Children on Prozac or Zoloft?

Updated on January 24, 2015
J.F. asks from New Hampton, IA
38 answers

My child has been a "difficult, strong-willed, etc" type child since he was old enough to talk. When he was two, he used to throw the wildest tantrums when his clothes didn't fit just right (shirt had to come to a specific part of his body, pants had to come to certain point on his shoes). He was fearful of getting sticky or dirty and would refuse to eat syrup on his waffles for an entire year. We had him evaluated by the local AEA when he was three and they thought he might have a mild case of sensory integration disorder, but didn't really think it was that. They suggested that we send him to preschool and that might help. It did help a little bit, but now he is in kindergarten and just turned six. He has fears now of chemicals or germs on his body and washes his hands quite frequently. They have been cracked and bloody most of the winter. He has seen a couple of therapists. His newest psychologist thinks that he may have OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder), but really thinks that he is an anxious kid. He is suggesting that we medicate him. When I asked which drugs they would most likely prescribe, he thought either zoloft or prozac. In reading the side effects of these drugs, I am very hesitant to put him on any type of depression/anxiety medication. I'm really fearful of the effects - especially the suicidal tendancies in children and young adults. I don't want to be treating my child for possible OCD and end up having him become suicidal due to meds. Any insight on the topic would be helpful. Experiences with natural treatments would especially be helpful. Thanks!!

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K.S.

answers from Minneapolis on

I highly recommend seeking occupational therapy for the sensory issues first. If these have not been addressed then he is under a lot of stress which could make any anxiety more pronounced. Have you read "The Out-of-Sync Child"? It helped me understand my son's sensory processing disorder.

Secondly, I have a friend with a child suffering from anxiety and OCD. Talk therapy was a huge help and now the child is doing much better with early intervention (age 6).

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S.J.

answers from St. Cloud on

He sounds very much like my son who has a 'slight' sensory disorder, but it does affect him every day. He has had sensory therapy for over a year and it is getting better a little. I do not agree with medicating kids this young. A lot of parents are elmiating artificial colors and flavors from their kids diets and seeing a marked improvement, expecially with the coloring removal. He sounds like he may have an anxiety disorder, but it appears related to the sensory. Please attempt sensory traetment before medication.

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P.J.

answers from Minneapolis on

I would look into the Twin Cities Play Therapy Center in Eagan. They have a website. It has worked for people I know whose children were anxious about ordinary things...

http://www.twincitiesplaytherapycenter.com/

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R.A.

answers from Fargo on

I thought I'd tell you about a book I just bought that I think will be helpful with my "strong-willed" child. It is called "Little Sugar Addicts" by Kathleen DesMaisons, Ph.D. She has done a lot of research on sugar sensitivity in children (and adults). She believes that many of the behavior problems and other issues many children have could be because of a sugar sensitivity. She gives you great advice on how to slowly change our eating habits and to cut way back on sugar. The results are supposed to be wonderful for many children. It is just something you might want to look into before putting your child on meds. I haven't had a chance to start my own child on this, but I am expecting some great changes. Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

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E.B.

answers from Duluth on

I have had chronic anxiety and panic attacks for about 13 years. I was on an antidepressant for about 15 months, which helped me get rid of the fear of panicking. Now I have panic attacks like other people have headaches--they're annoying, but they generally don't get in the way of my life. I have two boys, age 4 1/2 and 18 months. I see some of the personality traits in my 4 year old that I suspect are similar to the ones that predisposed me to anxiety. My son is quite fearful of new situations--but you wouldn't know it; when he's with us in comfortable situations, he's extremely outgoing and friendly. When he had a cold, he didn't want to go to preschool because we had just talked about sharing germs and he really didn't want his friends to get sick from him (he was in tears). We have similar issues about shoes and shirts--he wears shoes about 4 sizes too big because he can't stand having his toes constrained. Socks are horrible too. Anyway--we don't have quite the level of OCD (the cracked hands would bother me, because they must hurt him, and he does it anyway), but here is how we've handled it.

We just plan that most new things, things we know will stress him out, will take more time. This year, he refused to participated in our church Christmas program. He LOVES Sunday School, is VERY comfortable in our church, but absolutely froze because it was new. He sat on dad's lap the whole time (we honestly thought he was sick) and watched. When it was over, he eagerly found his classmates and told them how excited he was to be participating next year. Pre-school screening was horrible; it was in a different elementary school from that which he attends preschool. I promised to stand by him and not leave until he was ready. As soon as he saw his teachers, and we took a short tour of the school, he was fine.

My point to this is: I KNOW we take a lot more time with him than some people do with their kids. A lot of people also get into more power struggles because kids are afraid. I wonder if a child psychologist could give you hints for dealing with his OCD tendencies before you head into medication? I don't know the extent of his difficulties, but I do know that working with our son, just through the common sense lens of my own experiences, has helped him a lot. My perspective on my anxiety is that yes, it's a pain, but it's mine, and unless I'm willing to medicate or make some humungous lifestyle changes, it will be part of my life for a while. That's ok, but I'm not going to give up my life! And same goes for my son: he might take a little more time to deal with new things and his fears, but he's a great kid and he deserves to be able to do ALL those things, in spite of his fears.

Addendum: I echo the exercise thing, at least for anxiety, and also, my son hit an age where he was super-aware of germs (and his preschool teacher's daughter was the same, she said) so it could even be that that awareness is simply more pronounced in him--depends on how long it's been going on.

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M.K.

answers from Sheboygan on

As a pediatric physical therapist, I have seen my co-workers (pediatric occupational therapists) work with MANY kids with similar issues. Even if the sensory integration is "mild"--it appears it is interfering with daily function, and thus could be treated. Did you try pediatric OT? If not, I highly recommend it before trying medication! (not that there aren't other issues going on that may eventually need medication, but we can determine the effects of sensory integration treatment better without it initially) If you choose to pursue this (OT) please be sure you make sure it is a PEDIATRIC OT who has LOTS of experience with Sensory integration disorder. Again, we have had success with a lot of kids, including those who have beeen medicated. To the point of one kid who was diagnosed with ADHD having his teachers think he had INCREASED his meds (such positive results that it was noticed at school) when in fact he had been participating in outpatient OT and had actually been able to DECREASE his meds!!!! Very cool! On a side note, I really thinkyou are better off pursuing outpatient OT if it is at all possible. My experience has been that school OTs don't do as much of this type of treatment and there time/resources are limited for truly effective intervention in this area (although I'm sure there are some that make it work and do a great job). Good Luck!

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J.O.

answers from Wausau on

The main concern with children and medications like that is compliance. From my understanding, it is when they don't take their meds or they skip doses that they become suicidal or aggressive from the medication. It is more a withdrawl thing than the actual medication causing this type of problem. So if you do put him on a med, make sure he takes it daily- and at the same time each day.

There is one anti-depressant that is thought to be "safe" with kids; I believe it is Prozac, but you'd need to double check that. As an adult taking Prozac right now, I find that if I miss a dose, I feel weird that day, but not agressive or suicidal.

As a teen, I was prescribed Paxil. The first week or two was totally bizarre. I literally laid on the couch and stared at the ceiling for about ten days straight. My boyfriend had to actually carry me down the street and put me on his dad's couch so I'd have a different ceiling to stare at for a while. I was a complete zombie at first. I really have to advise to stay away from Paxil for children and teens. That was just a very frightening experience in retrospect. My boyfriend though thy had given me the wrong drug or dose or something and researched it himself.

It does sound like you child is OCD- remember this disorder occurs in varying degrees (my sister is mild/moderate OCD) and many people can learn to cope with their symptoms without medication; however if it is severe enough to be interfering with daily life or life enjoyment or physical safety, then medication might be worth pursuing. As a teen I had obsessive/compulsive thoughts that would not go away- I would imaging someone was in the backseat of my car while I was driving, and I would be unable to tear my eyes from the rearview mirror, watching for someone to pop up in the backseat. Obviously this was a hazard to myself and others. I also had to stop and investigate every dead animal by the side of the road (in case it was still alive and needed help) or in case it had a collar and was someone's pet. I would be pulling over to investigate ambiguous lumps in the road that turned out to be big rocks or wadded up sweatshirts. One winter, I was absoplutely unable to stop myself from pulling over for the same rock every time I went by, since my brain was somehow convinced each time it was an injured puppy, even though I knew full well it was a rock. The Paxil (when it started working,) did a lot to stop those thoughts, or to make them mild enough that I could ignore them.

I was an "anxious kid", afraid of everything. If your son is having trouble enjoying life, by all means, be willing to explore all avenues of treatment, including medications, but don't overlook the benefits of therapy. The RIGHT therapist can be a great help especially if used along with medication. Another thing I found helpful in my younger years battling the anxiety issue, was writing. If your child shows any interest in writing or any kind of art, encourage that however you can. It can be a great relief to release your fears onto a page.

Also, keep seeing different doctors until you find one that you and your son both are compatible and comfortable with. If you are unsure about the diagnosis being correct, seek a second - and third, if necessary- opinion.

I hope some of that has been helpful. I had a miserable preteen and teenage-hood battling anxiety and OCD-type issues, plus major depression. My parents didn't know any better, so I didn't receive any type of treatment until my very late teens when I insisted I needed help. My opinion is that the sooner you can intervene and get your son on a treatment plan, the better. Keep in mind that the first treatment you try may not work, so keep trying until you get the right thing.

HUGS and luck to you and your son.

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L.P.

answers from Minneapolis on

It is very good to be concerned about those meds so early in his life. But it is also hard to watch him suffer like that.
Exposure is making things worse for him, though. Where did he learn so much about germs? I haven't even gotten my middle school children to care enough to wash hands, lol.
I know it seems like a very big deal, but you have thought of homeschooling him? That would ease some of his anxiety. It really isn't hard to do, and there are online public schools called K-12, where he is still in public school but does it at home.
You could try to retrain his brain a bit, too. Teach him that the germs at home that a family shares make you stronger, not sick. They are natural shared germs, since you are all made the same, and not to be feared.

My friend has an interesting article on a psychological breakthrough made to find the right medication for people. You should give it a read and pass it to your child's doctor to see if it is something that could be done.
http://www.wombattheinnsane.com/?p=1242

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M.D.

answers from Minneapolis on

Since you have plenty of responses that include "natural" therapy I will give my input on the "medicine" therapy. Natural therapy did NOT work for my son. He has Down syndrome, severe ADHD, Bipolar, anxiety and other problems. We were put on Zoloft because of depression, for his anxiety we take Clonopin. I am Bipolar also, Zoloft didn't work for me, but my sister who has Depression Zoloft works great for her, and it works great for my son. We don't have any side effects from his medications. I would highly suggest seeing a psychiatrist, that would be the best person to see concerning possible medications. A psychologist can't prescribe the meds and my psychologist doesn't even mention medications - I'm lucky my psychologist and psychiatrist work in the same office so they have access to all of my records. The clonopin works wonders - I have really bad anxiety especially out in public and 15 minutes after I take it I feel so calm that I can get things done and life feels great. I hope this helps you out. If you have anymore questions don't hesitate to email me at [email protected]____.com.

M.
mom to Ryan 9 1/2 (Down syndrome, severe ADHD, Bipolar, anxiety, GERD, asthma, allergies and aggressive behaviors)
Abbey and Alexa 3 1/2

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B.B.

answers from Jacksonville on

I'm looking for the same for my 8 y/o.

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D.J.

answers from Des Moines on

It is a really difficult decision, I know. My son is 8. Has always been very strong willed and has a high activity level. He would get very angry very fast. He likes things the same all the time. He really likes a schedule and becomes highly agitated when the schedule changes. He sees the world as very black and white. If there is a rule, it applies to everyone, all the time-no exceptions. We have struggled with him for a very long time and a year ago decided to start seeing a psychologist. At school he was having difficulty, but is testing a grade above the rest of the class, so we weren't really concerned about it until this school year. This year he has been suspended 4 times for aggressive behavior. He has been diagnosed with acute anxiety disorder and adhd. We have tried everything, we even took him to an herbalist. So, as a last resort, we decided to go with the psychologists advice and give him prozac. I think I cried for a week and watched for every symptom. I made sure he was eating well, I was constanly asking him how he was. He was fine! I started getting phone calls from the school asking what we were doing differently because some of the things that he would automatically get upset over, were much better. He still gets mad at a teacher if it's 62 degrees outside and she asks him to wear a jacket. (The rule at school is if it is 60 degrees outside-no jacket.) But he moves on! He is not 100% better by no means, but now we can talk to him when he is upset and help teach him about how to handle his need to control everything. I can't tell you if either medication will help your son, but I can tell you that it has helped mine. He is much happier. Kids aren't making as much fun of him. He is so much more relaxed. It was a very hard decision that my husband and I made, but at least I know that we tried everything. We are continuing weekly visits to the psychologist and have 6 month visits with his pediatrician. I continually monitor what he is eating and how much. My son is not a very big kid and he can't afford to lose any weight. He doesn't know what his medication is for. He thinks it's a vitamin. I don't want him thinking that because he is on medication that it will fix everything or he can act out because the medication made me do it. We are hoping that this is a temporary solution. With all the hard work that he is doing, we hope that he is learning the skills that he needs to not be medication for the rest of his life. Just keep fighting for your son. P.S
I also have a home childcare and I know how hard it is when one of your own kids is such a handful. Keep up the great work!

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A.

answers from Minneapolis on

Hi J.,
So sorry you and your little guy are going through this. Have you thought about trying the chiropractor? Up until recently I never really never understood what they do. Very, very long story short, I was having really bad headaches, dizziness and just felt overall out of it. I started having anxiety for the first time in my life because I was convinced something was seriously wrong. The icing on the cake came when I hurt my neck painting (my 30-yr-old body is getting wussy in its old age) and started physical therapy for tension headaches and started getting adjustments from the chiropractor.

He has made a world of difference! Not only from the adjustments...he realized something else was a factor in my progress and did a nutritional analysis. Turned out I had a sensitivity to dairy. It has been 2 weeks (of straight-up H-E-double hockey sticks because I love all things dairy) but I feel amazing since I cut out dairy from my diet. The thing that struck me as amazing...and this is how it might apply to you (sorry for babbling on but I thought you needed a little history), is that most people have an intolerance to dairy and it can effect everyone differently and more severe. It's not just digestive as I had always thought. For me it totally effected my neurology and brain function. Apparently, there is speculation about dairy more significantly effecting kids with autism and/or adhd. It's controversial but some parents have seen great results in their children's health by eliminating it.

I'm no doctor but if you're looking for non-drug alternatives a chiropractor could be a good place to start. Plus, if your son's spine and nervous system is compromised somehow it may be effecting his poor little body and making him react differently to things. For me it was a combination of my spinal being out of whack and the dairy's effects. I credit him with my completely improving my life for figuring it out. I always thought that chiropractors were just back crackers, but apparently their neurologists and I'm their new biggest fan. Anyway, before I make this more into a PSA for chiropractic care I'm going to wrap this up. Not sure where you live but I can give you my doc's name if you'd like. He's in St. Paul.

Take care!

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C.D.

answers from La Crosse on

If I were you, I'd find a good licensed child clinical psychologist for talk therapy for your son. I don't think medicating him is your only option now. I think neurofeedback (like Brainmaster) and some parent-coaching to accompany it (so you can respond to his behavior as the therapist directs) would be a move in the right direction before medicating him. Those drugs are hard on an adult; I can't imagine a child on them without bad side effects. Go find a good licensed clinical psychologist who specializes in treating children, and you will find the best answer there. IANAD or anything like that, but personally I think the kid is stressed out and he is not handling his stresses well. Good luck, I wish you and your family all the best.

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D.G.

answers from Minneapolis on

J. - I love this forum and answer a fair amount of questions. I'm a mom of a 20 year old and 16 year old. I have never had a child diagnosed with or exhibit the type of symptoms you are discribing. Also, I have a nutrition supplement business and I'm not really here to promote my business. However, when our bodies receive the nutrition it requires, it's amazing how our body reacts. The product I work with is a complete and balanced product that is easily available to the cells. It's rated as the best product available by 3rd party evaluators.

I personally believe that God created us to live in balance and we have destroyed the balance. We can no longer just drink water from our faucet without it being filtered for all types of chemicals, drugs, and toxins. Our food is loaded with toxic checmicals as well and our soil is depleted of minerals so that we don't get what we need from our food. While vitamins and minerals don't "cure" any disease, they help the body to respond in the balance it's supposed to. If you interested in learning more contact me.

Also, I would highly recommend a chiropractice office in Eagan who might be able to help you. They do much, much more than "crack backs."

Wishing you the best,

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M.W.

answers from Minneapolis on

Dear J. .. sure wish I had some suggestions for you but I look forward to what information is offered here in your behalf. Blessings to you and yours... M

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J.G.

answers from Milwaukee on

Hi J.,

Let's talk! Do NOT put your child on any of those. The side effects far out way the benefits.

Take a look at his diet, his surroundings, his nutrient level intake, the environment. Where do you live, do you have city water, is there chlorine in it. What does he use to brush his teeth with, what are using to clean his sheets with? his clothes? your home? Check out his social mannerism. Who he's with. How he treats people.

Our son, the same one that had the asthma and ADD, went through all that stuff. He was a clean freak, his room was clean and he hated getting dirty! LOL! He was not as bad as your son, but still it's hard to to your "son" staying "clean" LOL! Anyways, he also was very clean in the kitchen, same thing, only ate certain things. The bouncing into walls because he couldn't keep still. Falling off the chair when he was trying to do his homework. We took him to the therapists, who in turn put him on meds, which in turn, turned him into a zombie. He wasn't his happy little self. We found alternatives. They are out there! Just check out the alternatives. We found the perfect store to shop at, Kids today are suffering these things for no reason! Our son saw the shrinks who only put him on meds, entered him into a programs, DO NOT!!!

Let's talk...

J.

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C.L.

answers from Minneapolis on

I would get a 2nd opinion before I would administer either of those medications. Is the new psychiatrist a pediatric one? I would also look more into the sensory issues. Even mild sensory issues can be very disruptive to behavior. I have two boys who have been through OT for sensory therapy. I can recommend a therapy place in the SE metro if that is at all convenient for you. As some other people recommended I would look into diet--many kids have problems with artificial sweetners, flavors and colorings. At age 4 my oldest son was diagnosed with both ADHD and ODD (without proper testing as it turns out) and offered meds. He also had a variety of anxieties. We decided to pursue therapy instead and wait to see how he was once he got to school. By the time he got to 1st grade most of his symptoms were gone. He still has a small amount of underlying anxiety (he is 12), but absolutely no evidence of ADHD or ODD. He is an excellent student and athlete. Obviously some people need medication and it can be very useful, but in a child that young I would pursue other avenues first. It worked for us. Good luck! Send me a message if you need the name of that provider.

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S.H.

answers from Green Bay on

Hi J.,
Prozac and zoloft are not for kids. Have you checked into natural alternatives? I have some suggestions. Unless his life is in Immediate danger I would avoid the drugs you listed at all costs. Just mho.
Peace,
S.

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C.K.

answers from Minneapolis on

Hi J.,

I have a younger sibling who was on prozac and about a zillion other drugs over the years. (The diagnosis was never OCD, but several different diagnosis over the years that kept changing as he aged.) I could write a book about it--and maybe I will--but in short, IMHO, drugs should be an absolute last resort for children. My brother had horrible side effects--some of the drugs did make him suicidal and even pushed him into psychosis. He also had heart palpitations, significant weight gain, and various skin problems.

It sounds like you've had 3 different diagnosis thus far: sensory integration disorder, OCD, and possibly anxiety. The problem is, if you went to another psychiatrist, you may very well get a 4th diagnosis and different set of medication suggestions.

It's hard for me to tell from your post how much your son's behavior is interfering with his life and the lives of those around him. I can't speak for OCD, but I had a formal diagnosis of Generalized Anxiety Disorder w/Depression. I did go on medication for a short while to sort of get my life back on track and get to a point where I could research and carry out other remedies like diet, exercise, and behavior changes. These things can go a long way in treating any disorder or condition.

You said the sensory intergration disorder didn't really stick w/you, but if you feel in your heart that Anxiety and/or OCD could be it, join a support group for parents of kids with these conditions. Get your son to talk with other OCD kids, if he's willing. You may find it helpful to talk to OCD adults, to see what has or has not worked for them. They will likely have some practical tips on how your son can manage his symptoms.

I can say that before I'd put my own child on medication, the following would all have to be true: (1) His symptoms would have to interfere with his happiness and ability to live a "normal" life; (2) Diet, exercise, behavior modification and talk therapy would have been proven unsuccessful; and (3) I'd want two psychiatrists to give the same diagnosis and treatment suggestions. (Two psychiatrists independent of each other--not two partners at the same clinic.)

In the end, you may decide that medication is the answer. You have to do what is best for your son. Good luck to you.

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H.Z.

answers from Minneapolis on

I don't know you or your child, but I would be really hesitant to put a child that young on medication. Once he's on, he's probably on for life. I've had a similar battle with my oldest, now 7 and in second grade. We did therapy last year and focused more on thinking through her beliefs or problems, so now she can realize when she's thinking a certain way and has the tools to turn it around. She was highly anxious and then would fall into a depression from the stress of the anxiety.

I HIGHLY recommend you read The Highly Sensitive Child by Elaine Aron. It might open your eyes to what kind of child he is, and then you can work through the problems using that information. It's probably been the best tool I've come across for understanding my daughter.

I would be leery of any therapist whose answer is to medicate without trying other avenues first. My friend is a therapist, and she said that's one warning sign to look for. Medication should be a last resort. Especially when those drugs have the side effects they do in children. They do NOT work the same way in kids as they do adults.

You could probably talk to a naturalpath about herbs that could be helpful. In Europe, they're having better success rates with supplements and herbs to treat depression than the regular meds.

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K.T.

answers from Salt Lake City on

When my daughter was 6 and started first grade, I noticed a difference in her. I had her evaluated and found that she was adhd and had severe anxiety issues/separation anxiety. We would have to keep a bowl in the van because on the way to school she would throw up from being so nervous. The first half of the year, I would sit outside of her class room and read a book, just so she knew that I was there. There was no medication at this point. After sometime, we did try an adhd med. which she couldn't tolerate. Shortly after, depression sank in and she commented alot that she wanted to go "home"....she told me that she had such a hard time here that she wanted to go back to heaven. That did it for me. We saw a pediatric phychiatrist who prescribed her liquid Prozac because she couldn't swallow pills. Within a few days I noticed a difference. She said that she was happy and school was fun. I cried. She started out with a very small dose. 1/4 of a teaspoon (20 milligram/per teaspoon liquid) She has always had a poor appetite, and didn't sleep very well. She is now 10 and has been on Prozac with GREAT success for the last 4 years. I have only increased her dosage over the four years to 1 tsp. We saw a child development specialist who suggested liquid melatonin for her sleep issues and what a gift that was. She knows that she needs at least 10-12 hours of sleep. Anything less and she is a totally different little girl. She has sensory issues as well. She has been seeing a counselor, which has helped and I cut the tags out of everything, turn the socks inside out, try to buy second hand clothes (so they are already broke in), help her to keep her "space" clean, so that she can get to items easily, the list goes on. As far a medicating goes. I would try OT and maybe diet changes and look into wether your sweet child sleeps soundly. I think that would be a great start. But if his quality of life doesn't change, proceed slowly with meds. My daughter is very tiny and very sensitive to medication. We also had a problem with bleeding hands! I would try to sneak Aveeno bath oil in her bath water and then when she was sound asleep, I would rub A&D ointment (in the baby isle) on her hands and let her sleep. I do this to her lips as well, because she doesnt like the feel of chapstick and her little lips bleed. Feel free to send me a pm, as I would be glad to share what I have learned over the course of the years, we also use natural treatments and vitamin supplements.

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H.B.

answers from Omaha on

My suggestion is to read "Raising A Sensory Smart Child" before you let the therapists put him on meds. Have you heard of therapeutic listening, if not you may want to try it and ot thearpy, before you start the prescriptions. My daughter has sensory integration disorder that we just found out about and she is 5 years old, even though this disorder can be difficult to deal with, its treatable!! With just a couple of weeks fo therapy we are already seeing improvements. If you are interested in trying this you will need to have an O.T. evaluation completed to see it that is really something that is going on. Good luck with everything and if you need to know of any agencies within the Omaha area that provide this type of treatment please let me know. Take care.

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T.H.

answers from Minneapolis on

J.,

It is possible he has a slight case of both OCD and Sensory Integration disorder. I would have him tested for Autism (there is a large spectrum) and then also check into Occupational Therapy for him before moving to meds.

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E.O.

answers from Minneapolis on

I would seek a second opinion before making any decisions. Mainly because so many children have negative effects on those medications making them mentally sick and causing suicidal thoughts, etc. Are you working with a child pscychiatrist/psychologist? Like I said, check another doctor first. Its so easy to put a child on meds. Its obvious your child is dealing with some issues and it does sound like OCD too, but sometimes counseling can help anyone work through that. He may need a mixture of both. Best of luck to you!

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A.L.

answers from Iowa City on

I think you are so wise, J., to be asking for help with alternative approaches for your son to at least try first. It looks like you've been given lots of ideas and good advice. I'm responding to assure you that there ARE natural treatments in the nutritional arena that have helped children (and adults) with OCD and other disorders. If you'd like specifics about what has been helpful for others, feel free to e-mail me at [email protected]____.com. Blessings to you and your family!

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S.W.

answers from Minneapolis on

Daily, vigorous exercise (30-45 minutes of raised heart rate) has been found to be as beneficial as Zoloft for anxiety and depression in children. And the only side effects are healthier children who are not overweight!

Book "Spark" by John J. Ratey, M.D.

R.B.

answers from La Crosse on

I agree with the others who have said to get him tested for allergies. I have a cousin who I'm close with who was said to have ADD/ADHD. He was on meds for a long time and finally he was tested for allergies. He had a mild allergy to almost everything... all meats, dairy, grains, almost every animal, grass, WATER, you name it he had an allergy to it. He was put on meds for the allergy and he is a total different person.

With you question about Prozac...
My son has been on prozac for almost a year. With close monitoring from the Dr. and also a counselor to make sure he doesn't have the suicidal thoughts he hasn't had any problems with it. It actually has helped so much. He is night and day if he doesn't take his meds for a day. At first he was against it, now he thanks me for it all the time.

I too am one against pills.. for myself or my kids. I think drs are too quick to give a pill for everything. But when it comes down to it, if they need it and it will help.. that's what they are there for.

If you have any questions about prozac and kids, I will gladly share more about my son and our expierance.

Good Luck!

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L.M.

answers from Des Moines on

Hello J.,
I was recently put on anti-depressant and there are strong warnings regarding suicidal tendencies in anyone considered under age 21 or so. I would also be very hesitant to put him on them. My best advice would be to look for a Naturopathic Doctor. I just found one in the Des Moines,IA area. Someone with the initials ND behind their name has 4 years of medical school, but then additionally has 1000 hours (I beleive) of studying natural medicine. I have had multiple successes with natural remedies - too many to mention. I have had multiple symptoms that stumped my doctors, only to find someone at the healtfood store that knew what to take as a supplement - that cleared the condition right up! Some small, but a couple more serious conditions too. I would also start searching the internet for natural remedies for some of the possible "disorders" you mentioned. There is a lot of good information out there. You don't need to buy a product from any one online, I would not recommend that, but there are some consisten findings that may take you down the right path. Mainly, look for a Naturopathic Doctor. These doctors have studied how the body works naturally to fight disease - God designed our bodies that way. I suspect some kind of food allergy or some chemical he is reacting to. I pray there are other mommies out there that can be of more help. I know your heartache as a mommy, I pray God will direct your search and help you find the people & resources you need.

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D.D.

answers from Sioux Falls on

OCD is a form of anxiety and doctors will treat it the same. It did not work for my daughter, in fact it put her over the edge. After they put her on it, within 2 weeks I had phone calls from 3 teachers saying the exact same thing. I was also reluctant to put my daughter on this, but my heart broke when I saw how much she struggled with reading and writing. One night I read with her and it took over a half an hour to read 2 pages of elementary level reading skills. I had no idea, because it wasn't always like this. Even through her difficulty she was still bringing home A's on her report card, so I didn't catch it. If my daughter read a sentence and messed up a word, even a stutter, she would read the word over, if she read the word over, she felt she had to read the sentence over, and the paragraph and the page and so on..... Writing, every page looked as though it was erased in its entirety several times because her letters were not perfect, therefore if she messed up a letter in a word, same thing, erase the whole page and start over. My DD started the meds after her first appt. I hated doing it and for good reason, it did not work. The one thing I found to work for my daugter was to work on cognative thinking skills. Also, I made her take a multivitamin with extra B12. The doctor told me that this was only placebo. But when I was 19, I suffered anxiety and nothing worked for me, I also took Stresstabs with extra B12, after 4 years of anxiety attacks, coupled with the cognative thinking, I won. After 2 months of the vitamin. I also won with my daughter, she is now 15, she does still have some affects of OCD, but knows how to think herself out of them. Healthy diets are vital to our nervous system, good food, good sleep and please talk to his doctor about cognative thinking. I had to teach this way of thinking to my daughter myself because no one seemed to help her fast enough for me. This is an example. Your body reacts to what your brain thinks, if you think for instance OMG! your body will react. if you think Oh Well, your body will react to oh well. It truly works. It takes a little time for children to grasp this idea, but when they get it, it's wonderful! for her writing delima, I suggested using a pen. Because she could not erasee a pen, it was all ok, she did not have to decide and the decision was made becase ink does not erase. Her teachers complied and guess what, it worked! FYI: If I had to choose between the two meds and you feel its the only anwer, zoloft has been proven to work better for children from what I have read. I requested that, but my DD was given the prozac, doctor said its the same thing. I have my doubts about the doc. Because articals I've read said that Zoloft was a lessor danger for children and did not promote the suicidal thoughts. Articles are deceiving sometimes, because they might be promoting the product they want to promote. Just be cautious with the meds. Good luck to you. And ask God for help. My daughter asked to find something in the bible that will help her. She randomly opened it right before my eyes, and to what verse did she begin to read. Matthew 17 verse 20. She was 10 years old. I believe the message was god sent to her, the look on her face was miraculous. God Bless

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Y.E.

answers from Minneapolis on

I am a mother of 2 children with sensory processing disorder (SPD) and your child sounded sensory to me from the beginning of your post and then I read on and seems to me a correct diagnosis. To get a true diagnosis and then therapy you must be referred to an Occupational Therapist by your physician for an evaluation. Your child may be highly sensory in some areas and under sensory in others. We have been doing therapy for severe SPD of my 4 year old and 6 months for mild SPD of my 2 year old and both have come along so well that many people who know us can not even believe they are the same children. People we have met recently don't believe that my kids have any issues. That said I am not going to say it is easy.....therapy only helps if you are willing to put in the hours at home as well as visit your OT regularly for therapy and evaluations. But, in my family's case it has been a tremendous life changer and all of us are having great days now! If you want to know where we go for OT or learn more about this I would be happy to help. I am currently working to start up an SPD parenting support group in the Twin Cities area since there is not one and I have found that many parents I have met through SPD activities are in need of just that .... a bit of support. I pray that this helps you and will pray for your little one. Y.-SAHM of 2 beautiful girls, 4 and 2, with an incredible husband.

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H.M.

answers from Milwaukee on

I have a few young family members who have the same symptoms as your son, and they were given the same exact options, only they continued seeking out other drs..........to make a long story short, it turned out to be an allergic reaction, to wheat/gluten. Have you ever tried having him tested for any allergies? They also looked into the ingredient/chemical red dye #40. That seems to have a really bad effect on children. All of those medicationss don't seem to take care of the actual problem, only the symptoms. I myself would hesitate to put a child on any of that, as most dr.s are pill pushers. I wish you the best of luck.

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D.K.

answers from Milwaukee on

My first thought before even reading your entire request was OCD, as what you described was my Son to a T. My Son,(now 25) was afraid of going outdoors due to bugs, germs, it seemed that everything was doom and gloom. After many unsucessful methods to try and coach Him outdoors it was reccomended to try Prozac and what a "lighbulb" moment. My Son became alive and started to live, in fact He thanked me and told me He finally felt alive. When He got into His teens and was able to learn the coping skills He went off all medication and today is a sucessful adult and soon to be Father.Best of luck and feel free to contact me if you need any support.

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K.L.

answers from Madison on

Good luck with your decision. I just wanted to add that if you haven't read "Raising your Sprited Child" you might like it. Many of the things you mentioned are addressed in this book.

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J.L.

answers from Davenport on

Hi, I have a friend who does a lot of homeopathy. It's basically natural remedies that are symptom sensitive. She uses a website called abchomeopathy.com, where you can read up on how to enter symptoms and it will give you the best matches for them. I wouldn't do the 30 sec remedy finder, though. Get in depth and specific with your situation. You can either order remedies online, or get them at a whole foods market. Do a search onlline and see what's in the area. You could also try a homopathic doctor, and see what they would recommend. Hang in there!

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K.S.

answers from Minneapolis on

Hi J.,
I have a 5 year old with Down syndrome and he has some sensory issues. Keep up with a therapist so they can continue that route.

I have a couple of other suggestions. 1) Diet - have you tested him for food allergies? What about Celiac? Food allergies and/or intolerances can cause all kinds of behavioral problems. 2) I carry a great vitamin called Mighty Mins in my store. They have a study done regarding behavioral issues. You can email me at [email protected]____.com for more information. 3) If you would like to see someone who does holistic work, counseling, and hypnotherapy, I would highly recommend Amy Zilka at www.hypnoessence.com She is located in Minnetonka and what I would truely call a "healer".

Good luck with everything and good for you to explore all options before medicating.

K.

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H.H.

answers from Milwaukee on

J.,

Great job mom!! I hear your concern for your son loud and clear. I do know of moms whose children have been helped with ADD, ecxzema (?), ADHD, turets, etc. I would also love to introduce you to them so you can hear how they did it. The best part is, NO warning labels or side effects!!

Just send me an e:mail at [email protected]____.com and I will help you to find another answer for your son.

Blessings, H.

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J.M.

answers from Madison on

Hi J.,
What a dilemma! I truly sympathize with your situation. I am a second year medical student with a strong background in alternative medicine before medical school. I think some great suggestions have been made here, including a pediatric OT that specializes in sensory integration, and another psychiatric opinion. It might also be useful to find a therapist/psychologist that you feel really good about and has experience with similar situations and cognitive behavioral therapy. Go with your gut. I would also suggest the naturopath or integrative physician to help with this. A naturopathic doctor with an ND after their name means they went to 4 years of school for natural medicine and possibly a residency afterward (ask for credentials). An integrative physician is a western MD that also is interested in doing the best thing for each patient, including alternative or other therapies in addition to western medicine.

http://www.holisticmedicine.org/ is the website for board certified western MD with integrative practices. There are several psychiatry and pediatric listings, hopefully one will be near you. I know that many different approaches may help this situation and I would want to pursue them before trying the medication, especially with such an inconsistent diagnosis. Homeopathy (by a skilled homeopath), nutrition, herbs, eliminating chemicals, and other therapies may be really effective, or you may try these and decide that medication is ultimately the right choice. While it is true that most medications do not have trials on children because of ethical issues, many, including prozac and zoloft have been used frequently enough that the effects are well known and you could watch closely for them if you decided to use them. The issue with suicidality is that sometimes someone who fits more of a bipolar spectrum is treated as if they had only depression or anxiety, and this has lead to a manic episode in which suicidality can become prominent. If your child doesn't have signs of bipolar, then suicide shouldn't be a major risk factor. This is one of many reasons why it is important to work with someone you like, trust, and work well with. As the parent, treatment involves you as much as your child, and you are your child's expert and advocate. I hope this helps and if I can be of further help, please feel free to message me. I may not know the answer but I will try to research it as I have several psychiatric mentors that are wonderful, integrative, and caring people.

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J.

answers from Minneapolis on

http://www.ocfoundation.org/ocd-medication-children.html

"Cognitive-behavioral therapy, if available, should be considered in addition to medication. This type of therapy (see discussion later in this booklet) is a safe and effective treatment for OCD. Medication alone is usually not as effective, nor are the benefits as long-lasting as medication plus cognitive-behavior therapy. Sometimes, finding a behavior therapist who treats childhood OCD is challenging. For this reason, many children with OCD are treated solely with medication."

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