Thursday, January 28, 2010

How we've come to decide to try some medication for my son in managing his ADHD.

This has not been an easy journey. In fact, in some respects, this issue has been more difficult to live with than the all consuming Diabetes routine we've come to respect and adjust to.

Our 7 year old son was diagnosed with the combined type of ADHD along with anxiety issues last August. We've been trying to manage and train him though for 7 years. I distinctly remember him becoming more difficult and active right around 18 or 20 months old, and thinking that this was the beginning of the "terrible two's". I hoped his behavior would improve by 3. It didn't. So I hoped he would grow out of his crying and tantrums by four. Nope. Worse. So surely by the time he was 6 we'd have the smiling, happy, charming child we had worked so hard to bring out. Nope.
By the time I started schooling him, I knew.

I knew he was probably ADHD.
But then when the Diabetes rushed in and took over our lives, his issue had to go on the back burner. So finally, last summer I took him to "The Child Study Center" in Fort Worth.
I mentioned to the doctor that my son had this weird kinda tic. It was almost cute sometimes.
He would start winking his left eye in any kind of situation that was different for him.
It could be on stage with the children's choir at church, it could be celebrating the big baseball team championship his team won in the spring, it could be when his dad or I were trying to correct him in some area, or it could be sitting with a new tutor.
Then there was the anger. Hoo boy... can that child get mad.
Spankings only made him go ballistic.
Time alone in his room to calm down was the only way we could get him to a point where we could talk to him about what triggered him to become defiant, or so angry.

I was prepared to hear ADHD, but was surprised with the anxiety diagnoses. Made sense though. But I didn't really know what to do for that. The doctor recommended counseling. He also recommended that I get some evaluations done at the public school for some of his learning difficulties too. He did not push medication. In fact, he warned with his anxiety issues that some of the stimulant medications available could trigger suicidal thoughts. Neither my husband or I wanted to put him through that. I didn't want the sedating effect either, or the erasing of the personality, or the wight loss because his appetite gets cancelled out.
So I researched some counseling. Came up with a bunch of dead-ends. Very expensive. Not Biblically based. Too far away.
I've looked through dietary changes and supplements. More dead-ends. How much and what will help? The lists are ENDLESS and would take me YEARS to work through. I've tried cutting out artificial colors. No change. I've tried adding some supplements. He gagged and wouldn't take them because they smelled bad. I've made EVEN MORE changes in how processed our food is on top of trying to figure out all the dietary needs of my diabetic child. No change.
I need something else soon, or I will need the medication myself!!!
I've been reading endlessly on the internet about different approaches to treatment. It's either too costly or on the other side of the continent.

Most interestingly, the Lord has brought complete strangers across my path here recently who have been so encouraging about our struggles. One lady in particular that talked with me for about 45 minutes after going through the check-out lane at Wal-Mart at Christmas left me so encouraged.
Her son is also ADHD and she is as well. She was so encouraging and compassionate and understanding of how difficult this is to handle on a daily basis. Especially when going out into public. She told me not to be afraid of trying him on some medication. She said that sometimes you can't even see who these kids really are and the wonderful talents they have because they are MASKED behind these hyper, angry symptoms. They are so frustrated many times because they KNOW they have something "wrong" with them, and want to behave, but just physically can not.
That stuck with me. I started thinking more and more about that. It made so much sense.
Recently here, my son has had some particularly bad evenings. Evenings where he is still running and bouncing on the bed and bugging his 9:00 pm......after a full day of the same. He got into a squabble or something, ended up upset, and went to bed crying.
When I was tucking him in, he was crying and telling me that he didn't WANT to have ADHD, that he didn't know why God made him have it, and that he wanted it to go away.
That just about did me in. I knew then that doing nothing was not an option. Giving up on finding something to help him would be cruel and negligent. I'm not waiting around and looking and looking for something that I'm not going to find anytime soon.

We had a follow-up appointment with our doctor on Monday. I talked to him about how we had changed up our entire school curriculum and I had switched all the rooms around in the house to facilitate a better learning environment, and that Grant was improving in his schoolwork!! But I also told him that we still had huge struggles. I talked to him about medication options that we could use a a tool to help him be calm enough for us to be able to talk to him and get through to him, and that would help give him some inner control and peace.
He told me about a new medication that has come out since we were last there in August.
It's called INTUNIV.
It's not a stimulant, and it's not a controlled substance as are other medications used for ADHD.
I'm very hopeful that this will help him.
It's not supposed to help with focus and grades in school and attention.
It is supposed to take the edge off the irritability, and help with the hyperactivity.
It sounds like a really good fit for us.
It is NOT without its side effects though, and we are prayerfully watching for those things.
We were told it would take about a week for his body to adjust before we saw any changes, but I have to say that he took his first dose Tuesday morning, and he was a different person.
I absolutely noticed that he did not have a scream fest ONE time that morning. He was very cooperative with me the whole day, and his sisters noticed that he wasn't as irritating to them.
I don't know if that was just too good to be true, but let me tell was a victory for us!!!

We'll see how tomorrow goes now, and how he sleeps tonight.

No comments: