Since my son was pretty young different psychiatrist have been prescribing him many different drugs.. mostly for adhd. We felt uneasy about it, but felt we had no choice, and that we wanted to help him and do what was best. He was very unhappy. I feel guilty about it now though. Nothing worked for him.
We started seeing a new psychologist who we all really like. He seems more family oriented and sees all of us, not just my son. Dh and I go once a week for couples therapy (this just recently started as we are having some big problems), and ds goes once a week for individual therapy. After seeing ds for quite a few months now he told me that he is hesitiant to say ds has adhd. He feels that ds is suffering from anxiety and depression and wants to keep him off meds for now.
I am happy and shocked. I have been told adhd for so many years.. I dont know how to handle it. He said he is not ruling anything out, or actually diagnosiing him with a certain label.. but that this is just what he really feels and that we will work coming from that perspective.. without completely ruling anything else out.
So, while this is all going on ds is still having a very difficult time. Granted, things at home have been incredibily stressful, and very far from ideal. But I just wish there was a way to ease his pain. We are trying very hard to work on at home problems. But in the mean time the doc has mentioned maybe thinking about starting meds for anxiety/depression.. but Im wondering if I should try to go a more natural route this time. I know there are many things adults can use.. but what about kids?
Is there a doctor I can go to that specializes in herbs, or something more natural? And we will continue with the great psychologist of course. But I was thinking if he could get some relief with something more natural Id rather do that.
Also, does anyone have any experience with childhood depression and anxiety? Im just lost.
I have had problems like this my entire life. The first panic attack I can remember, I was 4 years old. My family never did anything to help me, they just told me it was all in my head, and your son is SO lucky to have such loving parents! Kids are frequently misdiagnosed for ADHD. I suppose bc it's easier for docs to pick a label and prescribe a drug, and bc they don't really understand these kinds of problems in the first place.
I still have anxiety and depression problems. It can be VERY scary. Last June, after more than 6 months of intense anxiety (several hours of full-blown panic every day, not being able to eat, leave the house, etc.) I got to a point where... the best I can describe it is I lost my will to live. I didn't want to die, wasn't suicidal, I just couldn't go on. Anxiety is exhausting. At that point I went on meds for the first time (Klonopin and Zoloft).
I've tried many herbal remedies. I still occasionally take Calms Forte (made by Highlands). It's in pill form and contains Chamomille, passion flower, skullcap, and some other things. The recommended dose is 1-3... when I panic I take 8-10. It's nonadictive, but only helps to a certain extent. I've also tried Kava, St. John's Wort, and Valerian (all of these alone and in combination).
After all this... I finally tried a Chiropractor. I haven't had a single panic attack since, and am off of meds. I'm not taking anything herbal either. Anxiety and depression are most often caused by spinal subluxations (of course psychiatrists and M.D.s do not know this). ADHD can also be cured by consistent spinal care.
Has anyone ever tested him for Bipolar disorder? It is very commonly misdiagnosed/misunderstood in children, but can have the same impact on the child and family as you've described. After all these years it's finally been supposed that this is what my problem has been all along, but getting diagnosed is difficult, and even more difficult if you're trying to get a child diagnosed. An adult friend of mine took 7 years to get diagnosed, and to find someone who would treat her. Generally, Bipolar disorder does require meds.
There are things you can do for anxiety and Bipolar though.
1) Make sure he goes to bed and wakes up at exactly the same time everyday.
2) Eliminate sugar and dairy from his diet (if you haven't already, I can't stress no sugar enough).
4) Make sure he's getting his vitamins, esp B-vits, calcium/magnesium, and vit C. Also, for adults I don't know about children, but chromium is very helpful.
5) Anxiety is often accompanied by (sometimes caused by) hypoglycemia, and the 2 have identical symptoms, so make sure he eats small amounts every 2 hours. If you can help it, do not let him eat to the point of feeling "full" just until he's not hungry.
6) If he has trouble sleeping make sure he doesn't bathe/shower within 2 hours of bedtime.
7) Be sure he drinks plenty of water (anxiety and depression can be a sign of dehydration).
8) Personally, I would also restrice video games (if he plays them) and be sure that he watches only a minimal amount of TV. I notice my anxiety gets out of control with these things (as well as overuse of the computer).
9) Be sure that he gets plenty of exercise, this is the #1 cure for anxiety and depression, also the hardest to stick to!
10) Making sure to spend time outdoors everyday is also very helpful, preferably in a relaxed setting (like the woods). My husband makes fun of me because I walk in the dirt beside the sidewalk, call me crazy, but sometimes a person just needs to feel real earth under their feet!
11) Also, I know when I was younger it was really easy to seclude myself, and even still I have to force myself to be social, but it really helps to get out and spend time with friends who enjoy good wholesome activities.
Sorry to be so long, I just can really sympathize with you and your son. It took me a lifetime to learn what helps, and he deserves help right away. Stick with the counseling for sure. I'm sure I'll think of a few more things throughout the day, I'll let you know if I do. Once again, I just want to congratulate you on being such a caring and attentive parent. I know it's tough, but more than anything he needs your patience, company, and lots of reassuring words and hugs.
Best of luck!
Holly, eternally in love with Kolby, Raising Juelie Anise (10y), Behnjamin Shen (6y), and Coen Syaoran (4y). Expecting June 2013
Our son is 10 (on Friday) He has been being treated for ADHD, which the meds are scary. He is now going to be a CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapist) we have been on the waiting list for 19 months for this. the meds for adhd did not work for him, they either made him worse or he was sooo hyper it was insane. He is going to be put on Stratera for his anxiety. He was dx with Severe anxiety and OCD. He haslo has learning issues, Dylexia and Dyscalculia (dyslexic in math), short term memory loss. When B was 7 he was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, and 3 months ago, he was diagnosed with Graves Disease (Overactive Thyroid) that is still all out of wack. B did not show any signs of anxiety until after his father was diagnosed with Stage 3 Lung Cancer 10 months to the day of B's dx of Diabetes. His dad is in remission, YAY, but that does not set his mind at ease. We have tried all natural, medications, nothing has worked so far. We are very hopeful that the CBT will be able to show us how to handle his anxiety and OCD, but most importantly, show him how to deal with it. He does not go anywhere without me, he has stopped playing all sports, he is very, very good at sports. Good luck in your endeavor.
Three books, I would recommend you read:
Children with Starving Brains: A Medical Treatment Guide for Autism Spectrum Disorder by Jacquelyn McCandless
I realize this is a controversial opinion, but given the dangers of medication, I would be very cautious about allowing a psychiatrist into the life of my child, and would nutrate before medicate.