My daughter has an appointment with the psychiatrist at the end of this month. Her therapist seems to think that she needs medicine for her severe anxiety. And possibly medicine for her very poor attention span and innability to concentrate.
I don't know ladies. I need help with this one. I am so torn. I don't want her suffering...but the idea of a seven year old on meds just feels so wrong to me. I mean, she can't even swallow pills yet!
I guess the appointment hasn't even happened yet. Maybe the doctor won't even prescribe her anything. I just have a lot of experience with psychiatrists myself, and I doubt it.
I guess part of me is sad that she seems to be turning out like me. I wouldn't wish my experiences on anyone. I always thought that she would be fine and would never end up ill herself. :(
Anyone btdt? Any words of wisdom or encouragement?
I'm sorry for what both she and you are going through right now. I don't know your story, but I think that your DD is lucky to have you for a mommy. I think that because of your own challenges, you are uniquely suited to love her and care for her. You are the right mommy for her. Some how your life has prepared you to mother her, and some how in mothering her you will help heal part of yourself.
I'm also raising a daughter with anxiety issues. Right now she is doing fine, but if her anxiety goes off the charts again, I've made my peace with meds. Last time things got bad for her, I got to caught up in not wanting her to need meds and I failed to see the situation clearly for what it was. It was hard for me to just look at the truth.
If you child had diabetes, would you feel bad about insulin?
Do you think a child with asthma should not be taking inhalers and just "get get over it"?
OF course not.
There is a ridiculous amount of stigma around psychiatric meds.
Mental illness is an unfortunate name. It is as physical in origin as asthma or diabetes.
My son;s psych meds allowed him to live a happy and functional life.
He just graduated High School t 16 and is going to college. This would not be possible wihout his meds.
I am an adult who grew up with ADHD, generalized anxiety disorder and dyslexia. I didn't receive my diagnosis until adulthood. My childhood was miserable. Seeing how much better my life is ON medication then it was then, I have mourned the childhood that could have been. I never went to college because I was "stupid and lazy" (according to my parents and teachers) when in fact I'm incredibly intelligent.
My son has severe ADHD. We did tons of research. We had him tested by some of the best doctors and researchers in the country. Bottom line was... he needed medication. This fall we put him on stimulants and it was nothing short of miraculous. Don't get me wrong, he's still my goofy, silly, loving boy but now he can attend to his life. The first week on meds -the child wouldn't shut up. He has a speech delay - I NEVER thought I'd say that about him. He went on and on about what he was seeing and experiencing. We realized that his whole life, everything was on fast forward. The meds hit the slow button for him and he was finally able to BE in his environment and enjoy it and wanted the whole world to know. Again, the ONLY thing that changed was his ability to focus which is how the medications are supposed to work.
Be prepared for both types of medications to require an adjustment period. Rarely do either class of drugs work on the first try. I'd talk to the doctor about getting one condition under control at a time instead of trying to do both at the same time.
I feel for you. I am going through this right now. DD is 9 and we are in the crappy process of trying meds for GAD and OCD. I never, ever thought I would consider it. I got mad at a therapist once for suggesting it. Now, my daughter is in hell. Our family and marriage are suffering. All I want is her to have a happy life and us to have a small amount of peace.
The first med we tried worked but had very bad effects. I was put off and swore I wouldn't try another. Then her symptoms got awful again, and we are trying another.
Am I ashamed? yes. why? I am more ashamed that my daughter's life is so debilitating. Also, I wish I would have gotten her help BEFORE it became debilitating. But I don't talk about it to people who aren't going through similar because I'm just not comfortable with the lesser of two evils choice I made. I know that if/when something works, I will then be ok with it.
The therapist will probably recommend Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, even with or without meds. We wasted weeks trying to get a referral, but are hoping to start this week or next. It is supposed to be very effective, so that's something to think about. However, my DD still needs the meds to help her for now.
This is a really tough one but you have to know that by trying to help her, no matter your choice and whether it works or not, you are a good mom. (((hugs))))
The brain, like any other organ, sometimes does not work like it is supposed to (and doesn't always wait until an "appropriate" age to malfunction) so we give it some assistance; just like we do for the pancreas (insulin), and the lungs (asthma inhaler)... But you still do not have to decide at that appointment or do what the psychiatrist recommends just because he recommends it; it's not the law, it's a medical opinion--he doesn't have to live it.
My ds started medication and therapy for ADHD (at 6yo) at the same time, but didn't show much improvement until we hit the right med/dose (Vyvanse)--he had the knowledge, he was just unable to apply it. Life is a lot better all around than it was 2-3 years ago before ds was on medication and I wish we had done it earlier for him.
I don't know what her anxiety is like, but anxiety can be a symptom of the ADHD and may be relieved with ADHD medication. If the anxiety is more of a co-morbid condition then stimulants can exacerbate it, and the ADHD can be treated with non-stimulant medication. Most children can learn to swallow a pill; some parents have their children practice with M&Ms or tic tacs; we just gave ds the pill, told him to take a big drink of water and swallow--and it worked. One ADHD med comes as a patch (Daytrana) and a couple others can be opened, though the latter works best (more evenly) when taken as a whole. Stimulants can normally be stopped immediately, though non-stimulants usually require you to triate down. People often seem to do better with XR (extended release) versions of ADHD medications because they last longer and usually have a smoother "let down", but (ADHD) generics often do not work as well--so be aware of how the prescription is written/filled. It's a good idea to have a dated journal to record the time medication is given, results, side effects, and life events that impact her mood/behavior despite the medication.
I can't remember if I posted these for you yet so I'm going to do it anyway :
ADHD Parent Medication Guide prepared by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and American Psychiatric Association
Thanks so much for all the information. I still have a hard time wrapping my brain around a seven year old on meds, but I will work on that. I guess it's just not something that I ever expected. I had severe anxiety during my childhood and meds could have really helped me (they do now as an adult). So I need to remember how miserable my own childhood was and try and prevent that for my daughter.
I don't know if she has ADHD or not. She has only been diagnosed with anxiety as far as I know. But she is about to fail first grade for the second time because she can't concentrate, and because she just plain refuses to do the work. When she is supposed to be working independently, her teacher just finds her fidgeting or staring off into space. She will only do work with one-on-one attention which is frustrating for everyone.
I said this in my other thread a while ago, but I'm just having a hard time the older she gets. Her special needs become more and more obvious everyday and I worry so much for her and her future. I suppose many parents of special needs kids go through this, but it is really hard for me. And it doesn't help that I have little real life support. Everyone tells me that she is "fine" and that if I just did this or that, then she would improve (I guess overnight? not sure what they are thinking really).
Anyways, thanks so much for the talking to. I really needed it. :)
You may find that her anxiety is what is causing her inability to focus. Go for that first and see if that takes care of the problem.
What I've discovered is when my son takes his ADHD meds, his sensory issues plummet.
It isn't only miserable versus happy. Not that being happy isn't a worthwhile goal in itself, but I believe all learning and development is delayed while a person is dealing with mental illness. As an over-simplified example, you would not do so well at learning to knit while having an asthma attack. A large portion of your attention would be devoted to simply breathing. Anxiety (and other mental disorders) can be the same. Childhood is a time with so many complex skills to learn, far beyond just the academic. If a kid is dealing with a mental disorder, they don't have 100% available for the regular learning of childhood.Some behaviors that look like symptoms can just be lagging skills that a child hasn't had a chance to master while dealing with a brain that functions differently. Social and behavioral skills are often lagging in kids who have had to spend so much time and attention just getting through the day. If meds can help a child start at a baseline of calm and focused, other learning is possible. In working with children with mental health issues, occasionally we see immediate improvement when the right medicine or combination of meds is found. More often, we see a gentle change, and the child still needs to learn skills to deal with anger, frustration, fears, or whatever were the original problems. The difference is that they now have the focus and energy available to learn, rather than a constant struggle to just survive. Meds are rarely a miracle cure, but sometimes are needed just to give a kid a chance to be a kid.
I advise finding a local support group. NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) offers trainings and support groups for parents of kids with mental health needs, and may be a starting point in your area.
I wish you and your family all the best.
I put my 9 year DD on meds last month for her anxiety. We are still in the trial period of this first drug, but my biggest regret is that I did not do it years ago. DD1 is hampered by her anxiety. I regret that I have not been allowing her to be more like a normal child, that she has been suffering for years because she needs meds. Those years, I can never give her back. I feel awful about it now that I can see how she can be, she needs medication to function in daily life. I've been giving my other DD her daily asthma meds for years, this is no different. I see that now, I didn't always.
We finally had my son on medication this year for anxiety and OCD this year at age 11. With no other particular changes, he stopped having tics, he no longer has any academic adaptations and after years of not having a single friend (he's also on the spectrum) or a birthday invite, he has been visiting two friends, and has five friends coming over to his birthday to hang out and go fishing. I have more regrets he wasn't on medication sooner. It was very hard for him to focus on other people or on school when he spent so much of his day obsessing and worrying.
I think you're doing great and all the advice givers who think "you only have to do this and she'll be fine" just aren't her mom. Try not to feel bad about her turning out like you. It's sad to see your child going through similar things. I think both DH and I have railed against our genes at times. On the other hand, you are probably one of the best equipped people to help her and you really know what she's going through. She needs someone to be there for her and love her and fight for her best interests, and that's what you're doing.
My 6yo is on Adderall XR and it is AMAZING! He has ADHD, SPD, anxiety, a speech delay, and PDD-NOS. I NEVER wanted my kids on meds. I thought it was insane and people were just trying to make their kid comply ect ect ect. However over the summer he got BAD! He was having 2 hr meltdowns, hitting, screaming, throwing ect. He started K in a regular class (he was in special ed pre-k for 2 years) and it was WAY to much. He was spending more time out of the classroom then in it. He was ripping up paper, throwing things, screaming, crying, just melting down more often then not. The first day on Adderall his teacher called me and asked if it really could work THAT fast! He was paying attention, not freaking out, raising his hand to answer questions, ect ect. He was William but he was so much more at PEACE! Now she can tell if I forget to give him his meds in the morning, he is all over the place, he is annoying as all get out LOL, he can not focus, he gets mad easier, he freaks out more, ect. Yes he still has issues but it has made his life SO much easier he asks for his meds sometimes. We do not give them when he is not at school unless he asks or we know we are doing something where they will help him. I still think there are a lot of kids on med who do not need them but I know my son NEEDS them at this point in his life.
My DD - 6 - has been on Zoloft (Sertraline) - a SSRI - since December and it's made a remarkable improvement in her life. She has HFA, SPD, some OCD and severe separation anxiety - she has had since birth, I am not kidding. I didn't post about it here when it was happening because I worried about getting negative comments around the idea of giving a 6 year old anti-depressant meds. The improvement has been off the charts for her. She also has HFA, which lends itself to anxiety and social disconnects. Anyway, on the meds, she's able to take more risks (for her) and participate in less structured activities. She's saying "hi" and "bye" to ALL the kids in her school and after school program. She's talking to kids at the play ground and at the pool. Of her own accord, without prompting by an adult! She's putting her hand up in class to answer questions. PUTTING HER HAND UP!!! She worries less and obsesses over possible outcomes less. She's less compulsive about needing things to be done a certain way or in a certain order. She's also acting out more at school - something she never had the self-confidence to do before. Tantrums at home have diminished hugely because she has less of a burning need to control everything at home.
So, overall, it's been AMAZING. I am very happy for her and for the rest of us in the family that she's thriving on these meds. Prior to the meds, she was very difficult to be with a lot of the time. Especially for her younger brother who bore the brunt of her controlling behavior, compulsive tendencies and was honestly frightened by her tantrums and outbursts.
I wanted to add that the meds have also helped her improve her focus and attention at school. Plus I can have a conversation with her (albeit short) and she maintains focus for the whole thing. She does have some ADD like symptoms and we just weren't sure if it was fully ADD or if that was an effect caused by her anxiety or her SPD or her sleep disorder or her OCD or a combination of some or all of them.
Beachcomber, I wish you were closer cause I'd give you a big hug and a pat on the back. You are doing nothing different from any of us, you are doing what you have to help your daughter be happy, healthy and successful. You aren't drugging her to give her an edge, you are giving her medication to help her function and learn.
Thanks, Spotted Fox. It really is encouraging to be told that. I've learned to be careful what I share about meds and DD and with whom.
We're part of a research project on pediatric sleep disorders as they relate to kids with special needs. It's amazing to be part of the research and DD has benefited hugely from the meds for that. Through the study, we learned she has Restless Leg Syndrome which we had no idea about. The med she's taking is being used experimentally with this specific group of kids in super-low doses. It's an anti-seizure med used to lessen her neurologic pain in her legs. It seems like a lot and I know a lot of people would be freaked out that I've put her into the study, that she's taking this med, etc. But you know what? She's sleeping through the night for the first time in her entire life. I've gone through SIX YEARS of constantly interrupted sleep and had to deal with the outcome of that in her as well. This has been AMAZING. I want to shout it out to the whole universe!!
Oh Beach that is wonderful! What an amazing gift you and your daughter are giving to the world. By participating in this study, they can help so many other children in the future. How awesome is that? My son is part of a study on his genetic deletion. We have learned so much and hope to help our son and others by participating.
If anyone ever questions your daughter and her meds, just tell them she has a neurological problem and you are fortunate that there is medication that can help lesson her pain. That should shut people up :)
You're awesome Spotted Fox. Right now I really needed a cheerleader in my corner. :) I hope to be able to do the same for you someday soon.