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My son is 6.5 years old and started having panic attacks in the end of July, only at bedtime ( a little while after he laid down), and they lasted a week and then stopped as long as I did our "thing" before bed (surround him with 15 different stuffed animals all in their place, with his weighted blanket on him and his star chewie). The last 2 months have been panic attack free until tonight. I laid him down, we did our "thing" and then about 10 minutes later he comes out gives me a hug, says I love you and went back to bed. I didn't think much about it because he does that once in a while. Then a couple minutes later he comes back out and is short of breath. It takes him a few minutes to calm down enough to tell me "the thing isn't working". Then he just sat there hugging me for a few minutes. I asked him if we should try to put more teddy bears on his bed and see if that will help. He agree's and after sitting with him for a few minutes he fell asleep.
This is nothing compared to when they started (where he was completely freaking out and saying "This isn't my life, this isn't my life." But i am afraid he will continue having them now that they have started back up again.
Does anyone deal with these? What do you do to help your child? I feel so helpless during these episodes and wish I could do more for him.
All I can say is that I have severe anxiety disorder and I suffer from severe panic attacks a lot. I know how your son is feeling. My anxiety did not start up though until a few years ago after a traumatic event.
The best thing you can do is remind him that there is nothing wrong with him and talk him through his attack (completely change the subject). Talking helps keep your mind focused on other things. Also, stay calm and act like it is no big deal, as he may start to fear the panic attacks. Ignore the attack, because that could develope into panicing about panicing. It is the worse thing that could happen, as that was my problem a year ago. I'd panic before I'd ever do the activity that would cause me to panic. For example, I panic with driving in traffic. So if I ever needed to go somewhere, I'd have severe attacks the whole morning before I left. Just the thought of having to drive somewhere was horrible to me. You do not want him to associate bedtime with this.
Just stay calm, act like it is no big deal, and just let him know that he is normal and that everything is ok. Hopefully he will grow out of it before he gets older. Just remember the difficulty breathing is super scary, but the worse that could happen is that he blacks out (has happened to me before). If that does happen, at least his breathing will go back to normal when he does. I know that sounds bad, but honestly this is the only way I have learned not to be scared of blacking out. It is not like I am going to die from it, so I just have to accept it.
I hope I could be more help, but hopefully this has helped a bit.
Thank you so much Lindsey!! I'm very glad you decided to come back to the boards, you will be such a great help to parents new to ADHD and hopefully we can help you in some way too.
I went through a period of having panic attacks a few years ago, though brief, it was scary. I still get them once in a great while but have learned to basically breath through them. I try to get him to focus on other things, which does seem to help a bit. Thanks for the advice!!
Your welcome. My anxiety was severe and pretty much holed me up inside the house for a long time. I am in a lot better place right now, but I still have my moments. I hope it gets better for you both. I hate to think of a child suffering of what I went through.