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Happy ADHD New Year! From Risperdal

Risperdal may not be a cure-all drug for my daughter’s ADHD, but it doesn’t merit the fear and worry I felt, either.

The best gift the holiday season brought to our family this year came in a prescription bottle, with a label reading: Risperdal.

Natalie completed a psychological evaluation in November and, armed with the results, we met with her pediatrician to review her meds. She and the psychologist were in agreement — our next step should be adding Risperdal to the meds Natalie was already taking for ADHD.

I worked in the mental health field years ago when Risperdal first came on the market. At that time it was a new miracle medicine — for adults with the most severe cases of schizophrenia. I knew kids with autism and ADHD are taking it these days, but…my daughter? Take an antipsychotic?

When I filled the prescription, the pharmacist asked if I had any questions. “I..I’m scared to death,” I answered, through tears. We started the medication slowly, and built up to the prescribed dosage.

I must have asked Natalie a thousand times, “Are you tired?” and “Do you feel any different?”

“No,” she always answered.

Whether she felt it or not, by the end of the first week I could see a big difference. Nat was happier. Less irritable. Less anxious. Her teacher confirmed that she was calmer at school.

I blogged previously about Natalie initiating Family Night, a time for our family of four to watch a movie together, something she’d never been able to do before —before Risperdal. We’ve had several successful Family Nights since. Merry Christmas!

Nat can hold it together at the grocery store or Target much better than ever before. Happy holidays! The anticipation of Christmas coming, which would usually lead to at least a month of out of control behavior, was hardly noticeable. Happy New Year!

Risperdal isn’t going to be a cure-all for Natalie’s ADHD; but, as it turns out, it doesn’t merit the fear and worry I felt about it, either. You’ve probably heard the old ADHD joke: If ADHD is a gift, I want to return it. Not so for Nat’s Risperdal. This is one gift the whole family wants to keep.

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