Wednesday 29 February 2012

Eve of Change

The title of this blog entry assumes a change will be coming tomorrow.  To be fair, I have no idea.  We could come home with nothing changed.

Tomorrow we take Alex to a developmental pediatrician/psychologist to talk about whether or not medication might help his behaviour issues.

I’m not a fan of medication.  I think we reach for pills far too quickly to mask symptoms rather than deal with problems.  However, there are some problems which are solved much more easily with a little chemical assistance.  If you are incapacitated by anxiety, a pharmaceutical soother can give you the mental breathing space to get your life back under control.  Without it, you’re fighting a losing battle.

We’ve tried for years to deal with Alex’s aggression and self-injury with behavioural methods.  We reduced the incidents but couldn’t eliminate them.  That tells me there’s something underlying which we haven’t been able to target behaviourally.  We’ve consulted experts and no one has been able to come up with anything new.  I believe we’ve hit the end of what can be done with behavioural intervention.

That leaves medication as the final option.  I worry about side effects but I worry a lot more about Alex’s future if we can’t overcome these issues.  It’s unfortunate, but we’re running out of good choices for him.

I won’t let my prejudices stand in the way of getting him the help he needs.  The harder part is reconciling myself to the realization that even if the doctor prescribes something (which isn’t certain), it may not have any effect.  I’ve been down that road with anti-depressants.  I’ve tried a half dozen different kinds and none of them have been effective.  Some had horrible side effects and I stuck with every single one for at least two months, but no significant effect.  It’s frustrating.  For all that I don’t like medication, I always saw it there as a safety net.

There are no guarantees.  We’ll talk with the doctor and see what she says.  Then we’ll have to make our choices on how to proceed.  It would be convenient if we could look into the future and see the results but we’ll have to go on the same blind bumbling faith we always have.

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