I didn't just say: "I know you are Nick," then he would get upset... apparently he just wants to hear those words--and nothing else--to help him through the issue...

So, I asked his teacher if she’s noticed an increase in anxiety at school—and that I would be calling his doctor to see about finally increasing the dose—I mean let’s face it, he’s only on 50 milligrams and went through 2 growth spurts since starting the meds (he’s now 5’7, and 14 years old), so I thought it just has to be the meds, but I just got this e-mail from his teacher…

I'm thinking part of Nick's anxiety is that we are planning a practice
lockdown drill. We don't know when it will be happening, and he is very nervous
about the whole process. We have stressed to him that it's just practice so we know
what to do in the event of an emergency. We have practiced them within the
classroom and they have talked about them in each class he attends. Until the
practice lockdown passes, an aide has been walking with him to his classes, rather
than going independently, to help with his anxiety. I'm hoping once we have the
practice lockdown, Nick's anxiety will be alleviated, as I'm not sure there will be
another practice one this school year

Other than the lockdown, nothing else has changed here at school. He was slated to do the Pledge of Allegiance on the intercom this week which he has been practicing for months and really excited about, but has decided not to do it this week, he's just too nervous about the lockdown. Maybe he can try again later in the year.

Something to mention to the doctor; however, I’m also experiencing more frustration at home.. So I think I will be upping his meds… Tough call!

Any thoughts?


Shea's Mom said...

I don't know, the practice lockdown is stressing me out too! I mean what a crappy thing to have to lay on the kids, fer crimany sakes!

I know it is needed in this day and age but Sheesh. Poor kid.

All in all, it might be a good idea to double check dosage. With all the wacky teen hormones going on, it couldn't hurt to check. Plus he is shooting up like a bean.

Good luck and keep us in the loop.

Tanya @ Teenautism said...

I really think they should give the special needs kids more specific notice about the date of the practice lockdown. They do that with fire drills at Nigel's school and it really helps him deal with it better. But it might also be time to increase Nick's dosage - we had to do that with Nigel recently too. He's also 5'7" now!

Mama Mara said...

Ditto. I wish med dosing were less art and more science. I hate being the one who provides the only real "data" when it comes to mucking around with my kids' medications. Why can't the doctor do a test that's more objective and quantitative, instead of relying on me saying "he seems more anxious to me"? Why? Why?

I'm a little frazzled today. Sorry.

HA! My word verification was RESET. Just what I need.

Bobbi said...

Poor guy. That has to be hard on both of you. I think Parker would react that exact same way. How am I going to handle all of this when Parker is older. (Sorry about hijacking your blog) There are too many scary things coming up! I want to bury my head in the sand for the next 12 years! Sorry, I am of no help but I deeply sympathise. (sp)

Anonymous said...

Hi Holly,
Anxiety has been the big issue for us this year.. it's gone through the roof! I, too, think it's the hormones and growth spurt, and I wish this were a more exact science, it's so frustrating! I was advised to try an additional anti-anxiety med on MCAS days, but I'm not sure what to do. Has anyone done that?

I'm also afraid of getting into a drug cocktail situation. Sometimes I wish I could just keep my son home where he can be safe and happy and where he doesn't need drugs!

I love Nick's artwork!
Thanks Holly, from your shy, anonymous friend!

Holly Nappi Collins said...

Hey, thanks everyone for your advice and support---I truly appreciate your friendships...

Bobbi: I know it seems overwhelming, but I take everything day by day...it's the only way.. And, um, sometimes I hide under the covers...

Anon. Friend: That's a tough one for me, too.. Perhaps someone can offer some advice about add'l meds and test taking..??

Thanks again for your comments!!

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