'He was on the wrong medication for two years' - Mother of son using CAMHS

'Chloe' said her son was referred to CAMHS and had to wait a "long period" to be seen
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

17.52 1 Aug 2023

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'He was on the wrong medicatio...

'He was on the wrong medication for two years' - Mother of son using CAMHS

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

17.52 1 Aug 2023

Share this article

A woman, whose son has been under the care of CAMHS, said he was put on the wrong medication for over two years.

'Chloe' said her son was referred to CAMHS when he was quite young, but they had to wait a "long period" to be seen.

She told The Hard Shoulder they were moved around the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services.


"We were refused to be accepted on to the waiting list because apparently his behaviour wasn't extreme enough, it wasn't under their remit," she said.

"Even though we had multiple letters from the school, the GP, from psychology services basically saying that CAMHS was the place that we were to go.

"When we finally did get referred and accepted, we were then equally discharged after two appointments saying that they thought my son had autism and we were under the wrong team".

 'Falling through the cracks'

Chloe said she was then told that her son "wasn't severe enough" to be considered by the other team as he was articulate, verbal and attending mainstream school.

"So he was falling through the cracks between the two services," she said.

Chloe said when they got in to see a CAMHS doctor, he questioned the autism diagnosis and prescribed him medication for ADHD.

"[The doctor] prescribed him medication on the very first appointment, and said the reason that the previous medication wasn't working - which was antidepressants - was that he wasn't depressed, he had ADHD.

"We were prescribed Risperidone and we were told... this was an emotional regulator, that it would help calm our son down.

"We weren't told at the time that it was an antipsychotic, we weren't told about any of the side effects or anything like that.

"A couple of appointments later, we were then prescribed two different ADHD medications as well".

'Aggressive outbursts'

Chloe said her son's behaviour was better and calmer.

"We did have aggressive outbursts, they weren't as regular, but they were more aggressive when he did have them," she said.

"Because he wasn't being suspended from school, which he was before, we thought that the medication was the right medication.

"We felt we were finally getting somewhere and we felt that we were actually getting the help that we needed".

Chloe said when she queried why her child seemed so sedated, the doctor said, "Would you be questioning if I was giving you insulin for a diabetic child"?

 'The wrong medication'

Chloe said the situation changed when they saw another doctor over a year later.

"We were basically told that all the medication he was given was not the right medication," she said.

"He'd never got an official diagnosis, so they hadn't gone through the official procedure to even give him a diagnosis to see [if] this child has ADHD.

"He was on the wrong medication for about two years and three months".

Chloe said her son is now doing well, but he won't engage with services.

"He's a lot more animated, he has joined in, he plays soccer, he goes to some after school activities," she said.

"But what we're finding is he's very emotionally immature; and that means that we essentially have a child who in body is 12, but in his emotional regulation he's eight, nine.

"He now refuses to engage with any of the services; so if I get him into an appointment he will just sit there and point-blank refuse to answer any questions because he doesn't trust them," she added.

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Main image: A person taking medication in February 2014. Picture by: Tetra Images, LLC / Alamy Stock Photo

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ADHD ADHD Medications Autism Autism Diagnosis CAMHS Chloe Medication Wrong Medication

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