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High functioning autism and medication

(29 Posts)
Doodle Fri 27-Dec-19 20:19:13

Does anyone have a high functioning autistic child or grandchild on antidepressants and has it helped or made any difference?

MiniMoon Fri 27-Dec-19 21:14:29

My DD takes mirtazapine. She is high functioning autistic has four children who she home educates, and she suffers from mild depression and her stress levels are very high.
Her DH has taken time away from his career to help at home as the children all have varying forms of ASD.
She finds the medication a great help. She sleeps much better, and can accomplish more during the day. She is more like her old self now.
I'm extremely proud of her.

Doodle Fri 27-Dec-19 21:50:31

Thank you minimoon. Your daughter must find it hard to be a mum of four I’m glad she has found the medication helps.
My DGS is struggling with low self esteem and anxiety. We are hoping he might get some help soon.

lemongrove Fri 27-Dec-19 22:03:51

Yes Doodle DGS has been on medications for years, and it has made a difference.
Fluoxetine/Risperidone and Melatonin.
Speak to his GP who should refer him.

Doodle Fri 27-Dec-19 22:09:17

Thanks lemon. We are waiting on the psychologist to do an assessment.

lemongrove Fri 27-Dec-19 22:18:29

Good luck, hope it goes well.
It doesn’t end all anxiety of course, neither does it make them
‘Zombified’ but should take the edge off things and make life more bearable.
They will carry out assessments as to the dosage as he grows and develops and do adjustments.

Doodle Fri 27-Dec-19 23:10:35

That’s good to know lemon. Obviously all people react differently to meds’ and have different needs but I do hope something can be done. Sleep issues are a big thing too. He stays awake a lot at night and misses school as he’s too tired to go in the next day.

Nannarose Sat 28-Dec-19 07:32:11

If still at school, he is of an age where such prescribing will be done initially by a paediatrician.
You don't say what stage he is at in the assessment process - obviously anti-depressants are not the first port of call in children.
If it hasn't already been tried, then tackling sleep may be tried first. A lot of autistic children sleep very poorly and if a combination of management techniques and some medication can help this then it is usually tried first. Melatonin has been mentioned - which suits some and not others.
Tip - if they haven't already, parents should keep a sleep diary.

Luckygirl Sat 28-Dec-19 10:18:15

Doodle - the answer is yes - a teenage GD. Anti-depressants do seem to be helping a bit.

Doodle Sat 28-Dec-19 15:09:53

Thank you luckygirl and nana rose
GP will not prescribe unless mental health team say ok. This is why we are waiting for the psychiatrist’s assessment. He was diagnosed with autism many years ago and has struggled ever since. I am hoping medication may help him hence my question as to whether or not it has helped others in a similar situation.

MiniMoon Sat 28-Dec-19 16:09:47

I believe that melatonin is not licensed for children in UK. My daughter has asked about it for her middle son who has an autism diagnosis, and problems sleeping. They will not prescribe it.

ninathenana Sat 28-Dec-19 16:35:33

My 28 yr old HF autistic son has been on Sertraline for about a year and yes it has made a difference. He no longer spends 20 hrs a day in his room and communicates with us more.
He dosen't seem to have panic attacks anymore either.

Luckygirl Sat 28-Dec-19 16:41:31

DGD was pretty normal lass (with some mild quirks) till she hit puberty, then all downhill. Psychiatrist said that often high-functioning ASD can go unnoticed till puberty when anxiety and depression begin. This is what happened with our DGD, who is now afflicted with anxiety, depression, suicidal behaviours etc. In retrospect perhaps we should have picked up on it sooner. She has the classic autistic traits of walking on her tip-toes, hating loud noises, being unable to deal with change etc.

Now on an anti-depressant which has to be prescribed by consultant and then comes from GP surgery. She is also on the contraceptive pill to try and help with the hormonal ups and downs. These do seem to be providing some help.

It is very important to have school on board in understanding the problems she faces -thankfully her school have been brilliant, providing her with safe spaces to go to when things get too hard for her.

Referral to CAMHS took a year - now she is on their books, they have been brilliant - but she was seen by private child psychiatrist initially as a year is far too long for someone as ill as she is.

No idea what her future holds.

Nannarose Sat 28-Dec-19 16:45:00

Thanks for the information, Doodle. I am 10 years retired from being a nurse practitioner for children with special needs, so a bit out of date, but understand the principles.
However frustrating, it is quite right that prescribing is initiated and overseen by a specialist.
A lot of medication for under 18s is not licensed, it is so difficult to do trials. Specialist paediatricians will prescribe 'off licence' and so will GPs and nurses once the system is set up, under certain circumstances.
Melatonin is a strange substance - small quantities work well in some children, and large doses have no effect in others. It seems so variable. Also, it doesn't have a long , well documented history of being prescribed in adults, so there isn't much knowledge around its long term problems.
Adolescence is also a difficult time for prescribing anything as brain function seems so changeable.
Please do ask if you can have input from a specialist nurse, as they are usually very experienced, can make helpful practical suggestions and make a relationship with the patient and family.
Good luck!

Greenfinch Sat 28-Dec-19 17:10:14

I had a problem with giving my grandson melatonin as it was not licensed for children in UK. He seemed to get it from the consultant at the hospital and his parents would give it to him but when he stayed with us which was several times a week I could not bring myself to give it to him.He still slept for 6-7 hours a night and was not anxious so I felt he did not need it.He was also prescribed meds for his ADHD but all it did was suppress everything including his appetite so he was eating virtually nothing and losing weight.I don't mean to be a wet blanket but am just giving the other point of view.However children with autism are all so different that what suits one will not suit another.Doddle I do hope you get something to help your grandson as I know you worry about him a lot

Doodle Sat 28-Dec-19 21:25:28

Thank you all for your kind input. Yes we all worry about our children and grandchildren. Wish I could wave a magic wand and make them all better.

lemongrove Sat 28-Dec-19 21:35:45

My DGS had no trouble in being prescribed the melatonin
(From aged 7) he is a teenager now.
How strange that some will, prescribe and others not.It helped him tremendously.

Nannarose Sat 28-Dec-19 21:53:54

Because the evidence around Melatonin is very patchy, individual doctors tend to prescribe according to their own (and their immediate colleagues') experience.
Melatonin is the naturally occurring substance we produce that helps regulate sleep. Some people (especially those with autism and ADHD) don't produce enough. However, some do not respond to being given Melatonin.
Your experience is interesting, Greenfinch.

Doodle Sat 28-Dec-19 22:52:52

Interesting lemon. DGS’s GP wouldn’t prescribe that either.

Fennel Sun 29-Dec-19 16:07:08

Such an interesting thread.
My second son, now aged 56, was always 'strange' in the way he related to other people. But he's very clever, got a 1st class degree in Maths at Manchester.
He has never been on any meds for autism, they thought he was bipolar at one time - he tried lithium and rejected it.
After many ups and downs he married a caring woman and they live in India where they foster Indian orphans.
When he was a child the label of autism was only applied to the very disabled. Mentally and physically.

Greenfinch Sun 29-Dec-19 17:23:13

How interesting Fennel.I am pleased your son eventually found his "vocation". He must be a very caring person to foster in a very different culture.

Doodle Sun 29-Dec-19 17:31:48

I often wonder what it was like before autism became more known. I suppose it is better now but my DGS has had varying degrees of help. A teacher at school who is wonderful and helpful but a school who hasn’t helped at all (in fact possibly made things worse). CAMHS who said he had problems but not enough to need help (how wrong they were)
Everything a loving family can do to help has been done. The suffering of all who love him has been so painful. It’s good to hear input from others where there is some hope.
Thank you all for your kindness in replying.

Greenfinch Sun 29-Dec-19 17:50:19

We haven't found CAMHS very helpful. My grandson has regular appointments but nothing much happens. They were the ones who put him on medication for ADHD and when it suppressed his appetite they just put him on a higher dosage which also suppressed his personality.When he eventually came off the tablets his teachers said it was delighful to have the former child back again.The Unit he is in is fantastic but they cannot prevent the other children in mainstream from teasing him and although he is very sunny natured he only has one friend who happens to be a girl and so he gets teased about that.I feel so sad for him but just hope these experiences help him to cope in the outside world.We can only do our best Doddle

back again.

Doodle Sun 29-Dec-19 20:06:23

I wish him well greenfinch. I wish there was somewhere the autistic children could go to meet others and have some support with social skills. Everyone says it’s a problem but haven’t found anyone who tries to help yet.

lemongrove Sun 29-Dec-19 20:37:46

It’s so sad that they miss out on friends isn’t it, and a normal social life.
Our DGS relates better to adults, or much younger children, (whom he is very kind and patient with )or animals.
When people meet him outside school and the home, they wouldn't know there was a problem, he appears to be a good looking and well behaved and quiet teenager.
He has definitely improved ( behaviour wise) over the years, a mixture of the medication and getting older and managing to cope with situations.