Tuesday, 24 June 2008
Junior's recent visit to his new psychiatrist went fairly well. It was a new place and a new face so of course he had some anxiety. Dr. Lady picked up on it right away and respected his need for space. I was very impressed with her bedside manner and her knowledge.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, we came upon this clinic out of default. Our first choice didn't have any available appointments for new patients until late July or early August so they referred to us to another clinic. As it turns out, this other clinic is a research institute. They are in the middle of a clinical trial for a new drug therapy for Autism and they are doing other studies for a multitude of other illnesses. While their waiting room was not at all child friendly and the staff was not the most polite, I am confident that Junior will get good care there. After all, he has me for an advocate and previous teachers and therapists have said I can be very intimidating.
Dr. Lady and I had a good discussion concerning Junior's weight gain on the Risperdal. While Junior has shown significant progress on the medication and ever increasing anxiety and aggression off of the medicine, the weight gain can not be ignored. At 5ft 4in, he weighs over 200 pounds and he is at risk for diabetes and all the other health risks involved with being obese. Risperdal is notorious for causing this weight gain by increasing appetites to gargantuan proportions. So while we must do something about the weight, we absolutely cannot ignore the anxiety, self injurious behavior, or aggression he is experiencing (thanks puberty, thanks a lot).
Therefore, we decided together to switch his medicine to Seroquel. Junior has taken this before with mixed results. He doesn't have the weight gain, but the medicine is not as effective as the Risperdal. After deciding on the medication switch, we discussed the other risk factors involved with an autistic child hitting puberty. Children with Autism experience a significant risk of developing seizure activity, depression, and bipolar disorder during and after puberty. I am to be on the lookout for any usual behavior and make note of his mood from day to day. It is a pretty cruddy situation to be in and I feel awful that Junior has to go through it all. I just hate that I can't slap a band aid on this and seal it with a kiss to make it all better for him. I take comfort in the fact that while I can't make this all better for him, I love him with all my heart and I am here for him.
Does your child adapt well to new doctors or hospitals? Also, if you have a child with Autism who is taking medicine for anxiety and aggression, which medicine have you had the best experience with?