Thursday, September 2, 2010

Children and Antipsychotics

I read this article that once again has me questioning the wisdom of Daughter being on so much psychiatric medications. I do this to myself every so often. Daughter was 8 when she began on psychiatric medication. When I stop to think about it, I realize that it was absolutely necessary in her case. By 8 she was on her second therapist, who was experienced with children and issues like Daughter's. The therapist referred us to a child psychiatrist when Daughter became psychotic. She was hearing voices, and she wouldn't enter the bathroom without me. The only way I could get her to bathe was to let her shower with me and I had to stand between her and the drain. She thought her brothers were living in the drain and were going to suck her down. The only way she could sleep was if she was literally on top of me. She had to have full body contact. The psychiatrist prescribed a low dose of mellaril for her and Zoloft for me. She informed me I would need medication to survive raising Daughter. The medication was a miracle. For the first time in months, I was able to shower alone. My sleep improved when she was no longer on top of me. She was so much happier. I hadn't realized how exhausting it had become to care for her until the psychotic episodes stopped and she was able to function more independently.
After we moved to this state, Daughter was hospitalized and switched to risperdal. She was 9, and thought bugs were crawling all over her skin and eating her alive. I've always put more emphasis on therapy and parenting than medication, and psychosis requires medication. I'm always reluctant to change/add meds, and I see where each one she is on is needed and necessary. Even with medication, she has always had behavior issues. They don't stop all the behavior, they stop the voices. They enable her to sleep at night. They enable me to sleep at night. As we prepare for the move, her anxiety level is sky high. Once again, she's needing lots of mommy time. Sometimes I feel like she is a leech, sucking me dry.
I'm sorry there are some medical folks out there so eager to prescribe these medications unnecessarily. It is damaging to the children put on unneeded drugs. It is hard on the parents of children who desperately need them, because we are judged as being incompetent, uncaring, and far too eager to put our children on dangerous drugs. I do ask myself sometimes if the medication caused her diabetes. When ever I give voice to this concern, a wise friend will ask me what alternatives I had. Then I remember. I have no doubt that without medication she would have been institutionalized years ago. I'm grateful for her anti psychotic medications. Very grateful.

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