Monday, January 21, 2008

Monday mish-mash . . . and pyschotropic drugs . . .

This weekend sucked. Dustin was horribly dysregulated. I say that, but then immediately I flash back to what that meant in the past. I didn't have to restrain him and he did have moments where he could function with the other kids. I suppose it wasn't that bad, but I suppose it's all relative anyway huh?

Our computer died. We purchased a new desktop in December. Robert and I were watching something on DVR and he walked back over to the computer and it was asking for a boot disk. He spoke to Support and of-course they were NO HELP AT ALL. I called Best Buy and he took it to the nerd-herd (man I miss "Chuck") and they said the hard drive was totally "gone". Thankfully it qualified for exchange since it was bought during the Christmas Season and returns and exchanges are lengthened to January 31st. He came home with a brand-spankin' new computer that is faster, has more memory and a $25 credit. Gotta like that.

Perusing some blogs over the weekend, I found some people critical of giving children psychotropic drugs for children "ailments" as they call them. You know what I have to say about that? Pitooey! I will acquiesce that in the past, physicians were far too quick to label a child and medicated them, and may still be. However, in my personal experience that is not the case. I think it is the family's right to medicate their child, but also their RESPONSIBILITY to educate themselves about the medication, the risks, to side effects and the half-life of these medications.

Whenever Dustin is placed on a new medication I ask these questions:

1. What is it used for?
2. What positive results should I be looking for?
3. What negative results should I be looking for?
4. How long before I should see a change? When should I call you if I don't see a change?
5. How long does it take for the medication to get out of his system?

The last 2 I find particularly important since I need to know if a medication should begin working right away, or if it will take 3 weeks before I see the wanted results. That way, I can see if this medication will be effective or a dud. For instance, medications like Adderall are "in and out" in one day, where Zoloft may take 3-4 weeks before you see if it is effective. I also like the last question, so that I know if the medication has a half-life in his body. That one is particularly important for me since he typically has EPS reactions to medications. I need to know how long after he stops taking it will it still be affecting him.

I have no problems with medicating Dustin. He would be a danger to himself or others in our family if he was not medicated. You may say, "Well, Sheri, that's an easy decision." But, I also do not have issues medicating a child who is typical in most areas but has a problem focusing. My 5 year old, Harrison, is brilliant. This child was talking in full sentences at one year old, and reading words at three. He was reading for comprehension and enjoyment by four. Last night I found him in my bed, propped up on a pillow reading a comic book before bed. He is a kindergartner. He has really been struggling with keeping his body still at school. He doesn't look at you when you are talking, yet he can tell you everything you said. He is full of energy and is ALWAYS moving. I chalked most of it up to immaturity, because he is young for his grade and he has always been a little extra emotional. The last time he was at the doctor for an illness he was bouncing of the walls. The doctor said, "Boy, is he always like this? When you're ready to talk about that, let me know." We became ready after the holidays. School began being an issue and he was really struggling with self-esteem since he is always being reprimanded at school. He began to dislike school, and saying things like, "I hate this family." He even talked about being a bad kid. I noticed his relationships at daycare were changing and children were choosing not to play with him. He wasn't mean, he was just always moving!

He has been on medication for 3 weeks. He is happy and much calmer. He has been having success at school. Last week he came home and said, "Mommy, I kept my body in control." He was so happy. If medication can do that for my boy, I am all for it.


CJM-R said...

Years ago I struggled with the decision to put my son on a stimulant. But we decided to and it was so very helpful for him educationally and socially.

People judge, but they aren't living in our houses and don't understand the nature of the disabilities.

Jo said...

Good for you. A mom has gotta do, what a mom has gotta do, to keep her kids, happy, healthy, safe and growing.
You will find no criticism coming from my corner. Our family saying is "better living through pharmacology!"

Sheri said...

cjm-r : absolutely my point! Thanks for sharing.

Jo: Once again we agree one hundred percent. So glad you and little man are home and doing well! Give Pea a smooch for me!

Patty said...

Three cheers for your doctor for picking up on the problem but then letting you decide when you wanted to pursue the discussion of it. Lot of doctors would not have handled things in that fashion and prefer to go on power trips (in my opinion).

FAScinated said...

I will have to remember the "living better through pharmacology" saying! I've got to stop feeling the need to defend something that my kids need. Thanks Sheri for addressing this. ~Kari