After the Vyvanse Crash of 2009, as it has come to be known in Dan’s story, we had no idea where to turn. Certainly not trusting his psychiatrist at this point, we brought him to a short-term mental health facility near his college. He stayed there for a week and we were told they would get him “back on track” by reducing his meds. Unfortunately the opposite happened. By the time he left this facility, he was taking Klonopin, Abilify, Effexor, Adderall and Atarax.
This was the point when I said “enough is enough”. This was not my son anymore. This was a walking zombie. I set out on a mission to find a psychiatrist who would wean Dan off of at least some of these meds. I also made an appointment for him to have a complete physical.
Connecting with these two new health-care providers was the best thing we could have done. Dan’s physical and subsequent tests revealed tachycardia (fast heart rate), sky-high triglycerides, possible pericarditis, and a thirty-five pound weight gain in just a few months. His hands were also extremely shaky, as if he had Parkinson’s disease. These symptoms and conditions were all attributed to the drugs that he was taking.
And so, one by one, Dan was weaned off of all of his meds. The results were amazing to watch. It was as if layers and layers of crud were being scraped off of Dan and glimpses of my son were emerging. His test results returned to normal. The extra weight dropped off. His anxiety and depression lifted, and in Dan’s own words his OCD was “practically non-existent.”
I thought back to when Dan returned to school after his summer at the OCD Clinic. He had been taking his meds and was hanging on by a thread. At the time I thought, “If he is this bad off with all of these meds, I hate to think what he would be like without them.” At that point, it never occurred to me that the meds could actually be part of the problem.
Of course I know it’s not that cut and dried, and I realize that at some point Dan actually needed some of the meds he was taking. But not all of them. And not for so long, especially with all those side-effects. And so in some convoluted way, the Vyvanse Crash was a blessing, and Dan has been off of all meds since then.