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#1 OceanTwentyFour

Posted 19 May 2019 - 07:27 PM

My DS is in year 7 and has had anxiety on an off over the years however it’s really ramped up recently. It’s mainly around the school environment and health issues.

He has started seeing a counsellor but the anxiety got so bad he has just started taking Lovan (first day was Friday).
He is really anxious about going to school tomorrow and said the techniques his counsellor taught him aren’t working.
How do I help him until the Lovan (hopefully) kicks in?
He doesn’t want to go to school but I know that keeping him home is enabling the anxiety. His year coordinator is aware of his anxiety and has told him to speak to her whenever he needs at school but he’s not confident approaching her.


#2 Charli73

Posted 19 May 2019 - 07:44 PM

We’re on lovan and have been since prep and it can take a few days to kick in.. what about a half day until we feel o able to cope with a full day?

#3 #mocha

Posted 19 May 2019 - 09:53 PM

Can the school issue a time out card?

I’ve found it helps for the child to know they can leave the class room or lunch areas if it gets to much.  For my child they didn’t have to say anything, presenting the card meant they could leave the classroom at any time, and go straight to a safe designated room.

If your son is really anxious he probably needs to see a psychologist who can teach your son the tools he needs to get threw the day, and reduce his anxiety.

#4 OceanTwentyFour

Posted 20 May 2019 - 12:14 PM

Thank you both for your replies.

I don’t think the school would be keen on the half days but something I can check out if things get worse.

The time out card might work. My older DS had those but he was in the Autism Extension Program. Will see if my 12 year is allowed to have one.

He is seeing a counsellor who is helping him with coping strategies. The counsellor is a young male who has a great rapport with DS so hesitant to change to someone else at this stage.

#5 SynchronouslyIdle

Posted 20 May 2019 - 01:16 PM

Is there anything specific that could be triggering his anxiety? Or is it just the thought of school?

I have two year 7s and they are both in Lovan. One of my boys was spending 30 minutes or more in the toilet with stomach pains. We couldn't work out what the problem for a few weeks. Turned out he had lost 2 of his text books and was too worried about the consequences to tell anyone. We found his books and he seemed relieved. Seemingly little things to us can actually be very anxiety provoking for them. We just try to get to the core of what is going on each time to keep on top of it all.

Does he get along well with his home teacher (not sure what you call them)? If you talk to them they may be able to give your son extra assistance to get organised in the morning and to talk through any worries.

Lovan doesn't necessarily make anxiety go away. It seems to just help to take the edge off so hopefully he will be better able to apply the techniques taught to him by the counsellor. It's probably a good idea to tell him about that because he may feel dispondant if it doesn't go away completely.

Sorry for the ramble. I hope things improve for you all.

#6 OceanTwentyFour

Posted 20 May 2019 - 01:42 PM

Thanks for your reply. He is very anxious about getting into trouble at school. Some of the teachers do seem to give detention for minor things like forgetting school books etc.
He has always been a model student and has a lovely group of friends who are not trouble makers but he still worries. I’ve told him I’m not concerned if a teacher gives him detention for a minor issue and that the kids who get suspended etc are the ones who do really bad things which I know he wouldn’t do.

I’ve also spoken to his year coordinator who is also his PE teacher and she has also had a chat with him about what a great role model he is and that she has his back if any teacher tries to give him detention for a minor issue.

DS also has health anxiety- he’s worried he’s going to get a terminal illness or I am. I think this is a delayed response to his older brother’s brain tumour and resultant aquired brain injury 18 months ago 🙁

#7 José

Posted 20 May 2019 - 08:00 PM

Is the counsellor a psychologist.?
I definitely recommend working with a psychologist.
Are you aware of the strategies. Can you support DS in using the strategies.?
Can you feedback to the counsellor/ psychologist that anxiety is persisting despite the current intervention.

#8 OceanTwentyFour

Posted 21 May 2019 - 12:36 PM

Thanks Jose. No he isn’t a psychologist but has lots of experience working with kids and teens and DS has a great rapport with him so I think at this stage he is a better option.
DS said last night he is much less anxious about school but he still worries about one of us or himself getting sick and did confirm it was because of what happened with his brother.

#9 ytt

Posted 23 May 2019 - 11:24 PM

My DD was put on Lovan. It sent her into mania and confirmed her bipoar diagnosis... DS was on lexapro from about 12 to 19 with no  issues...

#10 OceanTwentyFour

Posted 27 May 2019 - 11:21 AM

I don’t know what to do. DS had a huge panic attack this morning and wouldn’t go to school. I’ve managed to calm him down and said I will drop him off at recess but whether that happens....
I feel so helpless.

#11 jessiesgirl

Posted 27 May 2019 - 11:41 AM

Hi O24.  I have just picked my son up from school on request at recess after another incident this year, so feeling your pain.  A couple of days break with a plan in place for his return- would that work?   i would imagine fractured days and erratic late arrivals wouldn’t be great for the anxiety.  Can you meet with the year coordinator and arrange some structured check in with her twice a week, a quick check at home the night before that he has all his books, teachers to modify how they deal with him, that sort of thing?  Not sure if just a motivational chat from her is enough?  My oldest is gr 6 though, so not sure how high school works, so ignore if not relevant.  Good luck.

#12 Crombek

Posted 27 May 2019 - 11:51 AM

What strategies has his counselling given him for bringing his anxiety down in the moment? Grounding? Breathing? Muscle relaxation?

He NEEDS to be practicing these when he’s not anxious. It’s too late when he’s hit panic stations. If they aren’t becoming an automatic response then once his pre-frontal cortex has disengaged he won’t be able to put them in place.

Look up Dan Siegel, esp his ‘flipping your lid’ concepts. If his counsellor isn’t teaching him specific ways to reingage his thinking brain then it’s going to be very hard for him to do anything other than try to avoid the anxious feelings, which will in reinforce the anxiety.

#13 WaitForMe

Posted 27 May 2019 - 12:09 PM

View PostOceanTwentyFour, on 21 May 2019 - 12:36 PM, said:

Thanks Jose. No he isn’t a psychologist but has lots of experience working with kids and teens and DS has a great rapport with him so I think at this stage he is a better option.
DS said last night he is much less anxious about school but he still worries about one of us or himself getting sick and did confirm it was because of what happened with his brother.

I've seen a few psychologists about anxiety over the years and despite their many years of experience, they were completely ineffective.

I've just started seeing someone that uses Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, and Exposure Therapy (I must admit I don't know if they are the same thing), and so far things are looking really positive.

I understand you don't want to change things atm, which is fine, but in case there remains no progress and you change your mind, I think its worth looking for someone that does CBT in kids/teens.

#14 sophiasmum

Posted 27 May 2019 - 01:25 PM

It's heartbreaking to see them like this. My DD15 has been diagnosed with severe depression, social anxiety & OCD. She is on Prozac. Just now she rang me at work in tears because a couple of boys in her year 10 class were triggering her OCD, and I feel so helpless. Thankfully we have our first appointment at Rivendell (Concord Hospital in Sydney) this week to start her strategy plan.

#15 OceanTwentyFour

Posted 06 June 2019 - 12:29 AM

DS has been on half a tablet for a week now (started on a quarter). This afternoon his anxiety was really bad and he was crying. Is this normal? I know symptoms can get worse before they get better but he said to me tonight he cried all afternoon 🙁

#16 onetrick

Posted 06 June 2019 - 08:42 AM

Oh, gosh. I hadn't seen this before but I couldn't read and not reply.
I think your DS' anxiety is completely understandable given what you mentioned in PP about your other sons health (plus the usual pre-teen hormonal stuff!). I'm not a parent of a teen but as a teacher we have a number of kids with anxiety and coping strategies arent one size fits all. We have a 'red card' allowing the student to go outside and have a breather if needed (each student has a different plan in place for what to do when using this- some run a lap around the oval, some get a drink, some see the first aid attendant... and some simply sit outside for 5 mins). Another recent thing that I have seen is permission to wear headphones in class, so 'leaving'the class without physically leaving. We also have some students who leave at lunch (after 3 out of 4 classes) as a bit of a 'return to school' plan. This is usually only for a fortnight or so and it's a bit of a calculated risk. Other students come in late, but this doesnt tend to work as well.
In senior years, we can offer things like a reduced load, 3 year vce etc. There are plenty of options in place. Years 7-9 you can kind of fumble through and figure out which strategies work to manage the anxiety and which dont, while maintaining as much normalcy in terms of classes as you/ he can manage.
I will be thinking of you both and hope your DS finds a strategy or two that works for him soon.

#17 OceanTwentyFour

Posted 24 June 2019 - 12:45 AM

**** TRIGGERS *****

DS has been on Lovan for about a month, increased to half a tablet 3 weeks ago. We’ve definitely seen a change in him. He is happier, coping with school a lot better. He still has some anxiety but things definitely seem to be improving. We saw the GP today and all was fine.

Tonight he was in tears saying he is worried he is going to kill himself. I don’t know what to do. I know there is a risk of increased suicidal thoughts when starting anti depressants, particularly in children. I know we can’t abruptly stop the medication. His GP is away now for a month and he is really the only doctor I trust there (he sent DS15 for the mri when we’d seen two other doctors about his vomiting and headaches which saved his life).
I’ve emailed a child psychiatrist to see if we can get an appointment asap.
If this escalates I will take him to the hospital but I’m wondering if anyone’s child had the suicidal thoughts when first starting but they resolved?

#18 #mocha

Posted 24 June 2019 - 06:06 AM

My DD had self harm thoughts, she had very strong thoughts about stabbing her eyes with forks. That after the first few days.  The thoughts disappeared after a day or so.  
We spoke to her about, suicide thoughts being caused by different hormone levels in the brain.

We also made sure someone was around 24/7 for the first few months.  

After 2 years on meds she is now off living a normal life (something I never thought I would see)

If you think at all your son may act on his thoughts take him straight to ED, or even if your worried. They won’t mind.

#19 FuzzyChocolateToes

Posted 24 June 2019 - 09:57 AM

How scary for you all. We did not have this experience with Lovan but it's a well documented side-effect. I think you need to choose another medical practitioner who can review him asap. Our paediatrician prescibes ours - does he have a paed? They could either reduce the dose back down or change him to a different SSRI. A friends child had this and he was promptly changed to a different SSRI and did a lot better.

#20 OceanTwentyFour

Posted 24 June 2019 - 11:11 AM

Thank you both for your replies. He does not have a Paed but I have contacted two psychiatrists to see if I can get an emergency appointment. He went to school today and he was ok. Said he didn’t have the thoughts but was feeling anxious.

#21 Charli73

Posted 24 June 2019 - 11:18 AM

My 8yo is on 3/4 tablet of lovan but I would get his to his psychiatrist or paed if you can ASAP about maybe another SSRI too.. sounds like it’s not the right one for him.

#22 OceanTwentyFour

Posted 24 June 2019 - 11:01 PM

He has been fine since he came home from school. No bad thoughts, happy and having fun with his siblings.
I spoke to a triage nurse at a private clinic this morning and she wondered if something had triggered the thoughts because she said it was unlikely to have them as a side effect when he’s been on the Lovan for over a month.

#23 Quick hedgehog

Posted 24 June 2019 - 11:25 PM

No advice sorry, but just wanted to reach out and give you a virtual hug. Your worry about your son must be unimaginable and I really hope you find a successful solution for him.

#24 OceanTwentyFour

Posted 25 June 2019 - 12:10 AM

Thank you Quick hedgehog xxx

#25 FuzzyChocolateToes

Posted 25 June 2019 - 01:02 PM

Glad to hear your son is feeling better. Re: the advice the triage nurse gave you, my understanding is that as your ds had a dose increase recently, the Lovan may still be the cause.

This is a good article you might find useful on SSRIs and side-effects in adolescents. It's for GPs but pretty easy to read. https://www.racgp.or...nd-adolescents/

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