Thursday, November 10, 2011

Facing the Inevitable Next Step... More Medication

I think most of us would agree that medicating your child is a very scary step. For me, I delayed this step, even though our doctors encouraged it from the beginning, because I was scared of the side effects as well as the judgements of society. Let’s face it, people aren’t very kind to mothers who medicate their children. More than once, I’ve gotten the hard, judgmental looks from other mothers, I’ve received the nasty emails calling me bad names and have read more than my fair share of criticism online. But I made this step, accepting this ridicule because my son needed it and was begging for help. When everything else failed, we turned to medication.

But what I wasn’t prepared for was the inevitable next step... more medication.

I’m sure some would assume that once you’ve open that door, it would be easy to add more medication when the doctors advised it. But honestly, I think this step was even harder.

You’d think I would’ve been ready for this step since I’ve read enough forums to see that many parents of mood disorder children achieve stability with multiple medications. But it still terrified me, even to this day. I don’t want my child on a grocery list of meds. But I can see how it happens. One medication treats one symptom, another treats another symptom. Then if your child gets a side effects, another medication may be introduced for treating that. The list can go on and on. Also, as another medication is added and you finally reach the utopia of stability, nobody wants to mess with the cocktail of meds, what if the house of cards falls when you remove just one of the medications. The entire treatment process is overwhelming, stressful and pretty much sucks!

About a year ago, my son was going through some very violent rages, psychosis and suicidal thoughts. I remember many followers suggesting that my son needed more medication. One in particular, advised me that his rages didn’t have to be like this and that we could get it under control if we would just add another medication. Being scared of this next step, I didn’t do anything, but endure more rages and let my son suffer. What was my reasoning? I was scared that the side effects would be worse than the symptoms. I was worried that he would end up more sick. As it turned out, I was wrong.

Since that time, we’ve added another medication and for the first time we’ve experienced what true stability is. Things are not perfect, but from where we came, it’s close enough. His symptoms are much better under control. He hasn’t seen any monsters or had suicidal thoughts. His rages are very rare and never as bad as they use to be. For the first time, we’re able to put therapy into practice and as a family, we’re slowly healing from all we’ve been through. Now looking back, I regret not helping him sooner. I regret that I let my fear hold us back.

But you know the ironic thing, adding medication doesn’t get any easier. If our doctor would suggest another medication today, I would research, evaluate the risks verses the benefits and pray. I would still have that nervous feeling in my stomach and take the decision very seriously. However, I’m confident that I would no longer let the judgements of others persuade my decisions, I’ve learned long ago that there are many “haters” that have no idea what your child is going through and are in no position to judge, but will do so anyway. I wish I was prepared for that in the beginning.

This is a long journey and unfortunately there are no right answers, just many paths and in the end, you have to trust your instincts. You know your child best!

* * *

This post will appear as part of the 12th edition of Best of the Best on the S-O-S Research Blog. Check there after the 15th to read more entries by other bloggers who are sharing special moments in raising children with invisible disabilities.

Visit this link after Nov. 15th:

* * *

A Few More Posts Regarding Our Journey with Medication:

When All Systems Fails:

Medicating My Child:

Lithium at 29 Days:


  1. I know how difficult it is and I know the wonders of stability. I can't afford to listen to the judgement of clueless people and neither can you. You are SO not alone! {{{Hugs}}}

  2. You are a wonderful advocate for the mentally ill and of course your son! Never let another uneducated or unenlightened person take that from you. I know my mom was unafraid to medicate me and it helped me to be open minded about my medicines. She (my mom) was willing to sacrifice so much to get me the help I needed but I was not always willing to accept the medicine. But as I got older I realize how much love, humility, and pride my mom must have swallowed to give me a more harmonious and level life. Medication is not a death sentence. It is a life long sentence. I love my medicine and the life it has given me.

  3. right you are not i really support you with amazing pray!

  4. In the Pink- I love your comment! It's great that you can appreciate the stuff your mom did for you years later. Your story encourages me : )

    GB's Mom- I like your perspective.. we can't afford to listen to the judgements!

    Alvaro- Thanks for your prayers!

  5. A great book on children & medication is Judith Warner's "We've got issues". She tackles the critisms head on & the consequences of not medicating when needed both immediate & long term. Thanks for sharing & being a voice for so
    Many of us.

  6. My kid's mom- I agree, that is a great book. What I love about it most was that she set out to write about kids being over medicated and the evil companies involved, but when she did her research, she found just the opposite and wrote a book about how our kids need these medications because they really do have serious conditions. I admire that she didn't stick to the agenda, kept an open mind and discovered the truth.

  7. No matter how many meds you've tried or how many are ahead, it never gets easier. But you do what you need to do to keep your child safe -- the rest of the world and their opinions be damned.

  8. I am still on this journey of finding th eright meds... we finally had stability with depakote and geodon... but our last blood worked revelaed that his ammonia levels were too high so now we are trying lithium. Wish us luck that all goes well with the litium. I understand the "guilty" feeling , as I refer to it, I wish I hadn't been so resistent to adding more meds nor doing the inpatient program to stabilize him as our pdoc wanted about a year ago. But things are looking up.

  9. Bani- Sorry to hear about the ammonia levels, I sure hope you find success with Lithium. It's a tough balance and I feel like even when you get there you're still working to maintain it. I wish you the best of luck, let us know how the Lithium goes!

  10. Thhese words resonate and, I pray, should I ever have to start meds I will remember them. Thanks!

    "However, I’m confident that I would no longer let the judgements of others persuade my decisions, I’ve learned long ago that there are many “haters” that have no idea what your child is going through and are in no position to judge, but will do so anyway. I wish I was prepared for that in the beginning."

  11. It took me years to agree to try even one med - I can't imagine how I'll react if they want to add another one! Thank you for sharing your experience.