Discussions By Condition: Mental conditions

Weaning off Abilify & Prozac

Posted In: Mental conditions 5 Replies
  • Posted By: mz ldh
  • January 7, 2009
  • 10:17 PM

My 12 year old son was hospitalized in late October for severe depression. He was suicidal and violent at the time he was admitted. He appears to have rapid "cycles". The doctor said he was too young to diagnosis as Bi-polar. I very reluctantly allow him to be put on medication. It's been two months I can see very little changes in his behavior. My son has been in therapy since he was 7. I very, VERY frustrated with the traditional approach to treating him. It isn't working. I'm going to wean him off the meds and I wanted to know if anyone is aware of a more holistic approach to treating mental illness? I'm open to any other suggestions as well. I'm living a parent's worst nightmare fighting for my son's life.

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  • I promise I do know proper grammar, but some of us are in a hurry and the Edit button is missing :)
    mz ldh 24 Replies
    • January 7, 2009
    • 11:22 PM
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  • It is my experience that your son is not too young to be diagnosed with bi-polar disorder.. and if for some reason he does not have bi-polar disorder you could potentially be looking at ADD or ADHD. Depending on all of his symptoms when it comes to psychology the main thing is diagnosing the problem and then finding the right combinations for medication. Each person reacts different to each medication and finding the right combination is extremely difficult. Because he is so young.. here is what I can offer as far as advice.. In some cases any individual who is suspected of having some sort of psychological issue can have an MRI. If you are able to get it done I can tell you it most likely will frighten your son but it will be the best way to get a good look at the chemicals in his brain and things of that nature.I say this because.. some people, believe it or not.. can have MRI's done where they can indicate Bi-Polar disorder.. Post traumatic stress disorder .. it shows the chemical balances in the brain that will show an whether there happens to be too much production of certain chemicals. I would start there. Also keep in mind that psychological issues could be symptoms of actual disease even rare diseases. Which could potentially call for a disease specialist to look over... ALSO this is another big one you could take him to a Genisis- They are doctors who can run blood work to find out if you or him have anything genetic that either you or him could be a carrier for disease wise. Keep in mind though just because you are a carrier for an illness does not mean you have it.. it just means it is in your gene pool. Also is your son allergic to anything? Most people have tests done to find out what a person is allergic to. In one case I saw a child who was allergic to chocolate.. and he had massive behavioral problems. He was still eating chocolate and because of that his brain was physically swelling from it causing him to have behavioral issues. When it comes to treating your child without medication... and what it is you should be doing. I think you are doing everything you can possibly do as a mother. The difficult thing about feeling hopeless is .. well.. you didn't go to medical school.. you're not a doctor and I bet you feel like you are on a wild goose chase to find out what is wrong with your child. Kind of like "Well great.. I know something is wrong and medication isn't working and I am not satisfied with what my doctor is telling me" which unfortunately happens to be a common feeling. I agree that it shouldn't take so long or be too hard to find someone who can give you the answers you need. Now some things you might try with you son.. and this could probably be challenging because I know depression is an issue in the case so trying to get him to find a hobbie or meet new people could be a struggle. But my suggestion would be trying to get a little bit more involved than you are now. I am sure you are very involved.. but sometimes it takes a lot of encouragement to influence another individual who is suffering from depression and suicidal thoughts. You might not even be able to find the right answer right away but I think the best thing to do would be starting with sports. Or possibly art or painting. If you call your cities parks and recreation department they usually have outside programs some are free and others have fee's however not all of them are pricey. There's stuff like boys scouts, basketball, hip hop dancing and art classes. They even have programs for the whole family to participate and even mother and son and father and son activities as well. The reason for this is because when someone suffers from depression and they live a long time that way socializing later becomes a problem. Depressed individuals dont have any interest in anything so they stay in.. and when you stay in you don't socialize and when you do get put in social situations it becomes a challenge because at that point you could have social anxiety. It would be my suggestion also to plan every saturday as family day or fun day.. where everyone gets out of the house and do something fun even if it's going to a free museum or walking around toys r us.. or playing games. I say this because everytime I have ever talked to anyone who has suffered from depression disorders always say and I am sure you have heard someone say this as well at least once, heck I have even said it.. "I just feel like I don't have anything to look forward to" so saturday fun day would give him something to look forward to and depend on. And you don't even really need to leave the house. That is where I would start with the depression factor. When it comes to the manic factor.. It is going to come down to a few issues. The first thing is.. I wouldn't really fight back or make it worse. What happens is.. the mood swings are so intense for a person with manic tendincies that they can easily be ignited and esculated. Sometimes manic people have a tendency to get fuel off of any attention that you give them. If he does something wrong.. yeah he needs to be punished appropriately but fussing over it could potentially add fuel to the fire in the sense that "oh hey I am going to act out because that gets under everyones skin" also because he is seeing a doctor for it he could potentially have the idea that some of his actions are ok because he is not mentally healthy at this particular time. I know this sounds awful but this it just what I know from previous experience. I don't know the whole situation but I am doing my best to help in someway by explaining what I do not.. I do know that some of the things I say may not pertain to your son at all but I am just trying to help. Now.. when someone has manic issues, especially as a young child.. one thing about manic people is they have a hard time feeling sympathy and compassion towards other people and their feelings.. they don't know how to process it correctly, and that is just because of the chemicals in the brain. So my final piece of advice would be this.. now I don't know if you have any animals.. and I don't know if you would or can have animals, but in children I have seen that when they have an animal that they can care for and love and nuture it decreases manic tendencies but the trick is it has to be an animal he can identify with. An animal that could potentially resemble his personaility because then he can identify it. I don't mean a hamster or a gold fish. I am saying a dog or a cat. My advice would be rescuing one. Most animals who have been abused or anything of that nature become shy, skidish, are uncomfortable around other people and it takes a lot of love and companionship to help that animal get better and come to love and as you son would be helping this animal what he wont know is he is helping himself by learning how to process emotions and become compassionate and loving. He can pick it out and name it and so on, but believe me this would help reduce those manic tendincies because in the begining he will be able to identify that the animal is showing some of the same symptoms as he is however the animals symptoms are a result of direct abuse so if he were to pick the animal out and name it and it happened to be one he is saving he will feel important to that animal.. and so then he takes it home and falls in love with it.. then what happens? He spends time with that animal because he is feeling compassion and sympathy trying to gain the animals trust and love and so on because he loves the animal at this point and wants the animal to be happy and boom he has sympathy and compassion. Also with this theory you could be running the risk of the animal being further harmed. Sometimes manic people can abuse animals.. but I highly highly doubt that this would happen in this case. Just a thought. If you decided to give it a shot you could bring it up with the thearapist so that you can kind of urge him in the right direction by giving him guidance on how to love and take care of the animal without him knowing that you are giving him that guidance. It's one of those things where he will have to figure it out on his own because the goal of minimizing manic tendencies and helping him process human emotions could be compromised. It's a personal growth sort of thing. I hope I helped in some way shape or form. I wish you the best of luck and hope that you are able to find all of the answers to your questions. I will keep you and your son in my thoughts!
    Jamienbv 2 Replies
    • January 8, 2009
    • 01:04 AM
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  • First, let me say thank you for your response. Several things you said we are doing or have tired. When my son was younger he was very involved in sports. He played baseball from 3 to age 8. He’s also played tennis, soccer, and wrestled. We are heavily involved with scouts. I taught his Webelos den for two years. He crossed over to Boy Scouts this past April. That has been a change for us, because mom is less involved and he is on his own. I still help with the Webelos from the former Cub Scout pack he was involved in. At this point he is not involved in sports. I’ve been told he has some type of social anxiety disorder. Sorry, I can’t remember the exact diagnosis. I had been crying for almost 48 hours straight when the doctor started throwing out medical terms to me. He doesn’t go in his room and stay there and hide out. He does like to do solo type activities ie being on the computer or playing his PSP. When he plays Xbox with others, he gets frustrated very easily if he loses. We play board games ie Life and Monopoly. He seems to enjoy these, because he almost always initiates playing. We have a game scheduled tonight as a matter of fact. I wasn’t aware that MRI would pick up Bi-polar or PTSD. That is most certainly an option for us. I know he isn’t ADHD, maybe ADD. There is no hyper activity at all. He is very passive and has to be motivated. I really believe the idea of bi-polar was arrived at because of family history (his father and my mother suffers from extreme depression). What you said regarding the mania, we have been doing. We refer to it as “picking our battles”. My ex-husband refused to do that and he got the boot. It’s been obvious for a long time that bathing and brushing teeth need to be very low on the importance scale. If not, it results is an all out assault. He has to brush his teeth and bath daily, but we don’t go behind him and check his thoroughness. Homework is another story. This ranks high on the list. Currently, my response to his refusal to do homework is to make him sit in the floor until he is ready to proceed. It can be a manner of minutes or hours. When I have to do this I don’t interact with him. So, we don’t get engaged in the both and forth battle. Displays of emotions. I was told he doesn’t understand emotions. He doesn’t know how to interpret happiness, sadness, etc. This I will say is probably my fault to some degree. My son is the only person that I show some emotions to. I have PTSD from being raped. So part of my control freak nature is to be very reserved with feelings. I tell my son that I love him, I do things for him, I show care & concern, but that’s all in vain if he doesn’t understand what these mean. As for the animals…I had a friend who moved out of state and I offered to take care of his two cats. It appears this may be a permanent situation. I don’t mind because I have seen how my son talks to and cares for these cats. I really think it has been good for him. I’m still very torn about the medication. I know it takes a long time to get medication dosed correctly. My son is on the verge of puberty and his hormones are changing which makes dosing even more difficult. I think one of the main reasons I want him off medication is because his behaviors are very similar to mine as a child. It’s scary sometimes as to how much of a “mini me” he is. I’m not saying I’m a great adult, but I don’t have to be medicated nor have I ever been told I needed to be. I choose to work through my stress with things like yoga and prayer. I hope to get my son to this point also. Of course, I talk to other parents who tell me of similar problems with their children. Although I don’t think they are to the extreme that my son experiences. So, that makes me wonder if he is just “normal”. Although I have my doubts there too. I really appreciate your response. It was very thoughtful and means a lot to me.
    mz ldh 24 Replies
    • January 8, 2009
    • 11:27 PM
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  • My first comment is to be VERY careful of weaning your son off of these meds, and consult your doctor to very slowly lower his dosage. Even with a low low dose of prozac he can experience nasty "discontinuation" aka withdrawal symptoms. I recommend he has alternative treatment in place before completely withdrawing his meds. Second, please look into nutritional deficiencies causing or at least contributing to his problems. B12 deficiency can cause mental/emotional issues, and deficiency in Essential Fatty Acids (fish oil, omega 3 and omega 9 especially) can also contribute to his symptoms. I would get on the B12 misdiagnosis thread, it is very long but very informative. My advice is to research this and get him on the best quality supplements you can afford. Try this for a month and see if any symptoms improve. I am a Doctor of Oriental Medicine, and feel that acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine would be very helpful for your son. Please look into this form of medicine - it is actually a very calming and relaxing treatment! It is especially helpful for detoxing from medication and drug withdrawal. Lastly, if you haven't yet I would find good counseling for both yourself and your son. This is important, but you may need to really search for someone that your son can resonate with. Best wishesDOM
    acuann 3080 Replies
    • January 9, 2009
    • 02:01 AM
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  • My 12 year old son was hospitalized in late October for severe depression. He was suicidal and violent at the time he was admitted. He appears to have rapid "cycles". The doctor said he was too young to diagnosis as Bi-polar. I very reluctantly allow him to be put on medication. It's been two months I can see very little changes in his behavior. My son has been in therapy since he was 7. I very, VERY frustrated with the traditional approach to treating him. It isn't working. I'm going to wean him off the meds and I wanted to know if anyone is aware of a more holistic approach to treating mental illness? I'm open to any other suggestions as well. I'm living a parent's worst nightmare fighting for my son's life. I read your POST and ALL those who replied and then your reply in return. I knew I must write to you myself!!! First let me say I DO UNDERSTAND what you are going through :( I FEEL for you and my heart TUGS, but I will tell you that YOU are NOT alone! I have a son who will be nine and I suspected VERY early on he was bipolar and had ADHD(I realize your son does not have that- you said maybe ADD) but of COURSE I waited as long as I could and was sure NOT to jump to conclusions. Obviously I DID NOT want this for my youngest and wouldn't wish this illness on my worst enemy! I too have bipolar that runs in my family as well as depression, addiction, ADHD and suicidal tendencies to name a few. My son has always had a problem with severe mood swings. I don't remember a time except when he was a tiny infant when he did not. He has always required a tremendous amount of sleep and although he is an extremely compassionate and at times VERY loving child he is ALWAYS most difficult to please and get along with as well. He also happens to be borderline OCD and at times this disorder is worse and then it is a bit better then the others are worse. The poor boy just has so many issues it doesn't seem fair and it often feels like more than I can bear to watch my child be strapped with all of this already. Of course I get a grip and keep my chin up because I must so that he never feels that energy as I have to make sure he always knows this life is good and God will never give us more than we can handle though many times in life it will feel quite the opposite. I read an article when he was maybe 5 or 6 years old about a mother whose teenage son had lost his battle with mental illness/depression(maybe it was even bipolar) and taken his life and at that moment I realized in my heart it had already been my greatest fear. It is something I was well aware I would have to do everything I could to prevent by educating myself and my children and seeking every form of treatment available to avoid that dreaded outcome no matter the cost. Though I knew in my heart he was bipolar as I have family that is it wasn't until this year the right Dr. actually diagnosed him with it. Now much like you comes the frustration of them trying to treat him (at the young of 8 still) like a guinea pig and they put him on abilify and immediately I was concerned, but I also wanted him to feel stable and not be so up and down and stressed and upset constantly. His bipolar has made it difficult for him to make and keep friends, his temper is fierce, he has ADHD too so he can be very loud and does not stop talking or moving(he is on Vyvanse for that now and that medication has truly helped him with minimal to no side effects thank God) and all of this combined has affected his ability to learn and be taught. Not to mention wreaking havoc on our home life and all of our family relationships. He tries so hard to and hates himself for it. That is what is most crushing out of all of it. What is maddening to ME is getting a DR. to LISTEN to me and realize I KNOW my child, I have dedicated my life to him/them, I have been a stay at home mom since they were born specifically because they are my priority and I wouldn't entrust them to anyone and loved them enough to sacrifice anything I had to in order to know them in a way that would allow me to help them when ever I could. Yet the Dr.'s and nurses for the most part don't listen and refuse to let you help your children and make your child suffer because they like to be all knowing or pretend to be. My son immediately started having terrible headaches from the abilify and the Dr. said no that isn't possible. I said I'm sure it is as he had none until he started she said to go down a bit and then had me go back up. against my better judgement I went back up and then again wham with the headaches and the school nurse calling and he's having them at home too, it's been awful. So I appreciate knowing about the acupuncture and such to wean him. I assume I take him off also the same way I put him on as well. slowly. I pray for your son and you as I know it is not easy and takes a strong woman to help her child and herself through this situation, but you can do it! You will, you must. I'm here and you can write me. nowupstagethis@gmail.com
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • February 18, 2010
    • 03:36 AM
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