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Teen with severe asthma - mindfulnes resources

EJ-1974 profile image

I’m looking for some advice for my 13 year old son who has severe asthma and is steroid dependent. His daily dose of oral steroids have gradually increase over the last year and he Is struggling with their horrible side effects - weight gain, mood swings and generally feels frustrated and angry! Does anyone know of any good mindfulness resources/books that I could help him?

Thanks in advance from a worried mum.

13 Replies

This is a difficult one to give specific advice for, as a lot will depend on your son & what works for him/what doesn't. It sounds like he needs something in terms of resilience-building, self-esteem, developing confidence to explain to peers why things are how they are, etc.

In school, we use something called the Thrive Approach to work with children (in my case, these are primary age). It's a paid for resource, so you might not be able to access a lot, but that looks deeply into individual & group capacity to deal with those sort of issues.

My instinct is to say that whatever you do needs to be centred around him. Talk to him about his emotional responses and how he can find better, more constructive ones to his difficulties. Being 13 is incredibly hard to start with, so I wouldn't expect quick breakthroughs, but letting him feel in control is key I think to any kind of progress. Make sure you avoid telling him what you think he needs or should do & focus on giving him space to tell you how he wants things to be, and how you/school/friends, etc. can support him to achieve that.

There are lots of online & practical resources out there, so once you get a clear picture then you can focus what you are looking for to better help him.

Good luck.

EJ-1974 profile image
EJ-1974 in reply to Minushabens

Thank you. I’ll look into the Thrive Approach 👍

Hi EJ, Headspace is one of the best mindfulness apps I've tried. There is a free 10 day trial available and here is the website headspace.com/ There is a good book on mindfulness called The Headspace Guide to Mindfulness & Meditation by Andy Puddicombe that you can buy on Amazon. I hope your son feels better soon.

EJ-1974 profile image
EJ-1974 in reply to

Thank you

Greenfingers2014 profile image
Greenfingers2014 in reply to

Yes I use Headspace which is great. Also I use an app called Calm which has morning and night exercises, meditations, stories to help you get to sleep etc. Good luck and hope things get better for him soon


For what you want there are as far as I know none. The problem is he is 13 and has to deal with unknown territory called adolescence.

Investigate the issue that is well known that drug treatment for asthma is known to fail after a certain period.

Movement and posture and tension is related to mental health. The martial arts have been used for mental health issues for centuries. Steer your 13 year old son to a Martial Art self defense class that he likes. This will help with part of the problem.

The other part of the problem is that his rib muscles are likely to be over contracted and need to be lengthen for efficient and effective breathing. Also he is likely to be raising his shoulders when breathing instead of using his diaphragm. Because of his age and present paranoia about touching and massage concerning children I have no idea what to suggest. You are going to have to network and find someone willing to help with the possible over contracted muscle issues.

Lysistrata profile image
LysistrataCommunity Ambassador

I'm afraid I don't know of any resources, but just wondering what type of care your son has for asthma ie does he go to a specialist asthma clinic? Some adult severe asthma services have a psychologist on staff and I was wondering if he goes to a clinic where someone like this is available? I don't have any children so don't know if he would be resistant to that but may be worth seeing if someone is available - the one at my service is a health psychologist who specifically understands the issues around chronic illness and spending a lot of time seeing doctors/hospitals. I find it hard enough as an adult so can't imagine being 13 and having this to deal with!

He attends severe asthma clinic on a regular basis. He’s tried xolair and Mepolizumab injections but neither have been successful. Only thing that seems to help to control things is more prednisolone! I’ve asked at the hospital about possibility of him seeing a councilor but his consultant didn’t really take me on. He just said that there are options that we could explore but wasn’t really clear about what they are! I thought I would try the mindfulness stuff with him myself at home. He has another appointment in a couple of weeks, so I’ll ask again then.

You could try a referral from your GP to cognitive behavioural therapy resources in your area. I’ve been referred for anxiety related to my asthma, I had to complete a questionnaire, had a phone interview with a specialist in my NHS borough and they’ve recommended 6-12 CGT sessions. It’s an 8 week waiting list to get seen but worth a try. Might be quicker for a child referral. Very best of luck x



Have you seen mindfulcreation.com ?

EJ-1974 profile image
EJ-1974 in reply to andyk1

Thanks, I’ll have a look 👍

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