A number of people wrote in on the post, To Medicate or Not with their experiences. The post was not about medicating autism, but about some of the co-morbid diagnoses that many people who are also Autistic have. Quite a few people wrote about managing depression, anxiety, stress and related issues. Some wrote about how they began trying different medications in their late teens… “I started medication at about 19… I started with Prozac and it went well for a while but over time it stopped working. It did make me feel better at first. From there and over the years, I have tried many different antidepressants for my anxiety- Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft,Trazadone for sleeping, Zyprexa, Cymbalta, Welbutrin, Effexor, and Nortriptaline.”
Many parents wrote about how they agonized over the decision to try medication and almost all of them said it was done as a last resort. Both Autistic parents and parents who are not autistic said similar things about their decision to medicate their child. One person wrote, “my autistic child is on ADHD meds and has been since he was four. AdderallXR until last year, now Vyvance (same med with less appetite suppression). Clonidine at night. He wants to be on them. He has told me he feels more creative and happy with his mind not looping fifty things at once.”
Another wrote, “I had been fighting the medication for a few years. I have had anxiety since I was little. I had the doctor refer me back to one of my psychiatrists who is willing to talk and if necessary provide a prescription. This time we tried combining medications. Welbutrin seemed to help a bit so we tried things like Ritalin to help increase its effectiveness. I was able to focus much better and things seemed to go well but I got severe heart burn as a side effect of the Ritalin. We tried Dexadrin next but it didn’t work. I gave up for a bit and then discovered Buspar. It is an antianxiety drug but not in a class like valium etc which are addictive. ”
Lots of people wrote about having to try many medications and often combinations of things before they found what worked. And a number of people wrote about being judged harshly by others either for taking medication themselves or for deciding to give it to their child. One person wrote, “…they do not know. They pass judgment, but have not lived the experience. They make comments and say things as though they have the answers, but they don’t. They don’t know what it’s like. They can’t. I’ve learned to say nothing and ignore the mean comments and loud whispers.”
Another wrote, “I don’t tell people anymore, because I’m tired of their uninformed criticism.”
Again, thanks to everyone who wrote about this. Really appreciate the honesty and willingness to share your stories.