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.
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!
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.
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.