Parental Decisions Never Seem to Get Easier

It seems life as a parent and decisions we must make for what we feel is best for our children do not get easier as time goes on. One would think as your children grow that the decisions you have to make would be less but that is not how life works. My middle child was diagnosed with a mood disorder, well first it was ADHD then it was the mood disorder, basically mood disorders do run in the family so it made more sense he was bipolar than ADHD. The symptoms didn’t really point 100% to an ADHD type scenario and I knew that in my heart from the day this little guy was born. Now that my son has been on a medication that really seems to work; keeps his moods steady but allows him to still be a lively six year old boy, he has put on too much weight.

IMG_20130515_160310I watch my sons who are currently four and six play around and ride bikes outside. No more can my six year old handle riding bikes or running as much as he used to. My six year old son is left feeling out of breath and gets concerned because his heart “beeps faster” {as he refers to it} and then my heart breaks a tiny bit. You see, my six year old son used to be that crazy hyper super active boy that my four year old is and has been all along. You see, my six year old son used to be skinnier but with a muscular/stocky build versus the tooth pick-ish figure of his four year old brother. Always stocky but usually skinny for the most part was how Aj, my six year old son, was built and has always been up until recently.

This past year Aj was put on risperidone which is the generic form of Risperidal and is a pretty heavy duty prescription drug that has shown amazing results with bipolar children. This medication has truly worked with Aj just as the psychiatrists had thought but the downfall is the weight gain. With Rispderidone comes appetite increase and with that comes weight gain. Aj has gained a bit over 20 lbs in the year he has been on Risperidone and now it just breaks my heart to watch him have lack of energy due to the weight gain. There are other options, for example we can make the decision to try Abilify I believe it is called, that carries the same medical treatment as Risperidone but has less side effects; meaning Abilify does not carry that appetite increase side effect.

I am at a point where I feel that switching medications may be a better option. Sure it’s a risk because who knows if he will properly respond and the family ends up dealing with turmoil of mood disorder coming back, but to me it seems like a risk worth taking right now. A risk that may in turn help Aj have his energy back and a chance to losing these extra pounds he has gained due to risperidone. It is one of those things that is difficult to figure out and on Monday I hope that my ex husband and I can come to some form of agreement upon a conversation with the psychiatrist of our concerns for Aj’s weight gain and make a parental decision with the advice of the psychiatrist that may help Aj to keep steady moods but also have a chance to stop gaining so much weight and get back to his active ways that I actually am beginning to miss.

IMG_20130519_145304Changing medications isn’t just a matter of seeking professional advice combined with a co-parenting decision, it also involves weaning him off of one medication so that it’s out of his system prior to introducing his body to another. That is the part that has kept me from really wanting to switch medications. If you never knew Aj off of medication then you would think “no big deal” but my ex husband and I know all too well how Aj is without any medication and so does my daughter; it’s close to a nightmare and extremely scary combined with major angry mood swings that end up being violent at times. That is not something I would want to go casually into so that means we need to really just have a solid discussion together as co-parents with Aj’s psychiatrist to weigh out the pros and cons of possibly trying a different medication for his mood disorder.

The decision seems easy when looking from the outside in, but having lived through what we have lived through with Aj, the decision is no more easy than it was five years ago when we started down this path to determine his proper diagnosis and proper medication type and dose.

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