Dear Dr. Brilliant Cliché,
My 16 year old son was just put on Risperdal by his psychiatrist. Although it has made a remarkable difference I worry as all I see on TV are advertisements regarding some lawsuit over Risperdal. “If you have been on Risperdal and have grown breasts or developed breast leakage call…..” I admit prior to Risperdal I could sum up my son as “an asshole” He was mean, aggressive, failing everything at school and constantly on suspension. He was impossible to live with. Now he is like a new child. His grades are straight B’s, he has friends for the first time, he volunteers to help out. He is just more aware. I used to be scared of him and don’t think I could live another day with him the way he used to be but I don’t wish to harm him either. What should I do?
There is a lot of confusion over psychiatric medications, psychiatric diagnosis and psychiatric treatment. Risperdal can increase prolactin which can cause breast growth. There is a blood test your doctor should be following to catch it before it happens because it’s usually reversible if you stop the medication.
There are no side effect free medications. All medications are poisons. But when used in proper doses in an informed way they really can change a person’s life. Your son might end up as president vs. end up in jail. Isn’t that worth the risks?
Medication should never be the only treatment as medication cant substitute for skills; but without the medication, people lack the self-control to use skills.
Dr. Brilliant Cliché
Granny says: I know a woman who was so out of control without medication that she just kept ripping her whole life apart over and over. The medication gave her dry mouth and some constipation, but it was worth the trade.
They tried the same medication on another friend and that guy had such bad side effects he couldn’t function. It was not worth the trade. He found other ways to control his erratic moods swings.
You are always trading one set of problems for another, but what is important is the percentages. If the advantages far outweigh the risks, the risks are worth it. If there is little benefit and the risks are great, it isn’t worth it. You son seems to have a much better life with medication. I would monitor him careful and watch which way the percentages swing.