To medicate…. or not to medicate, WOW! That is a huge question
What a question right?!?!?!? It sure will stir up debate in the Autism, AD/HD communities. Not as fiercely as the vaccine debate, but up there. I believe that every child and situation is different, so a blanket statement either for using medication, or against using medication is invalid. What works for one might not work for another. In the case of my oldest son, I knew there was something he needed. Something extra to help him. And so started our journey down the medication path.
It’s not an easy choice to make. If you dare to say that you are considering using medication to help your child, the advice from people flows freely. Mostly its people telling you that medication is horrible… awful…. and to just change your child’s diet and they will be fine. If it was only that simple. My son has so much energy and not enough impulse control. He wakes up between 5 and 6 am everyday and hits the ground running. I really mean it. He runs laps in my living room, screams at the top of his lungs (sorry neighbors), and can hardly sit down to eat breakfast. At school, he couldn’t sit still or keep his hands to himself to save his life. We tried everything we could think of. I would take him out to run laps in the back yard before school to try to burn the energy. We bought a dozen tactile squeeze balls for him to keep with him all day at school so he could squeeze and “do something” with all his energy while trying to sit still. The teacher gave him extra outside time to help him. I would have special rewards for him for good days. Nothing worked and it was starting to affect his learning. So we decided to talk to his specialist about what we could do. I was nervous about using meds because I didn’t want to “change” my son. I didn’t want his personality to be gone and just have a zombie shell, which of course is what everyone warns you about. All the advice and horror stories were swirling around my head as we went to his doctor’s office. BUT I KNEW DEEP DOWN.. WE HAD TO DO SOMETHING.
At the doctor’s office, my son was running around, getting into everything, unable to sit still, and unable to focus on what the doctor was asking him to do. That was enough for the Doctor. He gave us a prescription for Tenex which is a blood pressure medication that studies have found to calm children with AD/HD and or Autism. I was trilled we could try out a non stimulant medication! We took special care to monitor him. He would go (and continues to go) back to the doctor every 4 to 6 weeks to make sure he is doing ok and there are no side effects. The change took about 2 to 4 weeks. And it was amazing. Yes he was a bit tired. And he got a bit goofy. But after that initial stage those side effects mostly went away. He didn’t lose his personality and wasn’t a zombie. He was just calmed down. One day I forgot his morning dose. WOW what a difference. His teachers asked when I picked him up if I forgot his meds. They could tell the difference. When I asked him what was going on he said “It’s like my brain is full of lighting and sparks. It flashes all around. I can’t stop it Mama” This description from him also came with a reenactment, complete with sound effects! I could almost see the sparks and lighting for myself. And I felt bad for him that he experienced that. No wonder he couldn’t sit still ever!! If I forget a dose it takes a few days to get him back to *normal* I try NEVER to forget it.
It’s not a fix all… and we still have to work hard everyday. But the difference is amazing. He really excelled in school once we got his doses right. He says he feels better too. I am glad I listened to my instincts and not all the advice others freely gave me. This worked for our son. This works for our family. And if he feels better, then so do I.