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My anxiety ridden daughter.

This is my first visit to this forum. My youngest daughter is 22 and has had anxiety most of her life. She has been on lexapro for several years. She's completely in control when she takes it but has a terrible habit of not taking it when a stressful situation is happening. We go through the same song and dance each time. This is finals week for her in college and I know she has not taken her meds consistently for a few weeks. I can tell because her phone calls to me get more frequent and with each there is a new physical ailment. I try giving her suggestions and then I tell her we've had the same conversations every time she stops taking her meds. I just got off the phone with her sobbing that she needs my support now. I can't do this anymore. How can you help someone that won't take care of themselves? I feel that a little tough love on my part should be my next step. I also had some anxiety growing up but learned to cope. I didn't have anyone to help me. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. BTW she has had a great amount of talk therapy too. Thanks.
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Avatar universal
Hi. I just turned 20 and and have panic disorder. I take 50 mg of zoloft but lately I havent been as xonsistant as I should be and I think it may be affecting me. Anyways, as soon as I started noticing my anxiety a lot more and had a really bad break down, my mom just didnt know what to do or how to handle me. So right off the bad she gave mw that tough love and basically told me to put up or shut up and that if I wanted to get better I'd have to do it myself because there was nothing she could. Because its true. It sounds really harsh but be real, you can't really do anything for your daughter that she hasn't already tried. My mom would kinda lighten up and say she can't help me if I dont want the help or doing the right things. So I had to step up myself. I am better from that point and my mom does try to be supportive when my anxiety creeps up but thats basically all she can do, be supportive. Hope your daughter feels better real soon. Best of luck to you both.
Avatar universal
First of all, stopping these meds abruptly as your daughter seems to be doing is dangerous -- there are significant withdrawals that might happen, and that might be why when she stops taking her meds her condition worsens so rapidly.  She needs to know this, that if she wants to stop taking a med she has to do it slowly by tapering off under the care of a good knowledgeable psychiatrist.  Second, these drugs are no picnic.  She may be having side effects, which range from lack of emotions to dry mouth to digestive problems to obsessive thoughts to sedation to sexual dysfunction to weight gain to many many more.  There may be things she's suffering on the medication as well as off, in other words.  And third, this problem doesn't go away for many of us -- it can be a chronic condition that drugs only mitigate but don't cure.  You have to face the reality that her problem may be a whole lot more significant than the one you faced, that she may be more isolated than you were, that she may be facing more stress in today's world than you did in yours.  I'm over 60 and I've had this over 30 years, and a bad medication experience has made it unbearable.  My family and friends abandoned me, and it did nothing for me -- I didn't "pull my socks up," because not all of us can do that.  For some the illness is worse than for others.  If she had cancer you would understand better, wouldn't you?  As for talk therapy, the best kind as far as studies show is CBT therapy, though it's not everyone's cup of tea and it requires a lot of motivation.  No therapy has ever worked for me and I've been in it for years.  Nobody knows what causes this chronic disease, and by that I mean the one that comes on with no reason for it -- no traumatic events that can be dealt with.  Only you can decide if you have the strength to go through this with her for what may be the rest of her life, though we would all hope she does find the secret potion to fix this.  Peace.
Avatar universal
I was in your daughters shoes not even a year ago.  I didn't want to take medication, my mom did not understand why, either did I really.  I just didn't want to take it.  Finally did and made me feel a whole lot better.  Luckily for me my mom was there for me and would talk to me when I was having anxiety, lately though she hasn't been as much, as she thinks she is feeding into the anxiety... Which it does feel better for me to not rely on her so much, i rely on myself to get past this and it has made me stronger.  Although some support here and there does feel nice!  If she does talk therapy maybe you should go with her one time.
480448 tn?1426952138
Unfortunately, she's an adult and you cannot control what she does.  It seems like the medication helps her when she's taking it properly.  Has she ever explained why she stops taking it when in stressful situations?  Is there a reason, or is she just not very responsible when it comes to taking it?

Most definitely taking it erratically will make her anxiety much worse.  I would get firm with her and tell her that she needs to decide what she wants to do...if she wants to stay on it, she needs to take it consistently, if she doesn't want to take it anymore, she needs to talk to her doctor and be properly tapered.  This willy nilly complacent approach to taking the med isn't reasonable.

She's basically sabotaging her mental health the way she takes her meds.  I think a little "tough love" is a good idea.  Tell her directly that you're there for her and support her, but cannot continue to try to play therapist when she isn't compliant with her treatment regimen and that it's very stressful for you knowing she's not helping herself.

Good luck, let us know how she's doing.
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