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Autism: To Medicate or Not to Medicate? January 30, 2009

Posted by hopeauthority in Autism, Health, Parenting, Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , , , ,

How’s that for a loaded question?

Anybody have “the” answer? Well, then, does anybody have the answer for you? I’d love to hear from you all.

I used to bring Fabio to a DAN allergist/immunologist from his 3rd birthday in March 2005 til December, 2006. He started Fabio on the diet, but also wanted us to follow a pharmacological approach, which I was resistant to. Everytime we went there, we came out with vials of injectible MB-12 and a stack of prescriptions. Prescriptions I just wasn’t comfortable filling.  It was worse right after a big conference. What was the new flavor of the month he’d prescribe? It was getting awkward to go back without having taken his advice. So… I stopped going back. (It also didn’t help that Dr. B…who must have been about 85 years old… looked like the crypt-keeper and had no rapport with my son.)

So, we started Fabio with a DAN chiropractor in September, 2006. We love the chiropractor and his holistic approach. He is a healer. Plain and simple. Fabio absolutely adores this man. There is a calm that comes over him whenever he sees him. A trust. 

I was never a believer in chiropractors before Dr. S came into our lives. In fact, I was a skeptic. But I believe now, because I’ve witnessed great things over the past 2+ years.

Enter the dilemma.

As part of the program at the HBOT center we’ve been going to since November, the center director strongly suggests that you see the DAN pediatrician they have on site on Thursday mornings. Our appointment was today…

Nice to meet you, Dr. E…partner of the crypt-keeper. Um, is anyone else here just a wee bit uncomfortable?

No, it wasn’t a surprise. I was tipped off when their office tried to get me to pay 75 cents per page to copy Fabio’s chart from Dr. B so that his freakin partner Dr. E would have the records to review at the HBOT office visit! I already had my own copy to provide Dr. E today. Thankfully, Dr. E. had the good sense to pull Fabio’s chart and read it before our visit…thereby redeeming himself in my eyes, as I had wrongly prejudged him a loser based on his staff and partner.

So the visit goes well. I like this Dr. E.

I like that …unlike his partner..he is a pediatrician, has a good way with special kids, knows and respects our chiropractor, is very knowledgable in a less pushy way. And he doesn’t look like he’s been embalmed.

Fabio definately has the mitochondrial dysfunction and inflammatory bowel to go along with his autism. This we know from testing. Dr. E. believes we should do some lab work and see if there’s more we can do to help Fabio be all that he can be…

I am on the fence. I am leaning toward doing the blood and urine tests since Fabio hasn’t had a battery of them run in quite awhile. But, after that, I am not sure. I certainly would never leave the chiropractor. Can they both work together though? I keep thinking about the old theme song to the “Odd Couple” TV show: “Can 2 divorced men share an apartment without driving the other man crazy?”

While I never say never, and I’d never judge anyone else’s choices, I really am so leery of medication, with its unknown side-  and long term-effects.  I am stuck at the uncomfortable intersection of  Traditional Medicine Blvd. and Holistic Way. Also known as “this medication may be all he needs to live a typical life (but he may not live a long one) ” vs. ” knowing I’m not doing anything that can harm him (but am I doing enough)”.

I am open to all opinions on the traditional medicine vs. holistic approach.  Why did you take the path you’ve taken? Are you happy? Do you have regrets? Have you “recovered” or mainstreamed your child? Have you found a compromise of the two approaches?

How do you sleep at night without worrying that you chose the wrong approach? Okay. That was a trick question. We all know that we don’t sleep at night any way…



1. HeatherPride - January 30, 2009

Wow, I have no experience in this area but you are asking great questions, so I think you are off to a good start. Critical thinking is key. Just keep researching.

2. Wendy - February 8, 2009

It is NOT easy…and you must do what you feel ok with and ok for your child. Right now Jerm is on one of those really scary meds (has been for 1 1/2 yrs now) but he is doing so great that it really is worth the risky part. Now granted J has Bi-polar to go along with his PDD and that is really what is medicated but you can see what is the PDD stuff easier now and work with that. J has been on both the holistic and the med parts. Right now the holistic (other then fish oils) is not being done. We started with behavior stuff & holistic. Had to move onto meds when we spent more time at the ER then at home it seemed and he NEVER slept more then a few hours. We went and tried the holistic/DAN route about 4 yrs ago and he did show some improvement on the fish oils so that is why he is still taking them. His current dr (who is a DAN but we don’t use him for that) and his old Developmental ped both said the same thing…just let me know what you want to try and we can work on it together to make sure it is ok for J.
We can not avoid medication for J. When his is off he is very voilent and he can not function in the more basic fashion. We have had to have med changes done IP becuase of the issues with his behaviors. What is sad is he asks what is wrong, he does not like feeling that way as they take away his meds (slowly) and you can see this kind of veil that falls. He slips away from our world…then he comes back. This last change to the “scary” med was remarkable because he was not showing any signs of improvement then one day we came for our visit and he was functioning in ways we had not seen before. Do I worry about losing him (yes it can happen on this med) yes…but I also know I would lose him if we did not have meds due to his behaviors that are harmful. I feel better knowing that if something would happen he is happy and doing as best as he can rather then having his life be unhappy. (which he has stated when he was not medicated)
Hope that makes sense….

hopeauthority - February 8, 2009

Wendy: Thank you so much for sharing your story. Obviously, you had no choice but to medicate for the bi-polar symptoms. Yet that still doesn’t make it easy. Especially when the meds could be dangerous. I wish your son a happy life, and you the peace that comes from knowing you made the best choice you could for your child. Thanks for telling your story and helping others who are struggling with this decision.

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