In our quest to get Iris the help she needs, Matt and I recently took Iris to visit a psychiatrist. At the end of the appointment, based on everything we talked about and our history with Iris, he recommended that we put her on anti-anxiety medication. In fact, that was pretty much his only recommendation. I am not sure why I expected anything else, he was a doctor after all. I half hoped he would have a diagnosis for Iris that we had never considered and would usher us towards the perfect treatment that we had never considered.
As you can probably imagine, it was extremely frustrating, to be sitting in the office being told that our seven year old needed medication. I took a few days to think about it and I did a little research and talked to people I know who had experience with the issues we were facing. Fortunately (or unfortunately?) I actually got some pretty positive feedback about children who were put on these meds. All of them had good results. Some saw some pretty extreme changes for the better, even.
Yesterday I met with Iris's therapist and faced more frustration: we mutually decided to discontinue therapy because, well, it really isn't working. I had honestly hoped the therapist would have many more tricks up her sleeves. She didn't. Or maybe she could have pointed us in the direction of another kind of therapy. She had one suggestion, but it didn't feel right to me based on Iris's issues.
While I want a fix for Iris, and a "quick fix" would be fantastic!, I just can't find it in me to agree (at least at this time) that medication is the right answer for her. Luckily Matt is on the same page as I am, though I think we both feel that if the other felt strongly in persuing medications, we would probably try it. But neither of us do.
It feels like there have to be so many things that we have yet to explore. Since I don't have any great professional guidance, it falls in my lap to look for the help Iris needs.
Today as I started my research on treating anxiety I kept coming back to dietary changes. A diet free of processed foods, food coloring, artificial flavors, caffeine, sugar, etc etc is the very best thing for promoting a healthy body and mind in any child, but especially one who is struggling with disorders such as anxiety. I also came across information on Omega 3 fatty acids, which has been shown to be effective in helping to treat anxiety. Omega 3's are essential to brain development and Dr. Sears has written an easy-to-understand article about it that you can read HERE.
Seeing as how I have a degree in nutrition this should be easy peasy to implement some changes in Iris's diet in order to see how it affects her anxiety and behavior, right? Unfortunately Iris's eating is yet another source of contention in our house. I wouldn't say her diet is awful, but it isn't great. It isn't what I know is right for her. I want to do better, but it turns out my degree means diddly squat to my daughter. If I put food on her plate she doesn't want to eat, she won't. It's that easy. Any kind of struggle over food issues raises her anxiety, so I want as much as possible to avoid it. I take responsibility for letting crappy foods slip in her to diet, it was so easy to not take a firm stand in allowing her to eat junk. And little by little she has decided that she no longer likes pretty much any of the fruits and vegetables I serve her, including things she may have liked just last week.
So where I am going with this is, I want to change her diet and I want to add in some supplements, but I don't have a clue how to do it or where to start. Seems like it's time to start a whole knew line of research!