school refusers

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Mental Wellbeing
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Medication Question

Hello All

My son is still refusing school a lot and is crying during school time and at home. He has been diagnosed with aspergers. Have any of you used Medication for anxiety and depression? They are suggesting prozac. What is your experience with medication?



Re: Medication Question

Hi Fiona,

Sorry to hear things are not going so well.
How old is your son again?
My son takes medication and it does help, despite things not being ideal. He was a lot worse when he didn't take medication. He takes Zoloft. He used to take a different medication but it didn't do anything. Sometimes you have to try different ones.
One of the universities here that was carrying out research into school refusal did a program using prozac. They felt it had a positive effect on school refusal students as it did help with the anxiety.

If your son has been diagnosed with the school providing help and support?
It must be so hard for your son. Schools are just not nice places if you are on the autism spectrum and/or have anxiety.
Have you been in touch with the Red Balloon group? Or Parent partnership? I think the links are in the resource section on the website. They help parents and students who have any kind of special needs and can provide advice for where to get the best help. They also know about alternatives to mainstream schooling.
Feel free to ask any more about the medication. Sometimes it takes the edge off so that they can start to manage their anxiety themselves. And depression goes hand in hand with the anxiety as it is just so hard for them to funtion with such high levels of anxiety. So maybe give it a go? It takes a few weeks to kick in properly.
Let us know how you go,

Re: Medication Question

Hi Fiona
Mine was on Prozac for a while, it's the only licensed drug for children here in uk. It did work for him, it gave him the confidence to overcome the barriers and he went back to full time education when he was on it, my word of caution is that it also gave him no barriers at all, he did not perceive any danger to things so behaviour was altered. School struggled with his new behaviours so wasn't all rosy but he was in school!
Everyone is different though so just keep an eye on side effects, Prozac has a long half life so takes weeks to build up and weeks to go so just bear that in mind when you start it.
If you are uk, the liquid is disgusting but they do make dissolvable tablets which are better

Take care

Re: Medication Question

My daughter is 13 years old and starting avoiding School 2 years ago and has missed pretty much all of this year at school. She has recently been prescribed Prozac and is now on 8mg once a day. I am wondering how long it took for your child to go to school after starting the medication and also what the dose was?
Thank you

Re: Medication Question

HI Morag

My son was not on Prozac (somebody else might have more specific information on here?) but I do know from the two different types of medication that he has been on that the usual length of time for it to kick in properly was 4-6 weeks. They can start to feel a difference within a couple of weeks - but then it takes longer to work properly.

Also often it takes more than just medication. It takes counselling and/or Cognitive Behaviour Therapy as well to help improve things and make going back to school possible. For some kids it seems to be all they need to take the edge off the anxiety but for others, and perhaps your daughter who has missed a lot of school already, she might need more support systems in place. Is she able to access counselling and able to get cognitive behaviour therapy somewhere?
IF not - read up as much as you can yourself and try working the cognitive behaviour advice and ideas into how you approach the situation.
Is the school supportive?
Let us know how it goes and if we can offer any further help or advice - don't hesitate to ask.
All the best,

Re: Medication Question

Hi Linda,
Thanks for the information. Yes my daughter is under CAMHS and has has been receiving CBT for last 4 months. It's the hardest thing we've ever been through! The school are supportive, however all the resources they offer are based on my daughter getting in to school which so far hasn't worked. We are so worried about the missed education and are really hoping the medication is enough to get her in to school so she can use the resources and learn to cope at school.

I can't believe I have only just found this forum!
Thanks x

Re: Medication Question

Hi Morag,

So glad you found us! It was a life saver for me when I found the site many years back after Simon set it up.
You are not alone - and yes, it is a tough journey. There is no one answer - and so I can only also offer suggestions from my experience of the forum (I now oversee) and my own experience with my son.

Medication did help my son. Unfortunately he didn't get onto the medication that worked until we had struggled through the school system for years and years. It allowed him to attend a college and pass his year 11 schooling last year. He missed a lot...but attended enough to get through.

I wonder if you put pressure back on the school to provide an education for your daughter - they might provide the tutoring which is actually written into the UK education policy but most schools choose not to act on it as they are unsure how to class mental health. But the wording is if there is a health issue whether physical or mental. So in that case - schools should be either sending work home or providing tutoring. Perhaps make some enquiries. It might be what your daughter needs to keep in the loop. Explain to the school that getting left behind is not going to get her into school.

Hang in there - you are a good mum and doing all you can in very trying circumstances!

Re: Medication Question

Hi everyone

Just to update you all. My son has been on Prozac 20mg for at least a term and it has helped him to go back to school. He still has had a couple of hiccups but got over them quickly. The other thing that is helping him is giving rewards for going to school but that is expensive and I don’t think its healthy in a way if you do it too much but sometimes theres no other way.


Re: Medication Question

Hi Fiona

That is good news indeed! Thanks so much for letting us know. Don't feel guilty about the rewards - some times you just have to do what you have to do!
Others can perhaps gain some strength and hope from your update. We never got to try Prozac but the research that was being conducted in our city were using Prozac coupled with Cognitive behaviour therapy. At the time, my son had not been out of school for three months in a row so did not qualify for the program unfortunately!
best wishes,

Re: Medication Question

Hi Morag

Just wondered how you are getting on with your daughter? My son is a school refuser and we are still waiting to see CAMHS in order for him to get the support he needs. His school also refuses to issue work unless he can try to get into school.

I am hoping that you have seen some improvement.

I look forward to hearing from you.