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My daughter has struggled through middle school, first they tried to treat her for adhd but she doesn't want to take the meds, which i can I understand.  She has been seeing a therapist for depression & anxiety also, and  now her doc has prescribed prozac.  She actually does want to take it, but I worry about the effect of psych meds on a developing brain.  Will it set her up to need meds her whole life?  At the same time, considering she refused adhd meds but jumped at the chance when the doc asked if she wanted something for depression and anxiety, there must be some suffering there she wants to alleviate.  I don't know the right answer, this age is a critical time in brain development, I want to set her up for future success rather than have her mess up adulthood the way I did.

I don't know if this is a breach of the first-person rule to ask?  Mostly I would be interested in how parents with MI have coped with watching their children develop the same symptoms.

Edited by Complicated toad
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Not a parent but I actually started meds at 14 as well... and progressed to pretty stuff pretty fast. Of course, no one wants lifelong meds... and although it is a possibility ... but the fact that she really wants the meds seems really important to me. I remember how much internal struggle I had to conquer to ask for help with depression at that age.... so by the time I managed to get help I really really needed it. It sucks, but sometimes you have to prioritize immediate concerns over future maybes. I am not minimizing your worry... it’s natural ... my parents were pretty scared too - especially as I ended up on my first antipsychotic before the end of 9th grade ... but personally I know that I wouldn’t have Made it without psychiatric intervention. As far as brain development, I am no neuroscientist but I did very well in college, have a social circle and a plan for after graduation. My point is you gotta take it one thing at a time and take the future as it comes, you’ll drive yourself mad trying to solve everything at once 

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33 minutes ago, Iceberg said:

but personally I know that I wouldn’t have Made it without psychiatric intervention. As far as brain development, I am no neuroscientist but I did very well in college, have a social circle and a plan for after graduation. My point is you gotta take it one thing at a time and take the future as it comes, you’ll drive yourself mad trying to solve everything at once 

Thanks for this, I feel better.  I want to do something for her, my problems started at the same age but I didn't get help and turned to self-medication, which probably just screwed me up worse.  So I want to do something, but I worry about doing the wrong thing.  I am respecting her wishes and letting her try the prozac, and I will just observe and see how she does.  If she ends up on long-term meds yet makes it to college, I will be overjoyed.  She is flunking 90% of her classes now, I am willing to give it a try just to get out of this rut.

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i know people who started meds that long

 

2 edged sword, as you say. She could reach 40 and not know what her baseline is. Very lo term ADs can take 2 years or more to detox from, to reach actual baseline

 

but sometimes they are needed

 

ask doc questions, then ask more questions. Involve kiddo in decisions, and don't rush in IMO

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Both of my two youngest started meds early for ADD (not adhd, no hyperactivity). My son started around second grade, it was vital. When he was taking them, there was a very noticeable improvement, his teacher could instantly tell whether or not he had taken them that day. He just simply wasn’t able to focus without them, and it wasn’t a typical daydreamy type distraction, it was like he simply couldn’t think. That year his teacher also had him use one of those large balls instead of a seat (the other kids thought it was cool), having to balance also helped him focus. It was a hard road though. He hated the way the stimulants made him feel, and non-stimulants didn’t work at all. And all three of my kids are naturally stick thin to begin with, so weight was and still is always an issue. Took a LOT of trials of various meds, and we finally landed on adderall XR being the most tolerated and effective. He’s 19 and still takes it, though not every day.

Basically same scene for my daughter, except she was either fifth or sixth grade when she started. Ironically she’s also on adderall XR, and on a higher dose than her brother. She’s 5’, and he’s 6’. 

Perhaps what might be helpful, with the blessing of their dr, they didn’t take their meds on days they didn’t need to, like weekends, holidays and summers. Of course shorter periods of non-med use worked fine, but over summers I had to wean them back on the meds before school started, because it is quite a jolt. 

My daughter recently described what her brain is like sans meds, she said it’s like she has 20 thoughts swirling around her head, but she can’t pick one. Anything she reads, or when she drives, she said it’s like there’s 20 options of thought, and she gets stuck. When she takes her adderall, she said she can grab one of those thoughts, and hold onto it. Knowing that’s what she feels like, I can’t NOT have her medicated. It sounds horrible, and frustrating. She’s not allowed to drive unless she’s taken her adderall that morning.

Youngest is also on Zoloft for anxiety and depression. She’s been on it for years, and it helps tremendously. Unfortunately, it’s hard to say whether it’s strictly biological (oldest daughter is the same), or whether years of slowly falling apart family life perhaps influenced it. 

Both of my youngest are intelligent, son scarily so (although he doesn’t have a whole lot of common sense at times 🙄). Seeing what they’re like on non-med days, tho, they would be having a MUCH harder time with life. I knowing it’s scary when you know how delicate their growing and maturing brains are, but if this was a physical illness, instead of mental, would you be hesitating?

i know my BP was showing up in my teen years. I wish I had been medicated properly, because I honestly think that’s what drove me to use illicit drugs starting in middle school. It was really about trying to cope, and quiet my head. I’m imagining those drugs were harsher on my brain than prescribed ones would be. Had a really rock bottom depressive crash in my early 20’s that landed me in IP for quite a while. *Maybe* that could’ve been averted with proper care. 

It’s a tough decision, and it’s hard to find support at times. I’d like to also add, although eating with stimulants on board has been a nightmare, I’ve made sure that what they *do* eat is hopefully the best I can get them to eat. I was careful to avoid dyes, tried to have them eat the least junkiest food possible, limiting sugar, avoiding soda as much as possible (they’re both big water drinkers). It wasn’t and isn’t perfect, but I’m confident that their ADD isn’t the result of a food allergy, as some non-believers would criticize. 

Sorry, didn’t mean for this to be so long. Happy to answer questions.

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15 hours ago, Complicated toad said:

  I don't know the right answer, this age is a critical time in brain development, I want to set her up for future success rather than have her mess up adulthood the way I did.

I started taking an AD when I was in high school....I'm thankful my parents got help for me, and made sure I took my medication.

SSRIs hadn't come out yet when I was 17, so I started out on amitriptyline, a TCA....When Prozac did come out a few years later, I started on that.

Edited by CrazyRedhead
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We agreed to start my 16-year-old on sertraline last year (just after she turned 16) because she was really depressed, was already in therapy, and expressed a need for something more to help her. We avoided the psychiatrist route when she had a depression closer to the 11 - 13, partly because it didn't get that bad, but also because we (especially husband) were concerned about her brain development. But as someone who really struggled through high school and college, and didn't try meds til about age 28, in ways that still affect my life 20 years later, I was eager last year to help her try to get out of the bad place. I would echo someone else and say that it's important that she herself wants to take the meds. It's a sign that she is really struggling and knows she needs more help.

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13 hours ago, Complicated toad said:

My daughter has struggled through middle school, first they tried to treat her for adhd but she doesn't want to take the meds, which i can I understand.  She has been seeing a therapist for depression & anxiety also, and  now her doc has prescribed prozac.  She actually does want to take it, but I worry about the effect of psych meds on a developing brain.  Will it set her up to need meds her whole life?  At the same time, considering she refused adhd meds but jumped at the chance when the doc asked if she wanted something for depression and anxiety, there must be some suffering there she wants to alleviate.  I don't know the right answer, this age is a critical time in brain development, I want to set her up for future success rather than have her mess up adulthood the way I did.

I don't know if this is a breach of the first-person rule to ask?  Mostly I would be interested in how parents with MI have coped with watching their children develop the same symptoms.

I started on Paxil at age 13 or 14. I needed it badly. But soon I stared refusing it because I feared it was poison and my parents didn’t bother with further treatment for me. They let me down big time, I would say. I suffered for a long time unnecessarily after that until I was in my early twenties and sought treatment on my own.

I am really messed up and scarred from all those years I didn’t have meds and therapy from 13 - early twenties. I think if I had been forced and had proper treatment during that period I think things would have been better for me now. Maybe not, but part of me truly believes this. I bet I could have finished college at least and maybe started a job at minimum.

Just sharing my experience. I hope it helps. 

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I don’t know if this will help. I was depressed very young and meds not an option. As a result of the MI, I made bad decisions largely due to the MI, and have to live with that. I feel I wasted many years struggling with depression so I do have that perspective and try not to offer advice. But I do think the fact that your daughter is willing to try this really says something. I know it’s hard to make decisions. 

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