The Decision to Medicate

The Decision to Medicate

The fourth pharmacy I tried finally took the prescription from my hands. “Yes, we have this,” the pharmacist replied. “But just so you know, it is a controlled substance. You will need to have a new prescription handwritten from your doctor every month to obtain refills.”

I nodded my head and looked away quickly, trying to hold it together. She filled the bottle with thirty innocuous-looking capsules and sent it to me through a chute in a bag filled with paperwork. “Do you have any questions?”

Yes. Yes, I have a million questions. “No, thank you,” I said, and I rolled up my car window and drove away, the tears already down my cheeks as I made the turn out of the pharmacy parking lot.

When I was pregnant with my son, I followed every rule. I took all my prenatal vitamins. I didn’t drink artificial sweeteners, didn’t eat deli meat, didn’t let a drop of alcohol pass my lips. I craved Thai food and wasabi, but I wouldn’t eat it with raw sushi, only cooked. I wouldn’t let my bathwater get too hot and I didn’t take so much as a Tylenol. I was the kind of pregnant woman who found reassurance and security in the “rules;” I didn’t mind playing it safe for nine months. It made me feel better, like I was guaranteeing something with my puritanical abstinence. I was relieved when he was born hale and hearty.

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Ten years later, in the worn passenger seat of my beleaguered minivan, I had a bottle of amphetamines with that baby’s name on it. I held the bottle in my hand as I read through the literature in the parking lot of Starbucks, unable to take it home quite yet. Among the potential side effects: increased blood pressure and heart rate, psychotic symptoms such as hearing voices, addiction, sudden death. I placed my head on the steering wheel and opened the floodgates.

We are the family that never has Motrin handy when someone has a headache or a fever. We don’t even take vitamins. We’re not opposed to medication, but we take it so rarely that we’re always throwing out expired bottles. I try to find the “safest” sunscreen, I give my boys the kind of deodorant that doesn’t have aluminum or parabens in it, and I buy organic produce and milk. In general, I am risk-averse. The thought of putting my child on what is essentially speed is, frankly, horrifying to me.

This is a child I exclusively breastfed for over a year just to avoid changing the “flora and fauna of his gut” by introducing formula into his diet. That notion seems so ridiculous and naive to me now, as I  change his brain chemistry with drugs. On purpose. 

Years of questions came before that moment I placed my head on my steering wheel. Is this normal? Why isn’t he happy? Why does he hate school? Why is he angry all the time? Can we help him? How do we help him? Will he always be like this? There were so many nights I cried myself to sleep, so many times I begged for an answer. I read books and websites. We saw doctors, counselors, therapists, psychiatrists. We tried cognitive behavioral therapy, breathing exercises, and coping strategies. As it turns out, the human brain is is not simple. There are no easy, sure answers.

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I read articles that terrified me, others that shamed me. I considered alternative schools or homeschooling, but that is not what my son wanted, and his issues were not confined, or even really centered around, school. He wanted stability and to stay with his friends, the people who make him happiest; I couldn’t take him away from them. I worked with his teachers, all of whom loved him, worked with him and me, emailed and called me regularly. After three years of trying everything else, we exhausted all our other possibilities. It was time to try medication.

So we did, but not without great reluctance and hesitation. Not without hearts so heavy that I had moments when I seriously considered the thought that I just couldn’t do it. How do you give your child a controlled substance, addictive drugs, and act like it’s a normal thing to do? No mother ever starts a journey with a child thinking that she will end up medicating her baby. But on the other hand, how do you not try everything in your power to help your child who struggles every day of his life with demons you cannot beat down through sheer force of will and all the therapy money can buy? I said I would do anything to make the world easier for my little boy, who loves so fiercely and works so hard and yet still struggles. I had to try.

Parenting, from start to finish, is one big leap of faith. All we do – from the moment someone places a baby in our eager arms to the moment we watch our grown children walk away from us under their own power – is gather the information we have at any given moment and make the best decision we can with that information. There are always a million unknowns, a million what-ifs, a million possibilities at play, but in the end, we have to trust ourselves and make a decision. It’s the most frightening part of parenting: at some point, we are forced to understand that no matter how many rules we follow and no matter how much research we do, we can never know or control everything. There are no guarantees. We might make the wrong decision. We might make the right one. We can’t see that far ahead, but we have to move forward anyway.

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So we hold our children’s hands, and we jump.

I can’t say yet if medication is the answer, or if it will change my son’s life our our family’s. I can’t say if it will finally lift the burden of whatever weighs down his shoulders and his heart and allow him to smile more often at home and maybe even enjoy school, where he has always received mostly As and he is well loved, but he has been miserable. I can say that I have seen flashes of light, glimpses of smiles I would not have seen before, and a calm in our house that we have never known in the past few weeks.

And for the first time in a long time, I have hope.

About the writer

The author of this piece has chosen to write anonymously solely to protect her child’s privacy. It is her hope to reach other mothers in similar positions and make them feel less alone in this isolating moment in parenting.

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PatiC 12 hours ago

Thank you for this article. You are engaged and attuned and accepting your son as a whole person: strengths and challenges alike. We’d all be fortunate to have a mother like you.

Liz 15 hours ago

I have been in your shoes, My son was a bit younger but I did everything by the book also. We were not for medication such as this, but it has been the best thing for my son. It does not work for all children and it does have some side effects varying from child to child, but it has worked for us. My child now succeeds in school and is happier and lighter at heart. I hope and pray that you find the right balance for yours!

Taura 22 hours ago

♡ Incredibly well put together – thank you for sharing this.

Maria 1 day ago

Thank you for sharing the words I have felt for so long. We spent years avoiding medication for my son. There was just no part of “altering his brain chemicals” that sounded ok to me, but in the end I had to admit that my own prejudice might be keeping him from the one treatment that would help him. And as much as I hate to admit it, medication has made ALL the difference.

Brenda 1 day ago

Your story sounds similar to mine. We finally medicated reluctantly and with the lowest dose possible. I then decided to give essential oils as a last effort and we were happy with the results. At least now we don’t have the concern of side effects

Carrie 1 day ago

Must be nice Shell to be a perfect parent with all the answers. Remind me to check with you on all my kids’ life decisions so I can do them right.

Medication may improve the situation or make it worse as it did for someone I know.

People so the best they can. Slide down from your high horse and join the rest of us…

Shell 1 day ago

I feel you are being selfish by waiting so long to allow your child to feel happiness. The problems he is having are give times as hard on him as they are you. You should be proud that the medication will help him be his best.

Bonnie 1 day ago

Thanks for writing that. I am currently sitting outside my sons dr office as he telling him how sad he is. Sometime I feel like I am alone and I see I am not. Thank you for making my day a little better

Sarah 1 day ago

It’s like I wrote this. We’re in the same boat. We tried everything for our boy just short of a rain dance. Gluten free, red dye free, occupational therapy (ot helped a bit),, you name it, we tried it. I cried a river when we resorted to meds. Like you,we never use medicine. But since he’s been on medication there has been significant improvement in almost every aspect of his life. I’m still hawkeyeing strange side-effects, though. Best of luck to all of you — type doing what you have to do, momma.

Shari 1 day ago

I have walked in those shoes. With tears in my eyes, I nodded my head through the entire article.

Amanda 1 day ago

Thanks a lot. Crying at my desk.
This hits home in such a real way for me. Maybe I wasn’t quite as diligent as the author, but I too, tried to do all the right things and am adverse to medications. Especially one taken every day! My son struggled in school for years. Even before he began kindergarten we sought out help as we knew something was amiss, but no one had answers. For us it was a big mess as we couldn’t even get a diagnosis so we had no where to turn. Every year I had the same conversations with teachers and administrators. They said get him tested, I’d said I’ve done that. They’d say let’s try this and we’d try that. There was never lasting improvement, instead it was just a roller coaster that we all rode on. Medication had been thrown out a few times and every time I ignored the suggestion. I was not going to medicate my son. I was not going to make him into someone he is not. A little over two years ago I broke. Much like this mom, crying in a parking lot. The school pushed it on us and while I don’t think it was necessarily right for them to do so, I am now grateful we took the leap. Every step along the way of obtaining the medication was torture for me and reading that list of side effects— AWFUL. Huge pangs of guilt hit me every time I handed him a pill.
In the end I had to do what was best for my son, and helping him being able to achieve success was my goal. I owed it to him and myself to at least try, we just had to, we had no other options. So we did. I didn’t even tell his teacher that he started it but the first day he took the pill she called me to said he had the best day he did all year. A part of me still dislikes that he has to take the pill but a larger part of me is unbelievably happy for his success. And the best part is that even with the medicine he is still my amazing, totally weird, loving son. My biggest fear is I would lose “him” to the medicine, and I haven’t.
Good luck to you just keep an open mind and be ready for some bumpiness on this new road. We did have to try two different pills and then there are occasional dosage adjustments. At the end of the day I don’t regret the decision to medicate him.

Sari 2 days ago

As an adult who *still* struggles with Predominantly Inattentive ADHD, I want you to know that you are doing the right thing here. It’s scary to feel so unable to control your son’s symptoms. It’s scary for him too. But actively addressing his symptoms with meds, in combination with teaching and employing routinization and going through CBT will help him learn to function in the world without some of the horrible byproducts of untreated ADHD. Being unable to hold a job, maintain relationships, or be financially competent are real consequences that can negatively affect him (and you as his parent) far into adulthood.

BTW, please don’t beat yourself up for his disorder or apologize for seeking treatment for it. ADHD, when acurately diagnosed and treated, can actually have positive aspects. We learn to see things in different ways, pick up new skills easily, and are exceptionally curious and creative. Look for positives in your son and highlight them to him! He needs encouragement and to know that he’s not just a problem to be fixed! Luck and love to your family!

Naiara 2 days ago

You are very brave. I wish you all the best for you and your family.

Grammy – Caregiver 2 days ago

Kudo’s to you for being brave enough to go against your core beliefs for the sake of your child. Dont’t expect everyone to understand – just keep doing everything in your power to improve his life and your family’s. There will be many tweaks along the way to his meds, but it will pay off in the end. He needs you to be his total advocate and never apologize for your decision. You Rock. You are on the right track. Give yourself a hug and Don’t ever look back. Hugs. Find others in the same situation for support.

Kiki 2 days ago

Your story is very familiar to mine. I’m sorry to hear what you went through but you have made a good decision. My son has ADHD but unfortunately his body doesn’t tolerate stimulants. Like you I did everything I could to make it a healthy and happy pregnancy, I breastfed for 22 months, I made his baby food for the first 8 months of eating solids, we did all the mommy and me classes (which were difficult with him). And naturally I blamed myself when my son didn’t fit into the square boxes he was supposed to fit into at school. It was only after a year’s journey of learning and self discovery (with lots and lots of tears) that I understood my son and the amazing gift that he is and how to help him grow and learn without hating himself and his school. I recommend reading the books of Dr. Ned Hallowell for some guidance, if you need any. He does a one week camp in Michigan in the summer which completely changed our lives. I learned more in one week than in a whole year of doctor visits and reading a dozen books. And so did my son. Also, if you can, look into a true Montessori school. They go all the way to 12th grade and the learning is so very different from a traditional school. It’s all hands on. My son has very little time for daydreaming. And they are small classes which makes a huge difference. Good luck. Each journey is different, I hope your family finds the best way that works for you and lots and lots of laughter and smiles.

HisMommy 2 days ago

Honestly I felt a since of relief when my son got his. He was in second grade. Now a freshman in high school he has personally cut his dose in half. I’m so proud of him for becoming a mature young man for all of his struggles in life. Last year when promoting from 8th grade he had a strong B average. A month into high school and wow. My boy is truly a young man. Thank you so much for writing this. I was so scared the first time I ever had to give him these drugs. You’re doing great mama. We each parent in our own way.

Bookcat 2 days ago

I really can’t tell enough from this article. The exact problems the child is having are obscured. But I can tell anyone who wants to know that I was absolutely miserable every single day I was in school from age 3 to 16. I was always angry, too, and the solution, if anyone had been brave enough to consider it, was NO SCHOOL.

Kristi 2 days ago

Your doing what needs to be done to help your child live the best life he can to the fullest. As I read it made me happy to see you tried everything without giving up. Unfortunately there are so many parents who medicate first and worry later. Your doing the right thing.. I hope it gives your family and most importantly your son some freedom from his pain.

Elizabeth 2 days ago

Truth! We struggled with the same, tried everything and reluctantly went to medication. Our son functions better with it, although there are still struggles. We had a lot of support from many people, and unfortunately we were also chastised by some. The bottom line is we could no longer watch our son go through life struggling and we had to have a leap of faith. Bless you and your family. We and so many others understand.

Denise 2 days ago

We struggled too….I did everything right during my pregnancy and knew by 18 months something was not right. He has been “dismissed” from 7 day care arrangements due to his behavior by 4 1/2 years old. Tried diet changes, counseling, essential oils, more sleep, etc. Nothing was working. At 5 after a neuropsychological we reluctantly agreed to try meds. He is now 5 1/2 years old and is on 3 meds (no stimulates yet….) and has improved some. 3 weeks into kindergarten and has his first ISS. Hoping to find the right treatment for him soon! Nice to know we are not alone. Thank you for sharing.

Cheryl 2 days ago

i will share with you what finally made me okay with the medications. We aren’t nearly as conscientious as you in some areas, but still I worried about the medication. I was sitting at a table sharing a meal with some friends while at a scrap booking retreat. The subject comes up as it often does between mothers and one of the women spoke up. You see she was an ADHD sufferer as well and she spoke of how the medication made her life 110% better. That for her it “took the itch away.” That it helped her so much that we shouldn’t, not even for a second, feel guilty that we chose to help our kids in this manner. I can’t tell you how much of a weight this lifted for me. Keep up the good work Mom.

Becky H 2 days ago

i have no guilt about my son’s ADHD and anxiety medication. It is as important to his health as the muscle relaxers my husband must take to function without debilitating back pain. It is as important as my best friend ‘s Tamoxifen after breast cancer. There is no shame in regulating one’s brain chemistry if necessary, just as there is no shame in regulating one’s blood sugar with insulin if necessary. I refuse to feel like anything but a good mom for getting my son the help he needs. The author ‘s bio states that she wants to help others feel “less alone in this isolating moment.” But guess what? A) You are FAR from alone! And B) The moment is only isolating if you choose to isolate yourself. Help remove the stigma! My son does, every day, when he is open and honest about his conditions. I have fostered that in him. There is no shame.

folkiecarla 2 days ago

A tough decision for sure. Medication has made all the difference to my sons life. He’s happy and focus and the best of himself he can be. He’s a competitive athlete and does well at school. He is the poster boy for medication, when we found the right one, its was immediately noticeable. As he ages, he may chose to stop taking it but for the time being, he’s happy and as a result we are happy for him.

Jenny H 2 days ago

My son is doing Biofeedback. It is changing his world and our family’s. I tried medication as well but the results were short lived. Look into it. I’m so happy I did.

E 2 days ago

We went through the exact same process with our daughter. She’s the eldest of three girls, so the decision not only came about for the benefit of her but others around her. Our house is calm now. She is happy and doing better at school and we can finally have a focused conversation with her.

Thank you 2 days ago

Thank you for this. I am in tears because like you I feel like I tried to have a healthy pregnancy and only use Tylenol with my child when necessary. I am glad I am not alone. We tried many avenues before medication. My son now functions somewhat better. There are still struggling days but for the most part days are good. Good luck to you and take it a day at a time.

Another mom like you 2 days ago

Good job mom! You may not want this but it’s what your child needs. It’s not what I wanted but it makes her world so much different and better. That is how I put one foot in front of the other. It makes her world better.

Russette 2 days ago

I was very reluctant to medicate my son until he became suicidal at the age of 10 and had to be hospitalized.
He’s doing fine! He’s thriving! Sometimes medication is the answer. It gave him a chance. It saved his life!

Heather 2 days ago

What an amazingly beautiful article you have written. You have given many mothers hope and peace from sharing this. Thank you for your willingness to share.

Lisa 2 days ago

Thank you for writing this. I am taking my first steps on a similar journey with my son and I could totally relate
relate. (Sigh)

Emily 2 days ago

Ritalin and Adderall have changed our family’s lives for the best. My daughter ( the one on Ritalin) can now sit still-ish, can focus, can communicate clearly, and can relate to others.
I take Adderall. I now can focus on a chore or activity for an hour more. I can sign through a movie.

Michele 2 days ago

I think it is a shame that we make you feel so bad about this. I say “we” because I do think society plays a role in how these meds are viewed, Even if you don’t otherwise give or take a lot of medication, would you feel the slightest bit bad giving your son anribiotics if he had an infection? I am not saying that you should be rushing to medicate now, but there is more similarity to the antoniotic scenario than we may think …. emotional and mental health are just as important and there shouldn’t be so much pressure on the decision to treat it. You clearly have tried everything else and are giving him a medication that a doctor you trust recommends. I wish you didn’t have to feel bad about that. Hopefully it will work and you will be at peace with your decision. You are doing what all good parents do, focusing on your child’s problem and doing your best to fix it. Nothing to feel bad about there. Best of luck.

Amy R 2 days ago

Thank you for sharing. It’s difficult, I’ve been there. I’m happy I’m not alone.

Sarcasmica 2 days ago

I hear ya loud & clear, sister. Nothing prepares you for that sinister bottle and all the expectations you try not to fill it with. My own beginners experience with it
http://sarcasmica.me/2015/07/29/how-its-going/

Stacy 2 days ago

We are right there with you….the most obvious change we saw from the right medication(and we went through a lot of expensive wrong ones) was her smile….we didn’t even realize how rarely we had been seeing it until it returned. It is heartbreaking and relieving when your answer to how the meds are working is “she smiles now”.

Amy 2 days ago

I could have written this last November, word for word. I even stopped drinking tea during pregnancy! Worst of all my twin brothers were diagnosed adhd as children and the medications they were given destroyed them. I had lived that, I had watched their personalities errode, I had seen how dark they grew inside, but ‘at least they were compliant at school’. They are now in their 30s and still reeling with the effects of those little white tablets. It sickens me I fed those tablets to my own son, but his school said it was meds or expulsion. So we trialed. And he grew dark, but at least he was compliant at school. 6 months into the trial my son, my precious boy looked me in the eye and told me he wished he was dead. That same darkness that stole my baby brothers had my 10 yr old son. We’re still battling with his withdrawal from those awful drugs, 6 months on them, only on school days too, not weekend or holidays, and it ruined him and I don’t care if I do have to home school him I will never put him through that again.

Elena 8 months ago

Thank you for sharing your story.

It’s so important to use whatever tools are available to help your child. Sometime the help comes in the form of a tablet or an injection. All types of medication have side effects, but you may not see them in your child. If your child were type 1 diabetic, the child would surely get his/her injections. If medication for period of time could be the answer, it is worth a try for everybody’s sanity.

Caroline 8 months ago

I, too, had to do this for my sweet baby boy. It’s so hard. When he was 10 years old, I wanted nothing more than to help him, and we tried everything. His pediatrician said one thing that really helped, “If he had diabetes or some other condition, you wouldn’t question treating it would you?” So we took a leap of faith. He’s now 14 and happy, well adjusted, with good grades! He’s now himself. Just know that you may need to try multiple medications to find the one that works best for him. But you will find it! And you’ll be amazed at how happy he is. Best of luck and hugs to you and your son!

Michelle 8 months ago

So true! Very well said. I felt the same way when we made the decision to medicate my then 8 year old daughter. After visiting psychiatrists & doctors, trying all sorts of diet changes, discipline, behavior modifications, etc. we felt there was no alternative. She has thrived! She is an A student and an extraordinary musician. She never had the focus to achieve so much prior to the medication. I hate it still, but she has been very successful on it. Best of luck to you and your family!!

Andrea 8 months ago

But you can look at it from the childs perspective….i had ADD as a child…i grew up thinking i was just stupid!! Then in my 20’s my neurologist told me i had ADD…this changed my life. I had struggled thru especially jr. high and high school, an associates degree and trying to obtain my 4 year….that is when i found out! The medication made a HUGE difference!! I graduated from a university in 2006. You see…everything your child learns is built upon as the years progress. The BEST thing you can do is help him or her with medication!! I went thru 30 years of thinking i was just stupid when things just didnt work like they were suppose to in my brain. You did nothing wrong…hes just wired differently…

Wendee 8 months ago

This is beautiful and almost exactly our struggle. Thank you for having the courage to write it for all of us who are dealing with this issue.

Tiffany 8 months ago

My 7 yo son has been dealing with what we now know is anxiety since he was 3. It has been a long journey to understanding his needs along with the isolation and judgement his father and I try to shelter him from everyday. It was heartbreaking when he talked about dying at the beginning of this school year and we have finally accepted that we have to give meds a fair chance, at this point. My baby is angry and hurting everyday and I cannot take it away from him, no matter how hard I try. Although it doesn’t necessarily make it easier to endure, knowing there are others out there in our shoes, it does give me hope and the strength to carry on, looking for answers and solutions. Thank you for having the courage to share your story and the wisdom to be respectful of your child’s right to discretion.

Cami 8 months ago

Wow, I can’t imagine. I am curious though, you saw doctors, counselors etc. but did you see a Naturopath? Did you modify his diet and introduce quality, natural supplements? In my own family, this has been a “game changer”.

Jenny 8 months ago

We have been going through this process for several years with our oldest. The scariest part is that after you make the hard decision to try meds, some of them don’t work, or even make things worse. It is so hard to take that leap, and then when it doesn’t work, you feel like you’re doing the wrong thing. But just like with depression medicine, it is not an exact science. Everyone’s brain is different, and different meds work differently for people. This is our 2nd year of meds, and I think we may have finally found the right one, or at least one that has enough benefits, with very little side effects to make it worth it.
Thank you for your honesty, for your openness, and being willing to share what you went through, what many of us are going through. Sometimes, meds are necessary.

Heather Martin 8 months ago

Thank you for sharing this journey. My 4yo son has struggled for 2 years with sensory issues, speech/learning delay, and major OCD tendencies. It would take me HOURS each night to get him to sleep- he couldn’t “come down”-ever. The constant movement & lack of sleep made our home of 7 very chaotic. Once I had tried everything, we finally got a neurologist to take a look. He prescribed clonidine to help him sleep. It has CHANGED OUR LIVES. My son’s especially. His ocd is gone, he is eating & sleeping well, and his learning & speech are so vastly improved in 2 months- mind blowing. This medicine has given us our son back! I waited weeks to fill the prescription, and I thank God everyday for the amazing improvements we’ve seen.
Blessings to you & yours!

Lara 8 months ago

You’re wonderful for sharing this, thank you and I have you and family in my thoughts. We’re so lucky to have some capability to use medicine to help with emotional and behavioral issues that stem purely from chemistry. Nobody would tell a person using a medical device to heal from a visible wound that they must be a personal failure. This is an age of loud-mouthed reactive punditry, I hope you ignore anyone criticizing people who are finding solutions for problems they haven’t experienced and so do not understand. You are an example of true parenting, for believing in your son’s potential and recognizing that he needs help, not punishment or shaming.

Casey 8 months ago

I have been to hell and back with my daughter who is 6.My doctor remembers when she was 2 that I said there was something not right with her.I did everything else possible,paediatricians,homeopaths,every vitamin available to try help her.Her moods were unbearable and her tantrums and anger so severe I battled with it every day.I took her to a psychiatrist who although reluctant to diagnose says she has severe anxiety and most likely ADHD,It took another year of trying various calming meds before we tried Ritalin.It has literally changed our lives,she is a relatively calm and happy little girl.
No mother on earth wants to medicate her child,but I know that it’s the best thing for her.The side effects of life without her medication are worse than any I have seen in an insert!

Frances Harville 8 months ago

About 14 years ago, my sister struggled with the same battle–medicate her ADHD son, or not. She hated it, but chose to medicate. It did help. Now that he’s 19, he is off meds, and doing fine. Unfortunately, my sister died of leukemia a year ago, and was not there for his graduation, or to see the way he’s handling life. He has adjusted, and as kids get older, they do learn to adapt. HE chose to go off the meds in high school, and learned to find a way to deal with it. Sometimes, we have to do things for our kids even when they don’t feel or seem right.

I have a 7-year-old girl with ADD, and who was born with multiple internal birth defects– bicuspid aortal valve, horseshoe (fused) kidney, and no functioning bladder. And I’ve found that in spite of the odds, you do exactly what you need to ensure your child has a happy, healthy, normal life. My little girl is happy, although she has days when she is sad because she is different…and we’re struggling to find ways to help her cope. She is incredibly intelligent, and probably just a little manipulative. But she’s thoughtful, generous, loyal, polite, friendly, and open-minded. When she was 3, her urologist performed surgery to create a neo-bladder for her, and she urinates now through a catheter inserted into her bellybutton. At each stage of her progress, we had to find some way to adapt. There are days when I wish I had a “normal” child, but then, she wouldn’t be the girl she is today. At each new change in her development, when we faced a new way of coping/dealing with her medical situation, there were initial qualms, and a part of me cried inside, but she needs us to be strong, and to show her how to handle life’s challenges. She’s never seen us balk at doing what we had to do…and so she is brave with the changes as they come, too.

Life, I have learned, is a roller-coaster that never lets you get off and rest a bit. You can do this. Your child can do this. You will adjust, adapt, and overcome… and in the long run, it will be worth it. Hang in there…

Francie

Kay 8 months ago

This isn’t applicable to everyone, and those who’ve been helped by conventional meds as most have in this thread might find your continually pushing your theory judgmental. Enough.

Angela Lopez 8 months ago

Although not diagnosed with the same condition, I so struggled (& still do;) with the decision to medicate my 8 year old ADHD child. I didn’t want it to change his personality, his energy, his spontaneous nature, and so many other things I love about him. I didn’t want to be judged as “one of those” Mom’s that medicate just because I couldn’t handle him. I didn’t want to risk side effects. All these negative thoughts ran through my head. Other than a week or so of overly emotional afternoons, its been so completely different from what I expected. He’s better able to concentrate at school & he has even said how much more focused he feels. So, after all the self induced stress, for our family its helped so much. I hope your family finds peace and comfort and the right dosage of whatever your child needs. Your child is very fortunate to have a parent who worries about them so much.

Samantha Ross 8 months ago

You have so perfectly put to words the emotional journey of deciding to medicate a child. It is never a simple decision, and it is a leap of faith. I completely understand why you would write this anonymously. I opted not to medicate my child and I often wonder if I should have put my debilitating fears aside and taken that leap of faith. Would he have been better off? Would it have made a difference? Thank you for writing this, and if it reaches even one person, you have made a difference.

BakerBaby 8 months ago

In tears because you wrote my story, so much more articulate than I ever could. Thank you and God Bless you for letting me know I’m not the only one.

Kay 8 months ago

Well said. Many kids whose parents are anti/Pharma end up alcoholics or drug dependent later in life. Very savvy on your part to consider!

Kay 8 months ago

Don’t let the door hit ya where The Lord split ya, you judgey broad.

Same position 8 months ago

Thanks for writing a beautiful article. I am struggling with the same issues and it spoke to me. Thanks for your bravery. I hope all goes well for your son and your family.

Dawn 8 months ago

Bless you and your family in this difficult time. I am dealing with emotional issues with one of my children. I’m not sure if medication is going to be an answer or noot. Stay strong and blessings.

Karen 1 year ago

ADHD and other mental issues are mostly genetic. It doesn’t matter how “good” a mother you are/were- your kid’s brain is not neurotypical, and never will be. Just as you would put your kid on insulin if she had diabetes, if meds are appropriate for your kid’s condition, you shouldn’t hesitate to put them on it.
My son talked daily about killing himself from age 5 to age 10, when I found a doctor who would prescribe anti-anxiety medicine. When he retired, and I interviewed doctors to get the Rx renewed, I ended up hanging up on one doctor. She obviously never lived through hearing her child talking about wanting to die! Daily. For Years. And yes, our house has been organic since 25 years before I got pregnant. Genes are genes.

Mary 1 year ago

When reading this beautiful article, I could not stop thinking about all the parents who have been there just like all of you. What I am about to say is something that i had to go through myself since our son was diagnosed with ADHD when he was not even 3. BUT after a year of medication, we heard about a fantastic cure and we are just abut finishing the treatment. We have stopped his medication about 15 days ago and he is a complete new person. We just can’t believe it. So I made myself a promise: I will help any parents who is looking for help and a cure. It is lots of information and I cant type it all in here but if you are interested, just put a comment with some kind of contact info and I will check the website and get back to you. This is for real. Our son is 8 now and I can’t believe all the changes that are happening. Stay strong!

Marisa 1 year ago

Hi – Thank you for this article. This is me. Almost. We have been trying to medicate and jumping hoops to try and get some – to find peace. To find relief from my sons anger. His tantrums. To help him in life. Trying after biofeedback didn’t work, after natural remedies didn’t work, after I realized that I was being selfish not medicating him.

Lauren 1 year ago

Thank you so much for this article. I hope it will allow more people to understand that sometimes medication is not a choice. I guess I could say my husband and I have a unique perspective on this issue. We are both diagnosed with Bi-polar Disorder I and ADHD. We both had difficult childhoods due to late diagnoses and parents who expected perfection. When our son was born we were overjoyed. We knew he had a higher likelihood than most of mental illness, though at the time we didn’t know how high it actually was, what we didn’t know was how soon he would start showing symptoms. We were pretty sure something wasn’t quite right by the age of three. He acted like sleep was his enemy, screaming for hours no matter what we did. He would literally bounce off the walls. He would not “hear” us talking to him unless we made sure he was actively looking at us and listening ( we had his hearing checked, his physical hearing is just fine). He got frustrated easily and could get violently angry over the littlest of things, like not being able to color within the lines the first time he tried. When we tried to get him help we were told he was too young. Then he started kindergarten and it was not pretty. People finally listened to us when he was expelled from Kindergarten. This snarling beast was not our kind, caring, intelligent, loving little boy. Even so, we tried everything before putting him on medication. He had behavior coaches, we had parenting coaches, we had him moved to a closed classroom ( which for him meant no more than 15 kids in a class at a time and three teachers), and more. We did make the decision to put him on medication. It was one of the best decisions we ever made. He was lucky too, the first medications we tried worked for him( when I say worked I mean he could be himself and make choices on his behavior, no zombie children for me, I know his meds are right because he can still make mistakes or be a brat even when he’s on them ) He is now 7 years old and will soon be entering the second grade. He thanks us everyday for his medications. He is a loving, caring, intelligent little man.

amber 1 year ago

Thank you…. So much for this.. For a moment it felt like I was reading the past two years of our lives in a book..

Message to the world from Thailand 1 year ago

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Michelle 1 year ago

Thank you! I’m struggling with this right now. We have tried so many things and we are coming to terms with maybe trying medications but we struggle with it. But at the same time I want to help him but without causing more harm. Thank you for writing thisn sometimes I feel alone in this struggle.

Louise Salter 1 year ago

the stigma does need to be eliminated BUT we also need to stop prescribing medication without trying other alternatives first. Prescription drugs seem to be given out like lollies and it is not good in my opinion because a lot of these drugs have had very little long term research conducted therefore the long term effects are unknown. It is always going to be a gamble taking drugs as they are poisons. We dont want our children to drink or smoke so why give them prescription drugs at a young age so willingly, is it because we trust doctors so much, fear our weaknesses or want a quick fix. I think people really need to become doctors themselves these days to be sure what is being given is not detrimental. I think medicate as a last resort but be sure you fully understand all aspects if you do medicate. What are the side effects, how does the drug work, how long does it need to be taken for, DO NOT STOP TAKING MEDS without guidance. So many people I know have been given antidepressants and they have never been given therapy and they hate the side effects and dont understand how the drug is meant to work and then they take it upon themselves to stop taking it which can cause more issues such as organ damage and chemical disruption just to name a couple. The amount of people abusing prescription meds is astounding and it is because they are so readily given out to pretty much anyone with very little hard evidence that the person is in fact needing that particular medication or any at all.
Sorry for ranting, its just a very prevalent topic for this day and age and I am glad you posted this.

At the moment I am helping care for a child who self harms and his mum wants him to be medicated but his dad wants to try other alternatives first, the child doesnt want to be medicated yet doesnt seem to be able to cope well with stressful situations in day to day life. Tough place to be in.

Marie Nicholls 1 year ago

My daughter sat still long enough to draw me a picture and write her name for the first time, I still tear up at watching her do that and it was almost 10years ago….. Hardest but best decision I have ever made for my girl, wouldn’t wish that decision on anyone though

Jaime-Lynne Patterson 1 year ago

Concerta has been amazing for my son ( He’s 8 )

Aaron Argo 1 year ago

Looks like that kid is dosing acid. LOL

Jaime-Lynne Patterson 1 year ago

and a great facebook page too! TONS and TONS of support there without any judgement!!

Jaime-Lynne Patterson 1 year ago

Wow, you must be a treat to be around…
If you don’t have anything positive to say, don’t, we don’t need you here trying to make everyone feel bad for what they choose for their own families.

Jaime-Lynne Patterson 1 year ago

I was wondering if I had written that myself 😉 ( my son is 8 and has Aspergers, ADHD and anxiety. )

Amber 1 year ago

I can’t stop crying. Thank you for sharing. I have two boys who have anger issues. They have both been to counseling and both have been through a brief trial of medication. We homeschool, which has been difficult for us this year. We go to a co-op that neither one of them actually want to be a part of. It’s hard. They don’t really get invited to stay with friends over night. They beg to see their friends, but I always get, ‘We’re busy, we have plans, etc.’. It’s heartbreaking. I can sympathize/empathize with many of you, if not all of you.

Leeann 1 year ago

I wish you and your son the very best.

We faced this same issue when my son was about the same age– mid- way through third grade. We had resisted medicating him and, like you, waited until we really felt there was little choice in the matter.

For us (and for us only, this is not a blanket statement) the medicine solved some problems (school was easier) and created other problems (lack of appetite, sleep issues, a strange “intensity” that made him prickly at home in the latter part of the day.) We kept him on medicine for the remainder of his third grade year, then off for the summer. On for fourth grade but I had him wean off starting in late April.. I was just over it and so was our whole family. At that point, we decided that the trade off was just not worth it for us.

My son is now completing his sixth grade year. He is doing really well- good weight and growth, happy, doing well in school. He is still who he is, but much improved. He is able to talk with me about his time on medicine and how it made him feel.. he is a very perceptive and insightful child.

I do think that the period he was on medicine gave him some major advantages that he held on once we took him off.. he learned how to “learn” in school, learned how it felt to focus better. He learned what organization looks and feels like. He learned about self control and impulse control. Even though the time with medicine was really difficult for him and for all of us, for those reasons it was worth it.

I hope we don’t have to walk down that road again. If he feels he needs it at some point, I would consider it again, in part because he will be of age to be able to request it and tell me how he is doing with it. I won’t feel like I am giving it to him (like, without his choice.. does that make sense?)

For my child, while there is definitely an ADHD component, there was also just that he needed time to mature, time to allow his brain to catch up with body and for his brain to slow down just a bit so that he could think more clearly. That did come in time and we continue to see progress with every year that passes.

Again, I wish you and your son all the best. It is a very difficult and scary road to travel. I was that Mom who cried and fretted throughout the entire 1.5 years. It was never an easy choice, nor should it be.

Hugs and more hugs.

kelly 1 year ago

We faced this decision when our middle son was about to turn 4, so you can imagine how conflicted we were at that young age. Within 20 minutes of taking the medication, he actually sat down and played with his 7 year old brother for the first time. It was not a miracle drug, however, there were side effects and while he stayed on Ritalin for nearly 9 more years, there were additional medications, issues, and problems. Tears were shed and tempers were lost. When our son was entering 8th grade, we decided to give him a medication vacation over the summer. He became interested in flying and decided that he no longer wanted to take medication because it would not be permitted as a pilot. High school was at times difficult, but he made it through and just finished his first year of college earning a 3.6 GPA. These kids do mature and find their way, and despite the fact that our son no longer takes medication, I really believe that it allowed him to focus enough to learn HOW to study. It gave him a sense of normalcy. Good luck to you and know that as parents, all we can do is make the best informed decisions we can at that moment in time.

Patricia A. Quinn Bartlett 1 year ago

Terrific article. So true .

Dawn Veverka 1 year ago

wow!

Jennifer Ross 1 year ago

Obviously never had an ADHD child… Immediately disregard ignorance.

Ann 1 year ago

I’m 23 and I made this decision for myself when I was 20. It was absolutely life changing and I wish I would have brought it up with my parents sooner. I no longer feel like a zombie everyday. I don’t have to struggle through my schoolwork and reread things 8 times before I really focus and get the point. I hate the stigma surrounding the drugs. At a point, you just have to do what works.

haelz 1 year ago

<3

Amber Goodwin Cloy 1 year ago

I have dealt with this same dilemma, and the bottom line – for all of us – is, just like anything else you decide for your child, your family, yourself, is that it’s up to you. Just because one person does something different, it doesn’t matter. If your are comfortable with your decision, if it creates a positive outcome, and one that you are confident in, who cares? Honestly. What we do works for us, I wouldn’t care if everyone else on the post disagreed on the causes, reasons, “fixes”. It works for us, the end. There is no one size fits all, and that’s ok. Just like every other parenting decision, it’s yours to make based on what you feel is best. Educate yourself, and make a choice that’s yours to make. That’s part of the beauty – and the beast, if you will – about having kids… it’s all up to you.

haelz 1 year ago

It isnt an option for me but I guess if it were my only worry would be how it would translate into college. If they havent had to learn to adapt to a traditional classroom then will it make it more difficult to do so if they choose to go to college? How are you planning to handle it as they get older and closer to graduating high school? Genuinely curious, I am wondering if you have some good ideas I can use at home :)

haelz 1 year ago

I just read a study not long ago, it looked at elderly men and found that had they been diagnosed according to the criteria we use today the frequency of Autism would be a slightly lower percentage as it is now. I think it is over diagnosed to an extent (my son was given a diagnosis of Autism when he was very young that has since been removed and replaced with an ADHD diagnosis- makes more sense as I have ADHD as well). I KNOW it was under diagnosed decades ago and misdiagnosed as other things (mental retardation, and psychosis were the biggest) or it was just assumed that a child was odd, quiet, antisocial or a bad kid at the higher functioning end of the spectrum. So when it comes down to it, no I dont think there has been an actual increase. As for the medication, yes but the reason is probably just that we actually have more medication options and more knowledge about how to use them more effectively (my mom didnt want to medicate me when I was younger because she was worried by stories about kids that were overdosed and had bad outcomes, this isnt as much of an issue now). Just my conclusion from the research I have done.

Carol Plummer 1 year ago

I suffered for 45 years until I read Driven to Distraction and recognized myself. Medication changed my life for the better and continues to do so. You are giving your child an enormous gift. Freedom from shame is the first part. Normal behavior tags along. You did nothing wrong. I believe genetics and head traumata account for many of us.

Try celebrating the joys of creativity, out-of-the-ordinariness, and brilliance, which accompany the diagnosis. You have finally given your child a chance to shine!

Tiffany Isaacson 1 year ago

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!! You have put into words what so many of us feel, and you did so in a beautiful and eloquent way. As a mother of a son who has been on every medication out there, your words offered me such peace. I work in the field of ADHD, and you would think that it would make it easier, but it doesn’t, the complexity is still there, and the brain is a mystery!

I would love to invite you to be a guest blogger at Corepsych, if you are interested. I truly feel like your voice would resonate with our readers!

Either way, though, thank you! You have made an impact with this article, and I hope others are strengthened by your words as well.

All of my very best,
Tiffany

Katie 1 year ago

It helped my brother. He was diagnosed with ADHD in the first grade, we spent years wrestling with meds, behavior modifications, 504 plans, therapists, on and on… he is 19 now, and finishing his first year of college. It didn’t make his life perfect, it didn’t make all his problems go away, but it helped more than anything else we tried.

On a slight tangent, I have multiple DSM-IV diagnoses, due to chemical imbalances in my brain, and have to take medications that would make people’s heads spin if I casually brought them up in conversation. I’ve seen the pharmacists shake their heads, heard the doctors tell me I don’t need any of it, as if I can just will myself not to be ill. It’s about as useful as telling someone to stop having a seizure. My meds help me lead a more normal life, and I hate that some of us are treated differently because our illness is in our brains, not somewhere easier to see.

I hate that parents like you and my mom are judged and stigmatized for doing what is best for your children. Like you, my mom did every single thing in every single book to keep us healthy both in the womb and out. The 25 year old bottle of breast milk in the freezer that my mom still can’t bear to part with is a testament to that. She did – and you did – everything you could’ve possibly done for your kids… but sometimes kids get sick anyways. I’m sorry you’ve been through this and good for you for putting this out there.

Amy 1 year ago

I have been in your shoes and know the sheer terror in making the decision to turn to medication after exhausting all resources. Your son is lucky to have a mother who understands that that decision is not made in haste.I can remember sleepless nights wondering what more I could do to help my son. Medication (at least for us) is not a magic pill that cures all, but it’s a start. Thank you for sharing your story.

Erin 1 year ago

That sounds absolutely heart breaking. I’m glad he’s doing well now. I can’t imagine how painful that time was.

Heather 1 year ago

I was a kid with ADD who turned into a adult with ADD. Treating ADD with uppers originates from the middle eastern philosophy of treating “like with like” ie treating hyperactivity with stimulants. There is no shame in having ADD or taking the meds that help you to cope. People with ADD are more creative, there is a long list of famous people with ADD. Don’t make it a stigma for your child like my parents did.

Sarah Schell 1 year ago

I agree this is a difficult, personal decision. No one should be judged for what they know to be the best for their family. Research goes a long way. No one should get a first opinion and feel that the final word, that there aren’t other methods that COULD work. It is not a misdiagnosis. Red dye 40, etc plays a big part. If anyone is curious, I encourage you to look this info up. I also know 2 families that this was effective for that were dealing with autism.

Janice Farmer 1 year ago

All I know is, I wish that they had this type of diagnosis/medication when I was young. I struggled my whole life, and still do, with ADD. So when my 1 (of 3) child was having the same problems, I had her tested and madicated. I do, however, believe they need to be more closely monitored, and sometimes even counselling.

Kelley 1 year ago

Thank you so much for sharing this. This could be my story too… So we medicate, and we re-evaluate often, and we are hopeful that she won’t need the pills forever. We are selective about who we share the information with because we feel that we have to be. However, we have come to a sense of peace about our decision, because my daughter feels so much better with the meds, and that, for now, is enough. Best wishes to you and your family!

rachel moses 1 year ago

Since the early 1990s, when doctors routinely began prescribing psychoactive medication to children, the # of children permanently disabled (on SSDI) with mental illness has increased by THIRTY FIVE FOLD. If a child has P.A.N.D.A.S., the SSRI type drugs can actually make the psychological symptoms WORSE. Please explore infectious causation of behavioral problems. Other infectious diseases, like Lyme and Mycoplasma can also cause behavioral/psychiatric/neurological symptoms.

rachel moses 1 year ago

in my daughters case, she did not initially have the OCD, but a sudden onset of insomnia was the first symptom, along with extreme behavioral changes and severe emotional lability (rage/temper fits, unexplained prolonged crying etc), separation anxiety etc. here are some more resources. Symptoms vary from child to child, but strep is often the culprit. Similarly to the strains of strep that cause rheumatic fever, the strains believed to trigger PANDAS may never even cause a sore throat but “sneak” in to the body/brain undetected. :

http://pandasnetwork.org/pandas-fact-sheet/

http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/pandas/index.shtml

Erin 1 year ago

Been there! I, too, struggled with the decision to medicate, especially since I work in the education field and wanted to use behavioral and cognitive interventions. I put it off for a couple of years but couldn’t avoid it any longer. After 3 months on meds and seeing my child enjoy his own life for the first time in years, I wished I hadn’t fought it for so long. He’s a different, better kid. I still employ the theories of behavioral and cognitive interventions with him, but now they “get through” in a way they just couldn’t before. The medication (along with therapy) allows him to be the glorious child he was meant to be.

rachel moses 1 year ago

Please have your son blood tested for strep if no one has suggested- its called an ISO titer test. My daughter had this PANDAS this past winter. Our local health care providers did not lead us in the right direction. They were suggesting serious psychoactive medication for her, when as it turned out what she had was a step infection in her brain requiring eight dollars of amoxicillin. It is similar to rheumatic fever , where strep gets into the heart. In this case its in the basal ganglia of the brain, the part which controls mood and behavior. After doing extensive research, ive come to understand that this condition is not at all uncommon, but proper assessment /diagnosis and treatment unfortunately is. Anyway, please look at this info. : http://www.ocfoundation.org/uploadedfiles/maincontent/find_help/pandas%20fact%20sheet.pdf

Katy Mckenzie 1 year ago

By contrast, Stratera gave me synesthesia- it was terrifying and was so much like tripping on acid has been described, I clung to the floor hysterical for nearly three days as the single dose wore off. Both adderal and Ritalin made me drop 30+ lbs and I was underweight to begin with. Vyvanse has worked fantastically for me for years, though I had to stop while pregnant.

Aimee 1 year ago

My mom tried to get me to take these little pills when I was 10′ but wouldn’t tell me what they were for. 20 years later I found out I had been diagnosed with ADHD, and the pills were Ritalin. I struggled in every aspect of my life until I found the reason why. I’ve been on Ritalin in one form or another for the past 15 years, and it has changed my life for the better. Both of my older kids are also ADHD, but they have been able to get by without medication. My youngest daughter is showing signs of ADHD at 2 1/2′ and I have the opportunity with my experience to start teaching her the skills to help her along the way. I realize though that she could possibly need medication anyway, but that’s a long time from now.

Christine Garcia 1 year ago

My son is on ADHD medication :( he cannot get through a day of school without it :/ everytime i give it to him i feel like shit..even thou it is helping him tremendously i still feel horrible :/

Janice 1 year ago

Wonderfully written. I had to make that decision years ago. I choose not to medicate my first two children due to the negativity surrouding that topic. When I had my third child, with the same challenges, I listened to my heart. My only regret was not helping my first two children in the same manner.

indnajns 1 year ago

Having spent the last decade going the meds route for my son, let me say, it’s not any easier than any other route and sometimes harder. Be prepared for doctors with no clue. Be prepared for doctors that don’t listen. Be prepared for doctors that only know about one or two drugs, neither of which seem to help your son. You are going to have to grow a backbone now like never before. You are going to have to go head to head with the doctor. (and apparently your pharmacists. ouch.)

You live with your son 24 hours a day. The doctor sees him 15 minutes a month. You know instinctively when things aren’t right, when the meds aren’t truly working. The doctor has his books and studies and charts that say yes the meds do work, you’re just an uneducated (i.e. non-PhD) mom. It took a couple years to find a doctor that would even pay attention to what I was telling him about my son and his reactions to the various medications they tried. It was a couple more years before I found a doctor who knew what she was actually doing. Who had read the latest literature. Who knew about a new drug that actually would work for my son. Remember, 95% of all doctors did NOT graduate in the top 5% of their class. I swear I’ve met every one of them.

My son turned out to have a very high metabolism that just chewed through the meds at double speed. Several caused very adverse reactions. And for every reaction, the doc has another pill for that. As Mom, you have to watch, let them try, and when you are uncomfortable with the situation, put your hand up and say, “NO”. At one point, the doc had kept adding meds until my kid was on five different things. If it had worked, I might have put up with it. I mean, what’s the difference between five small pills and one big pill with all those same ingredients? But it wasn’t working. And the doc wasn’t noticing. I said “enough” and had them take him off all of it, and we started over with something else. Trouble was, most docs only seemed to know about the two or three most common drugs. If those didn’t work, they’d throw up their hands and say they couldn’t help. Others, I swear went in the back room and threw a dart at a board to pick the next drug to try. Twelve years of schooling and this is all you’ve got??

And read! Get the latest Nursing Drug Handbook and read up on every thing they prescribe your son. The doctors would hand me a prescription without batting an eye, but when I’d go look it up I’d find it had the potential for tardive diskinesia (involuntary tics and barks). Uhm, NO. I’d call back immediately and tell them no, he’s not taking this, find something else. I’m not explaining to a 20 year old that he can’t get a girl friend because we gave him this drug when he was five. That’s not to say you have to freak out about every adverse reaction listed. Shoot, look up aspirin. But read between the lines. You’ll know whether your son can handle the med or if the risk is worth taking.

We finally did find a combination that worked – Concerta and Daytrana (the former a time-release, the latter a patch!). And I have proof they worked. Before C&D, his grades were D’s. While he was on C&D, he made the first A he’d ever made in his life! A whole report card of A’s, B’s, and C’s! But he eventually outgrew the dose and it was as high as the doctor would allow. (Sigh. Not the first time we’d heard that, either.) Then he finally became a teenager and refused to take the pills. Got it into his head he didn’t need them. Report card back to D’s and it’s stayed there ever since. He graduates in two weeks and is looking for a job. He’s going to have trouble, because he can’t focus, can’t stay on task, and has abysmal impulse control. (ten days of school left and he got suspended AGAIN.) I wish I could help him, but he’s eighteen and “an adult now”, so he says.

So, do what you can while you can for your child. Give him at least a few focused years where he can make some good grades. And ignore the idiots that freak when they find out he’s “on drugs”. If his leg was broken they’d expect you to see a doctor and get treatment, but because it’s his brain that needs the help, everybody’s all hush-hush and judgmental. They don’t know what it’s like to not be able to focus, to be so distracted you can’t read a short story, let alone a whole book, to not be able to focus to the bottom of a math problem. And don’t be one of those who only gives him his pills “during school hours”. What, he doesn’t need to focus at home? At church? At band practice? During homework? Nobody takes their heart pills, blood pressure pills, or insulin for only *part* of the day! His brain doesn’t suddenly come online after school and everything’s perfect. If that were true, you’d home school him in the afternoons!

Good luck. You are a caring mom and doing the best you can for your son. Otherwise you wouldn’t be so conflicted and upset about it. You Go, Mom!

kay 1 year ago

Having a husband with ADD, I knew my children had a high chance of having it too. All 6 have signs, but only #3 is medicated at this point. He is on the smallest dose possible (10 Mg ritalin per day), and it was the best desision we could have made. Its helped him focus just enough that he can get his work done at school, and he can get away from his tunnel vision enough to keep friends around. Though none of us want to drug our babies, we aren’t doing them any favors by letting their schooling and social life suffer because we are afraid to slow them down enough to function. My son is still th sweet, loving boy he’s always been, he’s just happier! He can now focus enough to let his natural brilliance shine through in school. He can keep a friend for longer than a week. These alone have boosted his confidence and self esteem enough, that I have stopped beating myself up about deciding to medicate him.

Katy Mckenzie 1 year ago

By the time our son turned three, we could already tell that he’d inherited my horrible ADHD. I watched my friend refuse to label and therefor medicate her son, until he was a homicidal, suicidsl raging mess by ELEVIN. I refused to be the parent who denied science and genealogy and let me son suffer like I did through twelve years of school. Too smart to be failing, not living up to potential, rushes through work and makes stupid mistakes..I was the girl with the 1560/1600 on my SATS, yet my 1.6 GPA would hold me back from going to college until I was brave (and sought medication on my own) through the years do depression, anger, failed friendships and relationships…. And then I graduated college with a 3.8 GPA, and the police academy at the top of my class. When I unexpectantly became pregnant, something I said I’d never do if for nothing but to avoid passing on my depression and ADHD, I promised myself I’d be diligent and would never hesitate to find my son solicw in the medications that gave me my life back. I’d never let my child become a violent, self-loathing detriment to society and my family like my friend let happen to her child (he’s now on a half dozen medications, still threatens suicide anytime the slightest thing happens, like dropping something he’s eating -never mind the autism spectrum tantrums and other insane things that took over as his ADHD went untreated, unmanaged and uncontrolled for all those years) . I swore I’d never do him the disservice. It’s frightening to put our kids into these medications,but far MORE frightening (and sad) to cross your fingers, hope for the best and leave then unmediated and suffering. I hope you and your son find the same solutions I had to seek for myself as an adult. Living with uncontrolled ADHD is no better than waking up each morning, with your short term memory logged out and your attention span tumbling around like it’s inside a clothes dryer. It’s impossible too live happily untreated, and any parents who refuses treatment for their child is doing them a terrible disservice. No one chooses medication for their child (or self) hopefully- but those who want to deny it, ignore it, or wish it away are seriously contributing to their child’s misery and maladjustment and need to be brave and buck up and speak to specialists.

It sounds as if the Meds are already helping. Just know that it takes times, and adjustments will be needed even after things are seemingly “normal” for a time. You may have to switch Meds (Vyvanse is expensive but has been a life saver here!) or just increase dosages…and do give him days off if he requests them. My doctors have ensured me it’s okay to take a break now and again to allow yourself proper sleep- and on that note- do ask for some help if he has trouble sleeping. Finding a balance between day times full of uppers and getting good sleep MUST be found, that balance is key. You can’t feel better JUST by becoming alert, you must also get adequate sleep. Good luck. And feel free to reach out (red and blue nights at g mail dot com) if yould like an adults perspective whose lived with this for 30+ years! I always try to advocate to parents who themselves can’t understand what their child is living with. If you aren’t the parent with ADHD/add, it can be an especially heartbreaking and confusing time.

Kiana Earl 1 year ago

Sometimes you have to do what you have to do I wish every parent did this amount of research and caring

Vanessa Hahn 1 year ago

This is a story and subject that touches my heart. :) Thank you for sharing.

robin 1 year ago

Having been there yourself you are in the unique perspective to be able to truly help your child. Yes it’s completely terrifying. I am on medication for a physical medical problem that I hope not to pass along to my children but knowing how they will be feeling and hurting gives me the advantage that no one else has. I’m their mother and I can speak to what they would be dealing with. That will help tremendously when your son is upset and confused about it all. Sharing your experiences will make him feel not alone and open up another avenue that will bring you two even closer than you already are.
Good luck when the time comes. Having the experience already you make an amazing advocate for your child.

Kimberly Jordan 1 year ago

I unfortunately really relate very well with this story. Bottom line is medication should be the LAST resort. It’s not the same thing as taking Tylenol. You don’t need to taper off Tylenol with sometimes catastrophic side effects. Mental health issues are very real but, like this author, ALL other options should be exhausted. In that case, some of these medications can literally save a persons life

Tatum 1 year ago

Have you tried regular chiropractic care? Most behavior issues are caused by interference to the nerve system, which is only corrected through chiro care. I’ve been adjusted literally since birth, so I can assure you- it’s safe :)

Maeve Rhuad 1 year ago

One thing is for sure. One can do everything they think is perfect and follow all the rules, but only our maker determines what kind of challenges we will be born with. For those of us who don’t do everything perfect, we can feel guilty. Most of the time it’s not anything we did. More important to focus on doing anything possible to find a solution. Sometimes that means making really hard and uncomfortable decisions. That’s why no one should judge another parent that truly does their best.

Michele 1 year ago

Thank you! I feel like I could have written this – probably the hardest decision in my life thus far….but after 4 1/2 years of knowing my oldest (10) had ADHD & trying everything else, we decided to medicate or have our family torn apart. It’s only been a month (and we had to adjust the dose as it started out too high) but what a huge improvement!

CK 1 year ago

ADHD is a medical condition. If your child were diagnosed with diabetes, would you beat yourself up over giving him insulin? If your child had vision problems, would you fill the prescription for glasses? Most of these medications are time released and therefore NOT addictive. You just saved your child from a future likely filled with self-medicating and isolation. Bravo.

Kimberly Eastman Mora 1 year ago

The meds are not a one size fits all. We tried Concerta and saw slight improvement. By the time we found the “right” dose, side effects were obvious and it no longer was right for my son. We tried a few others. Adderall was a nightmare for us. 3 or 4 days in and it was like his ADD was 10x worse and he was SO angry. I was ready to throw in the towel, but having tried the Concerta first, I knew there was the chance for improvement. He is now on slow release Dexedrine in the early AM, and after lunch at school he takes a 5mg quick release/fast acting Dexedrine to get him through the afternoons and they wear off in the early evening. They have helped SO much that his ODD (oppositional defiant disorder) is gone. ODD is not uncommon when the ADD/ADHD aren’t under control. It is a behavioral disorder, not neurological. Having both is extremely difficult, but there is hope! It’s all trial and error, it took us a year (after deciding to mediate) to get where we are now. And just a coincidence, my son didn’t take his afternoon med yesterday. OMG the whole house could tell. It just proves to us how effective the meds work and how far we’ve come.

Sarah Schell 1 year ago

I went the medication route with my daughter. It made a huge difference academically, but the side effects were very concerning. We opted instead to change her diet, replace medication with vitamins and supplements, and go a homeopathic route. Sticking to the diet is so important. The difference is night and day. We still have our struggles, but she is doing well. I have read books, read online, spoke to nutritionists, etc. I was not encouraged by her doctor or the school system, but it is working. It is hard work… But it is working. This will be a long road, but we are seeing progress and it is working. More slowly than medication, but medication may not necessarily be the only option. I have learned that ADHD is actually a symptom of a digestive issue that causes malnourishment, effecting the processes of the brain. I encourage research, to start with natural solutions first, then go from there.

Lola Alva 1 year ago

Its sad that society does allow mothers like us to openly talk about this decision that million of us have to make, and we make it alone, because its frowned upon. We blame ourselves for it. Only parents of those babies who are struggling really know how hard this decision to medicate is. One of the hardest ones I’ve ever made.

Sarah Sapp 1 year ago

This article really hit home. I don’t think a lot of people understand the internal struggle that goes along with medicating your child-thank you for this.

Cindy 1 year ago

I know of people who were medicated for a while as children and then the medication was taken away from them due to the stigma and misunderstanding about the drug. This is 30 years ago. After the medication was taken away from them they started to flounder both in school and socially. They took years to find their footing in life. I also know of people who struggled throughout their childhood and didn’t finally get a diagnoses until in their 30’s. They finally received medication then and it helped them immensely. They no long felt lost and not in control of their lives. They were finally in control. People forget that this is not something that children always grow out of. It just manifests itself differently in adults. Taking medication for a medical problem is not anything to be ashamed of and all medication comes with risks. You would not deny medication to a child (or adult) with heart problems or schizophrenia or something like that?

Nom DePlume 1 year ago

For those who think ADHD is just kids being kids, then Altheimer’s is just old people being old.

Hint: both are actual neurological disorders.

Nicole Cuomo 1 year ago

Started reading expecting something totally different. Hugs and good vibes for you and your family you brave and strong Mama.

Teacher 1 year ago

I have not experienced this decision as a parent, but in my 14 years in elementary ed, I have seen many families that have struggled through it. I have experienced that medication is not the perfect fix for every diagnosed child. Some children can flourish with academic accommodations, but some cannot. It is so heartbreaking to watch children suffer academically and emotionally without medication. I have seen medication completely help students. One student I have this year came to me with a reputation of being very challenging. He was impulsive, blurted during class discussions, couldn’t stay in his seat for longer than 20 minutes, and was doing very poorly academically. He also did not have any friends. My other students were often frustrated with him because of his impulsivity and the distraction he caused to their learning. This student started medication in January. He is now flourishing in school and at home! He has made many friends, is achieving above grade level in most curricular areas, and is now complimented for his behavior in all school settings. He even received honors for his good grades and great behavior on his most recent report card!
This experience among many others like it, have led me to believe that medication is not always the answer. But sometimes it is the only answer.

Jane 1 year ago

Has it helped your child?

Andrea Kerrigan Shields 1 year ago

Thank you for sharing this; I’m glad I’m not alone.

Natalie Paettie 1 year ago

“There are always a million unknowns, a million what-ifs, a million possibilities at play, but in the end, we have to trust ourselves and make a decision.”

Natasha Van Metre 1 year ago

Coming from a teacher …. If your child is hungry what do you do? You feed them. If your child needs clothes, you buy them. If your child is unhappy, you try to fix it.
Why is medicating your child in order to help them any different?

Tara Tindal 1 year ago

Powerful stuff, magnificently written

Samantha Devereux 1 year ago

A child shouldn’t suffer with a medical condition simply because a stranger has a problem with the treatments. Forget what everyone but the doctors & your son are saying & hang in there.

Anonymous 1 year ago

Homeschooling may be helpful for some of these kids. I have 8 kids with 2 girls and 3 boys who would NO DOUBT need medication to survive a school environment. Because we homeschool, we are now able to work around each child’s needs without medication. My 9yo no longer needs Zoloft to have a good day, the 7yo no longer needs risperdal and vyvanse and we are hoping to take the 5 yo off concerta once we pull her from school this fall. We go out to parks for hours, play in the creek, read aloud together, do math with one on one attention to each child. I assign less desk work and more interactive work. It makes a huge difference and the kids are so much happier. Note I did not say that they do not still have issues. They do, but we are able to work on them our way, not the way the school requires. Yes, it takes up my whole life to do this, but I have supportive friends who are willing to hang out in our chaos. That is all we need. I hope this may be an option for some moms looking for something to help.

Candace 1 year ago

Thank you for writing you are not alone. This sounds like my story.

Karen Fountain 1 year ago

This post resonates with me. My son struggles on a daily basis, as do we, but the big decision was made and calm is (mostly) restored. We view his medication as a necessary evil, and one which we hope he will, one day, no longer need.

bensmom 1 year ago

I am a newer Mom to an 8 month old little boy, and this question goes to all the parents out there. Does it seem to anyone else that autism is more common as of lately, and medicating children. I just do not understand it.

Linda Buis 1 year ago

Couldn’t have described the struggle inside any better. This is exactly what it’s like.

Jennifer JeJe Wyn Greer 1 year ago

I have ADD. I went to Harvard and Harvard Law School. I am a successful person. I am currently in a battle with my insurance company’s pharmacy and my handwritten prescription has not been filled for a month. I cannot work effectively because amphetamines help me to stay focused so much more than I could have imagined. I hated the idea at first, more than 15 years ago, but now realize they have made my life better, happier and more complete because the medication is so effective. The medicine has never done anything other than make me the person I could be without ADD. Please do not worry.

Sandy 1 year ago

The decision to medicate isn’t nearly as difficult as dealing with well-meaning people who give you advice you’ve heard before, weighed and rejected. You shouldn’t have to listen to someone’s take on how your kid’s problems would go away if you just removed artificial coloring or additives or whatever based on an article they’ve read while you base your decisions on many hours of research, advice from doctors, and years of knowing your child. You should never have to share medical information to justify your choice.

So as a mother who called in a prescription renewal today for my child that has to be picked up in person, please stop yourself if you find yourself giving advice to a parent who has made this decision. Even if you’re sure you are right, even if you believe that medication is horrible, even if … whatever. Just don’t do it, unless you hear that magic question: “what do you think?” And if you by any chance believe that my kid has some kind of advantage over your normal child because she takes this medicine, do yourself a favor and erase this idea from your brain in the same way my child forgets any instruction that isn’t written down. It’s just not true. Medicine is extremely helpful, but it doesn’t make our kids function normally, much less better than normal.

I give my child medication for her psychiatric conditions the same way I take medication each day for asthma or an aspirin for headaches. ALL medication has side effects, not just psychiatric medications. IMO, your child’s emotional health and ability to learn is vitally important and deserves the same level as help as you would give any standard medical condition.

Michelle Taylor Stanley 1 year ago

Yes. 100%. My daughters meds have changed her life completely.

Kirsty Bentley 1 year ago

The road to diagnosis and medication is not an easy one and I applaude your courage. I had accepted the fact that my eldest had adhd long before a paediatrician confirmed the diagnosis and so by that time having tried everything else he was prescribed meds straight away. he’s now on his 3rd different med and they have all worked to a degree but it’s about finding the right amount. for us the previous 2 didn’t last long enough for him to take part in after school activities. we tried a few including martial arts as we thought it might help him to practise concentrating. Now we’re on the right one he is flying and I finally feel like he’s more him without the behavioural issues getting in the way.

Carla Medellin Jones 1 year ago

I understand 100%. I tried the low sugar, high protein, no processed foods diets, we tried star charts and rewards and nothing worked at all. I was vehemently opposed to drugs. Till one day my son came home and told me that he was stupid. He couldn’t do what all the other kids in his class could do. And his assumption was that he was significantly less intelligent than everyone else. Other kids had a hard time dealing with his intensity and I realized that my hangups were hurting him. He now has an endless pool of friends, and reads at a senior high school level. I’m not saying it’s the answer for everyone. But, for him it was. And, even knowing this…. every time we need to adjust or change meds I put myself through the same anguish telling myself if I was a better parent, he wouldn’t need the medication. Maybe if I devote more time to him and help him somehow to come up with better coping mechanisms, maybe I won’t have to increase or change his meds. Even writing this, knowing how much the meds help him… knowing that it’s a brain issue, that small voice is till in the back of my head saying, “maybe it’s your fault.” Oddly enough, I was the same as the author. I followed EVERY rule. I even abstained from chocolate because it had caffeine. I followed EVERY pregnancy rule, took folic acid for months before he was born, only organic milk… still what if there was something else I could’ve done so that he wouldn’t have to go through this for the rest of his life. The love we feel for our children is so intense, so deep I wonder if it’s possible to not second guess every decision you make on their behalf

Audrey Thrasher 1 year ago

Omg this almost made me cry. I didn’t know anyone else got it. Like really got it not just smiled and nodded with a judgmental look in their eyes.

Sabrina Koch 1 year ago

My son was put on meds the middle of kindergarten. He sees his doctor every 3 months to check on it. A year later I decided he needed to have a say on his medication. Now he does he’s finishing up 2nd grade & has a say in his medication. I never wanted him to be like a zombie, I Love his personality & creativeness he just needs help focusing & he has that now. We try to keep it low dosage just enough to make it through school & homework. We also work on other coping skills too. Just incase there are no meds or we forget has it has happened before.

Tam 1 year ago

this had me in tears! I spent 2 years desperately trying to help my son (who has ADHD and CAPD) enjoy school. the daily meltdowns, anger, anxiety and struggles he went through were heartbreaking. the decision to medicate was one of the hardest things for me to do! I had even given up my job to be with him and we still saw no improvement. I can glady say almost 18 months later the happy hardworking outgoing son I always had at home now stays that way at school. he has been transformed and to see him finally doing well and making friends makes it all worth while. I still feel I get judged though. but I now know it was the best choice for him

Jennifer Denbo 1 year ago

I sympathize with this writer. Being a mother sometimes is the most joyous thing to experience, but can also be the most terrifying. Before medicated my son there were tears and arguing all the time. Now that we have found the right medication and right dose, school is no longer a struggle and he work is no longer a battle. Making the choice to medicate was a hard one, also one that my husband and I do not agree upon. He stil swears that something horrible will come from it. I say I will not make him suffer for years fighting an imbalance that I can help. Feeling helpless watching your child suffer when you can help them is not okay.

Corie Strohlein Van Fossen 1 year ago

Absolutely hated idea of giving my son meds. Ritalin and Adderall were a nightmare for us and we almost stopped there, but Strattera has made a huge difference in my entire family’s life. After my son had so much success with it for his anxiety and ADD, my brother, sister, nephew and niece all went on it and also saw major differences in their lives. We were lucky to be able to go off during the summer months for first 3 years but last summer he asked to go back on. We also had a lot of problems last year until we realized he had been on same dose for 3 years and he had grown so much. Increasing his dose made huge difference and I’m now moving into teen years without a concern for his success. My brother and nephew went to The Amen clinic and their evaluation made it much easier to pinpoint the exact issues. They do scans to accurately diagnose (my nephew was told for years he was ADD and medicated for it and really he was BiPolar). They combine meds with natural supplements and diet. Very worthwhile if struggling with diagnosis. Dr Daniel Amen has also written several great books.

Melissa Joyce 1 year ago

I have a feeling eventually we are going to be down this road later on and I sympathize with the author and respect the decision she thought was best but don’t know if i could do it.

Simone Sepulveda 1 year ago

I wish I’d read this article 6 years ago, but it’s good to know I haven’t been alone in my struggle to make the same decision.

Joeyandkatie Graham 1 year ago

Hey, I totally understand. You really have to watch the side effects of some meds. My son can’t take certain allergy meds due to the side effects. I can’t take some meds due to the side effects. I avoid meds whenever possible.

Nicole Karp 1 year ago

This hits home for so many reasons! Just yesterday I went from pharmacy to pharmacy trying to fill my sons prescription. Calling others only to be told over and over again “we don’t have that” or “we can’t do stock checks Over the phone”! It’s so frustrating! I get to look forward to doing in 29 more days! I am so thankful we finally did try mediation because it has helped our son so much and it makes all that worth it!

MrFix 1 year ago

I know exactly what the woman in this story is going through and how she feels because I have a child who needs medication to help with his MHI. Incase you have never done research on Prenatal Vitamins…. research has found that…. Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate, a member of the family of B vitamins that is involved with DNA synthesis and DNA methylation, which essentially turns genes on and off. Because of these crucial functions, folate plays important roles in fetal development and nerve tissue health as well as cancer initiation and progression.
Folic Acid is found in Prenatal Vitamins. Even those that are sold over the counter.
Drug Companies have learned how to turn certain genes on and off through these prenatal vitamins that women take while the fetus is growing in development to a degree without severely damaging the fetus that will cause the general public to later on need to rely on other types of drugs, such as Focalin, Daytrana, Ritalin, Concerta, Cetirizine and others that help in turning these genes back on that they would need to help them become or feel normal and dependent on them for the rest of their lives allowing them to make billions of dollars to ensure a forever amount of income all at the expense of our little ones health. Folic Acid also causes breast cancer when taken over a certain amount of dosage over a certain amount of time. Here is a couple of article to very my statements…..
http://www.drfuhrman.com/library/folic_acid_dangers_and_prenatal_vitamins.aspx
http://www.drugs.com/pro/prenatal-plus.html
Now before you go calling me out on this saying this is crap or what ever, I am in the same boat you women are. I have a 13 yr old son who has the same mental health disorders of ADHD/ODD and OMHI. I knew what the mother of my son did during her pregnancy and what she took. What prompted me to do so much research was a blog I am a member of called “Parents of Children with ADHD” where a women asked others about smoking during their pregnancy. Half of them smoked and half didn’t. Almost all of the responses took prenatal vitamins while smoking and not smoking but yet ended up with children with ADHD and OMHI. Even when other members of the family didn’t have disorders. Few didn’t take Prenatal Vitamins but smoked and their child didn’t have any MHI. What really triggered my investigation was when a couple of mothers said that the childrens fathers had ADHD but the children didn’t and they didn’t take Prenatal vitamins and smoked. That’s when I found out that the common denominator of all the onslaught of all these mental health disorders was the Prenatal Vitamins. Another thing I found out is that very rarely did Doctors take any kind of blood tests of pregnant women before they prescribed or advised them of needing to take Prenatal Vitamins or not. I can testify to that because my son’s mom’s doctor never did take any blood test during the course of her pregnancy to see if she had any deficiencies. And I attended every visit with her. My conclusion is women and our unborn children are being used as guinea pigs by the drug companies. They do these tests on animals and then try these tests on us humans. If they can control our health, then they can control their destiny to financial prosperity for what little it takes to manufacture these medications that control us from birth. Over the past 15 yrs…. the status of children with MHI’s have increased by 68%. Some Disorders are hereditary such as Bi-polar, Diabetes, where depression is due to environmental and living conditions more than it is being hereditary. I want you to know that I am not blaming women or bashing them at all. And the reason why there is so many different kinds of drugs for our childrens MHI is because not everyones chemistry is the same. Certain drugs have different reactions with different chemistry of the persons body. That is why certain drugs will work for some kids but don’t with others with the exact same issues and are relatively close in age. We rely on Doctors to much these days in trusting what they do or tell us, and from what’s been happening over the past few years, it’s time we start questioning these doctor about what they are or are not doing when they treat not only us men, but you women as well.

Joyce Shepherd Correll 1 year ago

Having traveled this road already, I can only nod my head in agreement at almost every sentence. Our decision to medicate was a painful one filled with much angst and fear. Looking back, most of that came from the judgement of others. My son was a wonderful little man. Now, others can get a chance to see that. I do not regret getting my son help. My only regret was worrying even for a minute, what others would think if I did.
My son is now an honors student, active in Scouts and his school orchestra. Every child deserves to feel the best they possibly can. After exhausting all avenues of help–medication CAN be the only help that works. And I say– so be it. :)

Rachel Halpern 1 year ago

My 12 year old son had Aspergers, ADHD, and depression. Yes I medicate him, no I do not sedate him. Without his medication he falls into depressions that terrify me, and his mind and body are racing so fast he can’t focus, sleep, or eat. He just paces and bounces around the house rambling about the latest developments in physics or whatever else that may pop into his head. The kid is brilliant and has so much untapped potential, but only if he has the tools to help him. Yes medication is ONE of the tools, he has also been in counseling and therapy from a young age to teach him how to control himself, and I work with him as well. I am sick of people telling me that ADHD isn’t real and I’m a bad mom for medicating my child. He is MY son and I know what’s best for him.

Kim 1 year ago

I hope & pray that either this is the solution for you, or that you find it soon. You have tried everything. You have done nothing wrong. May you be comforted.

Jess McCombs 1 year ago

This. Just everything about this is perfectly spoken. So many of us feel awful or like its our fault. It’s not. So many shame us…we can’t listen to it. We’re trying to do the best thing for our children. Always. Hugs!

Shelly Carlin Johnson 1 year ago

Girl we need to talk. I’m with ya sister!!

Amanda 1 year ago

I can relate whole-heartedly to your story. Thank you so much for sharing it. We too chose to medicate our son, for ADHD, after a long period of being staunchly anti-meds. It was a hard road to go down but I see my son thriving now and know we made the right choice. I wish you all the best on your journey too.

Phoenix Fourleaf 1 year ago

I don’t understand the view that avoidance of medication is some kind of supreme virtue. If you need the medication, it is better to take it. So much damage is caused to the entire family from untreated mental illnesses like depression. Taking medication is not a cop out. It is taking responsibility and control of the illness. Thanks to the author for sharing her experience.

Harriet 1 year ago

Very wonderfully written. Thank you for sharing your pain with us. I changed my opinions about medication because of you, you’ve changed my life. Thank you!

kathy 1 year ago

I’m struggling with this decision right now too. I’m a single parent and I am struggling. He is just 8 and it’s hard. thanks for sharing.

Kristin Metcalf Crane 1 year ago

One thing I have not seen mentioned is that if the kid is not ADHD the medicine will not work. You will notice nothing or the child will be hyper active. Very few children who are not ADHD are on medication because it just doesn’t work for “normal” brains. My 9 yr old is severely ADHD. Thirty minutes after the first dose we saw a difference. This child who could never keep still or focus on anything was able to look me in the eye and say “I
Love You”. I cried. This was my real child. His brain had finally slowed enough to feel love.

Harriet 1 year ago

This is a very interesting comment. I have never heard about that theory, I would like to know how you find out about it? Please email me :)

Valerie Wilkins 1 year ago

I could have written this. My daughter is now medicated and our family knows a peace we have not known a long time! Hard decision that I wish I would have made a long time ago. She is now a very confident and happy 10 year old!

jengd 1 year ago

This reads as if I wrote it all except for the reason. We’re on the verge of speaking to our pediatrician about our soon-to-be 7yr old’s serious lack of focus, inability to pay attention to take a direction, etc… unless it’s something he really wants to do and then you can’t get him to do anything else. We’re at wits’ end after having him in pre-K rather than kindergarten for a year, Taekwando for focus and discipline, etc. I hope this works for you- I truly do.

Christy Megill Parayil 1 year ago

Amen

Kimberly Eastman Mora 1 year ago

Here’s to the parents in this battle who have not yet tried meds but have thought about them… they wear off in hours, they don’t linger in your system and you don’t have to wean off of them (not the ones that I’m familiar with). If your child has been correctly diagnosed, meds will slow your child down. They work when there is an imbalance within the chemicals in the brain. Speaking from experience (because I accidentally took my son’s meds one morning… hey, it was early, I was still groggy, and I thought it was my “pill”) I got what I can assume was a high relative to taking speed. My brain doesn’t have an imbalance. Therefore I was jittery, on edge, and had nervous energy. Boy did I get a lot of cleaning done that morning! Do your research, proceed with caution, and ignore the judgement from others.

Connie Kelly 1 year ago

That’s exactly how I felt.

Sheila Mach 1 year ago

Been there…. Never easy.

Jill Smokler, AKA Scary Mommy 1 year ago

Wow. So long, Randi.

ACS 1 year ago

I am your medicated kid…only I’m 31 and my daughter is 10 weeks old. I go back and forth on the medication, my parents put me on it 17 Years ago and my life is wonderful!! My husband and I make a great living, and have a beautiful world. I often wonder what my life would look like sans meds…I also wonder if they are the only answer. All I can say is for me, they have served me well. My best advice is to give your son the space to figure out whether or not they are working for him. Don’t make rules, allow him to make his own decisions, if he doesn’t want to take it don’t force him. Have faith that he can figure it out. Good luck. It’s not the right thing or the wrong thing…it just is :)

Patrice Beers Darby 1 year ago

I am this woman’s son. I was 8 years old and now I am … a well full grown woman. I know his struggle is real and he felt hopeless before medication. He may never feel perfect and may never know his true worth but he is better off now that you have given him the opportunity to feel more like “a normal kid” and better equipped to deal with life like all the rest of his friends and ppl he knows. Good for you mom! I’m sure it was a hard decision but it was a good one I believe!

Nom DePlume 1 year ago

My daughter made a believer out of some of her teachers who weren’t sure about medicating kids with ADHD. My kiddo is such a good girl, and so eager to please, especially in the early grades. Some days the pill would be forgotten in the morning rush, and all day she would try SO HARD, but just couldn’t behave even close to expected.

As a toddler, she never stopped talking or singing. Ever. :). Babbling to herself nonstop even before she could talk.

Kimmie 1 year ago

This is so close to my life that I could claim the story as my own. The trial, the error, the tears, the guilt, and finally… the meds. Keep at it, God bless you!

Jo-Ann Mason 1 year ago

well said! I volunteered at an elementary school for a grade one teacher. She had two boys in her class, both ADHD, one on meds, one not. I can’t tell you how bad I felt for that little guy who just COULD NOT stay still. I don’t judge his mom at all for her decision but honestly, the difference between the two boys was an eye-opener for me!

Gayle Armstrong 1 year ago

My daughter went from getting in trouble very day, hiding behind hair over her eyes and feeling terrible about herself to getting excellent behavior marks every single day, hair back in a band, and her feeling happy and confident. I imagine what she’d be like now, 5 years later, without the medication. I know she would have missed a lot of foundation learning and would have had rock bottom self-esteem. With the medication it was still a struggle to learn to read and write, and math is still difficult, even though she’s an intelligent girl. I see her struggle on the weekends without the med with great creative ideas but no follow through. The med has made a HUGE difference for her. My suggestion to parents who are on the fence…try it, your child doesn’t have to stay on it.

Sharon Battiste Cinotti 1 year ago

Easy To Love Hard To Raise. Great book to read.

Meredith Dodini Hult 1 year ago

What is scarier to me than the medication is having my son self medicate to cope with his “noisy mind”. Or that he would not meet the measure of his creation. Or having your child cry because he is never invited to birthday parties or have friends. We tried medication as the last resort and have allowed him at 9 choose for himself. He prefers the medication to focus and is thriving socially and academically. So grateful for medicine that allows my son to thrive and be his true self. No guilt for that.

Nom DePlume 1 year ago

Parents of extra-ordinary kids haven’t failed as parents, they often parent 4x as much as a parent with an unaffected child, because they have to. Nonstop supervision, intervention, education, peacemaking – everything. It is what makes the ‘bad parenting’ claims so damn painful.

Donna Klues 1 year ago

I could have written this twenty years ago! I had a child who I knew was bright and tried very hard, but was not successful. Being a special education teacher, I had seen many children medicated with varied results. I didn’t want to medicate him, but I also didn’t want him to continue failing and further ruin his self concept. He was on ritalin for six years and eventually with the help of the medicine was able to learn skills anf self monitor.
Today, he is almost thirty years old, married, and a structural engineer. When he graduated from college, I sobbed! When he got his masters degree and then passed his professional enginerring test, I was beyond proud. Medicating him was very hard. Like you, I did evetything right. But, the issue still needed to be addressed. This was just a need he had. If there had been another medical issue which needed to be helped with medication, we would have done it.

Dorothy Kelly 1 year ago

Bless this woman and bless her son. I only hope for the best. Try everything else, and when that fails, try medication. I wish them both the best.

Paula S. 1 year ago

You summed it up perfectly. We were lucky in that the first medication we tried worked. It was a HUGE change in our son and life became easier for him and us. Hang in there, it’s not always easy. Years later we had to change his meds and that was basically a human science experiment that I hope to never go through again. We did again find one that worked, but there were very rough times in between.

Mamaof2 1 year ago

I could have easily wrote this. My daughter has struggled with fitting in. Never feeling happy. She is now 11. I took her to a Dr. who diagnosed her and put her on medicine. Her dad and I talked and talked and decided to give it a try. She still has a couple of bad days but so far 2 moments stand out.
One is when she came to me and told me she felt really happy. I asked her if that was a new feeling and she told me yes.
The second was when she came and gave me a hug and told me that she appreciates me and her dad finding someone to help her.
That’s when I knew we made the right decision. Best of luck to you and your family.

Mandi Taylor 1 year ago

Speaking as a 24-year-old who wasn’t diagnosed with ADHD until my sophomore year of college, I am very glad to hear that this mom was able to figure out what was wrong so early! If I had known before I started college, perhaps my depression and anxiety (common comorbid disorders) would never have gotten as bad as they did (happy to say they’re well controlled now though).
The brain is an organ just like the lungs or heart. If your child had a heart condition, would you argue against medication for that? Of course, as for most conditions, medication works best in combination with lifestyle changes (and therapy can also be a great help).

Jen 1 year ago

I was diagnosed with ADD in 4th grade, in high school I rebelled and didn’t want to take medication. I wish I had, I could have received better grades and had less struggle. Since the changing of classifications I am now considered ADHD. And continue to take medication. ADD ot ADHD isn’t always the answer neither is medication. But for me, I am thankful my parents made the leap and tried to help me enjoy my childhood like everyone else. Every day I look at my 15 month old daughter and wonder what choices I will have to make some day.

Rayma Sanders 1 year ago

I believe you are making the right choice for your son. If he was a diabetic, you would provide the appropriate medication. He perhaps has a chemical imbalance and you are attempting to find the right meds to help him. I was a special ed teacher for 31 years and I saw parents agonize as you are, but you must try everything to help him.

Kristin Hendrix 1 year ago

Beautifully written

Randi Upton 1 year ago

Wow. This is the final post. Can not take it anymore. This is just a circle jerk of moms trying to make themselves feel better. Why would you just medicate instead of teaching your child healthy coping skills from as early an age as possible? Why? Because pills are easy.

I am out.

Amanda Adams 1 year ago

I could not have written this any better. Add to that I am a nurse as well so I have the good and bad memorized. We are still medicine free at 8 but I see it coming soon.

Anna ‘Bucher’ Lerfald 1 year ago

Great timing. We just went from calling local law enforcement on my 8 yr old to perfect report cards (it took a few months). We started slow and small until we found that sweet spot where there were no visible side effects, but progress. He will tell you that his meds give him super powers to focus in class and to calm himself down when he’s frustrated. I won’t go to the recommended dose at this point, that I CAN control and have a say in.

Hannah Elliott 1 year ago

My oldest son could make a believer out if anyone. I totally understand this struggle. Watching your child struggle so hard with everything, and you have people constantly tell you that a week at their house and he’d be in shape. Really, how many things do you think I’ve tried? You think I haven’t tried EVERYTHING? That I haven’t spanked and grounded and talked and cried and changed diets and a billion other things? That I haven’t seen doctors and therapists and read more books on raising kids than I care to remember? And either way you have some parents looking down on you and judging you, your child, your family if you medicate or you don’t. Sad that we don’t support each other more. I just want my son to be happy and enjoy his childhood, some part of it. We should stop judging one another and start supporting parents who are doing the best that they can with a tough choice. And some adults need to realize that ADHD kids are kids with feelings, that can hear what you are saying even though they are wiggling and humming.

Nicole Woods-Sisk 1 year ago

Friend/coworker and her child 9 years old, have ADHD, the Mom takes meds because of other conditions but both go to acupuncture for the last year and the results have been wonderful. Her daughter was on a IEP, was failing all studies… Now a straight A student.

I do acupuncture too for a variety of things from allergies to chronic back pain and it’s amazing.

Nicole Woods-Sisk 1 year ago

This helps, as I am 2 weeks post-op with my 2nd son… In horrible pain still and have a post op infection at my c-section incision… On pain killers and antibiotics. Also nursing and I can tell my son is having an upset tummy from the antibiotic, the guilt sucks!!!

Heather Kiefer 1 year ago

This was me 5 years ago. This. And it’s been a life saver for my son against everything I thought I stood for. Don’t judge, you don’t know until you’ve lived and exhausted every other option.

Kari Adams 1 year ago

Beautifully written article

Jennifer Lombardo- Temple 1 year ago

Everyone has the right to make there own decision that they feel is best for there child. Your doing what you and the docters of this child feel is best, good luck!

Douglas J Heck 1 year ago

If anyone here that is “trying everything” hasn’t tried the GAPS diet please look into it. It is a pretty tough diet to stick with, but a year later and my autistic child has had a full recovery. NO drugs!!

Stacy Arnold 1 year ago

Having this exact dilemma right now. It’s killing me inside to think he can’t control his violence or anger. Therapy, psychologist and medication are what one of the best children’s hospitals in the country are recommending. He’s just a baby :(

Amy 1 year ago

This is how I felt when we made the decision to put my daughter on medication for ADD. I cried, blamed myself, doubted myself, cursed the school system and society, but in the end it was a leap of faith (mine) and I had to go with my mommy “gut”. Its not the cure-all, however it has made my smart and creative girl more able to learn and for that I am grateful. Medication should not have a stigma attached. Schools often make you feel like you are a bad parent if you DONT medicate, society makes you feel like you are a “cop out” parent if you DO medicate. You can’t win either way so you just need to do what is best for your child.. like you have been doing since the day you found out that you were going to be a mommy to this amazing little person!

Shannon McGahan 1 year ago

There is no prescription for childhood!

Jen Goering Conner 1 year ago

My 12 year old often thanks us for helping him go on his Concerta. It has taken many adjustments in dosage, and even parent/child therapy to help him and us navigate during his middle school years. It’s a learning curve, but he knows we are all in it together, and we will help him however he needs us too.

Monica M. Anderson 1 year ago

Thank you for posting this. It’s an issue with my oldest Ive been struggling w/. I did EVERYTHING right with him. Text book style! The 2nd not even close. And I still see a huge difference. My opinion it is mostly in the genes, Not wgat u do or not do. Remember there was no label for active, destructive kids other then troublemakers, going up in the 80, 90’s. Boys channel it WAY differently then girls. What ever works for ur family is a good choice. No one else should have an opinion about a well thought it decision such as medicating your child.

Jaime-Lynne Patterson 1 year ago

I just want to build onto another comment someone left… Yes there does seem to be “over” diagnosing lately, but that’s only because there are more and more resources available now, and continue to grow, thankfully :) and there is a fine line between ” busy ” and just plain “spun”

Erin Shriver 1 year ago

“How do you give your child a controlled substance, addictive drugs, and act like it’s a normal thing to do?” – You don’t. You just don’t! So sad for this kid.

Carolina 1 year ago

I have been doing this for so long, I could write a book! My 23yo son has been on meds since he was 8 years old. It wasn’t a hard decision to make because he needed it to sit through school without being sent to the principals office everyday. He needed it to listen to what the teacher was saying instead of staring out the window wondering what it would be like to be a superhero. He needed it to keep his hands to himself so everyone else wouldn’t hate him because he kept touching their things. As he got older, he needed it to focus in class and remember the social skills he was lacking to make and keep a friend. Jr. High was brutal. Without the help of medication, it would have been a complete disaster. As he approached his teenage years, he fought me about taking it and then he wanted to learn to drive. ADHD people have more accidents than the rest of us. So his Dr. and I said “No meds, no driving’. Even so, he wrecked 2 cars in the first 18 months, and no, he wasn’t speeding. Now he’s entering his 5th year in college and finally has a job. He called me the other day and said he forgot his pills so I took them to him at work. He finally sees the benefit in taking meds and couldn’t manage work or college without them. Over the years we have found much humor in the crazy things that happen. Living with ADHD is difficult and exhausting at times, and if you don’t raise an ADHD child you are not qualified to tell someone who does they are doing it wrong. You have no idea what it’s like to wish that your beloved child had an off button, just for a few minutes to collect yourself! To the moms with young children I would say don’t withhold medication because you are afraid. It’s well tested and it works. I understand your desire to try everything else first, but while you are doing that, your child could be struggling with self-doubt and low self-esteem. As a preschool teacher I have told Moms of young, severely ADHD children to consider medicating them before kindergarten so they can focus and won’t start out causing so much trouble in class that they are labeled as one of those children; the ones who never get invited to birthday parties or play dates because they can’t control themselves. It’s sad but it happens. Medication that works can be truly life changing for children and adults who need it.

Jaime-Lynne Patterson 1 year ago

Yes for us, the first med did – it took a few dosage adjustments but it did :) ( Concerta worked best for us )

Janet Daugherty McNeer 1 year ago

Excellent article!!

Michele J Miller 1 year ago

I feel like I could have written this – probably the hardest decision in my life thus far….but after 4 1/2 years of knowing my oldest (10) had ADHD & trying everything else, we decided to medicate or have our family torn apart. It’s only been a month (and we had to adjust the dose as it started out too high) but what a huge improvement!

Mike Gill 1 year ago

She never mentions dad. Where is he? Just wandering. Missing drug…

Angelica Busto 1 year ago

You are not alone, thank you for sharing your story. I’m going through the same thing

Shannon Devaney 1 year ago

I know many kids that go off as adults and are fine and find ways to channel their angst.

Sarah McCall 1 year ago

I would never judge a parent for making this decision. Sure, I think schools and psychologists are too quick diagnosing adhd as a cop out for an inattentive/bored child, but for those who actually have a disorder, I will support whatever works for the individual. I know what it’s like to have a debilitating mental disorder and not receive any treatment. I would never wish that on a child.

Frances Hines 1 year ago

I feel the same way – I cried while giving the meds to th e pharmacist the first time- sobbing I could barely answer her questions. It still pains me, its only been about 2 months. Worst part is lack of appetite

Kim Smits Foster 1 year ago

Stay strong! You’re doing everything you can! Bless you and your little man!

Kim 1 year ago

I hate the stigma society places on mental health. A parent of an asthmatic child would not have to think twice about the decision to medicate. You are making the decision you feel is best. That makes it the right one. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Kathy Williams 1 year ago

Wonder article of the battle parents go through when told that there is nothing else to try except medication. Very hard decision but the changes in the child when on the right medication is night and day.

Rainey Bingham 1 year ago

Mental health is ignored in this country. It’s revolting that most people have no clue. Most people who judge have never experienced life with an atypical child or adult. Their ignorance can be hurtful but that’s what it is, it is ignorance. Thanks for sharing.

Alexandrea Elizabeth Parrish 1 year ago

I’m trying to find something that will help my son this is the third medication we’ve tried :/

Arri Horton Burgess 1 year ago

Like I wrote it myself

Jill Hohe-D’amico 1 year ago

The 2nd week of kindergarten I got that call…my son should be evaluated for ADHD. Well 4 yrs later and 7 meds he is finally a happy young 9 year old. We went from stimulants to antiphyscotic meds. I finally have peace in my household thanks to Abilify. My son who was failing 4th grade just got the academic achievement award at school. I was terrified but put my trust in a physician that my baby would be ok. I know there are people out there who are skeptical of this diagnosis. People who think maybe u just need to discipline them more or put them in special schools. It’s just not possible with a child who is so lost in their own mind. A mind that never stops thinking. All in all the hardest decision of my life turned out to be the most positive thing I could’ve done for my son to have a fighting chance. I am blessed.

Jamie Benjamin O’Hare 1 year ago

Been close to this several times. None of my four are on meds, but I’m on Zoloft, and my older children’s situation could definitely change.

Jessica Dudley 1 year ago

it was a really hard choice for me to start medicating my 3 year old for ADHD, I agreed to try alow dose for a few weeks. I was surprised it worked wonders…now a few months later it is like he has built a tolerance and I no longer see change. now that we have moved I am taking him to one of the top homepathic doctors for treatment. the dust thing he said was to change his diet and remove all artificial dyes. we are starting that this week and also supplements. We’ll see how it goes…

Monique Martino Anstine 1 year ago

Needed this.

Kristin Huss Wolf 1 year ago

We went through the exact same thing with our daughter. She was never happy…….we started her on Concerta when she was in 3rd grade. She just could not focus or concentrate in a school setting. And, the second she got home, would fall totally to pieces. I can tell you this…she is now in 8th grade, an A-B student, and is giggling and happy most of the time. Don’t get me wrong, she still has her moments, but she is now 13! It was the best decision we have made. We, as parents, are in charge of making sure our kids are ok. As parents, we know when they are not. I totally understand your hesitation to start your child on a controlled substance. I pray that your child benefits from the medication as much as ours has!

Mechell 1 year ago

I can totally relate to this story. When it came down to medicate or not I was so torn. I cried all day, I cried all night. I felt like a complete failure as a parent. I would begin again, cry and pray, cry and pray. And then it became so clear to me. The medication was not to make my life better, it was to make his life better. We went through a few before we found the right one, but life is better now. Not perfect, but better. He is more focused and attentive and actually sleeps better. Thank you for posting

Stephanie Tyndall 1 year ago

Yes. Thank you for posting this. ❤️

Kacy Merritt 1 year ago

WOW! I totally identify with this. It is such a hard decision and never without many tears and much research. Less than a year ago I placed my son on medication. He is happier and deals much better this his ADD now. I am sure we have many hard times ahead. but for now, we are content and all is well on the home front. But it was not without hesitation. Thank you for writing this article.

Paola Berdichevsky 1 year ago

You have to do and try whatever is best for your child. We are so lucky to have meds that can help.

Melissa Kay Hampton 1 year ago

The social stigma on mental issues really saddens me. To give a different perspective, my son was born with a kidney condition that makes his body unable to regulate his hydration levels. He can literally dehydrate while drinking water. No one ever questions my parenting ability because he’s medicated for it. If his body didn’t make enough insulin, I would give him medicine for that, too. Why do so many have a problem with medicating a brain that’s acting up? Hugs to all the parents and kids who are dealing with this!

Jessica Finocchio Massery 1 year ago

As a mom to a “spirited” child, I can relate to your worries. My little guy can be so sweet, loving, funny, bright, terrific math and reading (3rd-4th grade levels) etc. but he can also be a handful and show signs of struggle with certain behaviors. He’s only 6 and I worry that if we don’t help him now, school will become an issue. God bless you and your worries. It’s obvious he has a loving and supportive family and that is always best.

Katherine Cooper Humphrey 1 year ago

We used Strattera as well and had great success. But, each child is different.

Stephanie Chaney 1 year ago

Thank you for posting this…for giving me a gleam of hope and the amazing gift of not feeling so alone….

Nikki Putt 1 year ago

We tried behavior therapy and counseling before medication. It has made sich a difference for our daughter. She tales Intuniv, which is not a controlled narcotic. There are many options. You have to be your child’s advocate and not give up until you get the right help for them.

Chrissy Sparkles 1 year ago

Hugs xx

Jessica Hampe 1 year ago

Wow. Damn. Good mom.

Katherine Cooper Humphrey 1 year ago

When he said, “Mom, I want to die. No one wants me in their group or to be my friend.” I still cry, even just typing that out is painful and nothing you ever want to hear from your child. He’s 19 now and successful in college without medication. I don’t regret the meds… they saved his life.

Lori Corley Blanchard 1 year ago

To all the moms and dads that have faced this decision: Fuck the Judgey McJugersons! Unless they have walked a mile in my or any other parents shoes that has a special needs child you have NO CLUE! You have no clue what it’s like to watch your child struggle every day to be “normal” and be willing to try anything and everything to help him/her.

If your child had a broken bone would you refuse the cast? If your child had cancer would you refuse chemo? No? Then why the hell should there be a stigma attached to those that choose to try medications to help their child with mental health issues?

Tina Smeby 1 year ago

Brought me to tears. Thank you for so bravely sharing this. Good luck to your family.

Mari Moreno 1 year ago

Its far more harmful to have your child singled out as a bad seed or disruptive student. My son has had these struggles for 4 years before medication. We went through all the options first, AP classes, special one on one disipline, ect..but this was really something he could not help..and I was helpless too. It saddens me to know that he will be on medication all his life but far less serious than the path he would be on without. Kuddos to you for doing whats best for your child

Stephanie Meyer James 1 year ago

LOVE! When we got an ADD diagnosis in this house, I was reluctant to medicate…but, when giving your kid speed slows them down, it’s easier to believe the diagnosis was correct :)

Karen Griffith 1 year ago

Yes it long sorry:
We went through that last year and half way through kindergarten after 2 years or prek with obvious struggles. I waited to see if he grew out of it. Was seen by school psychiatrist and our dr.
Our extended family has an abundance of ADHD, autism across the spectrum boys and girls. My daughter 10 years older now 17. I now think back and see a few if the same ADHD signs but more obvious in my son, than her at that age. She made it through to a jr. In high school with a lot of ups and downs. From almost failing English to passing with a 99 the next year. I wonder if I took the same action I am with my 7 year old son now would it be different and easier for her? I can let you know that in 10 years.
So we medicated him the last half of the year was better but no wonderful improvement. So over the summer kept up the medication, worked on behavior taught him what to do in different situations. One great piece of advice came from his Tae Kwon do coach ( also a special ed teacher) ” he needs to be taught how to act in school, practice. Read to him while he sits on a carpet in front of you have noise in the background, have your other kid poke him while you read. Teach him how to process while on meds and while off. Over time ask him if he can tell the difference in himself” I did that and even at 6 he could tell how the medicine helped him and what it didn’t help with. I discussed how he needs to “advocate” or tell someone when he can’t focus, or if he doesn’t understand something. However I feel he now has taken that too literally and asks all the time.
We did tweek the medicine to a time release since he knew when it didn’t seem to feel right in the middle of this year 1st grade. He still has problems on moving from task to task and is low on the reading scale. So thus summer is working on reading, following visual, verbal and written directions. Our family called Knd -1st grade summer reprogramming summer, this summer is confidence and using direction skills. I hope to have him able to be self regulated by middle school. Because that is when medication can get wacky with hormones, growth and other changes. But time will tell, so don’t rule out medication but use it to the fullest extent and not just rely on it.

Rebecca Springman Vallone 1 year ago

Great article! You get to a point where although you’re worried about the side effects of the medicine, you’re more worried about what your child’s future will look like without it.

Stephanie Zinkievich Thrower 1 year ago

When the doctor told me that my daughter needed to take medication I felt my heart drop. It’s a tough choice for all the reasons above and I was terrified of the stigma and judgement. The choice was absolutely right for her and I decided to be open with her so she would never know that stigma. I am also hoping that it starts changing the way we all look at mental illnesses, by allowing her to be open about her issues and being confident and knowledgeable.

Michele Nichols 1 year ago

Thank you for sharing.

Charli Heavrin 1 year ago

Dear Author- I wish I could give you a hug. Those of us who’ve been through the string of doctors and therapists and pharmacy lines get where you’re coming from. But so many people don’t. If you haven’t had a child who struggles like ours have, then you can’t understand how many hours have been spent worrying over how to best help that child. There are those who will look at us askance for medicating our children. On the other hand, there will be those who give you dirty looks or accusing stares because your child is a screamer or a little wild man, and they don’t understand how hard you’re working to help them to cope without prescription meds. You simply can’t please everyone. The stories I could share with you about the neighbor that hates me…but that’s another story for another day. The point is that all of us out there who have researched and worried and fought for our child’s best outcome get it. You’re not alone, no matter how often along this journey you’ve felt like you were. I cried many tears reading your words, because I’ve been struggling with the EXACT same scenario this week. And I hope for you that your child is helped by the medication- because seeing your child feeling good, being proud of himself, and recognizing the change in himself is the ultimate reward, and it goes a long ways toward healing all of the hours of worry and guilt you’ve had. Good luck, and keep up the good work!

Lacey Girard 1 year ago

i have been upset about this same subject for weeks. my 4 year old is uncontrollable and i also tried to do everything exactly perfect when pregnant and when he was smaller. hes reduced me to a bawling mess more than a couple times and it breaks my heart that his beautiful personality isnt shining because of the other behaviors. im still going back and forth on whether to medicate. we are doing a trial run right now. ughhh :/

Neishe Barker 1 year ago

Tears as I type! This has been my biggest struggle as a mother. After two years of trying to do it “my way”, I realized it was not working. I was and still am terrified of putting my son on a narcotic. I read countless books, changed his diet, tried every exercise I could find…it just didn’t work for him. While I feel fortunate his first medication has helped him tremendously, (dosage has been adjusted a couple times) there’s never a time I refill that scrip without a knot in my stomach. I have to remember I’m doing what’s best for him, to help him reach his full potential. I hope & pray every day I have made the right decision. It’s comforting to know others have struggled with this as I have. Thank you for sharing your story!

Tiffany Beaverson Chouteau 1 year ago

As a mental health therapist who worked in a school, I can attest to the improvement that can be made with the right medications. Parents wouldn’t question treating diabetes; mental health issues deserve the same attention and lose the stigma.

Hannah Petersen-Barton 1 year ago

This is so brave. Thank you for sharing.

Stacy O’Neil 1 year ago

Thank you for this. I don’t feel so alone in the struggle to find a place that carries my sons type of meds. And the struggle to decide to medicate. Thank you from the bottom of my soul.

Melanie Ann Perez 1 year ago

There are other meds besides adderall, ask your pedi. Or therapist. Staterra works better for my child & it’s not an amphetamine. Good luck!

Ann-Marie Davis 1 year ago

Thank you!

Joanna Joseph 1 year ago

I love this! We struggled for a long time to Medicare our son or not and I am so Thankful that we finally did…he was medicated for two years and it helped him tremendously…he is now doing great and getting ready to start high school in the fall!

Mary Ann Simulinas 1 year ago

While I think ADHD is over diagnosed (kids, especially boys have energy — lots and lots of energy), I also know that there are kids whose brains don’t work quite right without medication (a cousins son was brilliant but flunking school until his parents very reluctantly medicated him). With that said, watch those potential side affects and give up the guilt. It’s not about you or what you did or did not do, the fact is that there is a problem and the issue is what is in the best interest of your child (preparing them for the time when you are no longer there)

Katie Brown Niemiec 1 year ago

Very real, this is me. Thank you for sharing, u are not alone.

Stacy Marie 1 year ago

I also did all the right things while pregnant. My first 2 children were wonderful, happy, healthy. Our 3rd and last is on daily medication after 2 years of teachers and principal calls and emails. It is a very a hard decision to make. I made that decision the day my son stood in his room crying holding his head in his hands. Asking me to please help him because he could not stay on 1 task and he tried so hard. He has been on the same medication now for 3 years and is so much happier and loves school. I feel I made the right decision in medicating.

Tara Lindsey Robertson 1 year ago

I just want to stop and say; mother and father hood is the hardest job, ever. Each decision we have to make, and every obstacle we face is never easy. Each of you are doing a wonderful job!

Jeanne Lussem Brock 1 year ago

Fabulously written. No one has a child and thinks I can’t wait to put them on medication someday. Spread the word, mental health issues are in every family, workplace, school, and community and until you walk that mile you can’t imagine how scary, lost, hopeless, helpless, and judged the caregivers can feel. I hope this mother knows that SHE is not alone!

Christine 1 year ago

We are in the middle of trying to make this decision now. It is heartbreaking, I really loved reading this and knowing we are not alone.

Melanie Ann Perez 1 year ago

It is the right decision when you have tried every other avenue. It doesn’t have to be forever, my thoughts are with you, I am on the same journey!

Gina Murillo Morrison 1 year ago

My husband and I are currently going through tests for ADD for our youngest son, 6 years. As the doctor was telling us that they may want to medicate him my heart sunk. Still don’t know the results or answers but knowing I’m not alone in feeling heart broken is a huge help.

Trevor Li 1 year ago

Thank you so much for this article. As parents, there’s a stigma that comes with medicating your child. I refuse to be judged for doing what was best for our son. Only as his parents do we know the things he’s struggled with and the things we’ve done to help him. Choosing medication was the last resort for us, but it was the best. Our son is doing well in school and has also been able to drop some of his special education classes.

Cathy 1 year ago

Never say never. My darling sweet 8 year old son was involuntarily committed late last year. It all came on so suddenly we were caught off guard. He knew his brain was different and blamed himself. He is stable now and above grade level. He would be dead or hospitalized had we said never. I can’t think of anything that I would never do rather than leave him alone in that sterile hallway at 4 in the morning, stuffing my sweater in my mouth so he wouldn’t hear me scream.

monica 1 year ago

This was beautifully written and my son will soon be medicated this made me feel better about it thank you so much

Nancy Primer 1 year ago

So many parents struggle with this every day. They feel alone when, in reality, they are not. For all of you seeking support, please contact your health department to find a support group. If not, ask your doctor.

Laura Freeman Myers 1 year ago

Thank you for expressing the challenge you face. Prayers for you and yours.

Maribel 1 year ago

Corrected my blog link!

Melanie Kathryn Hemingway 1 year ago

This speaks to my heart. It is EXACTLY how we have felt and struggled with this decision for the last 3 years. Thank you

Judy 1 year ago

Totally been there. I tried everything before medicating my daughter. Happily though after several different meds she is absolutely thriving. Happy, strong and secure! It’s going to be ok…

Cari Vogeler-Michael 1 year ago

This made me cry. Very well written.

Monica Smith 1 year ago

Thank you so very much for sharing. We are going through the exact same issue with our 3rd grade daughter.

April 1 year ago

I forgot to mention in the previous comment that part of my strong feelings on the subject come not only from the years I suffered un-medicated but also that my doctors have since told me that science has found that the longer mental illness goes on untreated the more sever and the more permanent it becomes. This is something many doctors won’t tell parents.

Beth Chenevert 1 year ago

Awesome!

Erica Swenson Monfreda 1 year ago

Thank you for posting what many parents are struggling with right now. I resisted the medication thing for a long time. It was when my sons teacher (who has been a teacher for 20 years) said to me at an end of the year conference “in all my years I have never failed a child (meaning not being able to reach his potential) but this year I failed yours” with all sincerity and tears in her eyes. I knew then what we needed to do

Maribel 1 year ago

I can so relate with this mama’s post. Thank you for sharing this poignant read. I really wish that before folks jump on the overmedication bandwagon, that they check their audience first. Is there abuse of ADHD meds today? Yes. Does that mean that parents that medicate their children are irresponsible, passing the buck, or excusing their child’s behavior? Absolutely not. If neurotypical parents and others that have never experienced ADHD or anxiety issues would take a minute to realize how absolutely frightening it is to actually have to go down this path, and how we think long and hard about a decision like this, they’d stop being so judgemental.
Brava to you for such a vulnerable and honest piece.

Trevor 1 year ago

You have no idea how much I can relate to this. Our son has been on medication for over a year now, and it’s like night and day. He’s happier, more expressive instead of impulsive and is keeping up with his peers in his class. He’s still our son, just a happier more well balanced version.

jen 1 year ago

this past october we were left with the last choice of medicating my 8 year old son. this article hits the nail on the head in a lot of ways. I fought for years, many of them as a single mother, through all sorts of problems. I cried myself to sleep, felt the guilt for not being able to make his days what I felt they should be, for watching him struggle eventually to the point that he wasn’t the happy goofy boy he’d always been. instead he was a frustrated, angry, struggling boy that was having more trouble coping than even I could have imagined. upon returning home with that first bottle of pills I felt like such a failure for more reasons than I could possibly list here, but in time I came to realize that I spent those years fighting along side my first born to make sure there were no other options, watching his troubles get worse instead of better for a reason. not only because he is one of the 3 lights of life, but so that we would know if that moment came that we were not needlessly medicating him. I learned that not only did I owe him those years of fighting, but I also owed him the opportunity to use this last resort. it’s been more than 6 months now, we still have good days and bad, but the moment his teachers who had also worked for years with me told me they weren’t seeing the negativity and anger (mostly towards himself) almost at all anymore I knew we had made the right decision!
it’s something anyone not in our shoes will never fully understand, I’ve been judged from here to hell and back, but knowing how much it has helped makes every bit of it worth it because I know I am doing whatever it takes to help my not so little baby!!

Dimelsa Argueta 1 year ago

This was a very well written article! whether i agree or not with it is besides the point (I have yet to be in this position). I can relate with many feelings that many moms go through, with many choices we make on behalf of our children. Its scary when we have the power and we would just like someone to tell us the right answer/choice/solution. The best thing and one thing I’m glad the writer found is peace within herself and to let go of that fear, its comes and goes as decisions need to be made, but as our children grow… so do we!!

April 1 year ago

As someone who to this day struggles with ADHD Bipolar and Depression that would not be as severe had her parents not been afraid of the “stigma” of medication the idea of letting my daughter suffer three years, the imbalances becoming more severe in the meantime, so that I could make myself feel better that I “tried everything else” is absurd. I have told off and cut out many people for having the nerve to judge my decision to medicate her. She is 9 now, medicated since 7, and still the poor dear struggles with her hyperactivity and lack of focus ON meds, and also has to take an antidepressant and an anti-psychotic as she, like her mother before her, has early onset Bipolar, that at her young age they call mood disorder not otherwise specified with psychotic features. People can judge all they want but if they would do different for their little one if they were suffering and hearing voices telling them to harm themselves I hope they lose their children to the custody of someone that puts their child’s needs above fear of judgement. I know I wish that my own parents had!

Jessica Ceman Thiel 1 year ago

I have nothing but compassion for you and your situation. I wish you all the best!

Danni 1 year ago

Breathe. It’s so hard. For seven years I held out, and the scale tipper was the day he become a threat to his baby brother. I couldn’t do it anymore, I felt like a total failure. And we had to try weeks of this drug or that dosage before seeing improvement. When one seems to help, he goes through a growth spurt, and we have to reevaluate. Right now we are doing a new work up because what once seemed to help seems to be making him a tired all the time. We soldier on because we have to do whatever we can to make them as happy as we can, the best they can be. You and your family will be in my thoughts. Stay strong!

Crystal Kelley 1 year ago

Struggling with this right now… :(

Suzanne Dreitlein 1 year ago

We knew ours was going to be different before she came out. We named her a “peppy” name because we knew she was going to be energetic. We knew at less than six months old that she was wired in that special sort of super powered way. I tried everything on the planet to naturally help her try to adapt. Several broken bones, trips to the ER for her (and other kids who got in her way), countless days of arguing, issues at school with disrupting the entire class, we finally got diagnosed and turned to meds. I cried in the doctor’s office for an hour. But in the end, it’s been great. The difference in her school work is unbelievable and on the weekends, we have blissful hours without yelling. We do a mad amount of discipline and behavior training and plan to one way have her move beyond the meds. Please reach out if you need support! There’s a great community out there!

Carly Seffens 1 year ago

Medication had it’s place in my son’s life and it did a great amount of good, for a while. There came a time where the medication, after a year, was having adverse effects. Use it when it’s needed and stop it when it’s no longer serving any purpose.

Tracey Branson 1 year ago

Absolutely beautiful. Tears streaming down my face. So close to our story. My son is 13 years old. Diagnosed with ADD in 3rd grade. Not hyperactive. Just inattentive. I couldn’t bear the thought of putting him on meds, but the school actually encouraged it. He was on meds from 3rd grade until 6th grade. He finally said one day that he just didn’t want to take it anymore. It was turning him into a zombie no matter how much or how little he took. I couldn’t take it anymore. He may still struggle and needs lots of extra help, but I think we made the right decision to take him off. One day he might need it again. Just my story.

Candice A. Moser 1 year ago

thank you for spreading the word.. it is a darn hard choice. I myself was put on meds as a child I no longer need them. If either of my boys need it, they will get it. and like you I would try everything else first.

Mary Schneider 1 year ago

I rarely cry over posts but this…

I remember those days. I remember the fights, the screaming. The tears, from both sides. I remember the calls from the school. I remember sitting through the disciplinary hearing when my son was in FIFTH GRADE. They expelled him, because his temper was out of control. The hearing made me feel exactly like we were sitting through a criminal trial. (thank god we hadn’t brought him in with us. We didn’t feel it was necessary.)

We chose the opposite road, for a variety of reasons. We resisted medicating. I home schooled for three years.

Momma, you’re DOING THE RIGHT THING. You’re doing all you can to help your son. You’re listening to what he wants, what he needs. Don’t let anyone shame you. You know him better than anyone in the world, and you’re sticking by his side.

Hang in there. It gets easier. Maybe not for a long time, but… it does. (hugs)

Stephanie Ann France 1 year ago

Thanks for posting this. I have had every feeling you listed! And, to have another mom feel the same way and not judge my family for it is amazing!

Ann Miceli-Smolen 1 year ago

With my son it did. He was put on adderall at a young age. He’s 18 now and still takes it. Dosage has been adjusted over the years. Absolutely the best decision I ever made.

Amy Cupp 1 year ago

It is very hard for those who have birthed naturally, fed organically, and cleaned naturally. It is almost devastating. You are right that their shouldn’t be a stigma with medications but to give your child sipped when you trade Halloween candy for hot wheels, it’s difficult.

Monica Richards Capps 1 year ago

This is exactly how I feel!! Thanks for sharing

Amanda 1 year ago

Coming from a mother who was a medicated child, I was on Ritalin, Concerta, and adderall (at different times growing up). I felt so much better being medicated. I wasn’t so jittery, flighty, and keyed up from the smallest amount of stimuli. It made ME a better person to be around growing up. Coming from a mother who has a future medicine child, I’m terrified. I felt like my horrible genes are going to ruin my son’s chance of having a peaceful childhood that doesn’t revolve around Dr’s offices, and a medicine schedule. I know if that comes to be I will have known both sides of the fence. Hang in there mom!

Andrea Smalley 1 year ago

Exactly what I needed today. Felt like I was reading my child’s story to the letter. You just want them to be happy :(

Nicole Custen 1 year ago

This was needed, thank you.

Deb Holthaus Zavoyna 1 year ago

Beautiful.

Kyla Summerfield 1 year ago

Medication should not be such a stigma in our society. Decisions made in private with guidance of trained physician is their business and being so dramatic isn’t necessary. There is nothing that crazy or scary about trying medication under supervision.

Krista Robinson Yager 1 year ago

Great article!

Jennifer 1 year ago

Hi. I understand your suffering. I nursed for almost 2 years, hoping that maybe it would help make everything less than it seemed it was turning out to be. Now they are saying that everything that was in your body before you ever had kids (all the additives and pesticides you stored up in your system for years), goes into your first born. I have four, by the way. My first and last have high functioning autism. So many times I beat my head against the wall about all of it. (Sometimes while my youngest rocked knocking his head back into the couch). They are all perfectly imperfect and made especially for us to take care of. I know that with all my heart. I will not ever put any of mine on meds. (personal choice with no judgement attached). I applaud you for doing what you think is right for your child. Thank you for writing the article. I feel less alone while reading it.
Jen

Stephanie Wilson Vassar 1 year ago

It is so hard, and you so desperately want to help them. Hope this helps your son. Your whole family dynamic will evolve if it does.

Susan Burns Schlesinger 1 year ago

I am struggling with a similar decision for a different issue with my child. Thank you for speaking your truth.

Ashley Marie 1 year ago

Perfect timing for me to read this… thank you

Sara Gremlin 1 year ago

We had to make a choice and we made the same one. It is not an easy choice and we often considered both options every year. I wish you all the best.

Nicole Martin Vandoren 1 year ago

Great read!!!!!

Jenna Williams Green 1 year ago

I could have written this….4 years ago

Carie Kotz 1 year ago

You took the words right out if my mouth!

Allison Crumbaker Browning 1 year ago

Very beautifully written

Kaseylynn 1 year ago

Thank you so much for sharing your journey. I truly hope that your son and your family find a path to his happiness and stability. You sound like a mama tiger!

Jaime-Lynne Patterson 1 year ago

Yes! this, exactly this!!

Niccole English 1 year ago

Poignant and beautifully written.

Andrea Harrison 1 year ago

Thank you for posting this article! We had to make this decision about our daughter!