Re: I think my son may have ADHD as well & medication question
Hi Mrs. M.,
Kids on the spectrum are prone to a number of co-existing conditions, including ADHD. However, the symptoms you mention may or may not be related to ADHD.
Meds for our kids can be tricky. It's not uncommon for a standard ADHD med like, say, Adderall, to make some symptoms better & other symptoms worse.
In our own experience, even tiny doses (1.25 mg -- 1/4 of the lowest dose tablet) of Adderall improved our son's concentration, but greatly increased anxiety (including precipitating never-before-seen panic attacks), increased obsessions, and increased irritability, to the point where the "cost" was greater than the benefit. Adding on other meds to "counterbalance" the stimulant was a similar experience. My son is unmedicated after having been tried on 4 diff psych meds & some combos of the same.
Many of our kids metabolize meds differently from the "average populations" that the meds were standardized on. It's part of the physiological aspect of autism. Parents who try meds & find success are often disheartened to learn that a few months down the line, the meds "poop out," cease to be effective. This is because in part, putting stimulants or SSRIs or antipsychotics into a brain -- particularly a developing brain -- sets off a chain reaction whereby the brain downregulates in some cases, upregulates other cases, receptors & receptor sensitivity, neurotransmitter production, and other stuff.
The long & short of it is, psych meds for any kid is pretty much a trial & error deal. If you decide to go this route, seek out a prescriber who is familiar not just with the meds & the incentives offered by Big Pharma, but one who is very familiar with & experienced in dealing with autistic kids. When a med is recommended, research it. Ask the prescriber point-blank questions regarding short-term, and potential long-term side effects. Ask about the common side-effects,as well as those that are rare.
Remember that,as parent, you consult with the experts, you may take a piece of paper, but that does not obligate you. Particularly in the area of child psychiatry, where much remains to be elucidated in a scientific fashion. I've had more than one child psych tell us," you put a kid in a room full of 100 psychiatrists & you'll get almost that many different diagnoses & different opinions on how to treat."
For my bucks, with what you are describing ... behavior that a kid snaps out of ... I would look into sensory sensitivity issues & behavioral training, if that hasn't already been done, before jumping onto the med bandwagon.
Many kids are also helped by biomedical interventions, diet & supplements. My son among them. Another alley to visit sometime if you've got the inclination.
PS. Many meds are available in liquid form, & some can be chomped. If swallowing tablets were the only available option, we wouldn't have 18 mo. old babies being prescribed antipsychotics ...
Last edited by elmhar; 07-03-2007 at 11:19 AM.