No! I Won’t Take My Medicine!

 

No! I Won't Take My Medicine - Anchor Of Promise

There is a common thread that unites many parents of teens today affected with mental illness.  This thread is the unwillingness  or refusal by teens to take medication for their mental impairment.  

It is frustrating, scary and overwhelming. How can you help your teen when all they do is battle you?  You beg, plead, bribe, or threaten in every way for them to take their medicine.  None of it works.

So what does work? There is only one place to get that answer – your teen.

Now you may think the only response you are going to get from your teen is the word, “No!” After all, that is a common word you have been confronted with daily.  Just because they give a negative answer does not mean that teens want to live in a life of mental confusion.  They truly want what every other teen has – normalcy or free of illness.

The biggest drawback for mentally challenged teens are the side effects from medications.  Teens often express feelings of being lethargic, not themselves, worse than before, and even embarrassed that they have to take medication in the first place.

The other complication is that mental illness is tiring in itself.  It drains your teen emotionally, mentally, and physically because the brain is trying harder to undo the symptoms of mental illness that is happening inside.  They are constantly at war with their thoughts that race in their mind which leaves them exhausted, depressed, acting out, unusual behaviors, and more.

In their eyes, the future is bleak for them or they try other sources such as drugs and alcohol to numb what they are going through inside their mind.

As a parent, the last thing we need is for our teen to end up with an addiction on top of a mental illness.  So, how are we to win this fight?

Years ago, those in the psychiatric field often gave out a one size fits all medication for mental illness.  Much has changed since then and doctors who treat mental illness today have learned a lot through trials and research.

Here are some lessons they have learned and what you and your teen can do:

  • Each medication works differently on each individual.  What works for one may not work for another. It takes time to see any difference and keeping a journal of what helps and what does not is productive in figuring out the right type of meds your teen can tolerate or do well on.
  • Some homeopathic treatment can help along with therapy. But it has to be discussed with those who prescribe prescriptions.
  • Staying away from certain foods that can aggravate mental illness.  Healthy choices have always shown great success for those who have suffered from disorders and illnesses.  Ask for references by your mental health advocate for a nutritionist.
  • Medicine needs to be measured out by the weight of the teen and built up from a very small dosage to a higher one IF and when needed. Communication is the key to make sure your teen and the doctor prescribing the medication are working closely together and to monitor any changes along the way.  
  • Doctors are more open to collaborate on what teens are comfortable to use and more willing to continue on.
  • The stigmatism of being on medication is becoming less due to the amount of young people who take medications for various medical reasons.  Taking medication for mental illness is not a death sentence.  It is to give normalcy in one’s life.
  • When a teen’s body matures as they age, often times a medication change is necessary.
  • Doctors and patients must have a good rapport with each other in order for the patient to be compliant with taking the medication.  If your child does not like the doctor, maybe it is time to  look for a new one.
  • The more the teen is involved in the decision making of the medication/therapy, the more apt they are in wanting the treatment to continue.  Ask your teen to participate and even take the lead to figure out what medication will work best.  

Finally, the best medicine I have found is prayer mixed in with the wisdom of the medical field professionals. Praying for God to put upon your teen a desire to get better is always a benefit to your child.  We may not have control over what our teen does or how they will respond, but God knows their fears, worries, their capabilities, and their heart. Your job as a parent is to support your teen and encourage them in their journey to not give up as they find the best solution to establish a healthy mental attitude of healing.

When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy. Psalm 94:19

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)

Bible Quotes take from NIV Copyright 2011

Should We Let Our Teen in Crisis Learn From Their Mistakes and Choices?

Should We Let Our Teen in Crisis Learn from Their Mistakes and Choices? - Anchor Of Promise

 

Someone once told me several years ago that I shouldn’t be as involved in my teen’s life and to let them make their own decisions and mistakes.  

I partially agreed.  You can say to most parents that letting your kids make their own mistakes is a good thing.  It teaches them many valuable lessons.

However, if you have a teen with a mental illness, a debilitating disorder, or a teen who has an addiction, you should never accept that advice.

When a teen is in crisis, they have many strikes against them. Here are just two.

  1. Their comprehending and reasoning skills are not fully developed yet as a teen.
  2. They are more prone to influences that encourage them to act upon risky behavior that is harmful.

Continue reading

Will Mental Illness Cause My Child to be a Murderer?

Will Mental Illness Cause My Teen To Be A Murderer? - Anchor of Promise

 

In recent weeks, updated coverage stories of several prominant cases of crime involving young people have brought up the subject of mental illness.  Two in particular have made widespread headlines across the nation.  

In December of 2012, Adam Lanza from Newtown, Connecticut, showed warning signs of a severe mental illness that many either missed or ignored. He fatally killed 20 children as well as six adult staff workers and his mother before ending his own life.

In May of 2014, two preteen girls followed the directions of Slender Man, a fictional character on the internet. Through fear and yet obedience, they attempted to kill their best friend to show allegiance to Slender Man. They were both evaluated as having a mental illness.  

Today, thousands of young people have been affected by varying degrees of mental illness.  Parents of children and teens diagnosed with a mental illness are more worried today than ever.  The question that ponders in their mind is, “Could my child be the next murderer?”   Continue reading

Why are we witnessing an epidemic of mental illness in kids?

This article is not talking about long term mental illness in adults. What Dr. Grcevich does share truly highlights the increasing statistics of mental illness in kids/teens and the real root of many of those issues. I have followed Dr. Grcevich’s articles for a long time and he is tremendously respected in my book on mental illnesses and disorders.

Church4EveryChild

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As a child and adolescent psychiatrist, I frequently encounter parents and skeptics who freely share their opinions that much of the reported crisis in children’s mental health is fabricated…a marketing scheme of the pharmaceutical industry, a consequence of poor parenting or misplaced priorities on the part of families.

Opinions such as these endure because anecdotal data in support of them can be relatively easy to find. There’s an argument to be made that drug company marketing in support of long-acting ADHD medications led to a spike in the number of kids being diagnosed in the early years of the last decade. I see parents who come looking for the “magic pill” to fix their child’s problems and recoil when family-based or behavioral interventions appear more appropriate. I spoke to a colleague recently who quit her job in a publicly-funded clinic because she was sick of parents who needed her to…

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5 Things to Do When Your Teen is Diagnosed with a Mental Illness

5 Things to Do When Your Teen is Diagnosed with a Mental Illness - Anchor Of Promise

by Julia Greif

Watching your child/teen being diagnosed and living with a mental illness is hard. This is something no parent wants to experience.  In fact, after being diagnosed many parents feel lost as to what is next.

There are many things to do and not to do when you’re dealing with any mental illness. As someone who was diagnosed in my early twenties, I want to encourage parents by bringing attention to the things they CAN do.

My family (like many families) didn’t know what to do or what to say.  Because of this, it broke and hurt me in ways that made living with a mental illness worse. So here are some words of wisdom that I want to share with you today as you guide your teen through their mental illness. Continue reading