Medication. It might be a bit of a taboo word when it comes to kids. Or for us, more specifically kids on the Spectrum (because obviously that’s my frame of reference). And rightly so, it’s not a decision that will ever, or should ever, be taken lightly.
For Poss, it started with Melatonin. She needed help to sleep; the lack of it was affecting every aspect of her life. With sleep came clarity and focus. The ability to concentrate on something for more than five minutes at a time. Smiles returned and meltdowns decreased. And that was just me.
When they added a diagnosis of Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) to her list of acronyms, a discussion around anti-anxitey meds kicked off. We had a watching brief for almost 12 months. We observed and waited, while we treated with therapy and yoga. But eventually we had to acknowledge we weren’t giving her the best chance to be the best she can be.
So started the journey of anti-anxiety medications. We have been on two so far, Lovan and Risperdal; neither have been fabulous for her in the longer term. At the moment she’s medication free (under guidance of her psychiatrist and paediatrician) while they re-assess to find a better fit for her.
After a question earlier this week, I thought I would jot down some of my general thoughts and tips about medications. Maybe answer some questions and offer some things to think about. I aimed for five and ended up with a list of six, so consider it a bonus.
But of course, you all know I’m not a doctor (all that blood – no thanks), so this is purely my personal experience and if you need help, please talk to your medical professionals.
- It’s not a failure of you, or your child, if you need to go down the path of medication. It’s simply a chance to help your child be the best they can be.
- You may not get it right, right away. In the words of Poss’ psychiatrist “when you put a medication into a normal brain, it’s unpredictable. When you put it into a brain that’s slightly different, it’s even harder to predict the outcomes. We just have to keep trying to find the right one for her”.
- And even when you do get it right, it might be right for a bit and then you may have to change it again.
- It’s a big decision and if you don’t feel right about what’s being suggested, get a second opinion. Or a third, or a fourth if you have to.
- Lots of medications taste like crap. If it tastes like crap, it’s going to be a nightmare to get your child to have it. Have a conversation with your pharmacist. Ours has made some fabulous suggestions and was even able to flavour one of Poss’ for us making it a bazillion times easier to get her to take it.
- Ask lots and lots of questions. Don’t rely on Dr Google for the answers, but ask those around you for their experiences, ask your doctor, ask your paediatrician, ask your specialists. But remember point two.
Maybe most importantly – it’s ok to be frightened and it’s ok to be sad. For me it just felt like *another* thing to add to the list of differences between her and the other kids. Another thing to worry about.
But like many things on this parenting road, it’s not about me. It’s about what’s best for her.
Have you gone down this path? Want to share some tips?