If the thought of medicating your child has ever crossed your mind than you know the turmoil we just went through, again.
Lexi is only 4 years old. She is young and sweet and silly. However, Lexi has serious sleep troubles. The first time we had to medicate her was to deal with insomnia. It took us 2 years of terrible nights and awful days to finally decide to take that step. In the end we felt we didn’t have a choice. Lexi was so grumpy she couldn’t function on days she was up all night, which were 3 to 4 times a week. So after trying a million different things including melatonin, Benadryl, and Klonopin we finally found that Trazadon helps Lexi sleep at night. The difference it made in her daily life was immediate and impressive. The difference it made in my nights and days was also immediate and impressive. Sleep is good!
Well, we were just faced with the medicating or not medicating decision again. Lexi has severe anxiety and is getting more and more OCD as a way of coping with it. Major meltdowns at home and at school were becoming a daily occurrence. It all started adding up to Lexi needing a bit more help. Our doctor suggested medication, friends suggested medication, yet once again we were reluctant. Lexi is ONLY 4 years old. Who wants to medicate a 4 year old? It is definitely a dilemma I never expected or wanted to face with my children. Yet here I was, having to decide to try medications or not.
Just as with our decision to medicate Lexi to help her sleep better, my biggest concern throughout the process was is this best for Lexi? I had no intention of medicating Lexi for my sake. I can deal with it. So, would it be best for her? That was the real question. After days of talking back and forth we decided it would be. Lexi had a hard time even functioning daily due to anxiety. She was becoming really OCD because of anxiety. She was having a harder time in school and in public due to anxiety. What choice did we have but try and help our daughter be less anxious so she could function in her day to day life.
So after weighting everything out Lexi went on Zoloft last Friday. As of yet we haven’t noticed any big differences, which is normal. It won’t really kick in until 4-6 weeks after she starts taking it. But we are both hopeful that Lexi will be a happier more functioning 4 year old when it does kick in.
I guess this whole dilemma and debate is just one of the many dilemmas us autism parents are forced to deal with. Who wants to put their young child through grueling hours of therapy? Who wants to be forced to limit where your family goes for fear of a meltdown? Who wants to watch their child struggle through the smallest tasks that come naturally to other kids? And who wants to medicate their child? Who gets into parenting thinking “I think putting my children on medication is going to be a great idea.” It’s not ideal and none of us want to do it. But in the end, what is best for our children wins.