We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started, And know the place for the first time. ~T.S. Eliot Four Quartets

04 August 2008

The Drugs Don't Work..

When I was pregnant with my second child, I was told I have 'white coat syndrome'.. everytime I went to the hospital for a checkup, my blood pressure skyrocketed. Any other time, it was fine. Well its not that I'm afraid of doctors, its more the case of I don't particularly trust them. I've never been a big fan of prescription drugs either.

When I was about 12 I started experiencing severe migraine headaches, which I have now discovered are hereditary in my birth family, but since I was adopted, my mother had no idea. I was given medication to take every morning and told I'd need to take it for the rest of my life. I stopped taking it when I was 18 and moved out, changed my diet, worked on my health and the migraines stopped. I've never taken it since and haven't had any migraines either. At 24 I stopped taking the Pill (after about 3 years), because of all the nasty side effects. My period stopped for an entire year, and again, I was told the only way to regain a regular cycle was to go back on the Pill. I went to an acupuncturist instead and within 3 months was back to normal, and have been ever since.

Around that time I was also told I had poly cystic ovarian syndrome and most likely would never have kids. Thankfully I didn't believe this, even though I didn't want children at the time. Many years later when I went to see a fabulous specialist (yes I do know they exist) for my under-active thyroid he told me that I wasn't even examined properly for PCOS and should not have been told that. I have poly cystic ovaries, but that is different from PCOS. He also told me that my thyroid can be helped with medication, but it may not be necessary for the rest of my life. He was my hero! And thus, two years after that I had my first child.

Now I've had medication and can appreciate the miracles of modern medicine, hence my first emergency C-section... I would have been one of the died in childbirth back in the middle ages. But again, if I had solely gone on the advice of 'professionals' my second child would have been an elective section instead of the gorgeous home birth that she was. What's my rambling point??? Well my dear son has been prescribed Equasym XL, methylphenidate hydrocholride and I'm having a real problem with this. I'm having a problem with medicating my child with a controlled drug, that he doesn't even want to take.
The first med he was given, atomoxetine was a milder formulation and did seem to have some effect of calming him down, but he wouldn't take the three capsules required. By the second capsule, it was like fighting world war three. So this medicine can be sprinkled into his food, much easier, but much stronger as well. The first night he had a wild look in his eye, and literally seemed speeding off his face. Not good. We were told it could effect his sleep and his eating, and it has. He's having late nights, late mornings, craving sweets--as in more than normal and much more compulsively, and is he calmer? No-- he just seems, well, Speedy.

We are getting closer to a diagnosis, as he is seeing the last in the team of specialists this week. Asperger's is seeming like the most likely and if that is the case, medication for the sometime hyperactivity isn't probably going to work. It would seem his pacing about and getting out of his seat is more a case of processing information rather than not being able to concentrate and sit still. Its a fine distinction, but one that the psychiatrist has seen, and one that I can now see as well, but not one that the teachers can readily see.

So do we continue muddling through with drugs, hoping that perhaps it will help him to act 'more normal' or do we let it go? Has anyone else experienced similar issues with drugs? As in do other people on the ASD spectrum take meds for hyperactivity.. as I've read ADHD often goes hand in hand with ASD but I think the case for us is whether it really is ADHD and not more of a way of being-- if that makes any sense??? I understand my own need or lack of, for medication but I don't know how it really feels for my son, and his understanding and expression is limited so I don't feel he can really explain. I've also read the long term studies of ritalin drugs and the negative effects on children and that doesn't help the matter!

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