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Anxiety Disorder in Adolescents: Patrick's Story

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Anxiety related image Photo: Getty Images

As it turned out, my busy, intelligent, strong teenager was unable to effectively deal with stress. We talked until we were able to identify when this unconscious desire to pull at his eyelashes and eyebrows began. Always the perfectionist, Patrick was spending hours with a thick book, reviewing practice questions for the college SATs. I made sure that book disappeared! Most important, though, was the advice from his doctor regarding managing stress and identifying when stressful thoughts were occurring in his busy life. When worries about school, grades, and exams started to enter his mind, Pat learned to “take a deep breath and blow out the candles.”

Unfortunately, he continued to pull at his eyelashes and eyebrows. I decided to seek advice from the same trusted school psychologist who had been so helpful with my OCD student. She had two wonderful pieces of advice: Patrick should talk with a psychologist, so that depression could be ruled out, and he should begin wearing a rubber band around his wrist. Patrick could snap the rubber band whenever he felt the compulsion to pick at his eyes or eyebrows. The rubber band snap, she explained, would interrupt that undesired behavior.

Two years later, our son has beautiful, long, curly eyelashes, and nicely thick eyebrows. He is headed to college this August, and continues to sport a red rubber band around his right wrist.


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EmpowHER Guest

People with Generalized Anxiety Disorder
also have more tendencies to come in conflicts with other people. They are also very hard on themselves and they choose to evade situations that result to fear, worry or anxiety.

April 25, 2011 - 11:11pm

One day when my daughter was sitting in tenth grade English class, she felt sick to her stomach and didn't have time to run to the rest room so she threw up in the waste basket in front of the teacher's desk.

Unfortunately, kids can be cruel and teased her about it for days. This incident causes a series of problems including panic attacks, agoraphobia, and the beginning of anorexia. Luckily, we found the right counselor and within a year, she was able to go to school without almost passing in the shower every morning.

It's so important as parents to keep an eye on our kids and take their anxiousness seriously.

Thanks for this article. So glad to hear Patrick is better.

April 17, 2011 - 2:21pm
(reply to Vonnie Kennedy)

Vonnie, I am relieved to hear you and your daughter found a good counselor. My best wishes to you and your daughter!

April 18, 2011 - 8:22pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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