Problem? Here’s a Drug to Fix it

drug You would think that any problem at all can be easily fixed with just a pill. Now they are even using drugs to deal with behavioral problems (ritalin, for example). The moral implications of that are simply offensive to me. Put a person on drugs just to make other people more comfortable around him?

Drugs may “work” as far as people observing from the outside can tell, but the person under such “treatment” may be miserable. Okay, his outward behavior is more socially acceptible, but his own perceptions, ideals, passions, and beliefs haven’t changed. All the doctor did was add drug addiction to the list of his problems, and the chemical assault on the patient is not for the patient’s benefit, but to make other people more comfortable around him.

What many of us who have sensory/perception/social issues need are coping skills, not drugs! I learned, for example, that I could “tame” the wildly disruptive effects of flourescent light just by wearing colored sunglasses that filtered out a lot of the light spectrum that was bothering me. The bigger problem was learning, as a child, that – surprise, it’s not normal for letters in a book to float up off the page and throw shadows on the paper! How do I report something to the doctor as abnormal if I don’t know what “normal” is? Same thing with the way I think. Why am I supposed to assume that people don’t really mean what they say? Words have meaning. But when they are used carelessly (which is “normal”) by people who don’t mean what their words convey, what the hell am I supposed to do with that? “Robin, I didn’t mean it literally!” Well then what the hell did you mean? Anyway… by simply treating certain expressions as “new vocabulary words,” I have been able to work around even that problem much of the time. It’s simply a coping skill that I am learning to master. 

Music helped me a lot with my auditory issues. I still have great difficulty understanding a word of it if two or more people are talking at the same time. I have learned that most people can “filter out” background noise – even another person’s speech – and tune in only what they need to hear. Amazing to me, ordinary for “normal” people. Again, how the heck does a kid know what normal is? But the treatment has been learning a new set of coping skills, not taking another drug! In middle school choir learned to sing the alto part while the sopranos were singing their part at the same time. I discovered I could distinguish my part from theirs not only by the notes, but by taking note of how it related to the soprano part. Relative pitch! Now I can’t learn my part in choir any other way. I have to hear all four parts to know where mine “fits in.” Oh, that’s not normal? I guess it isn’t, because everyone else in the choir wants to hear their part played separately.

The point is this: Treatment for issues like mine (not just Asperger’s syndrome, but perhaps anywhere on the autism spectrum and perhaps even for other disabilities) should be aimed first at learning adaptive skills rather than burying the mind and senses under a chemical blanket, especially if the latter is only aimed at making other people comfortable instead of treating the patient. That’s just nuts. And it ain’t – or shouldn’t be – normal.

—————
Do you think people need to take pills to deal with Autism?

Guest Submitted Post

Guest Submitted Post

Join Autisable and Share Your Story!

0 thoughts on “Problem? Here’s a Drug to Fix it

  • June 30, 2009 at 5:46 pm
    Permalink

    Being an aspie with lupus, and having been on handfuls of meds for 20 years and desperately trying to get off with all kinds of protracted withdrawal making me miserable, I can vouch for drugging kids up possibly being one of the most dangerous things we can do unless we only use the drugs for short term problem solving, NOT a giant bandaid to cover up a problem.  Many of those drugs have big warnings about possible liver and kidney problems and possible lessening of immunity, and since I went through a nasty viral infection that swelled my liver while I was on a bunch of meds, yeah.  Been there.  You do NOT want your kid risking organ involvement or brain receptor problems just because a medication makes it easier to control a lifestyle.  I know it’s hard, but please please please be careful.  Medications have nearly destroyed me, and the whole time I went through that, my doctor and pharmacist both kept reassuring me that my meds were very low doses and very safe.  I wouldn’t call a psychotropic reaction to lyrica while driving 70 mph on a 4 lane highway safe, and I sure wouldn’t call a swollen liver safe.  I was a real guinea pig, and I’ve paid the price so often that I just can’t take it any more.  I’m hypersensitive to meds, and the doctors just don’t get it.  HYPERSENSITIVITY is an autistic trait.

    Reply
  • June 27, 2009 at 9:00 pm
    Permalink

    I agree completely on the “no drug” policy…however…if it is a matter of personal safety that is completely under control for a period of time while teaching adaptive skills…then yes.  For people on the autism spectrum – this is what I have been saying for years, when my son came along – all I asked for was someone who could be his voice, help him learn how to filter out the noise and use words or signs to let us know when he needed a time out.  Both of my boys of severe ADHD – my oldest one is on something called Concerta – it is not my first choice but with the craziness of puberty hitting center stage, the neurostransmitters in his frontal lobe constantly misfiring and the poor kid can barely catch a wink of sleep in between – so this time medication combined with homeopathic remedies to help him sleep and working closely with a psychologist to teach him strategies on how to manage his brain and then we go off of the meds.  If it is managed properly and responsibly with a plan to stop then it is what we have to do.  Cheers.

    Reply
  • June 27, 2009 at 9:55 am
    Permalink

    Not at all. Psychotropic medications, for the most part, are utter crap. I’ll be the first to admit I’m not a fan of western medicine. I’m more of a homeopathy guy (it’s safer as you don’t have to deal with all the nasty side effects, the only thing you have to worry about are potential mild allergic reactions), however, behavior-altering drugs are just begging for something to go wrong. 

    New studies have shown that anti-depressants are actually toxic to people. Same goes with drugs like Ritalin. They are essentially poisonous to the human body. It’s not pretty at all. 

    Oh well, such is the way of modern medicine. Poison us all so we get sick and have to take more medicine to make them rich. That’s their goal, in all honesty. 

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.