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He Didn't Behave Like a Boy Does
When my step son came to visit us for his usual summer vacation, we got several pages of instructions that came along with him. He was eight years old at the time, and due to a lot of court proceedings, we had not had any time with him at all since he had moved out of state with his mother.
This is when we found out that his mother had taken him to the doctor some time back and had him diagnosed with ADHD. The papers she sent instructed us to give him a pill in the morning, putting him back into his room for a half an hour until the meds kicked in, and then begin our day. Another dose was to be given at about two o'clock in the afternoon to keep the dosage proper in his bloodstream. Then, at seven in the evening we were to give him a different pill, to bring him back down and allow him to sleep. This, to me did not settle well, but the pills all had been prescribed by a doctor, and it was well instructed not to miss any doses or change any medication unless under the watchful eye of the doctor. Wow, I thought, and decided to begin looking up some of these medications, for during the day he seemed so focused, that he almost seemed to have a "not normal for a boy" behavior. I had already raised three boys myself, and had never seen anything like the symptoms he was displaying.
Not only was he having a trance like behavior during the day, but after he was given the evening pill, he was falling asleep in his dinner if we were eating late. He was not eating right, for boys have usually a hollow leg when it comes to food, and we had to coax him to eat anything at all. I even noticed him with different facial features, like he was walking around with his lips pulled tightly so he appeared to be smiling all the time. He also did not speak very much. The whole thing did not sit right with me. I felt like something was definitely not right with him.
I Had To Research
The first thing I did, was to get on the computer to see what these drugs were that his doctor had prescribed. The one that concerned me the most, at first anyway, was the one he took in the evening. It was called Luvox, and was an anti-depressant, that was normally prescribed to adults. The warnings said that it was not given to children because no research was done on children under the age of 18.
Here is what the research I looked up said about this medication, at least in part. "Fluvoxamine is an antidepressant in a group of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Fluvoxamine affects chemicals in the brain that may become unbalanced and cause obsessive-compulsive symptoms. Fluvoxamine is used to treat social anxiety disorder (social phobia), or obsessive-compulsive..
Dad called his mother to see why he was taking this. She said that the doctor prescribed it because of a crying episode he had concerning his dad and not seeing him, and due to the fact the his daytime medications were preventing him from sleeping.
The medication that he was being given during the day was called Ritlan, and was basically a type of speed, that supposedly was to keep him focused and calm during the day. It was supposed to stop the short attention span that causes kids to go from one thing to another without finishing anything, and keep him in his chair instead of talking and doing everything but what he was instructed.
He did that all right. As a matter of fact, he was having problems deciding anything that he wanted to do himself. He had to be told what he was to be doing next. He also was having problems getting to the bathroom in time and was from time to time wetting himself.
His dad called mom, to find out why he was put on these drugs. She said that the doctor diagnosed him at the age of four with the difficulty keeping his attention on things. With further questioning it turned out that when she moved out of state, she took him to a new doctor and she told him that he had been diagnosed at the age of 3 1/2 here in Calif.and he just continued with what she told him he had been taking.
Now I have raised three boys, and you tell me what boy at the age of 3 or 4 does not have problems with their attention span. Boys that age stay focused at the most for about 2 to 4 minutes on any given project, and it is thrown to one side and something else is gotten. She continued her argument that his teachers also agreed that he had problems staying in his seat, and that he was constantly not doing what he was supposed to be and disturbing the class.
Further research showed that schools are now, especially around puberty asking kids to fill out questionnaires about how they feel, if they think they are having problems focusing, or if they are feeling depressed or sad. I also found that many kids, especially foster kids are automatically put on medications for a vast range of disturbances, many of which I believe could be dealt with if an adult could spend time with the child and help him to just sort out his feelings and what he feels are disturbances he cannot deal with. Statistics show that over 70% of foster kids who get moved from one home to the next are put on medication automatically, and without any proper diagnosis. It also showed that the major percentage of these kids are showing these symptoms and having problems mostly because they are above average intelligence and get bored in school.
This was the case with my step son. He was borderline genius, and his mother and his teacher simply did not want to spend the time and energy it took to keep up with him, so the easy way out was to slow him down with speed.
It took a very long time to wean him off of the drugs, and it also took a court order to have a psychiatrist test him. He agreed that he was not ADHD, but was gifted and bored in school. What a shame it was that he had to go through all of this, just because his teachers and mother wanted to take the easy way out.
It made me wonder, just how many other kids, those with the same problems as my son, but did not have an adult who could tell this was not the answer, or even had an adult who cared enough to find out. We need to be cautious about what schools and teacher recommend and what doctors give our kids to cure them.