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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Our ADHD Journey - Part Five

A friend recently asked about our ADHD journey after reading some of my past blog posts. I realized that it had been quite a while since I've shared an update. My past posts can be found at the following links:

Our last appointment w/ the psychiatrist was in Nov. 2011. As I mentioned before, I really didn't like him much & the level of care we received from him. I always felt like a number to him...get in, be asked the same questions from previous visits (even though the answers were right their in the folder on his lap), & leave w/ a new prescription. 

The Archangel was weighed at each appointment, but his blood pressure was only taken occasionally...even though he was only eight & taking an adult medication that wasn't tested long-term in children. NONE of this ever sat well w/ me.

A friend of mine suggested a center that specializes in behavioral & cognitive therapies...helping people through issues w/out medication. After looking into it, we decided to give it a try. We chose to wait until January 2012 though, for two reasons. 1) Matt had just changed jobs & his new insurance didn't start until Jan. & 2) we were heading into the holiday season, when children's hyperactivity drastically increases (even if they don't have ADHD!)

His first appointment was scheduled for Jan. 24 & by the time it arrived, we were ready to throw in the towel. His behavior & aggression were causing so much chaos & tension in our home. These are just a few examples:

* playing Wii Fit, if The Princess' Mii came up, he'd change to another game
* purposely trying to get The Princess in trouble w/ The Saint, asking if she should have been playing w/ one of his toys
* complaining everytime we  went somewhere, esp. church or if it was some place that held no interest for him

I still remember the night before his first appointment w/ this new therapist. I was tucking him in bed & he seemed so down. We talked for a bit & he confessed to me that he didn't like his behavior. He wanted to change, but felt he had no control over his emotions at times. I hugged him & assured him that we were trying everything we could to help him.

At that first appointment, The Archangel & I sat w/ the doctor in her office so that she could assess our situation & come up w/ a game plan. I had printed my previous blog posts for her, knowing that they pretty much summed up everything through Nov. 2011. We decided to meet every other week, which I felt would be best for us financially. 

Because medications never worked for his hyperactivity, she focused on his impulsive tendencies. We decided to gradually wean him off the Risperdal.

During their appointments, she talked to him about his life between sessions, then gave him "tools" to help in similar situations that might arise. One such tool was a list of things he could do to remove himself from a tense situation & help calm down. He helped her come up w/ the items & she wrote them in bright colors. Once home, I took that sheet & made two copies so he'd have one visible on each level of the house...all places he would see frequently.

We continued sessions w/ this therapist for a couple of months. By the end of their sessions, he was completely off medication & was showing some signs improvement in how he handled his emotions. He still had outbursts of aggression & anger, as well as some animosity towards The Princess, but we (his therapist, Matt, & I) felt we were at a point where we could handle it at home.

(Yes, there's more...To Be Continued!)