By Heather O.
This is an anonymous guest post from a mom who is worried and would like some advice on a serious issue that is facing her family. Thanks in advance for your comments and help.
I just returned from the Pediatrician and am feeling a bit weighed down. I have an almost 7-yr. old daughter who is bright and loving and wonderful. She has certain traits which can be traced back to right after she was born that are getting more pronounced as she gets older. Mostly she gets more delightful, but we have for about a year or so had a growing concern. Here are the behaviors that have worried us:
Every night before bedtime she walks around the house and shuts all closet, bedroom, and bathroom doors. She will not get in bed without doing this.
On school mornings when I would let her sleep in because she’d been up late the night before, I’d wake her and tell her to skip her chores and quickly get dressed and eat breakfast and we’d go. 10 minutes later I would find her in her room making her bed and tidying up and would get very upset if I forced her to leave it undone.
After she goes to the bathroom she will often complain about still feeling wet and go back to the bathroom until she is satisfied that she is completely dry.
She is ultra-sensitive to clothing. She hates pants or shorts with a button at the waist because they dig into her when she sits (she is not at all chubby – she’s quite small for her age). She hates denim or other stiff or itchy fabrics. I made her a satin nightgown (her preferred pajama fabric) but it had a seam in the front across her chest and she couldn’t stand it until I sewed a piece of satin fabric over the seam so it wasn’t “itchy” anymore.
None of these things are really all that bad especially since they’ve come on gradually. The most frustrating one for me is the clothes issue, because she wears 2% of her wardrobe and is very difficult to shop for. Even so, it’s just inconvenient and frustrating at times, but what child isn’t at times? We could certainly deal with it all as it stands, but our concern is that if left unchecked, these issues will only get worse and new ones will arise the older she gets.
We decided to seek the advice of our trusted Pediatrician. Our appointment was this afternoon, so in we went and I explained the above issues to him. He listened and asked questions and then began talking about the chemicals in her brain and the two medications available to someone her age: Prozac and Zoloft. What? Was I hearing correctly? I have a little Princess and Pea daughter who likes the doors shut, why are we talking anti-depressants? I don’t know why I was so shocked, I knew that it’s fairly common to prescribe those drugs for children with OCD, but is she really at that point and are those drugs really necessary?
He went on to say that if she were his child, he would put her on Prozac for 5 or 6 months to help balance the chemicals in her brain and then slowly take her off and see if she could maintain that balance without the drugs. He said that often that is the case, but there may be times we would need them again, but that he didn’t think she would need them forever.
I love and trust my Pediatrician and therefore felt free to express my concerns. #1 - Isn’t there anything that we can do through therapy to help free her of her obsessive/compulsive tendencies? He said in his opinion, there really wasn’t – that it comes down to the way her brain is wired which creates the perceptions that create these issues. #2 - I’ve heard that Prozac often sort of dulls the emotions and senses? He said that it’s a matter of finding the right dose. He would never be comfortable with that outcome and would be very diligent in communicating with us regarding her reactions and adjusting her dosage very carefully. He also reassured me that her particular condition would require a very low dose as opposed to depression/anxiety. He didn’t write the prescription, but told me to go home and talk to my husband (who was unable to be there) and call him with our decision.
So there it is – the weight I’m feeling. She is not even 7 years old and the thought of giving her an anti-depressant is … well.. depressing to me. I don’t want a her to be dependant on a drug her whole life, but I certainly don’t want her to be trapped by her obsessive/compulsive behavior for the rest of her life either. We have the utmost trust in and respect for our Pediatrician, but ultimately this decision is my husband’s and my responsibility. Neither one of us has struggled with depression or anxiety or used anti-depressants. We have family members who have and who have been greatly helped by medications, but we still feel very ignorant and sort of nervous about the whole psychological realm. We will consider this decision carefully and prayerfully and will ultimately do what we feel good about, but I am wondering if any of you have had experience in these matters and what you’ve learned and what you would do in our situation?
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