I watched Ryan skate, somewhat aimlessly, in a pair of hockey games this weekend. His usual strength, positional play, was seldom seen. He looked out of sorts on the ice.
After the games ended, I observed him for signs of impulsivity and to assess the frequency of his facial tic. I took him home, watched him eat a huge breakfast, and watched him keep right on eating throughout each day.
Veronica dutifully recorded everything in a notebook.
All these events are not unrelated. We took Ryan off his ADHD medication this weekend.
It was the tic that finally forced the issue. Ryan was exhibiting it almost constantly late last week, with the shifting of his jaw and accompanied by an audible sniffling.
After Veronica spent days researching the issue, and in consultation with his prescribing doctor, we took him off his stimulant ADHD med. We tried this a few months ago, for the same reason. But when the if didn’t fully dissipate AND his teachers noticed a drop in focus, we put him back on.
Since then, the tic’s frequency has grown. We consulted with a neurologist. We didn’t know what to do. The tic became the dominant issue we dealt with on a daily basis.
The last time we took Ryan off meds, we didn’t notice much change in his behavior or his tic. This time, the results were immediate and striking. Hyperactivity was way up, occurrence of the tic way down, and his appetite, so suppressed while on medication, soared.
It’s too early to draw definitive conclusions. We need to carefully observe him for at least two weeks — hence the notebook — before deciding what to do next.
That is the big question hanging in the air. We are loathe to begin trials with yet another medication. We can’t stand the thought that something we decided to give him may have caused (or at least greatly exacerbated) the tic.
And yet, we need to give him the best chance to succeed in the classroom.
We didn’t enter into the medication decision lightly. We knew the potential side effects. But I’d be lying if I said my current attitude was anything other than “this sucks. There has to be a better way.”
For now, we are at least somewhat buoyed by seeing the tic decrease. We crossed our fingers and sent Ryan off to school today, hopeful he will be able to navigate the day in a calmer fashion than we observed this weekend.
The next decision does not have to be made yet. We will arm ourselves with all the data we can gather before deciding that next step in consultation with his doctors.
There are options. There are other meds. There is a path with no meds at all.
What there isn’t, is the thing we most desire: an obvious answer.