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Anxiety and Stress Disorders (Children)

Could My Son Have Anxiety/Stress?

04/15/2008

Question:

My son just turned 6 in February and I had another child 5 days after his burthday, about 2 weeks later he complained his throat hurt and he didnt want to eat anything except soft food (ice cream, etc). About 5 days passed and he still was not eating much. I brought him to the Dr. because a couple of strep cases went around in his class in and his throat cultures were both negative. A few days passed and he still was living off of pudding, ice cream, and popsicles. At this point I was concerned and brought him back to the Dr. and he has lost 4.5 lbs. The Dr examied him again and noticed he had a sinus infection. She gave Cefzil and asked me to call back in 5 days if he still didnt eat and also referred Pediaure which he has been on for a couple of weeks. 5 days went by and he still wouldnt eat, he said he didnt know why he couldnt eat because his throat hadnt hurt anymore. All the medication is gone and it has now been about a mth. We went 2 days ago and they did a barium of thorat and intestine to ease my mind. The Dr said everything looked normal. I thought he was doing this for attention but it has gone too far. We have bribed him to eat for gifts, money etc and he wont budge. He has always been a picky kid but he wont even eat cookies! Today I asked him to please eat a chicken nugget and he ate half. When I asked him to eat the other half he wandered of in the back yard and my mom noticed him spitting it out! I am so afraid he has anxiety/eating disorder. The whole time this has been going on he is always sighing and said he doesnt want to eat hard food becuase he cant breathe well. I watch him sleep and he can breathe fine he is just sighing alot. Also in early February he choked on something and it gave us all quite a scare. He ate normal for about a mth until this all started. He also says he is scared to eat because he will choke. I dont know what to do, please help!!!

Answer:

I would sit down with you child’s pediatrician and discuss your concerns. As long as you child is growing and still maintaining his growth chart it is not a true cause for alarm. Certainly your concern and anxiety feeds into the behavior you describe and may actually impair your child’s ability to gain a sense of perspective. My advice is the less attention paid to this issue to better but I would do this after your meeting with the pediatrician reassures you that there is not something physical going on.

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Response by:

Floyd R Sallee, MD
Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati