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Avatar universal

16-year-old with extreme social anxiety

Hello,

My 16-year-old daughter was hospitalized last year with major depressive disorder and anxiety. She was a sophomore in high school and had been spending a lot of time alone since she started in a new high achool. She became more isolated and finally threatened to hurt herself.

When she was released after a week, she was very dependent on us and was unable to handle even the slightest disapproval from us. She could not go into a store without having panic attacks. She was not able to return to school. We home schooled for the rest of the year. This school year she has gradually been able to stay in class, in a small private school we found. At first she required valium to sit in class without panicking. Now she stays in class and does her work. She still has no real friends - only cyber friends from a game she plays.

She was a gifted student - several years ago she won a nationwide essay contest. Now, she ahs no interest in academics. She is lucky enough to have a therapist she trusts and takes an anti-depressant. My question is: Her therapist doesn't talk to me outside of her hearing and I think this is good. However, I am worried about what all of this means. She still has moments when she considers hurting herself. I am so worried about her isolation. She needs her own peers but she lost the ability to put up with the rough and tumble of teen relationships.

As a child, she was happy and social, although quiet, in preschool and early elementary. Then she began to have problems when she reached 6th grade - coming home and crying and saying no one would eat with her at lunch.In middle school, she told me that she was put into a "loser's club" for kids who didn't have friends. Since then, she has lost all of her connections with her peers. She is a very kind person and has a strong connection with her dogs. No drugs, no alcohol - a lot of empathy with others.

She refuses to go to social affairs, although we have tried to get her interested in different groups. She won't go to group therapy. She wants to get a job and we support this, but she hasn't been able to apply.

I want to know how a kid gets wiped out like this. I just can't really understand. Does this sound like it is depression? Does it go away or does she face a lifelong struggle?

Two worried parents.

3 Responses
242606 tn?1243786248
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
Your description of your daughter's situation does indicate depression, and the course it has taken ispretty typical. That is, it commenced in her early adolescence and you have seen this change in her functioning as a result. Depressive symptoms can wax and wane and, with treatment, improvements are likely. The course of depression is one that involves recurrence over one's life, but when the patient learns how to address the depressive symptoms they needn't be disabling. It sounds like your daugyter's situation is improved over when she required hospitalization, but her symptoms clearly are not in remission. It sounds like she has an anxious sort of depression and she will require further treatment. It might be good to obtain a second opinion re: her medication, and you might seek some consultation for yourself re: her condition so that you feel informed about what to expect and how to support her.
172023 tn?1334675884
Just a thought on the job situation, which might help her out with developing good relationships with others.

Talk with some local vets, groomers, or kennels about her situation, and see if they would be willing to let her do some part time work for them, since she seems to love dogs and animals.  These people always need help with dog walking, cleaning, etc.  

It might help build her self esteem to be working, get her out of the house and communicating with others, and give her some exposure to career paths that she might find very enjoyable, given her interest in animals.    She could even develop an interest in veterinary medicine or something similar, which would help perhaps boost her efforts in school if she had a goal in mind.  
Avatar universal
Just a thought....There is an "anxiety" section on this web page I was reading and it has a section on phobias (which I am working on myself with anxiety).
It states there is counselling which will deal with people that have Fears and how to cope with rejection or lack of acceptance.... not to be frightened  when people reject or ridicule you....how to handle it.  It seems that these fears maybe grew with her peers rejecting her and now she needs to be taught how to handle (rude) people and know she is OK...they are the problem.  Also medication I believe is important.  I have a son that has similiar problems.  It is hard to "get" them to DO these t hings that we know are important but giving them time to makes these decisions for themselves is also important.  KNow that you are there to support her and t here for her I believe is very IMPORTANT!
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