I really think that my son, E-Niner, could use a work-up of his medications. Our Ritalin regimen doesn't seem to be cutting it -- he's got a very severe case of ADHD.
And when I say very severe, I mean to say that it was apparent at four months old when he looked like a jack rabbit in heat trying to get himself from his belly to all fours.
Four months. We didn't think we had a problem. We never saw anyone else's kid do that. But we were in that blissful new-parent, first-child mind-set that allowed us to believe our child was a superior being.
At ten months old he was flinging those giant, economy sized boxes of diapers around our family room. He'd hold the box over his head throw it, and then run to the other side of the room to pick it up and do it again. Ten months.
I could proceed with the litany of milestones and warning lights we missed, but you get the point. Fast forward to five years old, two school expulsions, and one psych ward visit later.
He's out of control in the mornings before we give him Ritalin. He's a mess in the evening when it comes out.
When I say "out of control" and "a mess," I mean to the point that our family has now separated in half during those times (one of us feeds him, the other hangs out with our other son) because adding just two people in the room over-stimulates him.
So I've been thinking about switching up his Ritalin to Strattera. I hear they make a dose that lasts for 24 hours, which sounds wonderful. (We've tried long-acting stimulants in the past, but his crashes off those, even with a tiny dose of Ritalin to ease him off, were literally 911 unbearable.)
Anytime we switch-up his meds -- and by meds, I mean Ritalin, Seroquel, Depakote, Clonidine -- it's like an enormous earthquake sets off in his body. There is part of me that feels very nervous of this idea of switching to Strattera.
First, Strattera works in a different part of the brain than Ritalin. So who knows if the drug will be as effective for E-Niner. So that's that whole headache.
Next, I'm worried about it suppressing his appetite. The number one thing kids need to do at his age is eat and sleep. Eating has been an uphill battle since he started Ritalin since he's on it eight consecutive hours a day. That's eight hours of not eating. What if a 24 hours dose suppresses his appetite that long? It's not like you can reason with a five year old.
Then I'm worried about it not working, which means that his safety, our safety and the state of our house and property are all at stake.
At the same time, what we've got going around here isn't working too well either.
I hate this about medicines. It's like you're running these high school science experiments that are iffy at best. Try it, see if it works, if it doesn't try something else.
I hope someday -- in his lifetime -- prescribing mental health drugs won't need to be such a coin toss.