How can I help my 17 year old daughter deal with anxiety problems?
My daughter is going to be starting college this June, 2008. She is a very smart girl, however, she has always experienced somewhat of anxiety. For example, when she was an infant I could not take her where there was a lot of noisy people. She just cried and cried. When she was with a group for homecoming dance and they all went to a restaurant she called me and said that just as soon as she went in her chest felt heavey and she was very anxious. Now, it seems to be getting worse. I have sent her to a doctor but I would like to know what medications that are not addictive that I can request. I do not think a child should take zanex nor does she want to get on an antidepressant because she is not depressed. Last night she told me that she has got to do something because she feels out of control. This is a child that is absolutely gorgeous, extremely popular, very gifted in school who scored 1350 on SAT in the 9th grade. The medication frightens me because her dad has very addictive personalities and I see that in my daughter. I would like to have some options so my daughter doesn't think I am just ignoring her request.
There are a number of great options for an intelligent and motivated young woman like your daughter. There are extremely effective non-pharmacological treatments for anxiety that I think she would be a perfect candidate for.
You should consider pursuing a therapist for her that specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Treatments (CBT) for anxiety. This kind of treatment would most likely involve short-term therapy in which your daughter would meet with the therapist to discuss her thoughts and feelings related to anxiety-provoking situations. Psychologists have discovered that most individuals who suffer from severe anxiety or depression have "faulty" or inaccurate beliefs that lead them to feel badly or worry. Indeed, these thoughts are often so well ingrained that we don't even realize we are thinking them. The therapist helps the client to identify the thoughts and rediscover the truth of their realities. You can ask your daughter's school counselor or friends for referrals.