Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Positives and Negatives

"Right now the positives SO outweigh the negatives."  I wrote this two weeks after Jordan began taking Lexapro, and it summed up how I was processing the fact that she was taking it. Adam and I were both concerned about possible long term side effects, but overall Jordan's quality of life appeared to be much more "fair". Everything she had previously been experiencing and feeling, the way she was attempting to cope with life, none of that was okay.  I have no doubt it would have been irresponsible and cruel to have done nothing to help her, but that didn't make the decision to medicate any easier.

Jordan told me her jaw and hands sometimes trembled, even when she wasn't nervous or anxious. What the heck was that? I find it strange that I was able to overlook this small, although somewhat concerning (since Lexapro alters the brain) side effect, if that's what it was.  Reading the list of possible side effects for any medication can be daunting. Reading the list for an SSRI, which is defined in Merrian Webster's dictionary as:

any of a class of antidepressants (as fluoxetine or sertraline) that inhibit the inactivation of serotonin by blocking its reuptake by presynaptic nerve cell endings  called also selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor

can be more than daunting. It can be downright frightening. Here are the possible side effects listed for Lexapro:

Common side effects include:
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Changes in sex drive or function
  • Drowsiness
  • Unusual sweating
  • Dizziness
  • Heartburn
  • Stomach pain
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Dry mouth
  • Greater appetite
  • Flu-like symptoms, including sneezing and runny nose
Serious side effects can also occur. If you have any of these side effects, call your doctor immediately:
  • Unusual excitement
  • Hallucinations, which means seeing things or hearing       voices that do not exist
  • Fever
  • Confusion
  • Fast or irregular heartbeat
  • Severe muscle stiffness
  • Thoughts about suicide or dying
  • New or worse depression or anxiety
  • Extreme agitation or restlessness
  • Panic attacks
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Unusual irritability
  • Anger or aggressive behavior
  • Impulsiveness
  • Mania, or an extreme increase in activity and talking
  • Other unusual changes in behavior or mood
What the hell?  The common side effects aren't too bad, although who wants to walk around feeling like they have the flu all the time? At least we didn't have to worry about her sex drive yet. Ugh. But the serious side effects?  So, basically the medicine you're prescribing to help my daughter feel less anxious and depressed, can cause new or worse symptoms of anxiety and depression, panic attacks, and possible thoughts of suicide or dying.  Lovely.  Oh, and does trembling hands and jaw fit into the category of severe muscle stiffness or restlessness? Crap, I sure hoped not.

Nothing about any of this was easy. No parent would chose to medicate their child if they didn't think (and hope) that the positives could possibly outweigh the negatives. The decision may suck, but it's a parent's responsibility to do whatever it takes to help their child become a happy, healthy member of society.  Right?

And sometimes this may include giving your child a small white pill.

Thank you.

Us Too

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