How Best To Help Your Exceptional Child When They Have A Bad Reaction To Medication

It’s been a heck of a two weeks for Michael and us. The OCD/anxiety medication we thought may help Michael ended up being a nightmare for him and us. Similar to the last SSRI he took, he gradually became more aggressive, manic and hyper, and now with diabetes it wreaked havoc with his sugars, giving him mostly highs then lows. After a scary morning with aggression directed at me and property,  I helped him calm down. He did and apologized, and after he left on the school bus, I quickly sent off emails to his psychiatrist, his educator as well as his teacher and the school nurse. Then, I let the tears of frustration out, took a deep breath, and headed out to work. It’s tough for parents of exceptional kids, when you are still trying to find all the tools to help your exceptional child regulate. I saw so many sides to Michael in the last two weeks since we tried this medication- difficulty stopping laughing, aggression, then seemingly calm behavior, followed by high sugars, that I doubted myself if taking him off was the right decision or if we should keep him on at a higher dose.  Maybe he needed more not less. You never know. I’m no doctor, I thought. Today, our psychiatrist agreed with me that the morning I described today, meant that the medication was doing more harm than good and that we should stop it immediately.

Mother’s instinct is always right, but it does not mean that sometimes we worry that we may still be making a mistake. We second guess ourselves. Every time a medication has not worked out, I have tortured myself am I doing permanent harm to Michael’s brain and body? Will he hold it against me? He asked me to keep him on this medication.

“It is helping me control my OCD Mommy. I don’t have to do things so I don’t need to be scared.” My heart broke in so many places hearing this. But I had to answer him the way I did.

“Honey, you are having a hard time controlling your aggression and you have a hard time calming down. We need to try something else.”

He agreed. “Will we try another medication so I won’t be afraid anymore?”

I smiled. “Yes, we would. We will always try. And this week will be hard honey. Coming off a medication means you may feel weird. Please tell me when you need help. And Daddy and I will be here to help you manage your feelings as best as you can.”

I remembered the last two medications that did not work and how challenging it was for Michael and us.

I do not always get it right. No parent or caregiver does. This morning I failed Michael by getting angry and losing my temper when he couldn’t stop what he was doing (listening to music) in order to do his injections, eat and get ready for the bus.  I probably contributed to making his meltdown worse without meaning to, of course. With any other child I would have held myself together, but when it’s your child, it’s so easy to lose your cool. They push all your buttons because they are yours. I learned this morning that there is still much I need to learn. I need to breathe, focus and not take offence as hard as it is, when Michael is venting at me. I need to help him move more smoothly to the next step. And above all, I need to understand when he is escalating and how to help him use his tools to bring himself down to a calm state.

Exceptional Parents, how have you helped your child through therapy and medication adjustments? What do you wish you’d done differently? I think as long as we learn from our own mistakes when we have gotten angry and not been as patient, we are on the right track. Remember, your child is a human being and so are you. Both of you will make mistakes. As long as you learn from them, and move forward with helping each other understand the other one, you are on the path to healing. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with Autism, ADHD, OCD  and Type 1 Diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website,


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