Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Risk-Benefit Evaluation

As parents, we’re all facing difficult decisions when it comes to our child’s treatment. I don’t claim that one way is better than another, I can only share what works and doesn’t work for us. If you’re a parent that has found success with nutrition, exercise, vitamins or a number of other treatment options, I think that’s fantastic! I really do. I wish that was the case for our son. For us, we turned to medication when other treatment options didn’t work. As I move forward with medication, I try and keep in mind some advice I got from Dr. Singh from Stanford University:

“When it comes to medications, there has to be a risk-benefit evaluation: Live with the symptoms or live with the side effects. What’s worse?”

That’s a question only you and your child can answer.


  1. That quote is so very true! And each family's answer may be different.

  2. I love this quote! The decision to medicate a child is an extremely difficult and personal one. Anyone who hasn't been in your shoes, and lived through what you've experienced with your child, doesn't have the right to judge you. I was too late to respond to your previous post and the negative comments on the boring old man blog. But I felt sick to my stomach and so angry when I read them.

  3. Speaking as someone who has Bipolar and the parent of a Bipolar 9 yearold if medicine helps him keep him on them. don't ever make him go back to those horrible feeling because of someone else's judgements.

  4. You are a terrific mom - and know best.

  5. Kay thanks for sharing your perspective, I agree we have to ignore the judgements of others to do what is best for our kid, and as Bug mentioned, it is a very difficult and personal decision. I hope that someday parents won't have to feel judged over their choice.

  6. Lila- I agree that Mom's do know best when it comes to their kids, as one wise man told me "remain vigilant and use your own intuition". Sometimes easier said than done.

  7. here are some of my sons symptons:
    -hyperactive (since as baby)
    -sleeping problems never got a good night sleep
    -agressive behavior (started at 9 months old)
    -do not follow instructions (has to be told several times)
    -concentration problems (can be easily distracted by any thing)
    -rages just about anything (especially when does not get his way)
    At the age of 7 was assested by a pediatric psycologist and was diagnose as ADHD ,plus dislexia ,anxiet and some depression features.
    He was given concerta and on the first pill he had hallucinations ,couldnt sleep for 3 days ,he was raging like a wild animal for 3 days ,tried to jump of my car as i was taking him to see his doctor,them she said he could be bipolar,but he was too young to have a diagnose.
    So for 2 years now i have been talking to doctors and all of them say the same thing wait do not medicate your child yet try anything you can ,until he is 16 at least,even if you have to medicate yourself to be able to deal with it .
    As a mother i also want the best for my son ,im not against medication ,but i think he is far too young to be medicated right now ,everyday i find diferent ways to deal with his bahavior ,anything i can provide in a hollistic way i will try for now.

  8. Dear Mama Bear,
    I cannot believe that I am a mom to a daughter with a mood disorder. This has all just happened in the last two months. I found your blog and began reading all your "important posts" and at one point I had to leave the computer to go vomit in the bathroom. We were in denial. Then shock. Then grief. Then more grief as every day we said good-bye to our old life and stepped on the road of this new life that I was begging God not to ask us to walk. My daughter's symptoms are not terrible yet, but we want to do everything we can to prevent them from getting worse--which I'm sure they would. We have started Lamictal, and each and every hour that goes by I thank the Lord for doctors, therapists, science, and medicine. I hate that this is our life, but I am so grateful that with meds we should be able to find that balance for our daughter. I will never meet you face to face, but you already feel like a dear friend to me. Thank you so much for your blog. It reminds me that I'm not the only one. I'm praying for you. ;)

  9. Anonymous-Thank you so much for your letter, it touched my heart. I can relate to the feelings you have about letting go of your old life. I really struggled with that, especially if I watched old home movies and looked at old photos that brought back memories of better days.

    Even my son would cry if he watched old home movies, I would ask him what was wrong and he would share that watching the home movie brought back memories of when he use to feel happy inside. I tend to think that a lot of parents (and kids) have to grieve that loss a little. But I want to give you some hope.

    Though our life is not what it use to be, I really feel like we have a hold on happiness again. I don't know if it will last, but our son has found stability in his medication and is living a different life than he was. We all are. We are laughing again, enjoying life again. I didn't think it was possible, but it is! It may be a tough journey getting there in finding what works best for your daughter, but I want to share that it can be possible. Hang in there and hold onto hope.

    Please feel free to contact me privately through my email in the right column if you ever need to reach out for support, I may not have the answers, but I understand.