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5 things to consider before choosing to medicate your child.

  • Written on Apr 19, 2022

5 things to consider before choosing to medicate your child

Choosing to medicate your child is a big decision, everyone you speak to will have an opinion about it. In the end, it comes down to you knowing your child best and making a decision that is right for you. If you do your research, regularly consult your child’s medical practitioner, are consistent in which pharmacy you use, and are proactive about asking questions, you can feel confident in your choice.

#1 Do what is right for you and your child and lose the guilt

It is easy to get lost in other people’s opinions about medication, but you really need to make the right decision for your family. For us, it was a no-brainer. My child was suicidal and it was a clear decision between waiting for my child to act on the suicidal thoughts and plans or trying medication. While we did have a few hiccups along the way and had to adjust doses and types of medication, it ultimately saved my child’s life. Guilt can consume you but rest assured that you are not a bad parent for wanting the best for your child.

#2 Do your research

As with anything you feel you would like to be more informed about, it is important to do your research. Ensure you learn about the different types of medications and the potential side effects. It does not mean you should be afraid of them; it just means you can be aware and know what to look for if there are adverse reactions. Sometimes a combination of medications can be beneficial.

(Table of medications)

#3 Regularly review your medication with your GP or psychiatrist

Who can prescribe medication for a mental disorder? Your General Practitioner or a psychiatrist is able to, however, some ADHD medications need special authority to authorise them. It is important that your medical team is accessible at any time. Select a GP with whom you can make appointments quickly and easily. If you choose to see a paediatric psychiatrist, make sure they have the ability to make prescriptions via e-script as it may be tricky to see them at a moment’s notice. Attempt to make regular medication review appointments in advance to keep communication lines open.

#4 Make sure you fill the prescriptions via one pharmacy

This may seem like an unusual piece of information but it helps to build a rapport and trust with your pharmacist. They are a wealth of knowledge and can help identify side effects, offer advice, and follow up on prescriptions if your doctor is delayed or if they have not been received on time. They can also anticipate when you need your prescriptions and make sure they have stock of the dose and brand you use regularly. Also, some medications require a special government authority (as they are regulated) and the pharmacist will be able to advise you on when you will require a new prescription in advance, ensuring you never run out of your medication.

#5 If in doubt, ask questions.

Finally, and I cannot say this loud enough, if you are in any doubt, ask questions. Challenge the doctors if need be as you should feel comfortable and informed about your child’s medication. A doctor or psychiatrist should always welcome questions and if they do not then change providers. We have been very fortunate to have a team that is available at any time. We started off with appointments every month and now we have reviews every 6 months. That said, I can email my child’s psychiatrist at any time and receive a response within 48 hours. This is vital in cases of side effects or if you run out of medication before the next appointment.

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