When he came to our in-patient psychiatry program he was on nine different medications, including four antipsychotics, two ADHD medications, two medications for depression, and Ativan. His extra-pyramidal symptoms from being over-medicated were so severe he appeared Parkinsonian. He had a shuffling gait, mask-like facies, and cog-wheel rigidity with involuntary movement. He was only nine years old. Caregivers had tried to suppress his behavioral problems and aggression with medications, but his behavior would resurface as a cry for help again and again. I was a third year medical student on my child and adolescent psychiatry elective. I had originally believed I would pursue Family Medicine, until I met this remarkable boy. As we stripped away the medications and a bright and tender boy surfaced, the neuromuscular symptoms resolved and his emotions came pouring out. It was so genuinely rewarding to see him make progress once he was allowed to speak his mind freely. Recovery is possible when you help patients feel safe and allow them a voice. That experience led me to pursue child and adolescent psychiatry, with the hope that I can give young people with mental health challenges a chance and allow them the opportunity to achieve their full potential.

–4th Year Osteopathic Medical Student

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