Let's talk about drugs. Not the illegal, illicit, recreational kind . . . the real stuff, the meds a psychiatrist prescribes for people with neurological and mental impairments.The ones Hart and Jeff take.
Let's say you are a parent of a typical child. Perhaps you are thinking, "I would never permit my child to take psychotropic drugs, especially those prescribed off-label." My advice to you: Shut up.
Say you are a parent of a 7- or 8-year-old who is beginning to have difficulties in school. You know your child has always been extremely sensitive and high-spirited, but now school professionals are suggesting a medical workup and possible "pharmacological intervention." My advice: Just do it. You will have to do it sooner or later. Possibly you may be among the many parents who, after great soul-searching, agree to medication and find that it is wonderful. Your child is focused, attentive, and suddenly, a joy to be around. Case closed. You will wish you did it sooner.
However, there are lots of parents like me. My boys' impairments are so significant, so severe, that I have agreed to a medication regimen in hopes of mitigating their difficulties just a bit. If medication can make Hart and Jeff a little bit more available for classroom learning, a wee bit less impulsive, a tiny bit less agitated and anti-social, I figure, it is worth it.
But now, I have entered the next soul-searching phase. On his last visit, Hart appeared to have developed a tic or a tremor. In my head, alarm bells went off right away. We parents conferred: doctors and staff conferred. A period of observation, a battery of tests, careful study of behavior as Hart's medication is adjusted.
This is the yin question to my original yang decision: how much quality-of-life improvement does Hart's medication make? If the meds only make the tiniest difference, are they worthwhile at all?