Reply To: neurologist or psychiatrist?

Penny Williams

A neurologist can be great, IF they are well-versed in ADHD and willing to spend the time treating it (in my city in the US, not one neurologist is willing to see patients for ADHD). I think it matters more if a physician has experience with pediatric ADHD and ADHD medications than the particular type of clinician they are.

I agree that you should be skeptical of talk of bi-polar and starting your child on Prozac. My son’s therapist and doctor suggested bipolar to us at almost every visit for a few years. I knew it didn’t fit. He was a frustrated kid with poor self-regulation skills who was acting out under the pressure of being so misunderstood. I knew bi-polar didn’t fit.

Now, there are some children who really need Prozac and do very well on it. There are also many children that have significant bad reactions to it. My son tried Prozac for anxiety when he was about 10 or 11. He took half the lowest dose. By week 2 he was a violent raging kid what we became frightened of. I almost had to call the police on two occasions. He also had a meltdown that looked a lot like a seizure. His prescribing doctor, who had 30+ years experience in pediatric mental health, thought it couldn’t possibly be the Prozac. My husband thought our son just suddenly turned aggressive to try to bully us into doing whatever he wanted. I knew different. I knew this wasn’t my kid and I knew the Prozac was the change. The doc asked us to bump up to a full dose at 3 weeks and see if that helped. My son then had such rapid-fire suicidal ideation that I couldn’t take him to school or even in the car. That was the last day he had prozac. It took another 3 weeks after his last dose to start to get back to himself. It was the scariest, most heartbreaking time.

I’m not sharing this to say that Prozac is bad and no one should take it. I’m sharing because many of our kids have these rare and serious reactions to these medications. Knowing that may help you to choose a “gentler” SSRI or antidepressant before trying prozac.

Your Expert Overview: Choosing the Right Professional to Treat ADHD

ADDitude Community Moderator, Author & Mentor on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism