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Recovery from Childhood Panic Disorder  

 

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My daughter began having anxiety problems at eight. She had been "different" since birth. She slept little and was colicky. I breastfed and continued to eliminate things from my diet that I thought might be causing problems for her. After switching to various formulas I found goat's milk agreed with her.

I noticed during her early years any medication labeled "May cause drowsiness" had the opposite effect. She wasn't hyperactive in the normal sense, but her mind worked overtime. She was reading fluently at four. She had separation anxiety, but attended school from kindergarten through third grade. She enjoyed school and was popular with her teachers and the other students. Her annual test scores amazed us all. She began having allergies, continual sinusitis and eventually asthma during this time. I consulted an allergist who eventually tested her (skin prick test) for allergies. She tested positive for animals, weeds, trees, grass, mold, dust, etc... but no food allergies were present. I created kind of a "clean-room" environment in her room, removing the carpet, putting hepa filters throughout the house, etc...and she improved. She still used antihistimines, asthma inhalers and even steroids a few times when the irritation completely closed her nasal passages.

During her third grade year she began to cry in the morning about going to school. This was accompanied by nausea. We thought she wasn't connecting with her teacher, Mrs. Coldfish, and might be distressed from boredom due to her advanced abilities. I brought her home to home-school planning to re-enroll her the following year.

Once I began homeschooling her, I realized how advanced she was. I considered school programs created for bright students, but her separation anxiety and environmental sensitivities kept her home.

When she was ten she suddenly became extremely nauseated. It seemed in the beginning to be a virus but it came to stay. Gastro doctor #1 ordered an upper GI, which was inconclusive but traumatic for a ten year old. Gastro doctor #2 hospitalized her for dehydration. He scheduled her for a scope test to look into her stomach. He gave her Demerol for the test. It didn't work. He scoped her anyway. Her anxiety became worse. She stayed in the hospital for ten days receiving nutrition via IV, and medications for gastritis and nausea. When her usuable veins were depleted the doctor wanted to put an IV port in her chest. We refused, and since we saw no improvement, we brought her home.

We then found the "Children's Motility Center" at Children's Hospital, which consisted of a gastroenterologist and a psychologist. They saw Jennifer and admitted her to Children's Hospital as a nutritional emergency. They prescribed valium. She began to eat. They diagnosed Panic Disorder and prescribed Paxil. They tried several drugs for sleep and found Doxepin made her drowsy. They released her suggesting perhaps I should consider a psychiatric hospital for her.

A few days later I found The Panic Disorders Institute. The doctor saw Jennifer immediately, took her off the Paxil and started her on Xanax and Carafate for her stomach. He explained that the sinusitis/asthma was probably caused by refluxing bile, the cause of her gastro-discomfort. She improved almost immediately and over the next year became functional again.

I began reading about Panic Disorder on the internet and found someone with symptoms identical to what my daughter described. He found he reacted to grain and dairy proteins in a negative way. I took Jennifer off gluten and yeast fifteen months ago.

At the beginning of the dietary change, she was taking 3 mg. of Xanax a day, Doxepin at night to sleep and Carafate for her digestion. She is now medication free. She hasn't had a panic attack since I changed her diet.

She is thirteen now and attends school part time. Her doctor has her taking chelated calcium/magnesium, Taurine, Coenzyme Q10, and a multi vitamin. She is happy, socially active, and full of fun, praise God.

She had been in three hospitals, been evaluated by eight doctors, and no one ever suggested diet might be a factor.

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