Controversy


Hi Friends. I’m going to write about something that has been on my mind for years. It’s a bit controversial, but for the first time I am going to discuss this out loud. This is a new one for me and I’d love to hear your input as well. Okay… here we go.

In general, there is a lot of controversy over to medicate or not to medicate a child. I feel like I have been a part of this controversy of the past eleven years; watching students of mine and students of others struggle day to day with various types of mental illness, syndromes, disorders, and diseases.

It saddens me on a certain level to see what the possibilities could be if some kids were given the chance to have medication, and continue to possibly have a productive day/week/month/year/life. And, to give their minds a rest from working overtime, to help make/keep friends, be a successful student, etc. But on the other hand I can see why parents choose not to medicate their child; for fear that it will change them on some certain level, become dependent on the medication it- self, or it could possibly take something away from their child. I see both sides equally.

When I went to do some research on this subject earlier this week, almost every article I came across on the internet had the initials “ADHD” attached to it. It kinda threw me for a loop, so as I continued reading, they all seemed to say the same thing. At http://www.LIVESTRONG.com they said that “ADHD is the most common mental disorder in children and adolescents and 4.1 percent of adults have it. Only half of this population is medicated and the other half is not.”

When Willy was first diagnosed with severe ADHD back in March of this year, the doctor was very quick to prescribe. He hadn’t even met Willy yet (it was just a parent meeting) and already we were discussing the best course of action for him… medication. I was horrified over the matter at hand. My little boy, not yet 4 was going to be medicated. The doctor told me to look at this as a positive and not a negative. I wasn’t loosing anything from this, only to gain from this. So, Willy was put on a brand new stimulant called Quillivant. I questioned the fact that it was a stimulant and not a relaxant, but doctor knows best, right? WRONG! We were practically scraping him off of the ceiling, and when his teacher called me at work saying “I’ve never seen him like this before, what do I do?” I knew right away that this medication wasΒ NOT right for us. So, plan b was put into place immediately and the doctor prescribed Clonidine. All I can say is wow! Almost immediately Willy started speaking 2-3 word sentences (he couldn’t do that before), he was asking questions and commenting on his own questions (never did that before either), he is processing information easier, and he seems like he is able to take in his surroundings a bit more and relax. HOLY $#!%, this stuff is great! We are still trying to find the right dosage amount for Willy, but the progress says it all.

Yes, there is a down side to having Willy medicated. He’s tired often, (we are working with the doctor on this), at times he’s irritable and cranky (because he’s tired) and sometimes I think that he’ not as vibrant as he used to be. But honestly… He’s still amazing! He still makes me smile constantly, he still has the energy of twenty 4 year olds, and his hugs and kisses are endless. He is doing better in school and his teachers have seen a major turn-around with him, and that makes me feel over the moon!

So, of course there are pro’s and con’s with just about every situation, but when it comes to your child’s well being, think about it globally. When I say globally, I mean, think about who your child is and who they will become in the near and distant future. Will they be able to succeed on their own or will they need a little help in doing so? And that’s where you come in, my friends. No child should feel like they have to struggle with something that they can not help or justify.

Please feel free to comment on this. I’d love to know what you think. πŸ™‚

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10 thoughts on “Controversy

  1. You are courageous to raise this topic, Jill. I “get” that medication is the answer for some children, but have lots of questions myself. Are we medicating kids to “conform” to a preconceived idea of acceptable behavior? But I guess my biggest concern is that we KNOW medication changes the brain. And what would a child’s development look like in adulthood if we had never tampered with his/her brain? It seems like a risky thing to do; just wonder if the treatment required brain surgery if so many people would pursue it so readily? I hope you get a thoughtful discussion and I wish you the best of luck!

    • Thank you Janine. Medication is tricky and should definitely be monitored closely, but your right. What would a child’s development look like if was never messed with it? πŸ™‚

  2. Clonidine has helped my son a great deal. It has, amongst other things, allowed him to rest. Luckily for him, his doctor got it right the first time.

  3. Hey Jill,
    I’ve been medicated for OCD since I was in 7th grade. I’ve gotten on/off different medications over time, and my symptoms are fairly mild compared to others. But everyone’s born with some flaws in their brains, right? I think most teens/adults learn their own coping mechanisms for their brain types and, being medicated, I think I’ve missed out on some of that. I also wonder if it dulls me down in any way that, because I’ve been medicated for so long, I haven’t even realized I’m missing.

    Though there are DEFINITELY situations where it’s in a child’s best interest to be medicated, the medication of so many kids for ADHD is crazy right now. They’re supposed to run around and act like mental patients, they’re kids! I think the earlier years of grade school need much more physical activity/education incorporated into the curriculum. And prescribing adderall like its a multivitamin is madness. Parents should try that drug themselves before giving it to their kids.

    From my experience, all I can offer with complete certainty is that it’s easy to use a brain disorder as an excuse. For me, my parents, teachers, whoever. Telling a person of any age that they’re different becomes their weakness more than the weakness itself, I think. When something challenges us, it’s too easy to point straight to the thing a doctor has labeled as a problem. If I tried hard enough, I could blame every one of my failures on OCD/anxiety. Hey, Eistein didn’t speak until he was three! So anyways, trust yourself and know that NO ONE – doctor, teacher, family, friends – knows your son like you do. And if people try to give unsolicited advice, just smile and say thank you so much for your advice/opinion. There’s no right or wrong answer for all of us.

    You’re doing it right, Mama!

  4. I am not an md but work with some of the top child psychiatrist in the country. There is another med out there called tenex or guanfacine (generic) that is in the same class as clonedine but less sedating. We use it all the time in little kids, most tolerate it better because they are not as tired. Just wanted to throw that out there in case you want to ask his md about it.

  5. Jill,
    I have three special needs kids, my 8 year old has Autism, and my 6 and 5 year .have ADHD They are all medicated! A little history, my kids are all adopted. My two youngest were cocaine babies and ADHD is very common in children who were born drug positive. My 6 year old girl will make even the most die hard anti medication person reconsider! She’s fabulous and wonderful and quite a handful, even with medication. My youngest son is much more laid back than my daughter, but still very hyperactive. In our case, for both of them, medication is the best option right now. My oldest son is 8 and he has Autism and he takes Clonidine as well. We tried Adderall, Risperdone and both of those caused side effects that didn’t make his life better, so we stopped them. Clonidine seems to help “take the edge off” so to speak. He takes a small dose in the morning, and at noon, and then one at bedtime for sleep, and it works well for him. He’s mainstreamed part time in school, and working to full time this next school year and I credit the medication. For our family medication is not used to change who my children are, but to help them become all they can possibly be. I really believe, for them, without medication their quality of life would be more stressful and not a great as it is now.

    Thanks for taking the time to talk about this issue! In our house we don’t fight Autism and ADHD, we just roll with it and take it as it comes! I look forward to following your blog and seeing the progress your son makes!

    • Wow, my dear! You and your family are role models for all of us! I agree that medication definitely helps our children’s quality of life and your children sound amazing. Thanks for the sweet compliment. πŸ™‚

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