To Medicate or Not Medicate My Son

Last week Grant saw the nurse practioner at Tyler’s psychiatric practice. I was home sick with a virus. Due to Tyler’s OCD and Anxiety he recommended that Tyler be placed on Zoloft.

Grant and I have been agonizing over this decision. We always said we would medicate Tyler when his problems interfered with academia and they are starting to, as Tyler has “bad thoughts” while in school and can’t pay attention.

But we worry about the side effects Zoloft can have in children. They are mostly the normal side effects you would expect, including nausea, weight loss or weight gain, sleepiness or insomnia, and headache. But in addition, Zolof has a black box warning side effect that like in many antidepressants, can cause suicidal thoughts or behaviors in adults under 25. The percentage of suicidal thoughts is small but the chance for a child to have them increases if their is a family history of suicidal thoughts, and both Grant and I have had past suicide attempts.

When the nurse practioner heard that, he was a bit less likely to put Tyler on Zoloft and suggested Vistaril, a sedative to be given as needed. I like that option even less than the Zoloft because I feel it sends a message that everything can be fixed with a pill. Is that going to make him more likely to try illegal drugs when he is older?

But research shows that antidepressants in conjunction with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy provides the best, quickest outcome. And I hate to watch my little boy suffer.

We will most likely get a second opinion, but I just wish there was a firm answer.

Any advice is appreciated!


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About mamasick

Emily Cullen is a pen-name. I suffer from chronic illnesses and diseases which include Bipolar Disorder, Asthma, Diabetes and Fibromyalgia. I had battled Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis but there is no longer evidence of me having these diseases and my Rheumatologist has declared them to be "burnt out" of my system. I am separated from my husband, “Grant”. Our son, “Tyler” was born in September of 2006 and suffers from tics and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and is delayed in fine and gross motor skills. In my blog I seek to let sick moms know that they are not the only ones going through this, and to educate people about what can happens when one becomes catastrophically ill. I also strive to break down stereotypes of what a “Welfare Mom” is like. Anything that I have gone through due to being sick, is written on the pages of Mama Sick.
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4 Responses to To Medicate or Not Medicate My Son

  1. Astrid says:

    I wasn’t a child when I went on medication for anxiety and irritability, but I can empathize with many of your worries. I have a family history of benzodiazepine addiction, so I knew to be extra cautious when I was prescribed benzos not to use them too often. That couldn’t prevent me getting withdrawal symptoms (fortunately they were mild). I can also understand that a child does not have the ability to reflect critically on the risk for dependence with this type of medication. As for antidepressants and suicidal risk, shoudl you decide to get him on Zoloft, can you make sure Tyler is monitored extra closely? Just some thoughts. Hopping over from the spoonie bloggers group.
    Astrid´s last blog post ..Common Myths About Irritable Bowel Syndrome

  2. mamasick says:

    It was an easy choice to medicate myself, but my son is just a little boy and it’s a really tough decision. Thanks for your advice and for stopping by, Astrid!

  3. Angie says:

    my youngest has always marched to his own beat. He never did well with a lot of stimulation. In second grade his teacher wanted him to be medicated. I found out years later she recommended therapy or medication for every single child in her class. John was a challenge, but we made it through. He’s 16 now, and doing great. My suicide attempt almost two years ago was very tough on him. The only medication he takes is EHT, which is a molecule extracted from coffee (no caffeine) and added to anti-oxidants. It stimulates tau proteins in the brain’s neurons and has no side effects. My entire household is on it, each for different reasons. But most importantly, it’s safe for any child old enough to swallow a pill. Google EHT and tau proteins and feel free to give me a call any time if you have questions. 502-338-9265 I know how hard these decisions are!

  4. mamasick says:

    Thanks, Angie. I know Tyler has grown out of some things that used to bother him, but he definitely needs therapy for his OCD and anxiety. We haven’t made a decision yet on whether to medicate him.

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