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Can you talk to me about anxiety/panic attacks?

12 years ago

I'm hoping for some guidance here. My 22 year old son called this morning to talk to me about his "anxiety". We didn't have a lot of time since I was at a gas station and he had a meeting to get to. He will call again tonight so my DH is home and we'll video chat (I need eyes on him, not just voice) but again we won't have a lot of time.

He is in Denver and just started (Tues) at an intensive 4 week Health Scholars Program but I'm not sure that's at the bottom of this. He told me the drive to Denver (3+ hours from where he lives/goes to school) was when he was having "severe anxiety". A couple of years ago when he was home, he was leaving around 9pm to meet friends, backed out of the driveway and came back within a few minutes - he tells me now that was due to anxiety. He also tells me he has had a lot of anxiety this past school year and it's becoming more frequent.

I don't want to ignore this nor do I want to assume it's anything more than normal stress from school - he did very well academically this past year which is a change - he is taking his studies more seriously and had previously been an average student.

Some of you know or may remember that this son has had issues in the past. Short version is at 17 he was diagnosed with ADHD and some extreme processing learning disorders. He was already spiraling down a very bad road, therapy here was not enough and we sent him to a wilderness therapy program before he either wound up dead or in jail. He then went to a boarding school for 9 months where he re-took the classes he'd failed and completed his senior year of high school, graduating on time. He started college on time and has stayed out of trouble and been on an upward trend academically. He's my tough child - not always open to me emotionally but obviously in pain to reach out in this way.

What I'd like to know, from those of you who have experience personally or with another family member, what questions should I be asking him? What is it that I need to know in order to guide him to appropriate help if needed? He's not a child, I can't baby him, but he is still 'cooking' IYKWIM and has one foot in the adult world but most of him is still hanging back in adolescence. I know he can't handle this on his own - what do I do?

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