kids w/ADHD & video games

Shauna - posted on 06/27/2010 ( 10 moms have responded )

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i have a 6 yr old boy who was diagnosed w/ ADHD this year. i always kinda had an instinct that he had it b/c it runs in my family but it was confirmed his first year of school. he was having trouble sitting down and focusing in school and i knew that he was smart he just couldn't sit down to save his life. my family was kind of against putting a 6yr old on meds but his doctor assured me it would not harm him and if i decided to take him off of it that would be fine too. i tried it despite my family and their accusations of wanting to dope my child up w/meds to make him quiet, but that's not the reason i did it. i did it b/c i knew how ridiculously smart he was even tho he had never been in daycare or preschool. the thing was that his teacher was going to hold him back in kindergarten but not b/c he didn't know the material, but b/c she felt he wasn't mature enough to go into first grade. i was actually floored by this b/c if he is bored this year then how do u think he's going to act next year. that's when i put him on 5mg aderol. since then he's done great in school. i decided not to tell his teacher at first that i had even done this just to see if she would notice a difference and she came to me about 3-4 weeks later telling me what a change she's seen in him lately and how far he is coming along....i couldn't believe it, and i did tell her that i took him to a doctor and put him on aderol. she was so amazed by his improvement she couldln't believe that about a month b4 that she was even thinking of holding him back. the thing is that i decided b/c of my family to keep him off the aderol for summer vacation since he's not going to be in school but now he's just driving me completely nuts!!!! i want to take him back to the doctor to get more medication but i'm starting to feel guilty about doing so...thinking of my family's words in the back of my head. to me it's not about shutting him up b/c it's not like he talks any less, he's just more in control of himself physically it seems. when he's not on it he's completey out of control bouncing off the walls from one end of the house to the other. is it wrong for me to keep him on it thru summer? at first during the school year i would only give it to him mon thr fri, but still i could see the difference on the weekends when he wasn't on it....i just don't know if this is really healthy for a child to be on medication like this every day of his life and what is it REALLY doing to his little body??? i do trust my doctor, but at the same time it seems like doctors r the first to shove medication down someone's throat just to make some money. any advice???

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KELLY - posted on 07/18/2010

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Hun, if your son is responding to the medication in a positive way than keep him on it. I too have a son w/ add and when his is not on it you can really tell. You are his mother and know what is best for your son. Do not let people make you feel bad. In the long run it will be better for your son. He will be able to focus and slow his brain down so that he is not so impulsive. Impulsivity is a something that adhd causes and being on the meds will help with this. I just put son on add meds and he should of been on it a long time ago he is now 13 your son is 6. Keep him on the meds so that he does not form bad habits and disinterest in school or anything else for that matter, due to him not being able to focus on anything for too long. Hope this helps.

Laura - posted on 07/14/2010

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My son was diagnosed in 2nd grade and I put him on adderall XR (lowest dose). Like you I was concerned about the medication but, as you have seen, it really helps with focus and self control. This is not only a good thing for school but also for social acceptance. I felt that it was better for my son to take it every day, weekends and during the summer, so that he was not constantly flip flopping back and fourth between a state of self control and a state of uncontrol. A child craves structure in his life, which helps him to function without added stress. Keeping him on his medication allows him, and you, to maintain that structure in his every day life and minimize stress. This is only to his benefit, not to his detriment.



My son will be going into high school next year and because of the adderall, he has maintained A's and B's in school (with the occasional C) and has allowed him to make friends and maintain friendships. He also participates in a number of clubs - current events and drama club and was in the play this year. These are all things that would not have been possible without the medication.



When he started middle school, he noticed that he was having trouble with self control and, after consulting with his doctor, we did have to increase the milligrams per day so, as you child gets older, you may need to change the dosage. Trust in the fact that you made the right decision putting your son on aderol and don't stop on the weekends or during the summer. You are helping him, not hurting him.

Jaelyn - posted on 07/10/2010

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RE: Medication...

Ritalin is an outdated, horrible medication, that in my opinion should only be used in extreme cases and as a last resort option. We have tried several med combos, be begam medicating our son at age 4. Most people flip out when they hear that, and I am NOT one to push meds on anyone. We tried natural suppliments and diet changes first, but nothing helped. Granted my son has a dual diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder and ADHD, but I thik the principal is the same. Ultimately it became a matter of whether or not the benefits outweighed the risks and side effects.

Our son takes Lithium, Wellbutrin, and Adderall XR which after trying countless variations and medications, turned out to be the magic combo. He is taking the lowest effective dose of each.

With the Adderall XR, weight gain/loss is the most common issue, all the others, headache, mood, diarrhea, etc, all go away after the first few weeks, if you stick with it. It was tough, especially for my son who had bowel accidents in public due to the meds, which were highly embarassing for us all, but we just took it in stride and carried extra clothes with us for a few weeks. Now that his body has gotten used to the meds, they are doing their job and the side effects went away except one.

My son is naturally tall and thin, and the Adderall XR caused him to lose weight as it also curbs his appetite. It was a real struggle to force him to eat, which we tried to make him do every 2 hours, and drink enough water. That is another cause of the side effects, they HAVE to drink enough water, recommended 5-6+ 20oz bottles of water a day, or the chances of having the above side effects increase and may continue after the first few weeks. To counter this, we made drinking the water a game, and allowed the addition of add-in flavors (Crystal light) for the last 2 bottles. This also helped us as we began drinking the water right along with him, bonus! :) We have contests to see who can chug a bottle fastest, that sort of thing.

As for the weight loss, we started him on the Ensure Plus for weight gain, a prebottled smoothie type drink. He has that first, then eats breakfast, then takes his meds. It works perfectly and he has put back the weight he lost and is now maintaining so we switched to the regular ensure, and continue the routine. It is definitely very hard as a parent to see a child suffer, which will happen if they do not eat/drink enough will on these meds, but a part of being a parent is letting them has room to fall and suffer after adequate reminders and arguements to do it right. We would have huge fights over eating, even giving him free reign to choose whatever he wanted to eat, except sweets of course, there would still have to be threats of an ER visit and an IV. After several months of this our Dr told us to step back and let him see for himself what would happen and after a few days of suffering through vomiting from lack of food, he began to take better care of himself.

As for taking the summer off, with these addictive meds, it is VERY important to titrate off them SLOWLY, and under a Drs supervision. MIssing several days or just deciding to stop them completely is dangerous for your child and can lead to all sorts of complications, even heart failure. I personally would never consider stopping for the summer because it just isnt worth it to have everyone in the house upset about the behavior, aside from the physical risks.

Our Dr does however, recommend taking two days off a month (just with the Adderall XR), so we do every other saturday, so he is still manageable for church. He seems fine, we have just learned to give him a lot of leeway in choosing his activities for the day when off, to keep the peace. The break allows the body to produce the necessary growth hormones that are slowed considerably by the medication.

If you would like to chat more about our experiences with various meds, or for any other reason, feel free to email me at jaelynrae08@hotmail.com. Take care!

Tracy - posted on 07/04/2010

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My 10 year old is on adderall XR. it seems to make her a bit moody, and really messes with her appetite. But ritalin made her more of a too quiet zombie. because she can't swallow pills yet, we are limited to what can be mixed with applesauce/yogurt.
I usually take her off the meds for the summer(except for camps,summer school,etc.) but probably not as much this year.
It is hard when she is bouncing off the walls, yelling at everybody, not listening. I feel like I keep her on it to keep the peace, but isn't it better than losing my temper and yelling at her every day? Won't that do more damage?

Amy - posted on 07/02/2010

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Ultimately, it's between you and the doctor. you know what your son needs. I never ever thought I'd medicate my son, but I'm so glad I did. He's still himself! He's not a zombie like you hear people say. If it's REALLY ADHD and due to a malfunctioning brain, the meds will help.

My son is brilliant, too. It's so frustrating when people know he's ADHD and assume that he's barely passing classes. He was reading at 4, and he remembers everything. His meds actually HELP him learn MORE.

So it's our family's goal to give him the lowest dose for the maximum impact. If he can concentrate in class and not be all over the place mentally and physically, it helps everyone.

We're currently on strattera. we were on Concerta, but he couldn't sleep, and summer was coming up, so we switched. If he's not able to focus enough in class when school starts back up, we'll give him a shorter acting ritalin (with the strattera) so he can concentrate in class AND go to sleep.

Phyllis - posted on 06/29/2010

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My son is turning 7 and has been on Concerta since age 5. We are lucky as we hit just the right med on the first try, and he has had minimal side effects. The ones he does have are very mild and do not concern me overmuch. We too, tried to take him off meds for the summer last year. It was a big mistake for us. First of all, he had withdrawal headaches for a week. Then he was simply unmanageable. He kept asking for his medicine b/c "Everything is too fast for my thinking Mommy!" I have seen a huge change in him, but I think the biggest affirmation that I have done the right thing, is that HE sees the difference it makes for him. After 3 weeks of summer hell, we put him back on the meds, but at the lower dosage. This was not a perfect solution, but at least it took the edge off the insanity for all involved, and we could actually take him out in public. About a week before school started again, we put it back up to his normal dose. The bottom line is that you know what is best for him. Do not let anyone talk you out of following your instincts.

Tara - posted on 06/29/2010

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Our son is 7 and a half. After many years of seeking answers to questions from the time he was still in diapers, we received a diagnosis this year of ADHD. We went so many other routes to help him. It was baffling to us because he is very bright too, has a high IQ, and was reading before he was out of diapers. We had his hearing tested, speech pathology, child development, occupational therapy. After three or four years of seeing no improvement, we received a diagnosis and we tried medication. We tried a number of different medications that were not helpful and now have settled on Concerta 27mg. The only side effect is that it is out of his system come bed time so it may take him a little longer to fall asleep than before. We don't plan on taking him off the medication when school is out. It really helps him in taking part in all the things we would like to do together as a family. He couldn't sit at the dinner table and have a meal. He was actually falling out of the seat at school and landing on the floor, hurting himself. He couldn't sit still in the sanctuary at church before for 15 minutes prior to Sunday school. He has a little more time now to think before he acts. He is still impulsive but less so and often recognizes in himself before he gets to the point of a full-on tantrum that he needs some alone time. He is better able to focus and filter out all the distractions that made it impossible for him before to keep his attention on his school work. We saw improvement in his penmanship for the first time this year since he was on Concerta.

I would not discuss these issues with my family if they could not be supportive of our son's needs. I don't know a parent anywhere that wants their child to be on medication. For most, it is a last resort for sure. Perhaps your family could spend a full day or two with your child to see what you see and how your child struggles daily. I know for our son, it must have beeb absolutely exhausting to keep up with the level of focus required without help. And he wasn't growing out of it and he won't (other than perhaps the hyperactivity part of it). If anything, it got worse for him because more is expected of children as they get older.

You need to do what is best for your child and put the rest aside. If it helps you to do more research in terms of learning more about the medication, then go for it. If aderol works for your child and you can put your concerns of safety behind you, it sounds like a good plan for him. You know your child better than anyone else. Trust your instincts.

Pat - posted on 06/28/2010

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hi do what u feel right for your child,and dont feel gulty.my son on meds for adhd and he has them every day,i felt gulty at first but if it helps my son then thats all that matters,its the child you have to think off and its not bout shutting them up,its just helping them.do wants best for you and your child.good luck if you want to chat either here or on facebook pat x

Shauna - posted on 06/27/2010

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my mother and sister r both ADD and my mother had my sister on ritilan (spelling?) when she was ages 5-13 and then they put her on dexidrine. both of those medications seemed to make her very withdrawn from ppl and other kids it was really weird. this was back in the early 90's tho and i don't think there was as many options as there is now. i have an excellent doctor for my kids, he is very well known in our area, and he swears up and down that aderol is completely safe and one of the best medications for children. i did discuss my concerns about behavior changes and the effect medications had on my younger sister growing up, but he convinced me this was ok. he did say however, if your child's moods or behavior do change then to take them off of it so maybe there's another medication that will work differently w/ur child's chemical make-up.

Maggie - posted on 06/27/2010

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I have my son on adderal but it's make him very moody, so I finally stopped the medication. I have tried so many medications that I don't know anymore, I really hope some day my son really gets better with age, I don't like the medications and the side effects. I have two son's with ADHD 17 and another child with ADD 11 and it has been really hard for me and my family. But, I pray everday for them.

Any advice?

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