We only recommend and use evidence-based interventions. This includes medication: we will only prescribe if it is supported by research and recommended in the NICE guidelines for each specific disorder.
Medication follows diagnosis of a particular condition. We discuss with the family the different options and have a session of psychoeducation about the medication and provide written information, so the family can read this in their own time and return with any questions. We understand that this is an important decision and that parents and the child need to understand the rationale behind this.
After the family has provided consent to begin, the process starts with a one months’ trial. During this month, we will give the parents and school observation-based questionnaires to monitor if there is change in the symptoms we are looking to address. The first week will be with no medication to establish a baseline measure (to have a record of how the child presents while medication-free). We systematically collect information about the young person's symptoms, side-effects and physical health.
The rest of the weeks we start with low doses and then carefully increase the amount of medication (also referred to as 'titrating'). This way we can ensure that the child is taking the lowest dose that effectively manages their symptoms. In addition, we will monitor for side effects and perform physical examinations to make sure that the child is not adversely affected.
When the child's medication level is stable, we will complete regular reviews where we will focus on how well the symptoms are controlled, any side effects and ensure the child is physically healthy.
From time to time we will review the need for the child to remain on medication, depending on the condition, and complete trials without medication. Every time we have to adjust the dose, we will also monitor symptoms with diaries across settings (such as home, school, tutors, etc).
Medication will always be accompanied by psychological therapies.