Five random thoughts on medication


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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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”.
  3. And even when you do get it right, it might be right for a bit and then you may have to change it again.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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?

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  1. As you know, our Daisy has dyspraxia and SPD. She also has anaphylaxis to peanuts, which alone caused high anxiety.

    So really it’s a double whammy! The psychiatrist wanted to commence her on an anti depressant which helps also with the anxiety. Presently she is undergoing immunotherapy, which will take about 12-24 months, so can’t start the tablets.

    Yes I was scared, confused and a bit of a failure that we were considering commencing my seven year old on anti depressants. BUT I would in a heart beat if it had the chance of improving my child’s quality of life.

    I compare this decision with breast feeding in a way. We are told breast is best, yet I struggled from the off. I persevered for 12 weeks, at the detriment of both of us. Once the decision was made and she started formula, she positively flourished and I finally enjoyed motherhood. Despite this there will always be people that say I should have continued with breast.

    It’s a very personal decision, but Renee you are a star for again raising relevant issues.

    • Oh Gillian – thank you so much for your thoughts on this and for sharing your experiences with your gorgeous girl.

      As an aside, it sounds like your breast feeding experience was similar to mine – it just didn’t work. I spoke to our psychiatrist about this recently and she mentioned that kids with sensory issues often have issues breastfeeding – low muscle tone contributes to it apparently. In some small way, this made me feel a bit better… xx
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      • When Daisy was diagnosed with SPD at 3 years old, I was relieved. You are right about the feeding. Daisy wouldn’t even let me hold her. I must show you a pic. Every time I picked her up she went rigid and arched away from me. I was devastated as I thought my baby didn’t like me ( sounds crazy but that’s how it felt). Happy as Larry on the floor. I wish there was more awareness so ther mothers didn’t have to go through it.


  2. Sharron Redmond says:

    This may not help but my Psychiatrist told me words that always comfort me . After being judged by others even doctors for being on Xanax for 15 years now that for someone that suffers an extreme Anxiety Disorder their medication is just as important as Insulin is to a diabetic to life a healthy ” normal ” life . When you process it , it rings true and I believe its the same for many people . Don’t feel guilty or at least when you are feeling that way know that I believe you are doing your utmost best for Poss xx .

    • This is exactly how I feel. I think of it the same as – if I had a headache, would I continually suffer through it? Or would I take something to help it? Of course I would take something. It’s like that but on a much bigger scale… Thank you lovely – your input is valued as always. xx
      Renee Bugg recently posted..Do you like the new job?My Profile

  3. At the end of the day, we owe our kids the opportunity to be the best they can be.
    Modern medicine is miraculous and I think we’re so lucky to have options and second opinions.

    Great post Renee – I think it’ll be a great resource for parents who find themselves making tough choices for their kids.
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  4. The preachy “don’t drug your kids brigade” really bug me – they don’t consider individual circumstances or the child’s (and family’s) current quality of life. *insert further rant – grrgghh! *. Then when it comes time to make these decisions, there is an overwhelming guilt hanging over you, colouring your objectivity.

    A fantastic and much needed piece of writing, thankyou. (Great comments too – I found myself looking for the “like” button after reading each one!)

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