Thursday, October 1, 2015

Meds or No Meds??

How do you decide its time to give a child medication for a disorder or behavioral issues or ADD/ADHD or ODD? 

For us it took time to decide.  These decisions don't come lightly.

Over the last few years L, my son, has been through a lot for a little boy.  Having his first "seizure" at the age of 14 months old and then having one every 6 weeks after, that was hard on his body.  With such a rare disorder stemming from migraines, we never could tell the effects it had on his body.  But each time he would have an episode it was a crap shoot on what repercussions would come from it!

Making sure he had the tools to get stronger through each day was what we focused on for a few years. PT/OT/VISION/SPEECH therapies were provided while he was at a special school but over time his behavior started to change. It could have been from frustration or just his nature, it didn't matter we needed to pay attention. The problem was his academics were falling far behind and that may have contributed to the frustration as well.

So I started to look into neurologists.  Many families feel they should go to a psychologist for help when considering medications but for now I wanted to make sure we had this type of professional watch over him since he had seizures in the past.  I was lucky to find a doctor that knew of L's disorder and could guide us safely through the decision.

I made sure I went to others as well who went through medications - support groups help a lot with that. I went to a DAN doctor (as they used to be called) or a doctor who specializes in autism and uses different types of methods to help children without medications. I gathered my info like I usually do and let it fester in my head for awhile - in the meantime we tried behavioral therapy on L and it seemed to help but only a bit.

In the end my husband and I with the guidance of the neuro doctor, started L on medication.  It was the worst feeling in the world knowing you were giving your little one a medication that required you to show your ID to pick it up.  Where the doctor can't call the prescription in, he has to mail it cause it's a controlled substance.  Just hearing those words make you sick to your stomach.  But you keep your head up and you realize that without this help your child will progressively get worse. 

The very first time we gave L his medication (in pill form), I stood in the kitchen with the bottle with my hand shaking from nerves. When I started to turn the top off I began to cry.  I didn't want to do this. I was scared for him.  What if there were adverse reactions?  What if something happens and I can't get the doctor?  I took a deep breath and placed the pill in his mouth and he swallowed like a champ. Nothing happened ... No reactions.  We ended up trying 5 different more over the next few months.  None helped enough to calm him down or allow him to focus or help him realize that running away was a bad thing.

Then finally one day we switched gears and tried a new medication on "another" list!!  I gave him one pill and he went to bed.  When he woke the next day, he was calm and his speech was clear and he sat and ate his breakfast without getting up!!  Who was this child?  It was amazing.  He was able to walk outside and not want to run!  He stayed more focused in school! He could sit longer! Now I'm not saying this is a "miracle" drug but it sure helped my son.

We are doing everything we can to help my son.  We don't make decisions quickly. We research and interview before jumping into anything.  Smart and safe! He's my baby.

I don't feel medication is best for all children and I would never tell someone just try it.  I feel it is a family decision and must be taken seriously.  Just like vaccines it is a choice for your family. For us it is working for our child and it will be adjusted and changed I'm sure many more times over the years. But for now one step at a time.

If your considering this route for your child, do your research!  

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