When my oldest son was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder, I was overwhelmed and soon had to make that “big” decision: To medicate or not?
First and foremost, understand that this is a personal decision. Each child and every situation is different. Always discuss it with your child’s doctor.
Be prepared for a lot of different opinions from friends, family members, teachers, principals, or school counselors. However, no one can force you to medicate or not medicate your child. This is up to you and your family, after a discussion with your child’s doctor. If you have a doctor that you can trust, listen to their advice.
My son was six when he was diagnosed. I knew in my heart that something was not right, but chose not to discuss it. I was not getting pressure from the schools because he was homeschooled.
It took me a while to schedule “that” doctor’s appointment––the one where the child is evaluated. Then that day came. It was his little face that told me it was time. His self-esteem was being affected. He had no impulse control to stop himself. He wanted to but just couldn’t, and it made him feel like a bad person. He needed help and that was what was important. His quality of life was being affected without treatment.
I have a dear friend whose daughter has autism. Nine years of limited sleep was ruining her and her daughter’s life. She made the decision to medicate and had no regrets.
Deciding to medicate or not medicate is a very personal choice. Keep your child’s best interests in mind, just as you would if the child had a disease such as diabetes. Brain and mental disorders are conditions that may need treatment as well. There are many different options for treatment. Educate yourself on your child’s disability and needs, the options for treatment, and then chose the best option for your child.
You can find additional information on deciding to use medication on this website.
“What’s wrong with your child?” are the hardest words to hear. Finding a diagnosis for your child is one step in the right direction. Navigating the various challenges your child will face can be overwhelming. Keep showing up and facing the challenges.