To Medicate or Not to Medicate, That is the Question – part II

It is evening, my children have taken their night-time meds and are getting ready for bed. I actually remembered to ask them to take their meds on time tonight. My mom is better at reminding them to take their meds than I am. I think there’s two reasons for that – 1. I have a terrible memory and am easily distracted and 2. she has been taking medication to regulate the symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis for the past 40 years so she has more experience.

I think having been raised with a parent who has taken dozens of medications throughout the years has made it easier for me to accept the use of medication for my children’s health. When it was first recommended that I medicate the kids I thought long and hard about it. I did research using online resources, books and knowledgeable, trustworthy people. I have chosen not to give my children “medication vacations”. My chidren take their meds 7 days a week, 365 days a year because I believe it is in their best interests. And it is. When my daughter wasn’t on the right dosage even she complained about her behaviour and thought patterns. She knew she wasn’t functioning at her highest level and she didn’t like it. One of the counselors used this comparison to explain the importance of maintaining consistency when medicating children – “If your child had diabetes would you stop giving them their insulin? Even for a weekend? ADHD medication for a child who requires it is just as essential as insulin is to a diabetic.”

As I mentioned last time, the children and I all take Omega-3 to help with brain function. I’ve read from various sources that it is a very beneficial supplement that aids with mental health. I’ve read from other sources that it doesn’t help at all. However, I’ve noticed a positive difference in myself and my own ability to process thought as well as in the children’s behaviour so we’ll continue taking it. There is also an Omega 3-6-9 supplement. I spoke to a very trusted pharmacist about the difference between the two supplements and he told me that the 6 and 9 portions weren’t necessary because we get enough of that in our diet. He recommended we stick with the Omega-3.

Omega-3 is considered a homeopathic supplement. There are other homeopathic methods used in the treatment of ADHD including diet regulation, dietary supplements. botanical and traditional Chinese treatments as well as massage therapy, physical therapy and hypnotherapy. I do monitor my children’s diet. Pop is a rare treat in my home as are foods that have been highly processed such as Pogo sticks. I haven’t tried any of the botanical or traditional Chinese treatments, but would be interested in hearing from anyone with that experience. I keep a close watch on my kids medication and behaviour and we visit the prescribing doctors regularly (every month or two) to ensure that their general health is good and their meds are working properly.

Of course, medication, whether naturally sourced or not, is not the sole solution to managing mental health issues. Medication combined with behavioural therapy for the child and retraining for the parents is much more successful than medication alone. My kids have been seeing counselors on and off for the last 6 years and I have attended several parenting classes and lectures. We have all gained a great deal of useable knowledge from these sessions.

Behavioural therapists teach children coping tools. These coping tools are to be used in day-to-day living and are meant to help the child manage the symptoms of their mental health issues while functioning in a society that doesn’t always understand their quirks. Behavioural training for kids with ADHD includes listening skills, expression of feelings, anger management, organizational skills, self-control, self confidence building and many other essential life skills. Although these coping tools may seem like simple life skills, ones that a child should have mastered early on, to someone with a mental health disorder nothing is easy.

I have come across what I believe to be an excellent naturopathic site, Nature’s Intentions Naturopathic Clinic, which has an excellent page about ADHD. The clinic is located in Toronoto, Ontario and the website has provided an informative history of ADHD and a comprehensive description of their method of dealing with the symptoms of ADHD. Again, I do not have much experience with the naturopathic treatment of ADHD, but would love to hear from those of you who do.

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About Holly

I hope you're able to glean something from this blog, a nugget of wisdom, a new perspective, a smile or even a laugh. I enjoy getting feedback so please comment, share your story with me too. After all, we're here to help each other.
This entry was posted in ADHD, children's mental health, GAD, OCD, parenting. Bookmark the permalink.

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