Friday, July 22, 2011

Amitriptyline for Headaches. For a Seven Year-Old?

I am really stressing out. And this isn't even MY child. I can't imagine being in the position to sit in a doctor's office and accept the words, "let's see if amitriptyline will work." It's an antidepressant. And the child is 7. With a known anxiety disorder and divorced parents who can't get along. Gee, it doesn't take a genius to figure out where her headaches are coming from. Or the ankle pain. Or the wrist pain. To my knowledge the child hasn't been taught a single method of handling anxiety. She chews her nails down to the quick. She has bags under her eyes (which have gotten worse since beginning the amitriptyline). She lives with a mother who is probably not the best for someone with anxiety. And now she is being drugged.
As a mom to a child with anxiety, I know this life is not easy. There have been many breakdowns and tears. The poor child cried for the first four months of his life. He was too hot, too cold, too tired, too alert, too hungry, too full. There was too much going on, or not enough going on. He simply is too his own and other's energy. I see very similar traits in this girl, but with a parent who wants a simple fix, her fate is not looking good.
When I was ten years old, I suffered from anxiety resulting from pressure from my parents to do well in school and swim faster. I was at the height of my swimming career and an A/B student. I put enough pressure on myself to push myself. I guess the outside pressure was too much. My hair began falling out. I developed a facial tic. My mom took me to the doctor to make sure there was no seizure activity taking place. The EEG was normal. I was just under too much stress. I was given a small pill for a few weeks, and my mom was told to remove all unnecessary stress from my life. (I did not know this until much later). The tics went away and life went on. As an adult, I realized that I did not know how to cope with stress. I wish I had learned this growing up, but when I saw my son having anxiety about various things, I knew I had to do something to help him through it rather than avoid those situations.
Now that I'm seeing this now eight year-old girl and know her home situation I want to scream. I couldn't imagine giving this drug for headaches before trying absolutely EVERY other option. Anyway, she isn't my child. There isn't really anything I can do. But I can tell YOU that when kids have aches and pains, real or not, there is a reason for it. FIND IT. Keep a diary of everything your child does and eats. And be honest enough with yourself to accept if YOU are stressing her out.
If your child has signs of anxiety you may want to try this amazing program. It is the most affordable solution and I would suggest trying it before more expensive options, even counseling. Since many anxious children have learned their behavior from anxious parents, you may even see that it can help you, too. Just go here, and read to the bottom or just skip down to the bottom where there is a link to the catalog. Then choose "Dissolving Panic and Anxiety Now!" to read more about this specific program. This program is applicable to children as well as adults.
Another program that is specific to children is a little more costly (still under $100): The Anxiety-Free Child Program.
In any case, drugs should be used as a last resort. If you have a "drug happy" doctor, find a new one soon and ask him/her about these anti-anxiety programs. Your child will thank you one day!

1 comment:

Jody said...

That just sounds horrible! It tears me, knowing alot of this is actually going on :(