So, Mickey had been struggling at home and at school prior to the holidays. Nothing terrible, just overall – more anxiety, more frustration, more (non-stop) asking for things, etc. His therapist suggested that we might add a medication. I am resistant to doing that, but what we were doing wasn’t working. So, I mentioned it to the doctor at our last visit, and she agreed. See, Straterra has been a game changer for us. We did entirely too long on stimulant adhd meds, before someone suggested that they might be contributing to his aggression. When we came off and switched to Straterra (after trying several others), we saw a huge difference. He was able to focus at school, he wasn’t angry all the time, he didn’t explode the way he once had. But, it did nothing to calm his body, which moves every waking minute. It also did little to control his impulsiveness, but overall we were pleased. The doctor suggested we try Clonodine – just a tiny dose in the morning – to see if that helped him take the edge off.
Well, he fell asleep repeatedly on day one – this wasn’t a huge surprise, he took Clonodine for sleep when he was in foster care, but it was a much higher dose). And he took 3 naps on day 2. He has adjusted though. But, as we sit here two weeks after we started the Clonodine, I was prepared to write an exciting, awesome update. But, it was not to be. The school called and after two weeks of raving about how awesome his behavior has been, he fell apart today. Now, that isn’t necessarily reflective of the meds, but it is disappointing. The new medication does make him a bit sleepier, so he is quite a bit crankier than I would like in the evenings. But, overall we may be on to something here. **
I asked Mickey how the new medication was going for him and his response was this:
“I love it. I feel….less…I don’t know…edgy? I don’t want to adjust the med because I am getting my work done, I am not annoyed with my teacher and the day is easier. Minnie still annoys me though”
I love that he is able to vocalize that (not the part about his sister annoying him, but the part about how he feels and how the medications help him) – it makes me feel like we are doing the right thing. He is quick to voice his displeasure with a medication too (Ativan, which we have an emergency only prescription for – he HATES it. Doesn’t like the way it makes him feel and will generally refuse it).
**Before you ask, yes we talked to his therapist and tried working through the issues before we went to meds. We also religiously use essential oils, in an effort to minimize medications. But, I am the first to admit – with zero guilt – that he requires medications to be functional. Our objective is the fewest meds possible for him to function. We limit sugar, we don’t do food dyes (with very few exceptions). We tried gluten/casein free for 8 months, which did nothing to improve behavior, but it did make every single meal a war zone. Food is Mickey’s go-to coping skill and making that a battle just made the only peaceful time of our day utterly miserable.