In an effort to greenify our world a bit (and uncomplicate our lives) we decided it was time to try a local doctor to prescribe Doctor Do-be-do’s ADD meds, instead of making a seventy mile round trip to Erie every other month. We made an appointment for him to see the same local psychiatrist Little Miss sees for hers.
I guess I’d forgotten how that doctor was. After all, he prescribed talk therapy for her to get into her feelings about having autism and how that depressed her. Seeing as she operates on about an eight-year-old level, with delayed language and is about the happiest person I know….right. No sense at all. How could I have forgotten?
The morning of the visit comes, and the boy drops into the chair at the psychiatrist’s office, hunched over inside his hoodie, as he’s wont to do. Eleven year old boys. What can you do?
The psychiatrist starts talking to him, and the boy starts on this very interesting tale about how he never plays with his sister or brother (false), that he hasn’t any friends at school (mostly false), that he never talks to his parents about anything (oh, really?), and so on, for about thirty minutes. I tried to gently correct him a couple of times, but the psychiatrist kept giving me the stinky eye, so I backed off. We just came for the ADD meds. If the doctor wants to analyze the kid for fun, let him…
So the interview gets done, and the first thing the man says is that he really shouldn’t give him the ADD meds: Amphetamines aren’t any better than alcohol or any drug that allows one to hide from one’s feelings and pull away from other people. Because the child self-reported his isolation, he really shouldn’t get the chance to have the drugs at all.
As long as the child was reporting this isolation, and he was lonely, it would be an awfully good idea to put him on Zoloft. He handed me a prescription for that and also something to make him sleep at night.
I looked the doctor in the eye and calmly explained the boy needed the ADD meds to be able to get through the school day. Four-fifths of our household functions better on those chemicals, I said, and he really needs an increased dose because after four years the minimum dosage is wearing off before the end of the school day.
He grudgingly gave me enough till the end of the school year. Then we have to meet again.
Let’s face it, I’m not one of those people that wants to tranquilize their child into submission. We’ve experimented with a number of different ways to help the family members do better, vitamins, fish oil, minerals, diet, holding off on chemical intervention as long as possible, but the fact remains that we are ADD-infested, and some sort of medicine helps school and life performance. The Cabana Boy reminds me all the time how much better he functions when medicated, and Little Miss is the same way. What she retains is significantly better, and her thought processes are obvious in their clarity. Doctor Do-be-do is the same. (The Captain just won’t take his medicines, so we’ll leave him off the list.)
So. Now the psychiatrist wants the family to come to therapy, and gives drugs the child doesn’t need and fights us about the drugs he really does. I understand this line of thinking–When one of my older daughters went to see a mental health professional some years ago, I was incensed that they just threw medicine at her, and didn’t offer her therapy, which is likely what she really needed. I know the doctor was practicing good medicine by interviewing the child–but maybe a quarter of what the child told him was true! And he didn’t want to hear the truth from me.
So do we go back to the old doctor and conduct the simple medical transaction, or do we go with the guy who wants to give an eleven-year old adult depression medication? When the professionals can’t even agree, what’s a parent to do?