When last I blogged about drugging my kids and what a joy it is, we were waiting to see the specialist. That has since happened and I’ve received some eye-opening information. When the doctor asked me what my goals were for Bryce, of course I told him that I would like him to be able to sit for his EOGs (End of Grade Tests) next year in 3rd grade. If he is unable to sit and test, he will be unable to pass the 3rd grade. Since he’s already repeated kindergarten, this potential blow to his self-esteem is not an option. Then I told the doctor that I needed some counseling, too; that I was resistant to medicating my children, although I know it’s for the best.
The doctor nodded sagely, asked me several questions and observed Bryce while he entered data into his computer. He had already received the mountain of paperwork from Bryce’s teacher, tests from his school and an additional mountain of paperwork from me. For those of you who believe people drug their kids because it’s “convenient” for them, let me disavow you of that notion — it is an act of congress to get medication AND a superior court case to actually get referred to a behavioral specialist. This visit was two years in the making.
Near the end of our session, which was a full hour at least — try getting a doctor to spend that kind of time with you when you’re not open on a surgical table — the doctor turned his computer screen toward me. He explained about standard deviation from the norm and what an expected level of activity and impulsiveness is for a nine year old boy in good health. Then he showed me Bryce’s results…TWO FULL standard deviations from the norm. You’re familiar with a bell curve? Picture that with a hole in the top and a skyscraper sticking out of it. Apparently, only 1%-2% of the population fits into this elite group of people.
I knew my monkey-boy was a monkey-boy, but I had no idea how monkey of a boy he was…because he’s the boy I love and that’s just how he is.
This may be why I needed a little push to point me in the right direction. In addition to my son’s medical, behavioral and educational history, the doctor also had a good bit of my family history plugged into his computer. Thanks to my very honest responses, his file indicated that my side of the family, (while we do not suffer from phlebitis, angina, coronary disease, rabies, psoriasis, of poor personal hygiene), has a significant history of alcoholism…On both the maternal and paternal sides. On a good note, although I’ve certainly been accused of such on a more than casual basis before, I don’t strictly have mental disorders in my family.
But I digress…
According to information published in 2009 on addresources.org, “…people with ADHD as a whole are more likely to medicate themselves with substances than those who do not have ADHD. Drs. Hallowell and Ratey estimate that 8 to 15 million Americans suffer from ADHD; other researchers estimate that as many as 30-50% of them use drugs and alcohol to self-medicate their ADHD symptoms.
The doctor looked at me and told me point blank that given my family history, Bryce is up to 50% more likely than the average kid to develop alcoholism or substance abuse if his ADHD goes untreated.
That’s all it took. I told him to sign me up.
So, we started a new round of treatments a few weeks ago. Bryce is taking a powerful drug that causes drowsiness and (at times) crankiness while he adjusts to having it in his system. It’s been tough watching him temporarily become “not-Bryce” and seem to lose interest in some of the stuff he loves, like swimming and baseball. However, once he adjusts all this will change, I’m told. And if not, we’ll try something else. Then, something else. But, by golly, we’re sticking with it. I’m praying that he’ll adjust and get some of that zip back in his step. Then, we’ll have to wait and see how things turn out for him when school starts.
Its for certain, “The Marauding Mother” will be back on moonshine musings talking drugs after EOGs. Until then, keep a good thought for a really neat kid.