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Medication to assist my son's Meltdowns and Anxiety
  • Hi All, unfortunately we have got to a stage now where we are struggling to manage our son's meltdowns and anxiety they are becoming increasingly more violent and when I am at work I am starting to fear for the safety of my wife and daughter. We are considering asking for medication to help manage, something we have so far resisted and of the mind that we should try to avoid. However we have reached a stage of desperation now and are willing to look at options, I would be grateful if anybody could share their experiences of medication and what is available and success or failure, possible side effects etc. My Son is 10 with ASD possibly PDA, high functioning no issues in behaviour at school which is a godsend, problems occur at home or outdoors in the presence of family.
    Thanks for reading
  • webbwebb
    Posts: 2,578
    Hi, many of us have got to this stage with our children and if you have already tried reading books, webinars on this website, Training Courses on PDA and trying all the recommended Strategies; then it may be time to talk to your GP or CAMHS.

    Your son is young, but not too young, so medical professionals may be persuaded to try some low dose of medication.

    I have 2 sons, one with AS and one with PDA and I have found that there a couple of anti-depressants which work on anxiety that are recommended for children.

    They can lower anxiety and stop a child from getting depressed (prolonged anxiety, day to day, for many months can lead to depression). Yes, they do have side affects but usually quite mild. (constipation or dry mouth?)

    If a child has diagnosed ADHD or ADD then a form of Ritalin is very helpful.

    There are also anti-psychotics that can lower aggression but I would suggest and hope medical team do to, that anti-depressants would be the better medication.

    I'm sorry to hear the difficulties you are having as a family, we spent 6 years looking at what support we could access, what support he could access and it all came down to the type of school he was in! We moved him to a specialist school and things improved within weeks. Hopefully the right support, school or meds are out their for your son too.


  • Many thanks Paula that is very helpful advice, interesting to hear about the change in school, pleased to hear things have improved for you.
  • I posted this on another thread. My son is now 9, (diagnosed with ASD at 3, LA wont diagnose PDA here,) he has been aggressive and violent for most of his life,obviously driven by anxiety. We have always been dubious about medication but it was our last hope. He was prescribed fluoxetine earlier this year and the results have been astonishing! From 5-10 violent incidents a day to now I cant even remember the last time he lashed out at all,at anyone.
  • Many thanks good to hear a positive outcome, can I just ask did your son experience any side effects
  • Hi, my 24 year old HFA son has PDA and PTSD from unsuitable behaviour management. He suffers from explosive meltdowns with brief psychosis...he is articulate and has a great sense of humour when he is calm. However since entering adulthood, and with no regular medication or supervised improvement in his self awareness (even though he had some CBT), his quality of life has been very, very poor with homelessness, couch-surfing, and jail three times. I have decided that, (after six years of waiting for his life to improve either through maturity or his own motivation that has come to nought) as his mum, to apply for guardianship and that he needs a monthly anti-psychotic injection with trauma therapy to reduce his anxiety, psychosis and post trauma reactions. Sadly I fell severely and chronically ill at a time in his adolescence where this should have been put in to place but was not. As a result, his life and behaviour sunk to the point of the above with no end in sight if left unattended. I am now trying to repair his behavioural mismanagement, having only just discovered that my son fits to a T with PDA. I hope it is not too late.
  • Hi, long decision to make here but decided on Fluoxetine and meltdowns/violent behaviour has reduced (once we (me & Paediatrician) got the dose correct. They had reduced but now nearly non-existent after increasing med by 0.5ml. Possible side effects, thought a picture that has been in his room was talking to him (this occurred once), colours occasionally make him mad etc. But to be honest I think he pulls out those excuses when he is trying to avoid something, like a new swimming teacher on the weekend, all of a sudden the colour red made him made and he spent the lesson diving under water. Nothing major in comparison to what I was dealing with pre-med. Good luck with your decision.
  • Hi, can I ask how you got the medication for your child? Our son is 10 years and has been relentlessly violent most evenings we are both battered and bruised. We have been to A&E twice with him on paramedics recommendation but once there he calms quickly and masks. Our GP won't prescribe either and is referring us back to the place where he got his ASC diagnosis. They say it has to come from Paediatricion. Paediatricion says his case has been closed and we need to go back to place where he received his diagnosis. Just not sure how much we can cope with....
  • RhanHRhanH
    Posts: 1,151
    Welcome to the Forum Juckster1. I'm presuming from your comment that it wasn't your local paediatric team that diagnosed ASD? I know within our county it's often CAMHS that manage the medication aspect of care especially as children get older. Could you go back to your GP, explain the situation and ask them for further advice as to the correct pathway?
    Try to hang on in there, I appreciate how tough it can be with a child who is violent as we have similar experiences. Do have a look at our family pages which offer some advice on strategies to try as well as managing meltdowns.
  • HarHer
    Posts: 346
    When my eldest was 14 he was prescribe sertraline and risperidone (please excuse the misspellings). He still takes sertraline which takes the edge off his underlying anxiety, but the risperidone caused some side effects, so that was withdrawn after two years.

    We tried to avoid medication, but sometimes it can help.
  • Weary
    Posts: 17
    I wanted to share our experience with medication so far...I had very very mixed feelings about medicating our child particularly after concerta (ritilim) prescribed by Camhs psych at 11yo contraindicated resulting in more violence outbursts at that time and with strong suicidal feelings. This was withdrawn but mentioned again recently by the same psych ?! We refused it. Our child is now on another med concoction and the extreme violence we endured for 3 exhausting years has reduced from regular extreme experiences that we all still feel pretty traumatised over...I’m talking physical violence towards us, home as well as police, being arrested, court etc etc. So, the current medication our 15yo takes is 200mg sertraline and 1mg of an anti-psychotic called ariprazole. This particular concoction was recommended by the psych within the local neurodevelopmental team assessment (even though they don’t recognise pda & the diagnosis was ODD & conduct disorder). In his 1:1 later with my husband this psych acknowledged he thought our child has pda but his hands are tied & he can’t diagnose ... usual story then. He did actually suggest a higher starting dose of the ariprazole - 2.5mg not the 1mg currently prescribed but as his team only provide the assessment he couldnt prescribe for our child only make medication recommendations so it is down to the previous local Camhs psych to do the prescribing. Problem is our local Camhs don’t believe in pda (it’s us parents not being boundaried enough) so she is only prescribing, with us arm twisting, 1mg & not the 2.5mg as was recommended. We do think our child would benefit from this recommended higher dose but she will not budge and is very reluctant to even prescribe the 1mg as it is. We are not medics but as parents of this child we do think some of the time sertraline does take the edge of the anxiety and the ariprazole has reduced the extreme violence (but we still live on a knife edge most of the time). As for side effects it has increased weight side effects as it increases appetite but to be honest weight gain for now is perversely preferable to the violent situations day and night we as a family found ourselves within before. A note of caution though ... we have noticed with our child that if the sertraline is refused (meds are sometimes perceived as a demand) for a few days then the violence does begin to escalate again. So, in the very short term medication is working for our child in terms of extreme violence and anxiety and therefore us as a family but of course it’s only a part of the picture. I still worry our child is becoming more outside society and other interventions like specialist therapy for HF ASD alongside the meds, a multi pronged approach, could be really beneficial than just the medication in isolation ... but this is about small steps I guess.

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