Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A double standard for ADHD meds

If I told a friend that I was taking blood pressure medicine, I don't think he or she would tell me I shouldn't.

If my son was diabetic and I mentioned he was on insulin, I don't think anyone I know would tell me that I shouldn't do it, that I should control his diabetes with diet.

Yet, people - friends - have no problem telling parents that they shouldn't give their kids ADHD medications. 

When Dylan was first diagnosed, I didn't rush out and tell everyone I knew.  But eventually, I started letting it out here and there.  A long-ago friend called about a month after diagnosis and it somehow felt "safe" to tell him because I don't see him everyday.  I shared the fact that we were  probably going to start Dylan on medications.  Big mistake.  His first reaction was:  "Just get him off the sugar and he'll be fine." 

It's a good thing those long hours watching Discovery TV have given him a medical degree! 

I blew it off and decided that this was a topic not to discuss again.  Now, months later, he calls again and it's almost as if he's been mulling it over, worrying about Dylan's state since then.  He wanted to warn me about the dangers of pharmaceutical companies,questioning that Dylan really needs this medication.  In comparison, he tells me a story about medication he received to treat some pain and how the drugs made him really depressed, almost suicidal.  I really didn't let him get to the end of the story, but it sounded as though the doctor prescribed the wrong thing.

I can relate, actually.  I was prescribed Cipro for a bladder infection about two months ago and that made me feel terribly depressed.  More than that, really.  It was like a dementor was sucking the joy right out of the room.  I stopped taking them and the bad feeling went away. 

I haven't sworn off drugs (and in fact, I'm on a different antibiotic for another bladder infection).  One bad drug does not spoil the whole lot.

I think the underlying message, however, is that "you haven't tried hard enough."  "You're just feeding him the wrong thing."  "Boys will be boys."  "I wasn't a good student either and damn, I couldn't pay attention."  Yeah, that's why you got into trouble until you were about 30 years old.  I don't want that for my son.  He's so bright!  So interested in science!  Why would I squelch that for him if I didn't have to. 

I don't love the medications.  We are still working through them.  But I love that they give him a chance.  And I wish everyone else would give us a chance at it, too.

1 comment:

  1. I understand completely. I didn't even blog about ADHD for a long time for the same reasons. Uneducated people simply don't believe ADHD is real neurological disorder -- and it's tough. Do what you and the doc feel is right for your kiddo and forget the naysayers.