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Parents who play Doctor Suck


Submerged

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I work in a school that services kids with severe behavioral problems, but, the institution specifically focuses on autism. It's a school where there is a lot of aggression, developmental delays, and a very low functioning population. Most of the kids I work with will end up in a group home or living with their parents if they are lucky, others may end up in a residential setting. Off of the top of my head, I can not think of a single child in the program now who will live independently one day. But, I know of cases in previous years where certain children improved enough (acedemically and behaviorally) to move on to a less restrictive environment. We have behavioral protocols in place for alll of them. And it is obvious that the kids have difficulty regulating themselves. But, they are unpredictable and you never really know what will flip someone out.

Here's what pisses me off. I watch these kids struggling to self-monitor their behavior sometimes. A lot of them have OCD type behaviors, they have sensory issues too. And then I find out at a meeting that this one child's mother decided to cut his antipsychotic in half to see what happens. Not b/c a doctor advised her, but, because she thought that the dose seemed too high. She doesn't slowly decrease his dose, she just cuts his dose in half for a week or two to see what happens. I think it would be cruel to do this to a lab rat much less a child.

Further suckage:

When the child is totally off the wall, unpredictable, OCD behaviors skyrocket, increasingly aggressive, the attitude I hear is "Oh, no. he's going to be off for the next two weeks and impossible to work with." What they are saying is true, but, how dare that be their first thought!

I have gone through my share of med changes, I have run out over night and only been able to find a couple of pills till the morning. I'm always the one to point out to my co-workers that their job may be hell for a few weeks, but, imagine the child's hell. I know what it's like to experience an event on the correct cocktail and handle it fine. Then when the cocktail changes, I experience totally different emotions towards the same event. All of a sudden I don't know what to expect of my own behavior.

Sometimes I take the plunge and divulge personal information at work to influence my co-workers' view of the situation. I tell them that when I go through a med change all of a sudden I don't know what to expect of myself and my own behavior. I can't imagine what it must be like for one of our kids to have their meds drastically changed. They have serious behavioral issues to begin with. These kids have enough problems learning to regulate their emotions and behavior and then they wake up one day not understanding why they are responding to events so differently, why they feel so different, why they don't know what to expect from themselves. Almost all of them do not have the cognitive ability to understand if you tried to explain it to them. At least I know when I'm going through a med change that I'd better brace myself and I try to prepare myself for it mentally and emotionally.

Well, I don't like taking the plunge at work and I don't like to share with people that I take medication, but, I think that it helps. They really say afterwards, "you know, you're right. It is cruel to the child." or "I can't imagine what it must be like for him, but, it must be hell." Things like that. They aren't heartless, I guess it's just hard for them to feel much sympathy for a child while they are getting kicked, punched and scratched.

PARENTS WHO PLAY DOCTOR SUCk!!

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Just wanted to say how great it is that people like you take these jobs. Otherwise they wouldn't have someone to show them some sympathy and teach others like your coworkers. You rock.

My neice and my son are both low funtioning autistic. My son doesn't take meds, by my neice has been on several and she is no better off.

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at least when our meds change we know what is going on, and we know why we feel differently, but to just up and switch this poor child, unsupervised, and so quickly? don't people realize the power these drugs have on the body and mind?

parents who play doctor suck!

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Another view (devil's advocate if you will):

This poor mother sees the effect of medication on her child and thinks it too much, so she lowers it. Let me tell you how it is from a mother's point of view. My own child just started Adderall, and is awaiting testing for autism. We already know he has other developmental "delays". School is shit for him. His teachers want him drugged MORE and my baby is miserable when he comes crashing down off a dose. He has no clue why he feels the way he does...but you know what? He has no clue why he feels the way he does when he doesn't take meds. He doesn't know why he can't remember, why he can't behave like the other kids, why he overreacts to minor bumps and disappointments. Oh, I try to have an open dialog with him about it, but he never remembers.

I'm scared for my child. The doctors aren't helping fast enough and the school isn't helping at all yet. The teachers are unsympathetic to our plight. So is the principal. The counselor is an airhead. So, I'm trying to do what I can for my child by myself right now. It's alot for a mother to handle.

I assure ya'll this mother does not suck. Maybe she's tired of argueing with the docs about the dosage, maybe she does feel he's too drugged. Given the same situation, I might do the exact same thing....and I would not suck either.

Have you talked to this mother about it? Given her your (nonjudgemental) opinion based on your expertise and experience? I'd listen to anyone at this point if I thought it would help our child.

Croix

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Croix,

I intend to reply to your entire post, but, I'm going to break it up into a few separate posts because I'm starting to have difficulty expressing myself accurately. Maybe I'm tired, but more likely, I frequently have difficulty articulating my feelings.

So, here's the first part:

Another view (devil's advocate if you will):

This poor mother sees the effect of medication on her child and thinks it too much, so she lowers it.

I have no problem with lowering a dosage gradually, but, to do a two week test trial, starting off by cutting a dosage in half is too sudden. A lot of times medication adjustments can take a month to see the full effects. Cutting a dosage so quickly does not show the effects of a lower dosage, necessarily, we may just be seeing the effects of withdrawal.

Let me tell you how it is from a mother's point of view.

I am not just on the outside looking in. I grew up with a low functioning autistic relative in my household. I was very involved on the family side of it too. I attended the CSAC presentations and family workshops and I helped raise him. I may not be a mother, but, I am not oblivious to your plight.

My own child just started Adderall, and is awaiting testing for autism. We already know he has other developmental "delays". School is shit for him. His teachers want him drugged MORE

Well, he probably needs the results of those tests before he can be properly medicated, so the teachers are just going to have to deal with it. I do not support drugging up kids to make the job easier. If it

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and my baby is miserable when he comes crashing down off a dose.

A dose of adderall? Just curious.

Yes. Croix has discussed it a bit on the ADD forum.

Warning: There will be a point buried somewhere in the following. I think there is, anyway.

It's one of the MANY issues with the stimulants that the longer-lasting antipsychotics and antidepressants don't present.

They have short half-lives, and they generally cannot be used for 24/7 dosing even if they didn't. So, you have the "crash"

that makes them that much more addictive to "normal" people. They are also one of the few drugs that hit non-ADD people

as fast as they hit ADD.

With ADD, it's like a light gets turned on in your head - like if you were running, or driving, or buried light-years' deep in a

book or a project ... but without having to be doing stuff just to keep kind of "in the moment" and getting yelled at or laughed

at when you phase out and have to synch back up with everyone else. That's radical cool stuff. But then a few hours later

you find yourself staring at a screen or a book and wondering where the time went AGAIN, or you're getting wound up over

bullshit AGAIN. Screw the physical crash - sleep, even with dreams and nightmares can be interesting - it's the mental

and emotional crash that gets you. It's hard to deal with as an adult, but for a kid just starting out in life?

At least ADHD can rapidly teach the parents and schools not to screw with working meds (if they are more concerned

about the child - like Croix is - than about their politics or (pseudo)religious views, that is). You don't want the kid

swinging from the chandelier? It's reeeeeaaaal simple.

The autists you work with, who may have limited communication functions, don't get as many avenues for telling or

showing their parents how bad they feel. So I'd have to agree that parents who can't or WON'T communicate with

their children and doctors to find out how treatment is really going for the person living with it do suck. And since

they have the resources to KNOW that two weeks doesn't do jack with most meds, and want to play God anyway,

they doubly suck.

As a parent, Croix has it hard because she's been told all her life that "Speed Kills". So she's having to give "speed"

to her little boy, just to give him an odds-even chance at a "normal" life (like THAT'S such a wonderful prospect) - and

then reads a general statement about parents, meds, and children. That HAS to be hard, even if that's NOT what you

meant.

And besides, these days most schools would prefer their inmates drugged to the point of drooling on the desk, so

long as it doesn't impact the standardized tests the schools get graded on.

I need more coffee - did that make sense?

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Croix,

PartII:

He has no clue why he feels the way he does...but you know what? He has no clue why he feels the way he does when he doesn't take meds. He doesn't know why he can't remember, why he can't behave like the other kids, why he overreacts to minor bumps and disappointments. Oh, I try to have an open dialog with him about it, but he never remembers.

Maybe the child at my institution doesn’t know why he feels the way he does, but, he might know that he feels differently than usual. If I’m driving on the road and somebody cuts me off, I’m usually not too terrible about it. But, if I’m going through withdrawal and somebody cuts me off, then they had better expect tailgating, high beams, horn honking and the whole bit.

I’m sure that the child I wrote my original post about doesn’t know why he felt the way he did before or why he feels different now either, but, he is on a level where he may be aware that everything is harder to cope with.

I'm scared for my child. The doctors aren't helping fast enough and the school isn't helping at all yet. The teachers are unsympathetic to our plight. So is the principal. The counselor is an airhead. So, I'm trying to do what I can for my child by myself right now. It's a lot for a mother to handle.

I do not know your specific situation. As far as the doctors, if it’s a psychiatrist, sometimes it helps to do your research first. I researched first and chose mine b/c he graduated from Hopkins. The regular doctors may just be waiting for tests to come back. But, don’t hesitate to get a second or third opinion. The school will probably help as little as possible. The state will want to mainstream your child. Depending on the severity of his case this may or may not be the most appropriate. If your child needs a 1:1 aide or creates a situation where his classroom requires extra staffing, then the school will probably push as hard as they can to drug him up instead b/c it saves them money. Exploring other options like behavioral interventions is much harder than popping your child pills. The teachers may or may not feel sympathy. If they do feel for you, they probably won’t help you anyway. This varies from state to state and county to county. They are required to meet certain standards and if your child is presenting a challenge for them meeting those standards, they will try to do what is best for themselves rather than your child. And the counselor? I have met my share of counselors who were airheads. You seem to be a very concerned parent and if you "try to have an open dialog with" your child about his situation "but he never remembers," I doubt that a school counselor can communicate with him better than you can.

I assure ya'll this mother does not suck. Maybe she's tired of arguing with the docs about the dosage, maybe she does feel he's too drugged. Given the same situation, I might do the exact same thing....and I would not suck either.

And I’m sure that the cab driver in another post on this forum had a reason that he didn’t show up. But, standing out in the rain I would be thinking he sucks. And standing in the classroom watching this teenager laying on the floor just crying for no apparent reason except that his mom plays doctor, I thought, “A parent who plays doctor with her child’s medication sucks!” And I actually like this parent, she’s somewhat involved with the school. She at least communicated with us, unlike other parents who wait until their child’s behavior goes off the charts before informing us that there was some kind of med change. At least she didn’t just take him off cold turkey like a few other parents have – those parents are at the top of my suckage scale. But, for the next couple of weeks while I watch her child suffering I will not be able to help thinking that she sucks at least to some degree. After that, when he gets a little more familiar with his own emotional responses, her suckage status will expire because

I know that ultimately it is her situation that sucks and drives her to do sucky things.

Have you talked to this mother about it? Given her your (non-judgmental) opinion based on your expertise and experience? I'd listen to anyone at this point if I thought it would help our child.

Croix

Talking to the parent’s mother about it would be going over somebody else’s head in the social work department. I can encourage the social worker or possibly a behavioral specialist to talk to her, but, that’s all I’m authorized to do.

Sub

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And besides, these days most schools would prefer their inmates drugged to the point of drooling on the desk, so

long as it doesn't impact the standardized tests the schools get graded on.

Just had to add here that my school is NOTHING like most schools.

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Sub, I feel for you. You are in a tough spot if you can't even talk to the parents and must go through a social worker first. I wondering why the mother decided to cut the dose after only two weeks. Like I said, as a parent, maybe she was scared of the effects. It's hard to give your baby drugs and see the change in him. My boy's very first dose of Adderall had him calm and quiet for about 3 hours. I FREAKED! This was not my child's normal behavior. And I know it wasn't supposed to be. It was working, but it was sooooo different from what I was used to I started to panic. I had to take a klonopin.

Yes, I am in diagnosis/school hell right now. Public school. In Louisiana. (motto: We're second to last in education!) I can't get him help fast enough. They send punishwork home and he gets sent to the office 4 times a week at least. And they know he's at the very least ADHD. I think they blame me and Marine. All the conferences so far have been about what we need to do at home to make him behave. As if it were that easy. He's not deliberately bad in school, he just doesn't understand the program. He cares nothing for punishments or consequences. When he gets rewarded for good behavior, he's happy for about 2 minutes. Then its forgotten. It's like he can't learn. I'm frustrated and sad for him being treated like the "bad" kid in class, when he has a heart of gold.

It's hard to know exactly what disabled kids know or understand if they can't communicate it. We have to guess. It's hard.

I just didn't want you to judge this parent too harshly. It's a very hard job to have disabled child. Even if she did screw up royally by cutting his dose, I doubt she did it to fuck him up on purpose. That's all I was trying to say. But I know you were venting out of frustration too.

Croix

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The kid whose parent cut his meds in half doesn't suck anymore. The kid is still extremely aggressive, non-compliant, OCD, but, at least he's not laying on the floor crying in a ball. Honestly, I'd much rather get attacked than watch him feel miserable. I have removed her suckage status in my mind.

Hey, here's a funny one, kind of. Another parent takes their kid off of his ADHD and OCD medication; (but, she doesn't suck b/c I think she did it gradually). Here's the thing - she put him on "vitamins" for his ADHD and OCD instead.

Anyone know what these "vitamins" could be? - 'Cause I spend way too much money at the pharmacy. HA!

Sub

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I've heard of more than one parent who chose natural remedies for their children's ADHD. (not sure about the ocd though)

Some people believe the adhd is caused by vitamin and mineral deficiencies and a poor diet. I believe the most prominent vitamins they focus on are the B vitamins. They are supposed to have a calming effect. I haven't seen any studies that back that up though. I'll look around some more....

Croix

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Sub--

As much as I distrust the competence/practical capabilities of some individuals in the medical profession, I have to go with you on this one.

I'm all about personal responsibility, and I want parents to be first and foremost in the raising of their children. I plan to be like that, well, if I ever judge myself stable enough to take care of kids.

But it DOES take a village (or hey, at least a clan) to raise a child. Parental idiocy is rife (I guess that's a well-known fact on CB). My own parents were stupid enough to actively keep me from psychiatric/psychological care until I was 19. Or rather, I grew a pair when I was 19 and sought care myself.

Hell, when I was in elementary school (think 1988-1993), the idea of Asperger disorder hadn't even reached English-speaking psychiatrists and psychologists yet. I wasn't diagnosed as Aspie until 21... I'll be open about it, because of autism, my childhood was hell, and generally I'd rather not think back to anything that happened before 1998. These parents you deal with must be utterly stupid to think that nutritional deficiency's the sole cause of their child's ills...

And about the psychiatrist you have... the one who graduated from H*****s. I'm just... not going to go into that subject... I used to work there... there was lots of sand involved... a fucking beach I tell you... err yeah.

Croix--

I do know that some of the B vitamins here and there are required to for our bodies to make neurotransmitters with... B vitamin deficiency is known for causing psychiatric symptoms...

And cheers for the sympathy on dealing with bad public schools. Until college, I'd never lived in an area that wasn't identified as backwards/hick/redneck.

Anybody here know if a pair of tweezers will get a 2x4 out of my eye...? just checkin...

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I've heard of more than one parent who chose natural remedies for their children's ADHD. (not sure about the ocd though)

Some people believe the adhd is caused by vitamin and mineral deficiencies and a poor diet. I believe the most prominent vitamins they focus on are the B vitamins. They are supposed to have a calming effect. I haven't seen any studies that back that up though. I'll look around some more....

Croix

Most likely B vitamins and Mg. Total bullshit as a management strategy, as most Americans aren't that deficient, absent a

really, really bad diet or absorption issues.

As an adjunct, along with good (higher-than-average protein) diet, plenty of exercise and chances for quality mental stimulation,

it sure can't hurt. If the kid's ADHD isn't too severe, the FULL combination may well keep him "functional" enough to shut the

school up. It might reduce the amount of medication needed otherwise.

After all, *I* got through school w/o meds. (Being physically addicted to caffeine since 5th grade does not count as "medicated")

My first career choice tanked spectacularly, but my education fared well enough.

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Most likely B vitamins and Mg. Total bullshit as a management strategy, as most Americans aren't that deficient, absent a really, really bad diet or absorption issues.

You'd have no idea how many kids in the Western world have a "really, really bad diet". Well, okay, you probably know quite well. Not enough to explain even the majority of issues, but the issue still stands.

B-12 deficiency (due to many causes) is also more common than we'd like to think... a lack of B-12 is well-known to result in brain damage (most clearly seen in alcoholics). Magnesium deficiency is still around, though not as common as B-12 deficiency. Unlike those "13333% USRDA value!" B-12 supplements, though, Mg supplements dose at 50-100% USRDA.

Now, if you ask me, another major cause of ADD/ADHD, and I'm sure Submerged has a lot more to say about this... Didactic learning. Eh, just don't even let me go there.

After all, *I* got through school w/o meds. (Being physically addicted to caffeine since 5th grade does not count as "medicated")

Caffeine DOES increase a few aspects of attention span, just so ya know... it has a few similar actions comparable to Ritalin. :-D

And in any event, I think Submerged is not only trying to get these kids through school, but also get them through while reducing harm. (well okay, that one's obvious.)

Harm reduction... that's a good reason I keep a nominal amount of Xanax in my laptop bag that I carry to work... anyways.

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B-12 deficiency (due to many causes) is also more common than we'd like to think... a lack of B-12 is well-known to result in brain damage (most clearly seen in alcoholics). Magnesium deficiency is still around, though not as common as B-12 deficiency. Unlike those "13333% USRDA value!" B-12 supplements, though, Mg supplements dose at 50-100% USRDA.

Neither normally does a lot for frontal lobe issues, and B-6 is the biggie for mood issues. There's indications that B-12

doesn't absorb all that well in supplement form - which goes back to a better diet, with more meat if your value system

allows it...

Harm reduction... that's a good reason I keep a nominal amount of Xanax in my laptop bag that I carry to work... anyways.

Reducing harm to whom?

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Neither normally does a lot for frontal lobe issues, and B-6 is the biggie for mood issues. There's indications that B-12 doesn't absorb all that well in supplement form - which goes back to a better diet, with more meat if your value system allows it...

You can't have yer puddin if you don't eat yer meat first! err...

Thanks for bringing up the B-6. I didn't think of that. I've read enough in the local media about people here in eastern Georgia trying to get high off the stuff that I figured it's worth looking into as something neurologically significant. Not like there's much else to do here in eastern GA, besides getting high off of vitamins or doing online medical journal research...

Reducing harm to whom?

Generally, harm to anybody within a 1000 foot radius, including myself. This includes verbal/emotional harm.

Back to the original topic of idiot parents, I went through about 30x1mg of those suckers (Xanax, that is) on my cross-country drive with my parents when I moved to California 2 years ago.......

Parents really often DON'T know what's best for their children... not their fault, you can't expect everybody to know everything... the key is to just admit it when one's wrong...

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