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Carla Stone

Active Member
My 12 year old son is an aspie..Up until now I’ve been able to foster relationships for him with other kids. He was always well liked and had a nice group of friends.
Now that he’s getting older I can’t be so involved in his social life. He’s starting to isolate himself and isn’t initiating any hang outs with other kids. I’m worried that he is loosing his friends. I know he likes having friends but he’s becoming very socially awkward. Has anybody had any success with SSRI’s like Zoloft to help with social anxiety? He’s tried therapy and hates the idea of it.
The last thing I want to do is put him on medication for fear that he won’t ever be able to get off of them but I don’t want to see him become antisocial.
Any advice would be appreciated!
 
I'm not on SSRIs but I take:

Lithium
Wellbutrin
Adderall
Risperdal
Gabapentin

They've all helped at least a little with social anxiety, but probaly Adderall, Risperdal, and Gabapentin the most. Risperdal would probably be the most likely one prescribed in your case, from what I know of it.
 
Did the same thing. Had lots of fun toys, kids just hung out, they all played together. As my child got older, it was a younger kid who was into Pokeman that my daughter spent huge amounts of time with. l never said a word about age or anything to her. l let her be with her uncoventional friend. The younger boy was 2nd grade, she was tween. We moved and she basically had no friends until we stopped homeschooling and she attended a performing arts high school, and hung out with a bunch of socially awkward teenagers that she related to since l believe now she is somewhat on the spectrum. This was the best situtation for her to see she wasn't alone in how she felt. Can you get him interested in some type of club or passion of his that will help him connect with his age group? She was painfully social awkward, reminded me of myself in HS.
 
The mistake a lot of people make with antidepressants is that they are a long term solution. They are not. Few people need to be on them for a long time.

My suggestion is get him to a doctor, ask that they can prescribe something like fluoxetine or sertraline as you say, and then work towards something to break through the social anxiety so he won't need the medication anymore.

My suggestion for after he's out socialising again because of the medication is something like a drama club. I haven't been a part of them but I do believe in the potential for how good they can be. They can be therapeutic without the doctor and without hundreds of your local currency being taken off you hourly. Drama can teach communication, how to project your voice, body language and where one person's part stops and another one's begins.

Check your local area, there might even be ones set up for autistics like there is in my rural area, amazing.

Usually medication should be used as a stop gap. Unless you have severe depression which isn't easily fixable or psychosis, you probably don't need it long term.
 
Be aware when reading replies here that SSRIs have been shown to work very differently for adolescents than they do for adults.

As much as he hates therapy it is the best option, though it can take a while to find a therapist that 'fits' right. The right medication can help a person cope and make a huge difference, but it just covers up the symptoms, is doesn't address the root problem.
 
I would hesitate to prescribe SSRIs to a 12 year old.
There must be a better solution, if there is even a problem.
 
I agree that prescribing SSRI’s to such a young child is something you have to be very cautious about. I’d suggest therapy first, such as cognitive behavioral therapy combined with exposure, social skills training and assertivity training. I’ve had all of those and I have to say they have helped me a lot.
 
It’s also not the end of the world if he cannot relate to age peers at school, and being socially isolated as a teenager does not mean you will be socially isolated as an adult nor does it make you antisocial (asocial perhaps...but maybe not even that). I had no real friends from school as an adolescent - only from different peer groups outside of school and only other outsiders who were either unfazed by my communication and social issues or had similar ones.

Best social skills training I recieved was the kind that happens naturally with other kids acting as mentors and explaining/instructing casually in real life situations.

Make sure it’s sctually social anxiety rather than simple lack of social knowledge/skills or other kids excluding him as their development progresses more rapidly/in a different direction to his. Or even just a preference for being alone ( you can like having friends and still want or need an atypical amount of alone time). Don’t make any assumptions about why he does or doesn’t do things socially - ask him first. Unless he’s told you otherwise, consider that anxiety isn’t the problem - or not the primary one, but a secondary consequence of things that medication for anxiety cannot fix/help with.
 
Be aware when reading replies here that SSRIs have been shown to work very differently for adolescents than they do for adults.

As much as he hates therapy it is the best option, though it can take a while to find a therapist that 'fits' right. The right medication can help a person cope and make a huge difference, but it just covers up the symptoms, is doesn't address the root problem.

Unless the problem is biological, or maybe you're just talking about this case.
 
Unless the problem is biological, or maybe you're just talking about this case.
Quite right, although I would say that just because a mental illness has biological causes doesn't mean it can't be treated by therapy. The brain is incredibly plastic. I was talking about this case with a wider consideration of social anxiety disorder in general. There are some mental illnesses for which therapy is ineffective, but social anxiety is not one of them.
 
I'd echo what others have already said - not initiating interactions with other kids doesn't necessarily mean he's socially anxious, and you'd need to ask him how he feels about it. If he has special interests, it's worth looking at those and seeing if they can be something which would help him connect with others, if he wants connection. He'll be heading into the time when his brain will be "rewiring" - nerve fibres are changing how they link up, doing some things more efficiently than little kids' brains do, and it's normal for adolescents to find this time confusing and challenging,whether they're autistic or not. I too would be wary of jumping to medication as the first management for it: we know so very little about what these drugs will do to the maturing brain. Other therapies may focus too much on trying to make the autistic mind "fit in" with social norms though, which may make the autism "look better" but actually suppresses what is natural for us. That's why I'd go for the special interests option. We know that autistic people often find it easier to communicate with each other, and if he can find similar minds to interact with, he'll find it much more rewarding than trying to shoehorn himself into a world he doesn't click with.
 
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