I work in a residential treatment facility for troubled teenage girls. A 14 year old I work with, will sometimes have a "panic attack" when girls start fighting. This doesn't happen every time though. She will drop to the ground, start spazzuming/shaking and make dolphin noises. Most of my coworkers and myself believe this is solely attention seeking behavior. Others have doubt since none of us have medical degrees. Can you tell me if this sounds like a legitimate panic attack?
Most of the time yes. In one very specific incident, she said she didn't but then when asked even 15 minutes later she can recall the entire event. She goes back and forth, she'll say she doesn't then slip up by telling someone what she said or what a staff said or did.
She gets very defensive about it. She's had several talks with staff about it.
And in every instance, no matter how calm or gentle the talk is she gets loud, irrational and starts screaming that it's real. What truly makes me thinks it's an act, is the fact that it doesn't happen every time she sees a fight. She in no way tries to avoid being out of sight of situations and has had fights herself with none of these "reactions".
Is this kind of behavior referenced in her chart? This seems like a very specific thing she's doing (or experiencing) and it's so unusual I would think it would be mentioned in her medical/social history.
Very good point by Rockrose. I doubt if this behavior just suddenly started. There should be either some medical record or her past school would have noticed this. I would call the school nurse at her old school.
By the way, you keep referring to this as a "panic attack" and trying to put things into that perspective. I assume that is somebody's idea of what might be going on. But, of course, it could be something else. You must have some kind of medical staff available - why not bounce it off them.
Also, next time she has this "problem", whip out a smart phone and film it. That would be very useful.
If she's getting attention when she doesn't have one of these "reactions," I do agree that it may be an act since she's "distracted" from seeing the fight and doesn't do the strange behavior. If she's not busy/distracted and sees the fight, it may be a form of trying to get attention on her since obviously the staff will go to the fight and see what the issue was over there and no one is there to give her attention.
I also have to agree with the above, if this is something that is reoccurring, there will definitely be something in her file/record.
This is purely speculation but have you considered that she might have a past history of having lived in an abusive home situation where there was a ton of fighting so she developed this intense fear of being around people who are fighting like that? So as a result maybe she curls up in a fetal position and covers her ears to avoid hearing what's going on? It's just a thought.
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