To give my child medication or not to give my child medication? That is the question....
Well parents, this is a huge and very complex question. The only advice I'd give is consult with your child's psychiatrist. Ask questions and share your concerns. Allow the psychiatrist to provide education concerning the medication and his/her reasoning for prescribing that particular medication. If your family's decision is to allow your child to take medication, make sure that its taken as prescribed. Also, observe and ask your child how he/she feels while taking the medication. Then, report to the psychiatrist the effects of the medication on your child both subjectively and objectively.
The following is a story of an airman who was courageous enough to share his story concerning his family's decision to allow him to take medication for his ADHD.
"I was diagnosed with ADHD when I was in middle school. I was prescribed Adderall and I immediately noticed a change in my ability to not only concentrate but also had more interest in my school work. I decided to enlist in the Air Force when I was a senior in high school and was told by the recruiter that being on this medication was not allowed in the military. I was able to successfully complete basic training but when I got to tech school (classroom instruction for specific military jobs) I struggled not being able to retain information taught in the class as well as struggled with studying. Due to the high stress of the military I actually failed one of my block tests during Air Force tech school which almost cost me my military career. I was able to pull myself together but found I was studying much more than my peers and I still struggled to “keep up.” I managed to make it through tech school and made it to my first duty station where I was quickly assigned into a leadership position that put me in charge of up to 5 people at once. My supervisor quickly noticed my performance was not up to par and started to get frustrated and upset with me. At this time I mentioned to her that I was diagnosed with ADHD and that I was not taking any medication due to the military. I made an appointment with mental health and was put back on Adderall. Again I quickly noticed how much my concentration improved and I was able to focus better while at work. I’m now 21 and have a very successful military career and I don’t think that would be the same had I not gotten any help when I started to struggle in the military. I do not look at Adderall or any other drug used for ADHD as a “crutch” but rather a stepping stone to help keep my mind on track and focused. In tech school I applied myself, paid attention, and studied my butt off but to no prevail. Even on the medication I still have to make the conscious decision every day to study, pay attention, or just do every day work tasks."
I appreciate Justin sharing his struggles with ADHD and how he has learned to overcome those struggles through hard work and determination! Remember your mental health does not define WHO you are! What's your story, your child's story? If you'd like to see your story featured in this blog please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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