Anxiety over peanut allergy in 9 year-old

Posted on: Mon, 06/21/2004 - 11:53pm
Lisa Melchers's picture
Joined: 06/22/2004 - 09:00

Has anyone had to deal with a sudden anxiety in a previously happy-go-lucky child with peanut allergy? My 9 year old daughter has a severe peanut allergy. She always trusted me and my cooking and we have never had an incident at home or school. She suddenly questions everything I give her and has developed an anxiety of eating anything, even things that she used to eat. She finally told me last night that one of the children in her class told her that peanuts are in everything today. I can not get through to her to understand that this child is wrong and that I will always protect her. What can I do? She is walking around thinking that she can just be walking down the street and can smell peanuts and get a reaction. I am losing some serious sleep and am desperate to help her. Someone please Help!!! Does anyone know of a support group for children with peanut allergies? I live in Northeastern New Jersey. Any help would be appreciated!!!!!!!!!!

Posted on: Tue, 06/22/2004 - 1:03am
jtolpin's picture
Joined: 05/28/2003 - 09:00

Theres the well brought up name of Lisa Cipriano Collins, as someone to talk to...
We've all heard good things about her, based in MA, I believe.

Posted on: Tue, 06/22/2004 - 2:54am
k9ruby's picture
Joined: 03/25/2004 - 09:00


Posted on: Tue, 06/22/2004 - 3:54am
California Mom's picture
Joined: 07/14/2000 - 09:00

I also have a nine year old daughter who is pa as well as tna. My dd has a lot of anxiety. In her case it tends to be related more to not wanting to stand out because of her pa, rather than anxiety that she will be sick/die due to inadvertent exposure.
Several things come to mind: Firstly, It sounds like you have put a lot of focus into the fact that you will keep her safe. Maybe it is time for her to feel that she is taking more responsibility for her own safety. For example, do you have her read labels, etc.? If not, this may not be the best time to start since of course you do not want to increase her anxiety.
Has something else come up, recently, that is hard for her? I have noticed a lot of gossip and nastiness starting around this age with my dd and other girls. Is anything like that happening?
Do you have a family history of anxiety? Has she ever seemed anxious about anything else?
I notice that my dd is starting to physically mature. I can't help but think that the hormonal changes kids go through at this age could effect their emotional well being.
Does you dd know any other kids her age who have pa? Would she like a pen pal? If you think so, or would like to "talk" with me further, you can e-mail me at [email][/email]
I think it is a great idea to consult with Lisa Cipriano Collins. Although I found her book to be quite anxiety provoking, myself. But, since she is an expert in this field I am sure she could offer help.
Another idea would be to have your dd have a consultation with your allergist. Hopefully he/she could allay some of your dd's fears.
I have to admit that I get really concerned about girls who have anxiety around food. Eating disorders are such a huge problem. For a girl with food allergies I can't even imagine how hard it must be, if they may be prone towards an eating disorder. (Not saying this is the case with your dd, of course. It just raised a red flag for me that she doesn't want to eat anything.)
Also, I have always emphasized to my dd that it is the epipen that will save her life. Does your dd always have one with her? Does she remember ever having a reaction? If so, was it extremely severe?
A support group sounds great if there is one.
Good luck, and don't hesitate to email me if you would like.

Posted on: Tue, 06/22/2004 - 4:37am
Going Nuts's picture
Joined: 10/04/2001 - 09:00

Hi Lisa,
There is a group that works with Dr. Hugh Sampson out of Mt. Sinai that deals with anxiety related to food allergies. If you call Dr. Sampson's office, they should be able to get you in touch with them. I'm so sorry I can't remember their names - I heard about them at a FAAN conference years ago. If I remember correctly, they were doing some research on anxiety and FA's. If it's any comfort to you, I remember there being [b]tons[/b] of parents there who were having the same issues, with most of their kids seeming to be between 9 - 13. My friend's son went through it with regards to a fish allergy, which is certainly easier to manage than PA. Nevertheless, he became extremely fearful.
I think it is natural for this to be an age where anxiety spikes - they are either on their own more, or anticipating being on their own more. As California Mom pointed out, the social stuff with girls at this age can get pretty intense and I have no doubt that the hormonal influence plays a role as well.
If you do get in touch with these MD's, please post their names and contact info. I'm sure other people here could benefit. [img][/img]
Good luck!

Posted on: Tue, 06/22/2004 - 5:03am
mommyofmatt's picture
Joined: 03/12/2004 - 09:00

My ds is too young for me to offer any help. Just wanted to say good luck and offer ((((hugs))). That must be very difficult.
Meg, mom to:
Matt 2 yrs. PA,MA,EA
Sean 2 yrs. NKA

Posted on: Tue, 06/22/2004 - 6:29am
Jana R's picture
Joined: 02/09/1999 - 09:00

There are some food allergy support groups in NJ - I'm sure there are members with peanut allergies amongst them:

Posted on: Tue, 06/22/2004 - 11:13am
Chicago's picture
Joined: 04/21/2001 - 09:00

I agree with California Mom's post (big surprise as I normally agree with her! - glad to see you posting again!). My PA TNA dd is also 9.
I would like to say that dd has done great at starting to be responsible for reading labels (herself or reminding folks to read them), reminding adults she is with about taking an Epi Pen or carrying it herself. She is no longer comfortable with me hanging around b-day parties, wants to do sleep overs at friends, doesn't want the other kids to see me sitting outside of team practices - so we discussed that she needed to step up and do some of the "reaction prevention" herself. She is also (IMHO) ready to help come up with strategies about how to deal with situations.
For example, a recent party included a ice cream bar where I was sure there would be nuts as well as may contain candies. We discussed how that would be dangerous, spoons would get messed up etc... Then we talked about if she wanted to bring her own ice cream, not have any, bring a different treat etc... She came up with a solution that we all agreed to and kept her safe and was within our comfort zone.
I would also like to echo that this 9/10 year old stage does seem at time to really be a pre teenage point for girls - with the start of body development, fights about bathing, and taking on more responsiblities such as long term projects in school. Maybe some of your dd's anxiety feelings are tied to that and the PA is the focus of it - and it will pass on its own.
Good Luck!
Edited to add that when dd was younger she really got some comfort from the FAAN kid newsletter. If you don't already get it, it shows kids pictures, tells about their food allergies, their other interests, and gives tips on how they cope (special treats, carrying the Epi,reading labels etc...) Even if you can't find a support group she will know there are other kids surviving out there with FAs!)
On this board in Off Topic there is a Kids Korner where children posted from time to time - or there once was a pen pal thing here...
If dd would like something like an e mail pen pal, please let me know.
[This message has been edited by Chicago (edited June 22, 2004).]

Posted on: Tue, 06/22/2004 - 11:22am
Chicago's picture
Joined: 04/21/2001 - 09:00

Sorry - double post for some reason.
[This message has been edited by Chicago (edited June 22, 2004).]

Posted on: Wed, 06/23/2004 - 4:15am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Lisa, welcome! [img][/img]
I had wanted to answer your question yesterday and couldn't and now I need more tea and can't, but just wanted to post that I am thinking about you and your daughter and thinking about things I may have discussed here with other members that might be helpful to you.
I'll try to get back in later tonight, not like I'm the be all and end all, but I've just been thinking about this a lot over the last twenty-four hours and just haven't been able to get in to respond to you. [img][/img]
Best wishes! [img][/img]

Posted on: Wed, 06/23/2004 - 2:14pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Lisa, my apologies. The best I could do to-day was re-raise I believe four threads that discussed either my son's anxiety re PA or the psychological impact of PA on PA children in general with the hopes that there might be some useful information in one of them.
I would still like to comment on your own situation though.
So glad California Mom (not that I'm negating anyone else who responded) was able to respond because her daughter is the same age.
Best wishes! [img][/img]



Click on one of the categories below to see all forum topics.

Peanut Free Store

More Articles

Cookies are one of life’s little indulgences. And just because you have an allergy or sensitivity to eggs shouldn’t mean that you sit on the...

Soymilk is one of the most popular alternatives to cow’s milk. As well as being rich in fiber, soy is a great source of protein and contains all...

Whether you have a child with a peanut allergy or you are sensitive to packing a nut-free lunch out of concern for other people’s children, it is...

Peanut oil is an inexpensive, healthful and inoffensive way to cook—unless you have a peanut allergy!

Light peanut oil is popular as a...

Olive oil has many benefits and surprisingly few side effects. It is derived from the olive and is popular with people around the world. The...