to medicate or not to medicate ADHD?
  • littlebitz
    Posts: 123Member DS8 was diagnosed with ADHD in Jan. The Dr. Went over pros and cons of medication and we decided not to. Now I am second guessing myself. On one hand, I think ADHD can be lived with and is just often overdiagnosed. My DS is very bright and I feel like it is just part of his quirky personality. But as a teacher I know how hard it is for the student and teacher when medication is not used. What should I do?
  • LilbitLilbit
    Posts: 1,887Member
    I was diagnosed ADHD at 8yrs old my mom decided to put me on ridilin (sp?)...that lasted a whole 2 weeks. She said it made me mean. She ended up taking me to this place that helped me learn to focus my energy else where but still maintain concentration. It is a form of biofeedback and it worked for me....

    I didnt read the whole article but that looked like what  did.
  • PurpleFlowersPurpleFlowers
    Posts: 6,043Member
    Ds11 just started Focalin a few weeks ago and his teacher already has told me its making a difference. :D
    Stay away from my chocolate and nobody gets hurt!

    I think I like who I am becoming...
  • FierceFierce
    Posts: 93Member
    My DS8 is also ADHD.  I am really against putting chemicals into my kids, and will not do it simply because it makes things easier for other people.

    That being said, I did feel meds were necessary because not only is he continually disruptive in class, but he can't control himself.  He just can't.  It upsets him, and that was the deciding factor.  We talked about it at length and tried Vyvanse to start with.  It worked, but the side effects outnumbered the benefits.  He finished out the school year without meds and it was so damn hard.  :(  

    I've been looking into natural alternatives, but the one we've tried did absolutely nothing.

  • chaosmomchaosmom
    Posts: 4,186Member
    I think it depends on the severity & how much it is affecting the child. My ds13 has inattentive ADD. We started seeing problems early on but fought through it until he hit 6th grade. Then it just became to difficult. He was stressed out & really struggling with school demands. It got to the point, it was taking him 5 hrs a night to get his homework done & he was just exhausted. His grades were slipping. He just wasn't happy. We started him on medicine & his grades immediately went from C's to A/B Honor Roll. Homework was done in an hour or less. He enjoyed doing stuff again & felt better about himself. So, for us, medicine was the answer. Behavior modification only went so far.
  • MegsueMegsue
    Posts: 1,846Member
    You need to do what you feel is right for your son. Involve his teacher too. Find out how s/he feels about how disruptive DS is in class, and how his ADHD is effecting his schoolwork. Talk to your son too. Does he feel like he can work on his concentration enough without medication to make it trough the school day, or is he having such a hard time doing this that he thinks he may need medication? Pills are not a cure, nor do they work any magic, they are a tool that HELP; and sometimes it takes a while to find which one and what dose is going to work best for him. Let the doctor do this...there's nothing docs hate more than someone telling them how to do their job...that said, if you do decide on medication, good feedback is a doc's best friend. The doc can't make necessary and correct adjustments if they don't know what's going on or that there is a problem with it in the first place. I wish you luck! Something tells me (read: literally bouncing not-a-baby-anymore-boy) I'm going to be in your shoes in a few years.
  • littlebitz
    Posts: 123Member
    Thank you all for your input. We have not even told DS he has adhd, we don't want him to feel "labeled". I think I will try meds this summer. Soon so I can notice any bad side effects since I am home with the kids. He is going to the neighborhood school this year, and I quit my teaching job so hopefully I can be more on top of things.
  • boring_nameboring_name
    Posts: 670Member
    @littlebitz really it comes down to how much is his ADHD affecting his education.  

    Push for an IEP or 504 plan so he can have the protections (regardless of meds or not) and accommodations can be made.
  • etherieletheriel
    Posts: 790Member

    DS10 was diagnosed with ADHD (combined) when he was 7. DD12 was diagnosed with ADHD (inattentive) when she was 10. For a while I tried behavioral techniques instead of meds, but eventually chose to put both of them on meds. For me it came down to their happiness and what makes life better for them.

    Although doing very well academically in school, DS was unhappy because he had no friends. He was "that kid" rolling around on the floor while the teacher was trying to teach and dancing in the outfield during baseball games. He would do things that he knew were wrong because he couldn't control himself and he would hate himself for it. He'd get frustrated with himself. He'd also get frustrated because even though he has many creative ideas, he was unable to sit still long enough to write or carry them out. He still has his quirks, but the meds help him to stop and make better decisions.

    DD wasn't doing very well in school because she couldn't focus enough to read more than a sentence or 2 at a time. When I'd ask her to read she'd throw toddler-like tantrums. Same thing when she was asked to do her chores. She also couldn't focus enough to even finish her own sentences most of the time. With meds, she has become an excellent reader, her grades are all As, she's earning commended scores on state exams, and chores no longer induce 2 hour long tantrums.

    With meds, both of my kids are much, much happier.

    If I'm not supposed to do it, how come I can?
  • episcopal
    Posts: 1,851Member
    I was diagnosed with adult ADD (inattentive form) back in 2002.  Shrink put me on Adderall and has worked like a charm from the beginning.  DW noticed a big difference once my body got used to it.  I'm 48 and wished I had been diagnosed when I was a kid.  I recognized the symptoms way back when.

    Some folks are able to manage their symptoms w/o meds, which is great.  It can be trial and error getting the correct dosage down, but medication works well for a lot of people.

    As long as you trust your doctor and keep him or her abreast of any side affects, use medication if you'd like! 
  • episcopal
    Posts: 1,851Member
    @etheriel, your description of what you DS is going through describes me at that age just about to a tee.  Even with Adderall, I still can be distracted by a lot of different things when I should be focusing on the task at hand.  I don't recall every dancing in the outfield, though, but I do remember playing right field in gym class because not many fly balls came out that way!
  • Charlotte_SometimesCharlotte_Sometimes
    Posts: 1,761Member
    My friend's 2 children are both diagnosed with ADD (one inattentive, one hyperactive) and she resisted meds for a long time.  Then when they were in high school and middle school, respectively, she decided to give it a shot and she said that the difference was AMAZING and she wished she'd done it earlier.

    I am on the fence.  DS14 has always had accommodating teachers but he still struggles so much and I am one of those who should have been diagnosed way back but when I was a kid they didn't know as much about it all and just yelled at me for daydreaming, not listening, being disorganized, etc.
    My DS14 has asked about possible meds so we might just give it a shot.  I know it is very hard for him, he feels incompetent though he is super smart... :( 

    "But a lesson must be lived in order to be learned" Ani DiFranco, Manhole
    "Screw you guys! I'm going home." Eric Cartman
  • littlebitz
    Posts: 123Member
    I tried to get a 504 plan and was denied-at the same freaking school I was a teacher at! The special ed. Director didn't feel he needs one. So I quit that job, and he is going to go to our neighborhood school. I hope with meds/counselling in place it will be a frsh start for the upcoming school year.
  • episcopal
    Posts: 1,851Member
    @Charlotte_Sometimes, I had the same type of experience growing up.  The only kids who got any kind of intervention were those who were severely ADHD.  Those kids were simply labeled as "hyperactive."  Ritalin would have have done wonders for me.  I would not have struggled so hard in HS and college.  Grades I'm sure would have been so much better.
  • BassmomBassmom
    Posts: 474Member

    I too have struggled with this problem.  I chose not to medicate, and sometimes I wonder if I made the right decision.  It does work for many kids but I am afraid of the side effects and what it will do to his body.  His second grade teacher had two kids on meds and basically seemed to look down on us because my son was not on meds. 

    I feel like whatever I decide to do there are negative consequences.  So I just try to do behavior modification.  If it gets to the point where he simply cant function anymore, then I will seriously consider putting him on meds.

    It is so hard to know what is best for YOUR child, they are all different and have varying degrees of ADHD.  HUGS to you!

  • littlebitz
    Posts: 123Member
    Thank you all for the advice and sharing your experiences.
  • AnonUser30
    Posts: 1,916Guest
    As an adult who didn't believe in meds and finally had to do it or go crazy - being on meds changed my life. Like @episcopal I'm on Adderall and from day 1 my life became manageable. Not only that, I cut out caffeine except my morning coffee. I'd been self medicating with massive caffeine doses.

    3 months ago I'd say NO to meds. Now that I realize the difference in how the world seems to me, I say put aside your prejudice and try to figure out a quality of life that works for your SON. That may or may not be meds, but at least open your mind.

    I also skip my meds a couple of days a week to lessen the rebound, and help to lessen addiction risk. Those days OT seems to still be somewhat in my system - but 3 days off and I'm crazy, scattered and the world moves so fast I can't catch a thought. I also start screwing up things, forgetting things, lose things, and generally my life begins to spiral into a hot mess again.
  • wtfwit
    Posts: 221Member

    My son @ 10 was diagnosed with ADHD. His doctor stated she wouldn't prescribe anything but intuniv and try things like some coffee or mountain dew in the morning and lunch. Withing a month we saw SOME improvement but he still seemed foggy. He would be trying so hard to read or understand homework but he just had this "stoned" look to him. He was having bathroom issues and would just want to sleep or be in a blanket all over the damn house.

    I was worried he was getting depressed, so we went back to dr. She ran some labs.... He was diagnosed with hypothyroidism. Since beginning treatment for that, OMG I have my baby back!! We decided to take him off intuniv to see how treatment for just his hypothyroidism worked for him. Thats all he needed. I still get calls about him getting off task, but not enough to get meds for. He is making pretty good grades and stays out of trouble.

     If I were to have had to chose though, I wouldnt put him on ridilin or aterol. My dr stated they are similar to cocaine, and that i would have to take my child to a therapist to get those meds. I have little cousins that are on those meds, and I just dont like how those meds make them act. But some people as you can see above react well to that kind of treatment. So I guess you will just have to experience it yourself.

  • OtakuHimeOtakuHime
    Posts: 357Member
    My son has ADHD and I decided against medication. Did try several types they all made him groggy, mean, or just not himself. He also has brain damage, so the meds didn't work like they were supposed to. We do behavior modification, and it's helped tremendously.
  • jsprat96
    Posts: 1Member
    My son has ADHD (inattentive) and couldn't follow multi-step directions to save his life.  On top of it, his brain would fixate on one upsetting thing and cause him major anxiety.  I was worried about meds, but as a high school teacher, I've seen what happens when kids aren't medicated, although they have a diagnosis.  It's not fun for anyone--especially the kids and their parents.  I finally went with meds for my son because, as the doc put it, you can try to help them focus all you want, but if they have never FELT what it means to focus, how can they learn to do it?  We started on Adderall, which worked great for a year, but the rebound really messed with his anxiety and we even had to hospitalize him for it a couple of times.  He went "cold turkey" for about 6 weeks, but after his being able to focus for a year, we realized how much better he did everywhere with the meds.  The doc put him on Tenex (same as Intuniv) and it has been great.  The only time the anxiety comes back is when he needs his dosage raised.  He has an appetite and no rebound effect.  The trick with the meds--if you choose that route--is to keep trying.  There are so many different ones out there that if one has nasty side effects, then you can try another.  Is my son perfectly focuse?  No.  Does he get all A's?  Nope, but he's happier because he calm himself and his brain isn't racing a mile a second.  And that is worth it.
  • princessandmummy
    Posts: 15Member
    ah yes the old to medicate or not to medicate. i am 23 years old and i am still ADD (someone tried to tell me you grow out of it, this is FALSE information people! Its not something to can grow out of, ADD/ADHD is a MEDICAL DISORDER/ LEARNING DISORDER, not a behavioural issue) when i was 13 i was taken off the medication (Dexamphetamine) by my father who is also ADD (ADD and ADHD now comes under the same umberella it depends on what you want to call it) because he stated that he had delt with it for all of his life therefore i could deal with it with medication. BAD IDEA! you have 2 types of ADD and ADHD. the first type is those who can use meditation and and Herbal therapies and it works, the other type is the ones who need to medication to function. from 14 onwards i tried the herbal and the meditation and it didnt work for me. i am a medication type of ADD/ADHD. i think if your not sure try the others first and do a SUPERVISED trial on a LOW DOSAGE and record the difference. you have nothing to loose and alot to gain. i am back onto my meds now after going through lots to FINALLY get someone to put me back on them. im excited as it means i can do my nursing course and get a career which beforehand i struggled to do
  • chaosmomchaosmom
    Posts: 4,186Member
    @livinthedream, ds13 is on Vyvanse now, which can be very addictive also. He does drug free weekends & track outs unless he has something going on where he needs to be able to focus. I like it because it allows his body a chance to get a break from processing the meds & helps him from getting used to that level so we don't have to increase it.
  • CSmith
    Posts: 40Member

    My son, who is now 20, has ADHD. First, let me say that I think it is way over diagnosed and is often just a matter of bratty kids and/or teachers expecting way to much patience and concentration from young kids, especially little boys. My son had obvious problems focusing and literally could NOT sit still for even a few minutes. He constantly tapped his fingers, stomped his feet or fidgeted. I absolutely agreed that he had ADHD, but decided not to medicate. My reasoning was that this was not going to go away, this is who he is and I did not want him to be on medication for his entire life. And, these medicines can have some serious side-effects, especially in the long-term.

    Instead, I've tried to help him learn to live with it. When he was small we did things like "practice patience", where we would tell him yes to a treat or a fun activity but force him to wait calmly for it, starting with just a few minutes and moving up to things that were days away. We did lots of focusing activities. Some of these, like sorting colored blocks into patterns, are easy for most kids but like torture for an ADHD kid. We just always started small with short time periods and worked up. We had to help him learn to be really aware of how he was thinking and behaving so he could learn to control himself. We would give him tasks with several steps and multiple instructions. At first we would remind him, "you just did this now you should do that" and then worked up to having him tell us what he should be doing/thinking about. We did these things every day, always starting small and working up.

    I think we had a fair amount of success, as an adult he is still hyper but he knows it and can calm himself if he needs to. He does well in his job and is just a fun,( if a little scatter-brained) quirky person.

    We like to say that he marches to the beat of his own band, not just his own drummer.

    I know this is long, but I hope it helps.

  • Monkeynmoo
    Posts: 1,420Guest
    I didn't read all te comments before but increase his omega 3 intake, I have ADHD and it works like magic. I swallow a capsule in the morning and am good all day! Natural and effective, my homeopathic dr friend recommended it!
  • Monkeynmoo
    Posts: 1,420Guest
    Also try to increase his intake of phosphatidylserine, it can be found in most meats but is highest in cow brain.... Gross I know but it really tastes like ground beef... I ate tacos made out of it and didn't even know til someone told me what I was eating. The recommended dose for a child with add is double that of a person without so 260 mg daily. Besides cow brain you can find high amounts of it in mackerel, herring, chicken LEGS and white beans but soy is the second best!

    Our bodies need this phospholipid to build brain cell membranes that are fluid enough to release the neurotransmitters acetylcholine and dopamine, but luckily, our brains normally manufacture enough phosphatidylserine (PS) to keep us in top mental order. However, in children with ADHD the brain does not manufatur enough causing forgetfulness and short attention spans.

    Hope this helps a little :)

  • littlebitz
    Posts: 123Member
    Ok, I was leaning toward medication, discussed it with my husband and he is strongly against it. Then after hearing some of your ladies experiences and thinking about my son ' am not going to. I want to add a little history of my DS8: for kinder he went to an awesome private school w/12 kids in the class, teacher that we was borderline gifted, and he was reading 2 ndgrade level by the end of kinder (some kids were reading chapter books!). Then for 1st grade he transferred to the school I work at. He I very distracted in class, some of the kids didn't even know the alphabet so the teacher was of course focused on those kids. DS class is boring, he already know how to read, blah blah. So I request he be tested for gifted and he scores at 95% , kids are gifted at 97% in our school. He is supposed to be given harder work but teacher doesn't because "he plays too much, so he probably can't do it anyway" Sooo for 2nd and 3rd it is the same story but now homework struggles and low grades set in. But he knows how to do it, if I set him down to do it he whips it out. I am just going to declare it a case of a bright kid bored with school and will supplement his learning at home. Homeschool is aslo an option as I will be staying at home for a while. Also because he has tics now and epilepsy runs in DH family, Dr. Says both stimulant and non~stimulant meds will aggravate both those conditions. So meds free it is!!!
  • bombkittybombkitty
    Posts: 306Member
    Hard decision.  My DS15 and I are both inattentive ADD.  I have never taken meds, I tried Ritalin as an adult and it just make me mean.  My son was having real concentration issues in school, could not sit still, could not let anyone else talk.  We tried him on the lowest possible dose of Concerta and it was like a miracle.  It didn't change him, per se, just took the edge off so he could concentrate.  
    I consume caffeine when I need to calm down, during the summer my son does the same.  The benefit to Concerta is it slow-releases all day and caffeine doesn't do that.
    Good luck on your decision, there's no right or wrong, just what works for your family!
  • AnonUser30
    Posts: 1,916Guest
    @littlebitz - you kind of left off an important detail with his epilepsy. As aother of a child with intractable epilepsy THAT ONE THING changes it. If he has seizures already, don't lower his threshold by messing with his brain chemistry.
  • littlebitz
    Posts: 123Member
    He doesn't have epilepsy, it Runs in DH's family. His aunt and 2 cousins have it, so dr. Said not a good idea to use those meds.