Saturday, October 29, 2011
I felt compelled to write about this because I was angry at the medical profession the other day. I was working with a recently divorced mother who had come to me for help with her two young children. They had all experienced the trauma from chronic arguments between the parents and the unpredictability of an alcoholic father. The son, who was 9 years old, had been experiencing night terrors and difficulty concentrating in school. She then told me that he had been diagnosed with ADHD and is taking a stimulant drug. This is the preferred diagnosis by several doctors in this area. I wasn’t surprised by this. I was outraged. I kept regulated and didn’t share my outrage with the mother. She didn’t need that. As I explained the stress model, I suggested that her son’s symptoms were more indicative of anxiety and trauma. Then she told me her son was also on a “worry pill”, Zoloft. I explained to her that anxiety and depression symptoms can be miss understood (in my opinion miss diagnosed) as ADHD if the emotional trauma history isn’t included as part of the assessment process. She completely understood this. Now, I’m not a doctor, but I question giving a stressed out child a stimulant. As of this writing, the stimulant has not slowed down this child’s thinking. If medication is going to be used, I believe that the Zoloft is probably the more appropriate medication based on information provided by the mother. I suspect the stimulant exacerbated the some symptoms and then the need for another medication. I am not suggesting that you take your child off a prescribed medication without consulting your doctor. What I am suggesting is talking to your child’s doctor about the diagnosis and how that diagnosis was derived. If your child’s trauma history was not part of the assessment, then advocate for your child that this be considered and get a second or third opinion.
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
I recently talked with a mother who was very distressed about her adult daughter. Her daughter’s drug addition had gotten worse. So had the consequences for her daughter. As we talked, it was apparent that the mother was experiencing secondary trauma as a result of her daughter’s behavior. She came to me because of my experience with addictions and because I’m a Christian counselor. As we talked, she disclosed that her support system kept telling her what to do. They kept giving her advice. She began doubting her sanity because she couldn’t do what she needed to do. That is a desperate place for any of us. I was able to validate her where she was at emotionally. I had her breathe through her trauma feelings and she immediately felt some relief. Finally, some one listened. Isn’t that what we all really what? We usually have the answers to our problems or we will soon get there. I don’t doubt that her support system cared for her. What they lacked was a window of tolerance to be able to handle another’s trauma. I explained to her that we live in an emotion phobic society. It is too hard for others to listen to our pain. So to avoid our own pain, we give advice. This really doesn’t help the person we’re trying to support. It takes us out of relationship with them and they stay stuck. It’s a challenge to all of us to listen to the pain of others. We need to be in a love relationship with them. Find out about “The Power of Relationship”. Go to http://bit.ly/pBwc85