I'm wondering if any of you with a child who has special needs has chosen to use anti-depressants with your child to alleviate their anxiety symptoms. We're seriously looking into it and I'd love to hear from anyone else who has made this decision and find out what has come of it for your child and your family.
To give you some background, my DD is nearly 6 and has HFA (high functioning Autism). She's in Kindergarten in a full day program and in after school care. This is proving hard for her, but it's a good school and she has a lot of support from teacher and EA, after school staff, interventionists from her regular clinic, etc.
She has ALWAYS had severe separation anxiety, right from birth. She always needed to be held and even after she was sitting and walking on her own (never did crawl) she always had to be in the same room as one of her care givers. She needs to sleep with someone, too. If we try to make her sleep on her own she ramps up into hysteria. If we leave her bed, she will inevitably wake in the night and come find us and climb in with us. We use sustained-release melatonin with her to help her fall asleep (and back to sleep) faster. It used to take her as much as an hour to fall asleep without the melatonin. With it, we usually only need 5 - 10 minutes.
She cried every day at drop off for her preschool. For 2 1/2 years. Eventually we came up with a good ritual for her (watching me go, blowing kisses, keeping something of mine with her) so that she'd at least not cry. But she was always shut down at preschool and unresponsive to other kids and the teacher. This is how we started our path towards diagnosing her with Autism.
I know anxiety is very often found with an Autism diagnosis.
We've been trying to use CBT and PBS with her to help with anxiety. But it's very limited in it's result. She can barely talk about it. She's so afraid of her anxiety that it's difficult to get her to even try and put words to it. We use melatonin and give her iron supplements to help with Restless Leg Syndrome - in hopes it would help her sleep better. She eats no artificial colors, flavors, very little sugar, no caffeine, etc.
Her anxiety is HUGE right now. She is incredibly controlling at home - with us and her little brother. She is totally inflexible, even after all the social skills Super Flex work we've done with her over the past year. It got 100 times worse when she started school. I do get why - she's "alone" all day and I know that's beyond scary for her. But right now the anxiety is crippling her and seriously interfering with the whole family's quality of life.