Thursday, February 23, 2012

A Fresh Perspective

For years we have tried to help Matthew with self-control with stimulant medications.  They helped but were very imperfect.  Our doctor's new perspective on medication is just what Matthew needed.

When the decision was made to discontinue the stimulants, we essentially had two choices to consider next: clonidine, which is now sold as Intuniv, and guanfacine, which is sold under the label Kapvay.  The new doctor chose Kapvay, and off we went.

The next three weeks were tough.  While Matthew began to eat again (a huge problem with the stimulants) and was less hyper, he was also more unfocused and less able to cope with his environment.  School continued to be an issue, to the point where I was beginning to question our decision to switch schools and the need for a special school or even homeschooling.  He went to school only part time for two weeks.  I began to lose hope (and even made a frustrated call to the new doctor, who to his credit called me back the same day and took immediate action to modify the meds).

And then, things began to turn around.  Slowly at first - it takes a good 3-4 weeks for the Kapvay to work - but then noticeably more.  Calmer at home, calmer at school even for a full day, able to focus and less anxious and frustrated.  He was slowly coming back to us! The feeling is nothing short of euphoric.

Don't misunderstand; Matthew still has his challenges, including meltdowns at school and (less often) at home.  But I didn't expect a cure, which will never happen.  All I want is for him to function well again, and to reach his potential. We continue to work on his anxiety, frustration and coping skills.  We have an appointment with another doctor for a reevaluation, to make sure that we are on the right track and doing everything we can for him. 

So the work continues.  I am just happy that we have the "real" child back again.

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