Now and then we get some surprises. This time, it was a mixed blessing, but still a blessing overall. Stay with me and I’ll show you what I mean.
Doctors are finding surprising results from medications traditionally used for other purposes. In this case, the medication is Cycloserine, a generic of a drug (formally under the name Seromycin) manufactured by Eli Lilly. This drug is an antibiotic that does not carry with it the same risk factors as antipsychotics, SSRI’s, etc. It was traditionally used in the prevention of tuberculosis.
There is a more in depth description of Cycloserine, here, where it also describes some uses. For our part, our psychiatrist has used it for people on the autism spectrum, where it has, in his experience, worked to “open up” the verbal channels and promote speech in the non-verbal.
My 9 year old son has struggled with expression his whole life. He has trouble connecting feelings with language and has always reacted to triggers without us knowing that he was even upset about something. His affect has always been quite flat so it has been hard to see into his feelings, whether happy or sad. He has never been able to verbalize any of what has bothered him appropriately, and has always historically resorted to meltdowns and unsafe behaviors without warning.
After a little more than a month on Cycloserine, there is a stark, remarkable difference. All of a sudden he is keeping a “feelings” journal (what?!? really?!?) and speaking at length with his therapists about what bothers him at school, at home, with other kids, on the bus, you name it! Here, you will have to understand that we had actually suspended outside therapy because we were making no progress with CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy). My son could give all the “right” answers and talk the talk, but he could not speak about his own feelings or internalize anything that was being taught to him. Even though I new very well there were sensory issues, the degree of severity with which some of these affect him are now becoming more clear.
This progress has been amazing and very helpful to all of us. However, there has been a downside and I wanted to be transparent about that, too. Even with other mood stabilizers in place, his mood has gone back to rapid cycling. He is having meltdowns and some aggressive behavior. Right now, we are tweaking his other medications to alleviate those symptoms. Still, this result is not only what we hoped for, it is something I had almost given up on hoping would ever happen.
Thankful to doctors like our psychiatrist, who are always keeping abreast of the latest treatments, as well as really listening and understanding what we as families experience. Very grateful.