Wednesday, December 8, 2010

To medicate or not?

With the advise of a therapist we were working with, I have taken my kids to see a psychiatrist. He and the therapist both suggested that some of them be on medication because they were SO disregulated SO often. Reluctantly, I put them on the medication to see if it would help. The potential side effects scare me and also I was afraid that they may become dependent on the medication.

I desperately want to find a way to help them regulate naturally, without the risks the anti-psychotic drugs have. Every time we get low on a prescription, I let it run out and decide that we can try to do our day to day things without the help of this medication. And after a few days of rages and kids who feel out of control (sometimes they tell me this themselves), I again, reluctantly, reorder the medicine and start over.

And their behaviors improve, dramatically.

Am I worring over something I shouldn't be? Am I wrong in not wanting to give them this medication when it obviously allows them to function so much better and it allows them to feel so much better about themselves? Do the benefits outweigh the risks?

We all take natural supplements but have not seen much improvement by the supplements alon. There are other supplements that I have not tried that I think I will. In the mean time though, I feel torn. I feel torn between letting my kids have a chance at feeling in control of their emotions with a medicine that is proven to help them, but poses so many risks, verses trying alternative options while they feel out of control of their emotions and actions. Is that fair to put them through that?

In the meantime, I still have a huge learning curve ahead of me in how I can help them deal with these extreme emotions. Just when I think I've got a handle on it and I'm really helping one child, another will start to rage then sometimes even another all at once. Then I think, "How in the world can I meet all of their needs at once? How do I be there for them, help them through this when I need to be so much more than one person who is still learning?" Usually, I end up having to send one or more of them into their rooms to rage (to keep the others safe), while I help another one to regulate. Is that fair? I don't think it is. I feel torn and overwhelmed at the tasks that lie in front of me sometimes. I want to be there for them every time they need me but sometimes, I am forced to make them wait.

I know that it won't be like this forever. I know that once we all have the tools to help things run more smoothly (beginning with me, so I can subsequently give them those tools) things will get better. In the mean time, I'm studying every second I get. I'm leaning about natural supplements that helped other kids like mine. I'm learing about parenting interventions that will help their brains to begin to function differently. I'm praying with all of my heart that my learning curve won't have to last too long and that the kids will be able to live up to their full potential.

I can see their potential. I see a great set of kids who have so much ability and who are learning to love and care for others with such tenderness it touches my heart everyday. I don't fear for their future, because I believe that they will grow to become great adults full of kindness, love and responsibility. Having said that, I know that much of their progress depends on the kind of parent I am to them now. That is a responsibility I take very seriously. Because I can see so clearly where I lack, I am constantly striving to learn more, do more, and to be more for them.

I can't thank these kids enough for the awesome opportunity having them has given me to become a better person, a person with more understanding, compassion and love. They have given me the opportunity to evaluate my life, my actions and my thoughts in a very deep way, everyday of my life as I strive to become more like Christ and to love them as He does. And more importantly to care for them as He would if he were here.

But still I'm left with the question: Do I medicate them or not? Have any of you been in a similar situation? What did you decide? What was most helpful for your family?


ShopHotPinkDiaries said...

my dear friend has a strong commitment to the holistic/ natural healing and did exhaust every natural route for her child with bi-polar disorder. she would do the same thing, let the meds run out just to see and sure enough after a few days she was out of control again and refilled the script. she also gives her the natural supp. and alone it does help, only marginally though, compared to the meds. i asked her how she felt about having her daughter on the meds bc of how she loves holistic practices and she said that NOT having her on them is what would be unfair to her daughter b/c she is that much more able to concentrate in school and have her emotions in check rather than very high and very low. they give her, her life back to live rather than have the disease control her.
and just for my little thoughts, i think you are the most wonderful mother to love your babies and want what is absolute best for them, not just what doctors prescribe or what therapists recommend... all your considerations are absolutely valid and you just want for them what Heavenly Father has in store for them and you and your husband are the tools for which they may receive those amazing blessings. SUCH an amazing life experience. it is such a beautiful process, both the worst and the best parts. i am always so humbled when i read your blog, your family is full of true heroes.

i think that if this were my situation, i would medicate if i saw improvements, as long as we felt right about it. Heavenly Father is in control and He is stronger than the side effects of the medicine. If you feel it is right then I wouldn't hold back bc He wouldn't allow you to feel right if it was wrong.
hope this helps xo

Mishqueen said...

At the risk of sounding cheesy, I think whichever option brings your children closer to God is the one that will be best for them in the long run. The feeling the Spirit brings, and the healing power of the Atonement are what will ultimately bring them to Christ.

So, if medication helps them calm their storms enough to feel the spirit, understand the scriptures, and learn the doctrine then maybe the long-run benefits are worth the short-term suffering with side-effects.

But if the medication impedes that process, maybe the sacrifice is in the reverse.

In the end, only Heavenly Father is your judge, and I believe He will guide you and/or let you know if it is even a life-changing choice.

Personally? I think you're one of the best mothers I've ever seen, and I'm starting to believe you CAN'T go wrong, because maybe you were born to help these children. Who knows? You have love and support from me, anyway. (ps - I'm a mission friend of Brad's)

coffeemom said...

This is a personal decision, best made by YOU and the docs...but I have some thoughts on this and not a little experience with it. I have several kids (3) w/ special needs and two w/ behavioral/medical issues that are big enough that we too have faced researched prayed about and dealt w/ this decision. Each kid is different, each situation is different. But here is my bottom line: many of the issues, especially neuro issues and/or mood issues and regulation of mood etc is linked to a physiological issue. And as such, while there is NO magic bullet (Oh, I wish I wish).....our goal as parents is to help the kids to be successful. Not to be PC, or 'green' or natural or whatever. THere brain chemistry is sometimes abnormal. And sometimes meds help. So much so that it can be like night and day difference in their ability to cope, at school, w/ mood, impulse, whatever. IT is, IMHO, a disservice to them to not provide the tools that are at our disposal to help them succeed. If it's star charts and strict boundaries...ok. We do those. But if more is needed and they are not regulating their emotions and it's causing big difficulties for them and those around them...? Help them. Give them the meds to rebalance their systems. Do it thoughtfully, w/ research adn constant evaluation. But, meds are a tool. Period. A tool. NOT an evil. NOT a golden ticket. A tool. And they have helped tremendously in our house. And for those that judge??? They should live in your house and watch the children, see the suffering, see the difference. They cannot know until they do.
This isn't judgement, or shouldn't be. These are tools. Help your kids be the best they can be, not robots, but their truest selves. Good for you for thinking so hard about this.