Is it a Mood Disorder or ADHD in Disguise?
Several weeks ago we went to Munchkins new psychiatrist. They suggested we take a TOVA test that measures the degree of attention variant. When it came back she was 3 degrees below. He suggested a stimulant, which I was not in love with the idea. We did try it for a week, against my gut, and her side affects were so bad we discontinued. To be honest I was relieved. Our goal is to minimize our needs for medication, not increase them.
At one point she was on 5 medications daily to function in a school setting. To date she takes 3 and our goal is to try to cut more.
For the last several years as I have researched more and observed Munchkin I believe her struggles stem from her ADHD and not a mood disorder. With that being said, the mood stabilizer she is on could be helping the mood fluctuations that come from the ADHD, but would still be an incorrect diagnosis. Plus, this particular medication comes with a laundry list of side effects over the long term that is un-preferred, and requires annual blood work to watch for issues. (Blood work for us sucks! It is an awful experience for my daughter....every....single...time.)
his scenario happens all the time. Many of our children's struggles have overlapping symptoms that can make it extremely difficult to accurately figure out the root cause. What that means it that we need to be in a constant state of re-evaluation as they grow to ensure we are accurately addressing their issues.
Today we meet with the doctor again, and I am going to let them know that we are in the process of reducing her mood stabilizer. I expect some raised brows when I do this, as I am going against the typical protocol for this situation. If my gut is right (which it hasn't failed me yet) and the diagnosis we are really struggling with is ADHD the only way to test that theory is to remove the mood stabilizer medication to see what happens. Ultimately, we are going to discover a couple of things;
- If we still see a mood instability.
- How the moods may change, if any.
- Is there a change in her attention, focus, or anxiety
With that data, we can then decide what our next move will be. We may have to go back to the mood stabilizer. It may mean adding a different medication for attention. Or it may mean we need to do nothing else at this time.
This "experiment" will take some time to play out and I will keep you updated on what happens. As we try this I will be continuing with her nutritional supplements and a whole foods diet to help naturally bolster the neurotransmitters responsible for these behaviors. I have seen the power of diet work in the past and I suspect that this will be no different. I also will remind myself that her brain is wired differently (like mine) and that environment plays a huge role in becoming a thriving individual.
I want this blog post to be a reminder, that you are the parent. You live with your child every day. You see them in a way that other medical professional do not. Do not be afraid to go against the grain and follow your gut. Even if its wrong, you will learn a great deal more about the needs of your child and you can make new decisions to adjust accordingly.
Have you ever had to go against what the professionals were telling you about your child? Tell me in the comments below.