Threads in this topic are removed from the site 90 days after the thread was started. Our SN area is not a substitute for expert advice. Here some suggested organisations that offer expert advice on SN.

Would you give a 6 / 7 year old anti-depressants?

(107 Posts)
Piratejones Fri 06-Jun-14 17:39:19

I’ve never been on AD’s and neither has DH, I’m not completely sure how the effect you, but DH and myself were discussing our options with mini-pirates psychologist for his return to school in September and the big step up to year 2.

One of the things suggested was a 20 day course of Anti depressants to lead into the start of term, not because Mini pirate is depressed but to dull his emotions and help him control them. Even though he is academically in line with his age group, and is physically 6, he currently has the emotional control of a 2 year old, so it can bit like the incredible hulk at times.

It’s not really a route we want to go down right now, we are not dismissing it but we do feel at the moment there are other control techniques that may help (AKA far too early to medicate), but what are people’s opinions on this overall?

Orangeanddemons Fri 06-Jun-14 17:45:18

What a horrendous idea. My experience of the many many many ad's I've been on, is they all send you into an emotional tailspin in the first few weeks

Piratejones Fri 06-Jun-14 17:49:13

He's already in an emotional tailspin, and having CBT.

CailinDana Fri 06-Jun-14 17:49:25

I would be wary. I've taken ADs and they are very heavy duty. I would be worried about the effect they have on a child.

Has the psychologist given any explanation for his lack of emotional control?

Piratejones Fri 06-Jun-14 17:53:27

Has the psychologist given any explanation for his lack of emotional control?

Yes lots, but we are unsure what bits of his behaviour are because he was abused as a child and what is um... neurological related. Some of it may have been due to brain damage during seizures.

SylvaniansKeepGettingHoovered Fri 06-Jun-14 17:55:57

I would want as much information as I could get my hands on, about how they affect you, how much would be given to him, possible side effects, how he would cope after coming off them. I wouldn't be completely against it under some circumstances (I think I've read past posts of yours so I know he's been through difficulties) but I would wonder what happens after the 20 day dosage, would he feel worse and go through a withdrawal? I suppose would help him through the first 3 weeks of term, which is always the most unsettling period.

Gen35 Fri 06-Jun-14 17:56:55

Have you asked the dr to explain in detail what the research says about any problems ads can cause in this age group/side effects, and also do they know how many kids have taken them and for how many years? I'd mostly be concerned about the tiny sample size re effects on kids that young. I'd be tempted to see how bad it was first but of you're fairly sure he's doing to have a very bad time and this is your best option... Bottom line, do you trust the dr?

LastTango Fri 06-Jun-14 17:57:48

The side effect of the ones I've just come off (Citalopram) were horrendous. Perhaps he would be better on some ADHD medication (can't remember what it's called)?

CailinDana Fri 06-Jun-14 17:58:23

Poor thing, sounds like he's had a tough time.

softlysoftly Fri 06-Jun-14 18:00:01

Sounds a terrible idea to start, put up with the adjustment then stop again?

From what I've read, and experiences of people I know who've taken them: not a hope in hell and I'd be looking at every other possible option first. Absolute last resort.

PolterGoose Fri 06-Jun-14 18:03:24

Pirate this might be better asked on the SN Children board, several posters have children on the type of medication you are considering. It's a potentially contentious subject so not sure here is the best place to ask.

I'm a little concerned that the psychologist suggested it as they can't prescribe, for a child that age it would usually be a psychiatrist, also strange to suggest 20 day course when most SSRIs take time to get working.

xWurlyCurlyx Fri 06-Jun-14 18:03:58

Hello,

We have had to give our DS (9) ADs for other reasons. He has had absolutely no problems. It's obviously not ideal, but having a condition that requires that level of intervention isn't ideal either!

Good luck with the decision. It took us 2 years to get to a point where we felt we had no other options before we agreed. Ŵe now wish we had done it sooner as he has had a rough 2 years.

MirandaWest Fri 06-Jun-14 18:04:33

I can't see how a 20 day course of ADs would be helpful - took me about that long to stop having side effects from starting to take them.

NoTeaForMe Fri 06-Jun-14 18:04:42

I think LastTango is talking about Ritalin. Has that been mentioned to you Pirate ?

whynowblowwind Fri 06-Jun-14 18:06:01

No, I would not, although I won't take them myself either.

Piratejones Fri 06-Jun-14 18:06:26

The side effect of the ones I've just come off (Citalopram) were horrendous. Perhaps he would be better on some ADHD medication

Ritalin is a stimulant, certainly not the right medication for him.

do you trust the dr?

Up until now he has been very good.

I would want as much information as I could get my hands on, about how they affect you, how much would be given to him, possible side effects, how he would cope after coming off them. I wouldn't be completely against it under some circumstances (I think I've read past posts of yours so I know he's been through difficulties) but I would wonder what happens after the 20 day dosage, would he feel worse and go through a withdrawal?

Thank you, i will make a list of things to ask.
I know they are only prescribed in extreme cases because they lead to nightmares, So his psychologist visits will be increased while he's on them and he will need referal to a psychiatrist.

Piratejones Fri 06-Jun-14 18:14:22

Pirate this might be better asked on the SN Children board, several posters have children on the type of medication you are considering. It's a potentially contentious subject so not sure here is the best place to ask.

I wanted a lot of view point on this.

I'm a little concerned that the psychologist suggested it as they can't prescribe, for a child that age it would usually be a psychiatrist

Our doctor was present. And he would be referred for weekly checks with a phyciatrist.

I don't know about the 20 days thing, maybe it's a tester to see if he has any violent reactions?

Piratejones Fri 06-Jun-14 18:16:23

*Hello,

We have had to give our DS (9) ADs for other reasons. He has had absolutely no problems. It's obviously not ideal, but having a condition that requires that level of intervention isn't ideal either!*

So it became a long term solution for you?
Do you not worry and reliance on the medication?

Gen35 Fri 06-Jun-14 18:16:40

I do agree re sn board advice - I'd push for a quick psychiatrist referral for a 2nd opinion effectively, then you could have more confidence.

Shonajay Fri 06-Jun-14 18:19:45

Yes, if I felt secure in the people who were advising I did, and if there were a reason in his past that would indicate so. People have a knee jerk reaction, if its VERY closely monitored by medical doctors and psychiatrists, it can be a very good thing and prevent future intervention.

Gen35 Fri 06-Jun-14 18:19:49

I do agree re sn board advice - I'd push for a quick psychiatrist referral for a 2nd opinion effectively, then you could have more confidence.

Piratejones Fri 06-Jun-14 18:21:55

PolterGoose DH just told me the 20 day thing will probably be because he has had seizures in the past.

Imsuchamess Fri 06-Jun-14 18:23:59

I have to take some pretty heavy duty medication. Not just anti depressants but benzos anti psychs and mood stabiliser. My symptoms started in childhood but were not treated till I was a adult. I may have to consider putting my 8yo on similar medication. I will do it in a heartbeat.

However I don't think a psychologist should be recommending this to you as I feel it's outside their professional expertise. I also don't think they should be prescribed for short term problems because when you first take them you feel worse. They are hard to get off. I think you should be speaking to cahms about this not a psychologist.

ElkTheory Fri 06-Jun-14 18:29:52

No, I wouldn't. I would be concerned about side effects and the effect on a growing child. I'm generally a bit wary of anti-depressants even for adults, but I'd definitely avoid them for a young child.

Piratejones Fri 06-Jun-14 18:31:10

It wasn't a recommendation, it was with an overview of other possible options and possiblility, but it leaped out as very extreme to me.

ChampagneAndCrisps Fri 06-Jun-14 18:44:26

Two of my kids have been on antidepressants for anxiety related to Tourettes.
One has had a fantastic response to a low dose of Fluoxetine, the other had awful side effects to a low dose of Sertraline and it had to stop.

So, perhaps it's the right thing to do, perhaps not.

20 days is a short time to use antidepressants for - they often take 2 weeks to start working, and my DD had withdrawals coming off Sertraline. She was only on a small dose for 6 weeks.
I think I would be cautious, and I would also ask for another opinion.

LettertoHerms Fri 06-Jun-14 18:44:51

Absolutely not, no, never ever. There are no circumstances by which I would.

The side effects are outrageous - particularly in children and young adults. Worse than an adult would experience, with a higher possibility of suicidal thoughts.

PolterGoose Fri 06-Jun-14 18:46:56

Letter I can only guess you've not parented a child with extreme anxiety.

LastTango Fri 06-Jun-14 18:49:02

Ritalin is a stimulant, certainly not the right medication for him

Then why does it calm down children with ADHD?.

Virgolia Fri 06-Jun-14 18:50:28

Absolutely not'

Are you in the US? They seem very heavy on medicating kids over there rather than dealing with other means.

Piratejones Fri 06-Jun-14 18:50:57

Then why does it calm down children with ADHD?.

It activates the section of their brain that is dormant most of the time.

Rather than calm them, it makes them concentrate and be able to focus, which is what they are unable to do.

mamalovesmojitos Fri 06-Jun-14 18:51:02

No way. I was prescribed ads, at the age of 13, nearly ruined my life. They made me 10 times worse and were the start of a hamster wheel of medication, on and off, for a decade. I deteriorated after taking them for some months, they were later linked to increased suicidal feelings in patients. I'm not a doctor obviously, but I believe they caused me a lot of unnecessary harm, as do some medical professionals I've spoken to since, including a psychiatrist.

See what other options are available. It sounds like you all are facing some major challenges, and I really feel for you. I hope you and your family are getting good support.

mamalovesmojitos Fri 06-Jun-14 18:51:33

No way. I was prescribed ads, at the age of 13, nearly ruined my life. They made me 10 times worse and were the start of a hamster wheel of medication, on and off, for a decade. I deteriorated after taking them for some months, they were later linked to increased suicidal feelings in patients. I'm not a doctor obviously, but I believe they caused me a lot of unnecessary harm, as do some medical professionals I've spoken to since, including a psychiatrist.

See what other options are available. It sounds like you all are facing some major challenges, and I really feel for you. I hope you and your family are getting good support.

ChampagneAndCrisps Fri 06-Jun-14 18:52:19

Letter, I don't want my DS to be on Prozac, but it gives him his life back. He hasn't had any side effects from it.

Life is not always as we want it to be.

JennyOnTheBlocks Fri 06-Jun-14 18:52:58

I think Ritalin works by stimulating the part of the brain that aids concentration and steady thoughts.

LettertoHerms Fri 06-Jun-14 18:54:57

I have a firm stance, that will not change. I did not comment on anyone else's choices. The OP asked would you, and my answer is that I would not.

anyoldnamewilldo Fri 06-Jun-14 18:55:12

I was put on antidepressants at that age because I suffered from terrible night terrors. I can only remember them helping me. No more being afraid to go asleep! Obviously, a different reason for being on them but they had no negative effects on me.

WooWooOwl Fri 06-Jun-14 18:56:02

It's impossible to say whether giving a child medication is the right or wrong thing to do, it's a decision that has to be taken on an individual basis weighing up the positives against the negatives and then ultimately taking a risk.

No medication is without side effects, but if people need it then they need it. That includes children.

It could be that this medication will have a negative effect physically somewhere, but I doubt it would be suggested unless it was deemed a reasonable course of action because of specific reasons.

All you can do is get information from as many professionals as possible,

LastTango Fri 06-Jun-14 18:56:10

I know what it does pirate - I just can't understand why you think it is not suitable for a child "and is physically 6, he currently has the emotional control of a 2 year old, so it can bit like the incredible hulk at times".

Wouldn't it help calm?

Piratejones Fri 06-Jun-14 18:59:19

*I know what it does pirate - I just can't understand why you think it is not suitable for a child
Wouldn't it help calm?.*

No because he hasn't got ADHD, as stated the medication doesn't "calm" children it "wakes them".

MyrtleDove Fri 06-Jun-14 19:03:19

Last ADHD is a neurological condition. If OP's DS does not have ADHD, ritalin won't do anything for him.

More generally - antidepressants are medication like any other. I'm saddened by some of the attitude of some posters towards medication which has been incredibly beneficial for myself and others, including children. Some children benefit from antidepressants, some don't. Antidepressants are widely-used and very safe drugs.

coffeetofunction Fri 06-Jun-14 19:05:28

First haven't read full thread...

My son has ADHD & is depressed. It's heartbreaking when he's low. As mentioned above Ritalin is regularly prescribed for ADHD, however my son takes methylphenidate. It was agreed that this form of medication would be most suitable as it's a stimulant. It's helped improve my DS mood massively, he's gone from being an angry/upset/uncontrollable little boy to being manageable, coherent & happy. Along with this school have been able to provide some weekly "counseling" with one of the teachers, which has help the whole family as we can address issues that we didn't realise where issues, if that makes sence.

I would give my DS AD if I knew that in the long term they would be beneficial but methylphenidate has been great for us.

Take your time, speak to as many professionals as you can, it's taken us 6 years, you'll get there thanks

Upandatem Fri 06-Jun-14 19:08:52

We agreed to Sertraline for DS1 at age 7. I was surprised when it was suggested but it seems to have to have helped although everyone thinks the fist is too low to actually do much.

Mostly though it just took the edge off him not being able to cope at school at all, although not by much. Now he's in a specialist school we have cut it even further back and will look to stop it. It felt worth a try at the time.

GiveTwoSheets Fri 06-Jun-14 19:08:57

If all avenues have been tried then yes I would my only concern would be the timing as I thought that they take a while to kick in (maybe different for children) and would ask about the weaning off faze as I didn't think you could just stop them.

I feel for you as its one of those decisions damed if you do, damed if you don't.

Upandatem Fri 06-Jun-14 19:09:28

Dose is too low, pesky phone.

Piratejones Fri 06-Jun-14 19:35:54

antidepressants are medication like any other. I'm saddened by some of the attitude of some posters towards medication which has been incredibly beneficial for myself and others, including children.

Sorry, you are right and i should not have felt the way i did at the mention of Ad's, but they are not normally perscribed to children.

magso Fri 06-Jun-14 20:08:03

I think the other thing to be aware of is that antidepressant medications have many actions on the nervous system. Some medications are used in different doses to have different effects. For instance a very low dose of a drug usually used as a tricyclic AD can be used to reduce neuropathic pain. I guess it just quietens down the nervous system. Ds was on a tiny dose of a blood pressure medication to help with compulsions and ticks, - at the very low dose it has a different action to the BP use it is best known for. I'm not a pharmacist or medical so can only explain in lay mans terms. I mention this just in case the AD medication is being considered for a different use to its usual use. I would want to know if that was the case.

Before I had DCs I would never have thought I would ever medicate a child (or myself for that matter) with anything used for mental health conditions and well being. Now I have a teenage Ds (who also had a very difficult start to life) with LD/ASD/ADHD and yes after trying everything else we have along the way had to consider many medications - not Ads so far but who knows?

lougle Fri 06-Jun-14 20:11:04

I think I'd be inclined to take a step back and look at the problem and see if this solves that problem.

If the return to school is the problem and he's otherwise OK, are you confident that this school (any school?) is right for him? It alarms me that a child may need medication to cope with attending school specifically (rather than medication to cope with life, of which school is a part). I confess my bias here, though, because I've just deregistered one of my 3 children from school to HE because her school anxiety was ruining her life.

If the start of term is a 'blip' for him, is there anything the school could do to ease his anxiety?

Piratejones Fri 06-Jun-14 20:28:27

If the start of term is a 'blip' for him, is there anything the school could do to ease his anxiety?

He has problems all the time not just school. it's just that the starting back at school will be a major thing for us to overcome

I've just deregistered one of my 3 children from school to HE because her school anxiety was ruining her life.

He only goes 4 days. we use the 5th to go swimming / playing in parks and things we can't normally do because of the noise, plus it's social / emotional education. it's something i asked for 2 year ago (when he needed time with me and the fmaily to bond and catch up with his age group) but they've only recently granted (thanks to a great social worker). but better late than never.

magso Fri 06-Jun-14 20:30:53

Actually Lougle is right (as she usually is of course). Ds (who finds change very difficult) goes to a SS and his first SS was very good at this. For instance staff visited him at his previous setting - for you this might need to be home. Then we went for a visit on a day when the children in the class he was about to join were doing an activity he enjoyed (watching TV!). We looked at all the things important to him ( the playground, the trees, the lunch space and library). Later a well illustrated (computer generated) book arrived with named pictures of his teachers TAs Head and class mates ( with ds included from his visit), pictures of the class room, playground and all the other important places. Then we had another longer visit, and then he started a few days into term so the other children were more settled. The staff were aware he would need support to settle and arranged the late start to aid this. He settled better than we could have hoped, although it took a little while.
In contrast when moving up to special senior school the opposite happened, and we are still all struggling! Perhaps you could be allowed to take pictures to help your Ds adapt?

MyrtleDove Fri 06-Jun-14 20:33:36

Pirate my comment wasn't aimed at you - it's normal to be a bit surprised at a suggestion like that. Iirc fluoxetine is the one most commonly prescribed to under-18s (generic name for Prozac).

Well, reading all the stories of success here has changed my view - I was speaking from experiences of people I know, who have found the side effects quite hard to deal with.

I guess it'd just be a case of getting the dose right, and finding the right SSRI for the person. Talk to as many people as possible, look at all the options but if you think it's worth a go, then go for it Pirate smile

I've gone from "not a hope in hell" to "you know what, if it's all managed well, and it works, why not?" As someone up thread said, it's just medication like any other (although I personally try and avoid even headache tablets, and just let my body do its thing, but I'm strange like that smile)

Piratejones Fri 06-Jun-14 21:12:35

Like i say though, it's only been suggested as something that's possible along with other ideas. I will not be doing it yet, hopefully we will hit on something else that works.

anthropology Fri 06-Jun-14 21:31:36

In teens, its only the psychiatrist who has the authority to offer medication rather than psychologist, and only alongside weekly talking therapy. My DDs experience at 14 was it was ok going on fluoxetine or sertraline, but really unpleasant coming off. she took them in hospital for very severe depression, but felt very dulled . She did need to stay on them for a few months though. My worry might be he cant describe to you if they are having a negative effect (they can lower mood ) as he is so young. However, , if his condition is severe and debilitating, I would explain your concerns, ask for a second opinion from the psychiatrist and ask to see evidence of success and read as much as you can, trying less invasive ways first, which I'm sure you have. best of luck.

zzzzz Sat 07-Jun-14 00:21:40

I'm not at all anti appropriate medication. Depression is an illness not a mood.

That said is he taking any medication for his epilepsy? If not how long has he been off it?

Piratejones Sat 07-Jun-14 02:29:33

That said is he taking any medication for his epilepsy? If not how long has he been off it?

He doesn't have epilepsy, they believe his seizures were caused by hypoglycaemia due to malnutrition and vitamin / calcium deficiency, they were treated with liquid glucose.
He’s not had one in well over a year.

But again they can’t be 100%, but it doens't look like he has epilepsy. he wasn’t able to be put on epilepsy medication (or a lot of other medication) as it can escalates this deficiency and cause seizures.

ChampagneAndCrisps Sat 07-Jun-14 07:30:27

I've just re read your original post.

When my DS was started on Prozac it was clearly for anxiety, agitation and I do think he was depressed. I don't know if these symptoms were a reaction to having severe Tourettes, or we're because of his altered brain chemistry.

But, I'm not sure that ADs are able to dull emotions - that would be the effect of a sedative drug and I doubt you want to start your son on them.

I hope you get somewhere, it's clearly difficult.

Piratejones Sat 07-Jun-14 07:48:00

I'm not sure that ADs are able to dull emotions - that would be the effect of a sedative drug and I doubt you want to start your son on them.

We have sedatives, but they are only used during thunder storms as he self harms by smashing his head against the walls and floors.
It makes me feel physically sick and guilty using them.

zzzzz Sat 07-Jun-14 07:53:06

Epilepsy just means you have had more than one seizure, root cause and cure (medication/diet/lifestyle change) don't matter. Being seizure free for two years in children often prompts removal of support (meds) as at least half grow out of it. So if he was having seizures a year ago he would still be considered an active epileptic.

If the seizures were long (more than 5 mins) or frequent (within 12 hours) then damage is possible (likely?) and so like any brain injury the on going effect is very dependent on where and how severe that damage was and the age and subsequent development of that brain.

My little girl had multiple seizures at 11 months following a virus. Her right side was "weak" (lost) and she "forgot it was there", she lost the ability to recognise people (including me) and her development plateaued. She was in hospital for months as her seizures were hard to control. She has relapsed twice in the last 6 years but is now in school and very much indistinguishable from the other 7 year olds.

It took at least a year for her to recover from having the seizures (but she does have lots of short ones when seizing) and of course we have the added developmental joy of the medication which is dreadful.

The reason I am saying all this is your description of emotional volatility is very very dd in the year after seizures. The only real help was to ride it like a wave and treat her like that two year old who isn't managing. She is still more forceful/aggressive/self absorbed than her siblings. She appears more ruthless. Her life has been very different to theirs and I am here for the long game, and am sure she will flower given time and space. Her "fight" has saved her and probably will again.

Piratejones Sat 07-Jun-14 08:05:04

I'm sorry to hear that about your daughter zzzzzz.

I did not know he was classed as an epileptic as his seizures are not "epileptic seizures", they are part of hypoglycaemia, all blood sugar related.

I have been told it could be brain damage, but as he wasn't in my care until he was 4 it's unknown how frequently thing happened before that.
It's difficult for us to know what issues are caused by physical damage, and which are caused by emotional damage.

Upandatem Sat 07-Jun-14 08:08:08

Temple Grandin often says that if ADs were called anti anxiety medication we'd find it easier to accept. SSRIs have their place for many, low dose short term here but I wouldn't rule them out. Even a sugar pill might help.

School was a big trigger here though, once that changed things got better. And age helped too.

lougle Sat 07-Jun-14 08:09:21

Has he had an MRI?

I'd agree with Lougle if medication is needed for him to cope with school then the setting is wrong for him. I was advised to give ds fluoxetine to help him cope in school, what we did was get the sort of school (through SEN tribunal) best able to meet his needs (independent specialist school) and all the symptoms that were thought to need medicating disappeared. He's been there three years now and has no need for medication.

Moralityissue Sat 07-Jun-14 08:24:22

My ds is on anti depressants and has been since he was 6.

It's totally turned his life around, no side effects, no growth issues etc (he's 8 now).

He has ASD and prior to the medication was self harming, school refusing and absolutely miserable. Last week he stood up in assembly and read out a passage from a book in front of 300 people.

Do I like him on the tablets? Nope
Would I do it again? In a heartbeat.

Piratejones Sat 07-Jun-14 08:41:26

Has he had an MRI?

No

A big thank you to everyone for sharing.

lougle Sat 07-Jun-14 08:46:45

Perhaps an MRI would be helpful? I think it's highly unfair to speculate brain damage and then not investigate it. It happens often. DD1 only had an MRI because her EEG showed an uneven discharge. Her Paed was 'very confident' that it would come back normal. It didn't. It came back with lots of small abnormalities.

Piratejones Sat 07-Jun-14 09:03:51

Perhaps an MRI would be helpful? I think it's highly unfair to speculate brain damage and then not investigate it.

I'm not sure i'd want him to have one yet.

zzzzz Sat 07-Jun-14 09:20:46

I'd love ds to have an MRI. I find it totally baffling that he hasn't. He is neurologically on a different planet to the rest of the population. I am wondering if you can do it privately.

OneInEight Sat 07-Jun-14 10:27:59

Even though ds2 had an horrendous reaction to medication I am not sorry that we tried. It did reduce the anxiety a bit but the side-effects for him outweighed any benefits. If medication is given to a child this age it will be carefully monitored and if it is not beneficial then you can take the decision at any time to stop.

For both my children though the biggest help to the anxiety and consequent challenging behaviour is an appropriate school setting. For ds1 in particular being in an EBD school has made an enormous difference - we used to have meltdowns every day if not twice a day but I think Easter was the last time he lost it and even then he got back in control within 10 minutes rather than the two hour epics we have had previously. ds2 is a work in progress but there are some hopeful signs for him too with a change of school.

ChampagneAndCrisps Sat 07-Jun-14 10:42:37

Sorry if I caused you any upset in using sedatives.

I think using them in one off situations is completely different to using them chronically.

And if the reason to use the ADs is anti anxiety rather than to dull emotions then maybe it's worth a shot.

My DS is on a very small dose of Fluoxetine, but it makes a big difference.

Piratejones Sat 07-Jun-14 13:25:13

ChampagneAndCrisps it's no problem, i didn't take offence.

I have a question for the people whose kids improved after changing school, what were the signs that they were in the wrong place. Surely it must have been more than anxiety for the first few weeks back.

Upandatem Sat 07-Jun-14 15:41:31

For us it was DS1 being completely out of control, violent, aggressive, just completely unable to cope. It was just the final straw after years of trying to help him settle in mainstream. He'd had lots of strategies, FT 1-2-1 etc etc, even all that looking back was too much just to more or less prop him up in mainstream school. He was far from settling or thriving, just barely making it through every day.

And the knock on effects at home were terrible. It's all much, much better now.

Pirate, I was really concerned about the bit about the LA/school not allowing PT for a long time despite this being what you thought was best and what you wanted. Your DS has got a huge amount of things going in, this needs an incredibly flexible and intensive approach, make sure those around you do what's right or force/ find some change.

He is clearly very unhappy, it doesn't really matter what is at the root of it really, for now it just needs sympathetic action from school and the LA. Does he get any help at school? Is he able to say what he wants to happen? What strategies have you tried at home? Just trying to think if I can suggest anything that might help that you might not have tried yet. He can be helped with those extreme emotional outbursts, slowly but surely.

Upandatem Sat 07-Jun-14 15:43:43

Morality, which one is your DS taking?

HoleySocksBatman Sat 07-Jun-14 15:47:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Upandatem Sat 07-Jun-14 15:48:12

For us it wasn't just school, DS1 was barely leaving the house, he really was all over the place and had been for some years. The pressures of school and (lack of) friendships didn't help but it wasn't the full story. Age (he's just 8) has also helped a lot, he can reason and take on board strategies now. We can read Huebner's books and he gets it.

We've finally found some activities he likes - a 1-2-1 playworker at home to play the imaginative games he likes, and Woodcraft Folk which suits him brilliantly. He's motivated to come out with us now, get on the bus, go to town to eat. He can cope with his car sickness better. He will go on holiday. We have a dog after years of a dog phobia preventing him going anywhere. We could not have contemplated doing any of this when things were at their worst for him.

Upandatem Sat 07-Jun-14 15:51:06

Although I do think his self-esteem was being pummelled at school, no-one's fault, he was absolutely the proverbial square peg etc and totally overwhelmed by the demands and sensory environment. He's not of the flying academically ilk either so that didn't mitigate the situation.

Piratejones Sat 07-Jun-14 16:43:08

It sounds like it really could be the school, a lot of what people are saying seems to match up, especially the lack of friends. But his reading is above the rest of the class, his numeracy and writing is on track if he was having any major problems wouldn’t this suffer?

Methylphenidate will help ANYONE with concentration. It affects everyone's neurotransmitters in a way that is well described, studied and written about.

Yes but it doesn't "calm" anyone. The idea of using ADHD medication as a drug for calming a child is wrong, it will have the opposite effect surely?

Pirate, I was really concerned about the bit about the LA/school not allowing PT for a long time despite this being what you thought was best and what you wanted. Your DS has got a huge amount of things going in, this needs an incredibly flexible and intensive approach, make sure those around you do what's right or force/ find some change.

To be totally fair on them I fully understand why they did it, he’s my nephew, and was neglected by my sister, he came to me suffering calcium and vitamin deficiency was completely unpotty trained, and could barely walk because he was confined to a buggy for most of his life, this was when he was almost 4 (I think he might have been used as an example case for the “failing system” sent to the houses of parliament in 2012).

He was really behind his peers and funnelled into nursery then school in an attempt to quickly catch him up, and to keep an eye on how he was doing.
I originally asked for 12 hours off, this would have benefited me greatly early on when I needed time to help him socialise, bond with the family and give him some childhood experiences, but I’m happy with 6 hours 2 years late.

He is clearly very unhappy, it doesn't really matter what is at the root of it really, for now it just needs sympathetic action from school and the LA. Does he get any help at school? Is he able to say what he wants to happen? What strategies have you tried at home? Just trying to think if I can suggest anything that might help that you might not have tried yet. He can be helped with those extreme emotional outbursts, slowly but surely.

We give him a say in everything, he doesn't have 1 to 1, but they have a quiet room for when things get too loud for him (PE play times and so on), We have a bunch of "steps" to stop him getting angry / bursting out crying when something upsets him, I've role played the things to death including counting to 10, walking away telling the teacher and so on.

When he regresses and wears incontinence pads, the teacher or TA will remind him to go and change them, and will discreetly dispose of them for him (this will be one of the start of term problems, peeing, but he can deal with this independently).

At home there are other problems, which we are dealing with but are not major things so tend to take a back burner. Stealing and hiding food, Having to sleep with a dummy and so on.

His fear of storms comes from being locked in the garden in a storm while his mum was passed out, this boarders on PTS and he is having CBT for it. I used to grab him in my arms, hold him as tight as i could and just lay down with him struggling, kicking and screaming for as long as the storm took to clear, He's now bigger and stronger than he was then, i don't think i could keep his arms restrained.
If a storm happen while he is at school they ring me immediately.

We use stickers and a jar of marbles for general rewards, plus he earns his pocket money doing set jobs around the house.

Sorry if i've missed anything.

This sounds really bad written down but 99% of the time he is happy and loving, there was a time when I actually regretted taking him in. He has improved so much over 2 years and I’m proud of him, this is just one side of his personality.

PolterGoose Sat 07-Jun-14 16:53:33

It doesn't sound bad at all, obviously what he went through is just awful, but the difficulties he's presenting are fairly common among us on the SN boards.

You are doing an amazing thing, he's so lucky to have you flowers

HoleySocksBatman Sat 07-Jun-14 16:55:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Piratejones Sat 07-Jun-14 17:01:18

HoleySocksBatman

Skimmed the artical but still can't see anything that says it calms people.

Piratejones Sat 07-Jun-14 17:01:54

.. Without adhd.

PomeralLights Sat 07-Jun-14 17:08:37

For what it's worth, I was on Prozac as a teen and it definitely does dull your emotions (I don't know the medical impact on the brain,just how it felt when taking them). I asked to come off it after a few months because it was stopping me from being suicidal but also took away real joy - it 'dulled' the good stuff as well as the bad, iyswim. As far as I recall it kicked in pretty quickly and I didn't have any side effects, or withdraw coming off.

I've been on various ADs and from your post I thought 'Prozac'. I'm pretty sure I've come across the idea of short courses of Prozac to ease temporary anxiety before. I would definitely do it, I personally don't think Proxac is often the right choice for long term treatment but I can see it's place as a short term extreme-mood dampener. Only my personal experience though.

PolterGoose Sat 07-Jun-14 17:09:18

Just realised my post could be misconstrued, I don't mean his problems don't sound bad, I mean you talking about them doesn't sound bad, I didn't mean to come across as dismissive or minimising blush

Piratejones Sat 07-Jun-14 17:12:08

Just realised my post could be misconstrued, I don't mean his problems don't sound bad, I mean you talking about them doesn't sound bad, I didn't mean to come across as dismissive or minimising

thanks i knew what you meant. smile

HoleySocksBatman Sat 07-Jun-14 17:30:29

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Piratejones Sat 07-Jun-14 17:36:48

I didnt say it calms children with ADHD. Can you show me where I did?

The conversation you jumped into was about calming my Nephew with ADHD medication. Throughout the thread it has been explained that this wouldn't work as concentration isn't the problem here and Ritalin doesn’t calm.

HoleySocksBatman Sat 07-Jun-14 17:54:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Piratejones Sat 07-Jun-14 17:56:45

It would be helpful if you didnt put words into my mouth.

I didn't need to.

lougle Sat 07-Jun-14 18:59:37

For me, the things that told me it was the school in school #1 was DD2's rapid deterioration after starting the new school year, school promising things to dd2 in front of me then going back on them once I'd gone (e.g. 'If you feel unwell we'll phone mummy' Then refusing to phone, saying 'Oh you just miss mummy' when she actually had a reading temperature), the head teacher completely denying the issues and accusing me of fabricating illness despite GP visits and paediatric referral.

With school #2 it wasn't their fault, they tried different things, but DD2 spent the evenings and weekends dreading school, woke frequently with school related nightmares, had huge anxiety when doing homework and was withdrawn and aggressive with her sisters.

Nearly all of that stopped the day we took her out of school to HE. We have flares if she's tired, but in general she is much more able to cope with life.

Piratejones Sun 08-Jun-14 07:46:01

lougle that first school sounds like a nightmare, I hope your daughter wasn't there for very long?

This whole thread has been so informative and insightful.

lougle Sun 08-Jun-14 09:51:56

She was there for one year, successfully (year R) then feel apart in year 1 so I moved her after one term.

Then she did two terms successfully at school #2 and fell apart when she transitioned to year 2. We stick it out for two terms of year 2, but although she seemed less anxious to the staff at school, she was still a mess at home about school.

I deregistered her at the end of April and she's like a different child.

Piratejones Sun 08-Jun-14 16:58:55

There's so much from this thread I need to go away and discuss, it would be so easy to just burry my head in the sand at this point but that’s not going to help anyone.

Upandatem Sun 08-Jun-14 17:41:43

I think when kids are struggling we owe it to them to have a good think about what their behaviour is telling us and adjust. It's so easy on the outside looking in but tremendously difficult when dealing with stuff everyday. Good luck!

zzzzz Sun 08-Jun-14 18:55:31

"I think when kids are struggling we owe it to them to have a good think about what their behaviour is telling us and adjust."

This I think is key to effective parenting, especially when parenting the more vulnerable child. My gut feeling is if a child needs medication to relieve anxiety only so he can attend school! then it is innapropriate. A more appropriate and wholesome (sorry struggling for the right words) approach would be to address the issues causeing that destress. So for example dd3 who was highly anxious at school to the point of being selectively mute would have been a good candidate for ADs as she experienced anxiety in most settings. If she had just been mute at schooli would have moved her, reduced her hours, or supported her in school. As it was, even though her anxiety (which was extreme) was a side effect of other vital drugs manifested in most settings, I still moved her to a smaller more nurturing school because I felt that gave her the best possible chance of beating her demons.

A child's happiness is the first step to any concrete development without that it's very up hill work.

Piratejones Sun 08-Jun-14 19:54:36

I probably phrased the wrongly, I would not just stand by while a massive problem exists for him, but It's not only school, the problem would exist starting anything, or anywhere he wasn't comfortable with.

zzzzz Sun 08-Jun-14 20:13:43

But does the problem exist if he isn't transitioning?

If the medication is purely a crutch for starting a new class and genuinely won't help in other areas then I think there are better plans.

If actually his anxiety is so severe that it would be a real help across the board then I think it is indicated.

The thing about anxiety-starting-new-things is that he needs to learn good techniques for managing that anxiety. It is an entirely appropriate thing to be addressing at primary school. Sweeping it under the carpet with medication is only going to leave him having to learn it later on.

Piratejones Sun 08-Jun-14 20:43:37

The thing about anxiety-starting-new-things is that he needs to learn good techniques for managing that anxiety. It is an entirely appropriate thing to be addressing at primary school. Sweeping it under the carpet with medication is only going to leave him having to learn it later on.

We're not just thinking of drugging him up in the hopes his anxiety will go away we are working on his anxiety a step at a time, it's always there, we have made big improvements with day to day life, to the point of being able to take him to a theme park.

It's just going up a year is a major thing, it will be the next big step which we need options and a plan for, so that's why this came up, it was among other suggestions, including introducing him to things slowly, increasing his time at school a little each day for two weeks.

zzzzz Sun 08-Jun-14 21:22:51

We know pirate really. No one here is going to think you're doing anything in anything but a considered way. Most of us live anxiety (proper anxiety not "ooh I'm a bit shy") every day. I was trying to describe the thought processes I would go through making this sort of decision.

How do you feel about the other options?

ChampagneAndCrisps Sun 08-Jun-14 21:36:41

FWIW, I believe my son's anxiety comes from his Tourette's syndrome and his abnormal brain neurotransmitters. He didn't used to be so anxious, agitated and depressed till this all started 18 months ago. And the illness is the only change.

I think there is a place for medicines to be used in anxiety at times. I don't think it's necessarily masking a problem, I think it may at times be correcting an illness caused by the wrong level of chemical in the persons brain.

ChampagneAndCrisps Sun 08-Jun-14 21:39:29

I think the difficulty is in understanding that sometimes a person can't control their behaviour because their brain is not functioning properly.

It might be helpful if people with depression, anxiety, psychotic illness etc could be viewed as suffering from a neurological illness.

lougle Sun 08-Jun-14 21:52:26

To be fair, if DD2 had even 6 weeks of anxiety each year, I might have persisted. But we were two terms on and still getting sleep walking, nightmares, half an hour to write one word for homework, aggression towards siblings, etc.

Upandatem Sun 08-Jun-14 22:03:00

I think medication sometimes had a place in helping someone to find the headspace in order to take on some strategies. That's how we approached it for DS1 and I think it did help a bit.

You're right not to underestimate a transition to a new school year, it's what finally tipped DS1 overt the edge. Age did help though, he is much more able to stop and listen now, it was completely impossible to discuss and reason with him Wenden he was younger.

guitarosauras Sun 08-Jun-14 22:13:55

If he's already having cbt would they consider upping this as he goes up a year?

Quite curious about the twenty day thing, I'd ask them more about it.

For me it would depend entirely on what the medication and dosage was, possible side effects and what other options were available.

You know him best.

Piratejones Mon 09-Jun-14 07:10:53

How do you feel about the other options?

We are trying them first, they are mostly extensions of what is already in place. Medication isn't a route we will go down without trying all other things first.

If he's already having cbt would they consider upping this as he goes up a year?

I'm not sure they can do more with his CBT until he's older, right now it's simplified role playing with puppets and noisey recordings of storms and things, followed by him drawing faces of how happy he is with the situation.

We have been offered more play therapy though including “magic carpet ride” relaxation 2 or 3 nights a week.

Pirate for ds when in the wrong school he was pretty much mute, terrible insomnia, lack of appetite, total apathy, couldn't cope out of school with any sort of social activity and was barely functioning in school although I would add that the school made monumental efforts to support ds. This was a gradual build up, he started speaking less, eating less, sleeping less and it got to the point where school and myself felt he was at the point of breakdown.
We saw the top man at CAMHS as our paed referred him directly who suggested Fluoxetine but acknowledged that a change of placement was needed and we were on the way to Tribunal.
During holidays we'd see glimpses of the ds we used to have but as school drew nearer the darkness returned. Now we have the real ds all the time, he's put on weight, he speaks all the time and we're on holiday now and he's chilled even with the change of scene.
I can relate to your little one's terror at storms, ds used to have similar reactions to small issues I think because his anxiety was always sky high and then one more thing would send him over the edge. I'm not saying that he doesn't have fears now though what I'm saying is that when an issue arises he copes with it because his anxiety isn't overwhelming to begin with.

Piratejones Mon 09-Jun-14 23:09:31

Insanity I'm pleased things have worked out for your DS.
It's certainly something i will flag up as something to keep an eye on, would it be best to bring it up to with the Camh Support, Social Worker or Doctor?

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now