****I’d like to preface this post by saying that I am NOT a medical professional and do not offer this information as a hard and fast rule for all children. Please speak with your medical professionals before changing any medications for your child.****
Hubby and I have very strong feelings about medicating our children. Often, in the foster care system, kids end up with multiple diagnoses and their corresponding medications because no one really wanted to deal with the root of their behaviors. It is much easier to medicate a child into submission than it is to dig deep and help a child climb out of the holes their lives have landed them in.
I believe it is unreasonable to diagnose a child with 5 different disorders. I believe that it is irresponsible to have a child take 14 pills a day. One of our sons arrived at our home with just these things in his life. He had so many diagnoses and so many pills he had become a shell of who he really is. He was so medicated at night time that he would wet the bed daily. He could not wake himself up to use the bathroom. He was eleven years old at the time.
I knew instinctively, as a mom, that something wasn’t right. Unfortunately, I was caught in a very difficult situation. I had no other children and my son had been through so much. There were so many “professional” people surrounding us, telling me that he needed this amount of medication or he would be completely out of control. Many people just wanted me to go along with what had been done, explaining to me that I didn’t have any idea what I had gotten myself into. But, I knew that inside this tiny, drugged child was a person trapped by the decisions others had made for him. I knew that I had to get him out of the cage they put him in and let him be himself.
So, we began to fight to have him removed from one medication after another. We discovered crazy things like, despite the fact that he was being treated for asthma, he never had it a day in his life. When he would get very angry, he would lose his breath. Someone along the line thought that looked like asthma. So off the meds he came. We began reading about the drugs he was on and realized that five of them were for the same diagnosis. So more meds went away. We changed providers and sought help from medical doctors as well as psychiatric professionals. We found people who agreed that children should not be sedated through life.
It took nearly a year and a lot of frustrating turns and twists but we finally got our son off of every medication he arrived on. We knew in our hearts that no one had properly diagnosed our son. We took him off every medication and held him at a med-free status for 90 days. We wanted to get a baseline and see where he was at so we could determine what he really needed. Despite the opposition of his teachers and many others, we arrived at his real problem. Our son does not have ADHD, ODD, Anger Issues, Depression and the many other things they put on him. He does have PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. In fact, if he had been an adult, the diagnosis would have come much easier. It is uncommon for children to be diagnosed with PTSD but we knew that was what was going on. Since my husband’s return from Iraq, he has battled with severe PTSD. We could see our son behaving in the same manner, regardless of the 14 pills he was taking.
The day we were finally able to hear a professional diagnose him with PTSD was a victory day for our family. He is now on ONE medication, one pill per day, to help him deal with the symptoms of PTSD. He is excelling in school, becoming more obedient at home, and most of all, he is happy.
I am so glad we fought the battles to get our son off of the many medications he did not need. I am so glad we went the distance to find out what his real issues are. If you are frustrated with the amount of medication your child is on or if you feel like something isn’t quite right, get a second opinion. Get a third and fourth opinion if you have to. Rely on your instincts and fight for your child. There are many “experts” out there but none of them live with you and your kiddo. None of them have the senses you do about the child that you love. Trust yourself and persevere. It can make all the difference in the world for your child and for your family.