Should kids with ADHD be medicated ?

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Charlotte - posted on 05/06/2009

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Really REALLY loooong response, sorry :)

Our daughter is 5 1/2 yrs old and we have just begun the roller coaster ride of finding the right medication for her. We have had our suspicions that she has ADHD since she was a toddler, she was formally diagnosed in January of this year.

We hesitated to start her on medication as we did not feel that we had done enough research and we were truly hoping that we would not have to go down that route due to her young age. We have done tons of research and have met with many parents of ADHD children as well as developmental therapists etc and we have come to the conclusion that medication is the best option for our child.

I am going to try to explain our reasoning behind our choice as best as I can, but please keep in mind that this is just our opinion and the choice that we have made for our daughter. I am in no way advocating that parents should make one choice or the other in regards to medicating and I do believe that it is a very personal and tough decision that we as parents of ADHD do not make easily. So my respect goes out to all parents and the different choices that we all have to make for our ADHD children.

Also it helped us in our decision to understand the workings in the brain of an ADHD child. Some evidence (gathered from studies I have read) had suggested that the right
frontal lobe is smaller in children with ADHD (the right side of the brain involves attention processing). This data showed close similarity in symptoms between ADHD and people who had suffered frontal lobe damage or right hemisphere damage through illness or injury. The ADHD meds works to surpress the 'background' firing of neurons not associated with task performance, allowing the brain to transmit a clearer signal, thus allowing the ADHD affected person to focus better. To me understanding that ADHD is a neuro transmitter and brain chemical imbalance explained why the other stuff we had tried (diet change etc) did not work. Although I am also convinced that too much sugar and red dye etc in our ADHD children's diets intensify our children's behavior, as it can in our non-ADHD children I do not believe that changing a diet can grow new neuro transmitters in human brains. But that is just my opinion.

Anyway, after learning that ADHD medications are the most studied form of drugs, even surpassing studies on the effects of aspirin, I believe there are more than 300 official studies out there vouching for the safety of these drugs. We concluded that our daughter was more likely going to get 'hurt' physically or emotionally by her risky behavior than by the ADHD meds. To us the pros of the drugs far outweighed the cons.

Our daughter is pretty wild and is always bouncing around, jumping on and off furniture and I have to be hyper vigilant all times with her, even while walking with her outside as she easily might run out into traffic to look at a cat or dog or whatever.

She also does inappropriate and dangerous things. The other day while I was drying off my son and she was still in the bathtub she somehow got a hold of my nail polish remover and poured the entire contents into the bath tub. She is constantly putting things in her mouth that could either choke her or make her sick. So although I do love my daughter's spontaneous side and zest for life it is pretty scary and stressful to feel like my kid could get seriously hurt (or worse) at any given moment if I let my guard down.

The medication (once we find the right one. Ugh) will help with her executive function so she can make smarter choices and stay safer. To me the potential dangers of her risky behavior far outweigh the risks the medications may pose. And I do believe that as she gets older and more independent the risky behavior could only become more dangerous, especially as I cannot watch her every move. As she starts entering her teen years there are many situations that can be difficult for a teen with ADHD to navigate and to resist with the lack of impulse control that is the MO of ADHD (drugs, alcohol, unprotected sex etc).

Also, I want my daughter to grow up with confidence and I want her to be able to learn the tools that will empower her to make strong decisions about her life. I honestly cannot see this happening in her current situation. She is just way too distracted and has such a difficult time controlling her impulses, that our efforts to teach and guide her to make good decisions are just not being processed by her brain. We have tried Omega 3 therapy, changing her diet (for over a year) and frankly we saw no change at all.

I am totally committed to giving her the same opportunity to learn and develop as all other children. She has ADHD by no fault of her own and unfortunately the general public, including her teachers, are not so tolerant and understanding of her situation, causing her to get beaten down a lot emotionally. She constantly says 'I can't do anything right' Everybody hates me etc. If medication will help her to relate better to her peers and to level the playing field in her social circles then I want to at least give the medication a chance, thus giving my daughter a fair chance.

That being said, we have yet to find the right mediation. She has already tried Focalin, Focalin XR and Adderall all of which made her zombie like. I still believe the right medication is out there and we will keep trying until we find the one that works with her body chemistry.

Lastly, I just want to say that one of my husband's and my biggest fears when starting this treatment journey was that our daughter would lose her personality. I realize now that much of her personality is really not her personality at all. It is text book personality and a million kids have those most defining personality traits, not very unique if you ask me- it is the ADHD personality and the behaviors that come with this disability are overwhelming her real personality.

I want to get to know my daughter the way she really is, with all of her potential showing through and without her wonderful self being masked by ADHD. I see her as a gift that needs to be unwrapped.

If you are still reading thanks so much for letting me share our story. It was quite a mouth full :) I read this forum often and find all the insights and posts so helpful. I think it is awesome that we can share and learn from each others experiences.

Charlotte

[deleted account]

My son was diagnosed at age 6. He is 8 now. We had him a few diff meds and decided med is not for us. I feel that people (myself included) see chidlren that don't fit a certain mold and use this diagnosis to explain it. So then we want medication to make our child fit that mold. I think there are SOME children who can benefit from medicaiton but this diagnosis is WAY over used in my opinion. My son is hyper. He is messy. He has a hard time focusing. He has a hard time sitting still for 7 hours at school. But honestly-- I have a hard time sitting still for 4 hours when I take my college class. And I am expecting my 8 year to sit still for 7 hours?? I just feel like every child is different and we should be very careful about medicating our children. It's like a drug. Read about them, read what they are and what they do. They are like speeders. My son actually "came down" from his meds and would get irritable and sobby and it was just horrible. There are other ways to deal with it. It's a struggle and not easy but medication should be a last resort in my eyes and the diagnosis should not just be handed out cuz a kid misbehaves. With reward/consequences, consistency, checklists, routines and things like that my son does pretty well. He gets awesome grades, yes he has days that he gets in trouble for talking/not sitting still... but I feel like THAT is NORMAL 8 year old boy. :)

Cindy - posted on 05/02/2012

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My husband and I started our son on Ritalin LA when he was 7 years old, just before he started 2nd grade. We had agonized over the decision of whether or not to give him medication, but he was having such a hard time in school that we decided it couldn't hurt to try. His doctor at the time recommended Vyvanse, a stimulant, but I was dead set against using a med that had so little history behind it. Ritalin has been around for many years and its benefits and side effects are well understood, so that's what give our son. The LA (long-acting) Ritalin means that he doesn't have to take a 2nd dose in school (he would have to go to the nurse to get that 2nd dose) and that saves him from embarassment. Almost as soon as he started taking it, we saw his focus improve as well as his behavior. His behavior improved DRAMATICALLY, mostly as a result, I believe, of being able to FOCUS in school. He was less frustrated because the medication helped him become available to learn -- as he was able to learn, his self-esteem soared -- which led to calmer, and all-around better behavior. I definitely think we made the right decision to help our son by giving him ADHD medication -- having said that, it is not a cure-all. Our son STILL needed intensive, one-on-one and small group instruction outside of the classroom -- for READING and WRITING, because he has dyslexia! That's very common with kids who have ADHD. I advocated for services and it took a while but he started getting the help he needed from his elem. school and NOW he is reading ON GRADE LEVEL!! (5th grade).
We are so thrilled for him!! He is a smart and loving little boy and just needed the right combination of specialized instruction and focus medication, plus a loving and supportive family. In the last year or so, we started giving him "holidays" from his Ritalin -- he does not take it on weekends or during the summer. This way, he will eat regularly (side effect of Ritalin is it can suppress the appetitie) and grow properly. It's been a long haul, because we really didn't know how to help him -- and it will continue, I'm sure, to challenge us -- as he grows into a teen and possibly decides he doesn't want to take meds!! But for now, it's wonderful. I hope this helps. Don't ever lose faith. Good luck! Cindy L

Angie - posted on 05/05/2012

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This is such a touchy subject for every parent who needs to choose what to do with their child that struggles with performing daily tasks because of their ADHD. As a mother of a ten year old girl that has ADHD, I always felt like I couldn't tell anyone that she had adhd because either people would say that is just something the schools and doctors make up or they would make you feel horrible if you talked about medication. I personally don't believe in giving our children medication. I think in our society we are over-stimulating our childrens brains with computers, gadgets and TV. In school, they are cramming so much information into them and in a fashion that only certain children can retain.

As an adult, I have learned that people have different learning skills. I should have learned this in school but they teach us all the same so how would I possibly know. Some people are visual, some auditorial, but when you sit 25 kids in a class room and expect them all to learn exactly the same way, there is bound to be some failure. Our health system and our education system is failing our children unfortunately.

I am a mother who tried medication when my child was young, in grade one infact. I felt pressured to put her on the meds because of the teachers and principal. I went to see 4 different doctors all saying the same thing, she has ADHD. I guess that would be fine with me if there was some sort of neurological testing done, but apparently there is no physical testing done. for the first month, the only major side affect was her not sleeping at night, but I had been used to that already it was just a bit worse now. One night I went into her room because she kept getting up and her eyes were just twitching and she said MOM I just can't stop! It was like her brain was in overdrive and she couldn't fall asleep. I went back to the doctors and he prescribed some sleeping pills. I then went home and thought, what the heck am I doing to my poor child. Two medications now. I decided not to give them to her and took her off the meds.

Let me tell you it has been a crazy ride since then. I changed her diet, eliminated all dairy and most gluten products. Not only did I do that but I make most meals from scratch. You might say that is way too much work and at the begining it was, but you get used to it. I elimated all artificial colors and flavors and anything I couldn't pronounce or had no idea what it was. If I read a label and there was something in it that was not a word I knew it is not purchased. I don't buy processed foods. Let me tell you, my daughter felt punished at first, but we all ate this way. There are way too many chemicals in everything we eat. I give her supplements too. Fish oils, B-complex and magnesium to relax. I make her chamomile tea before bed and most importantly, the tv is turned off except for weekends. I'm not going to say this is the solution, but its a start. I am also a full time employee who works shift work and my husband does too so it can be done.
This is not the end of my story, this helped but did not fix the problem. in 2011 I put my daughter back on the meds because I had to know for sure that I wasn't hurting her in the long run by keeping her off of the meds. The first few months were great. She was on Vyvanse. No major side effects, just loss of appetite. She began reading all on her own, writting in a journal, it was amazing! She would even sit still to draw a picture! After a few months the meds didn't seem to be working at school anymore according to the teacher and she wanted us to check with the doctor about increasing her meds. The doctor noticed my daughter had been losing too much weight and didn't want to increase it. My daughter had aslo been breaking out in eczema all over and she would have red circles around her eyes. The last straw was when I walked into the bathroom and found a clump of hair on the floor. I thought she cut her own hair(wouldn't have been the first time!) but when I found her I checked her hedd and her hair was falling out! That was it! I said enough is enough. I would rather my daughter be in perfect health and not be a perfect student then her have these side affects. So to end this all I am still doing the diet or should I same lifestyle change and we are adding more things in like meditation and yoga.

I will not say that medication is not the solution, because if it is working for your child and you then you are doing what is best for your family. Don't let people pressure you either way. Stand up for what you believe in.

My child's health is the most important thing for me, education comes second to that. What I have learned from this experience is that I need to stand up for my child. Most kids that have adhd also have a learning dissability. Most of them learn better one on one. We need to fight for our children to have better hands on and one on one time. I've also realized that when you start putting your foot down and demanding things be done for your child, they are! You may need to move up the ladder until you find the right person to help you but eventually you will.

Good luck to all you mothers on your journey with your ADHD Child.

Beth - posted on 11/25/2012

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Sharon,

It's not that they need to educate themselves on ADHD kids. The problem is that your child isn't the only kid in the class. When a teacher has 20-30 other kids in the class they can't adapt their teaching style or behavior expectations for one child. It just doesn't work that way. It's not fair to the other kids.

ADHD is never an excuse for a child to misbehave. A child with ADHD should be expected to behave.

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Beth - posted on 12/01/2012

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Christina , ADHD isn't just hyper it also comes with the inability to focus on any one thing for more than a few minutes. That makes it very hard to get through school. It also comes with lack of impulse control, which is many ADHD kids biggest problem. Being unable to stop and think before they do that one thing that will get them in big trouble. Try a having an 8 yr old with the impulse control of a 3 yr old and draws on walls , cuts her own hair , etc.

Thankfully she's 10 now and doesn't do that anymore. A 10 yr old with the maturity of a 5 yr old and the academic level of a 14 yr old ( she's also gifted) and no social skills isn't fun to be or to parent. Having actual ADHD,which I have , is like having 4 Tvs and several radios turned on all at the same time in your head. My mother chose not to medicate me as a child and I struggled through school. I wish she had medicated me.

My son also has ADHD-I but his is manageable with out medication. My daughters is not.

Sharon,

Thanks I'll look into that CD, more tools in the toolbox never hurt. We're having more trouble now because you add in puberty and bam. It gets exciting lol.

Christina - posted on 12/01/2012

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I TOTALLY AGREE WITH YOU ON THIS I LIKE TO DO TEN THINGS AT ONCE AND ALWAYS WANNA GO AND HAVE A HARD TIME SITTING STILL FOR EVEN AN HR SO HOW CAN ANYONE THINK A CHILD WOULD OR WILL

Christina - posted on 12/01/2012

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when i was a kid and i was hyper ,my parents took me outside and let me run and i would run for hrs and no one ever heard of adhd when i was a kid and i was never on any meds and did just fine ...i don't think children should be on meds of any kind i think parents should find other alternatives to meds

Sharon - posted on 11/25/2012

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Hi Beth.

I know it doesnt work that way. But if the teachers would learn more about ADHD it would help them in there classroom. Love and Logic has a CD called "Calming the Chaos," Behavior improvement strategies for children with ADHD. I use some of the techniques they have taught me and you would be amazed how much easier life is.

Sharon - posted on 11/24/2012

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Hello, I have a 5year old boy just diagnosed ADHD. He is a different child when he is at home compared to when he is at school, at school he is noted to be a bad behavior child. He is not a bad child.. he just has ADHD and the teachers need to educate themselves to understand these children. One of our counselors recommended we look into " Love and Logic". Go to Loveandlogic.com to receive great information to help parents and educators to understand the way to help handle these kids. It has help me very much.

Beth - posted on 05/03/2012

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It depends on the child and the situation.
My daughter yes ,we tried numerous things before we resorted to medication.
My daughter is twice exceptional and in public school.
For her to be able to focus , calm down and generally function in the public school environment she needed the medication.
Now medication does NOT solve our problems or "make" her behave.
It gives the that extra second to think before she acts instead of giving in to her impulses.
And that's all she needs is that extra second. Now she should also be in therapy but unfortunately there isn't one with in an hrs drive of our house that takes our insurance and we can't afford to take her to one that isn't in our insurance.

If your child has the luxury of being homeschooled where he or she can get up and run around between lessons or can do them standing up and it not distract others then medication might not be the right choice for you and your child.

Caroline - posted on 01/23/2011

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I struggled with medicating my son but I found that it was something that he really needed to function normally at school. I also spoke with a teacher online about ways to help him with school and homework. I learned about his learning style and it really helped me. The site is: www.mommyalertadhd.com . Hope this helps :)

Christina - posted on 01/22/2011

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What you said is what has been going thru my brain as I read all these posts. Sometimes I think it's the expectations we (teachers, parents, even some doctors) have for very young kids that need to change, not their behavior. Kids these days are going to school at younger ages, and are pushed to achieve what I sometimes think they may not be ready for. All little kids are a danger to themselves, not because their brains have a disorder, but because they're excited about the world and want to experience it, but don't have much knowledge of it yet. Years ago, kids didn't even begin school until 6 or 7. Now they're expected to sit quietly while learning letters etc. at 5 or younger. At my daughter's school they haven't gone outside for recess in over a month because it's "too cold". Sometimes I think its just too much!

Felicia - posted on 06/28/2009

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My son is 6 years old and he has ADHD with oppositional defiant disorder(ODD). His birthday is November 21, so he is right at the cutoff point for not being able to start school when he was 4. I was starting my last year of nursing school at the time. Sorry, but I need to back up. When he was in daycare right after he turned 3 the teachers were saying to me you should have your son tested, maybe he has ADHD, he was throwing things, and of course immediately, as his mom I got very defensive. I didn't want him to be on medication or to even be diagnosed. So, I just agreed to have him tested at the daycare and they told me that he definately did not need physical therapy, but would need some speech therapy, and some occupational therapy. They also expressed to be that my son's amount of vocabulary was below a 2 year old level and I told those people they were crazy because my son was using the word beautiful at a little over 3 years old and using in the correct context. But, I thought well you know what if that is the problem and helps with his behavior then so be it. I guess it can't hurt. He went from one day care to the next where there was integrated special education. He did excellent even the speech teacher was not really sure why he needed the speech. When my son turned 4 continued to attend this daycare and then in September of 2007 we had a meeting and at that point decided that he could enter kindergaten without any special needs. Of course he would not be 5 until November, school started in September. THE VERY FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL, I WENT TO PICK MY SON UP AND THE TEACHER LOOKED AT ME AND I WASN'T SURE IF SHE WAS GONNA CRY OR SCREAM. That was when the fun began. My son was written up every day on an average of 3 times a day. Within one month period of time he had out of school suspension 2 times and in school suspension almost everyday. He got writen sometimes 5 times a day. Told me I don't want you to go to school. I want you to be my mother. I have to say that I agree with most of what everyone is saying here, however there is one thing that I have to reiterate and that is this is your child and you ultimately have to decide what you feel is best for your child. Don't feel like you have to do what other people say. When I told my bestfriend who is his Godmother that I was going to need to put him on medication, she told me this was a cop out and you know what I told her, well then I will bear the consequences if I am making the wrong decision. There was someone earlier that spoke about the brain, I went to parenting classes prior to putting my son on medication and what the psychologists said to us and it made total sense, is this,"their brains are like race cars except they don't know how to put their brakes on and through behavioral therapy, medication and counseling your child will be able to better control themselves. I did not put him on medication until September of 2008. He got kicked out zoller the one elementary school and was placed in 12-4-1 class which he did okay but still was not making good choices. He was running out of my house naked when told to go to bed, riding his bike down the street, despite time out and spankings and everything that most parents do that children with ADHD can't respond to. So, my response it kind of lengthy too, but what I would love for people to realize is that ADHD is real and maybe not as many people realized what it was. I read a book that was reccommended to me to call Driven to Distraction by Richard Barkley and it was so helpful. Sorry to have such a lengthy response, and by the way my best friend who was so opposed to medication now has her son on medicine for his behavior issues so there you go. It is your choice and I can't say that enough, If you can get your child to control their behavior without medication then by all means I give you all the praise but if medication is needed don't feel like you are doing something wrong. I hope this helps.

Linda - posted on 06/24/2009

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did you find the meds affected his appetite? my boy is10 soon be 11 going into grade 6and he still struggles alot even on meds.any advice?? he has only been on 2 kinds of meds.

Linda - posted on 06/24/2009

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Quoting Vicki:

My son was diagnosed in 2nd grade. Now he's almost done with 3rd grade, and he's never been on medication. He also happens to be extremely bright and is at the top of his class academically. He does struggle with some peer relationships. It is especially difficult for him to make good choices on the playground and the school bus. Some alternative choices we make, which seem to make a difference in his ability to control his engine and to listen the first time are: rewarding his good choices, making sure he understands the consequences for making poor choices, eating whole organic foods that are minimally processed, taking daily vitamins, jumping on the mini trampoline for 5 minutes before school, and he sees a behavioral therapist 2x/month.

He has friends who take meds, and friends who don't. Just this year he started thinking he might want to try meds. He thinks it would help him get along better with his peers. My biggest concern is how ADHD affects his self concept. I know there are times that he thinks he is a bad kid, because of this challenge in his brain. His therapist tells him that he is a hunter, and most kids are farmers, and neither one is good or bad, but school is designed for farmers, so he has to try much harder to get along in their world. He has friends who can tolerate him and others who can't. It's all been a tremendous learning experience.

Last year his teacher was a terrible fit for him. She saw him as a bright but bad kid, and she gave up on him early in the year. We regret we didn't listen to our gut, and request a different teacher, but we survived and learned some good lessons. This year his teacher is a perfect fit. He is amazing, and my son has thrived in his classroom.

My husband and I think Daniel Amen has some interesting things to say about this subject. In his opinion, the brain is extremely elastic and capable of changing without the aid of drugs. His book "Change Your Brain, Change Your Life" talks about brain plasticity and is frequently featured on Public Televison (PBS).


I knew mine was in grade i. But never got help till grade three. I even asked for him to be tested in grade one and the school never did nothing. He is now in grade 5 going to grade 6. He struggles very hard,says he forgets tests, projects, so thank fully he is at a wonderful school that picked up on other stuff as well. But hang in there its a bumpy road. Lots good times and lots of times when you wonder if you are doing the right thing. But one thing I do know is that you have to be very consistent with adhd kids. My son and I are so close, i never thought i would every feel that way about a baby, my son.

Leisa - posted on 06/02/2009

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I definitely think it all depends on the level of ADHD. My son only takes his meds on school days or if we're going to be around a lot of people (he has trouble focusing and gets overwhelmed). When he was younger, I was weary of putting him on meds, but when the doctor explained that the meds won't 'cure' him but will help him to get to a level where he's able to cope better, I agreed. He's been on meds for 7 years now and we definitely have had our ups and downs with it.

Linda - posted on 06/01/2009

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i don't know if doctors know it all but hey ...we will see...my 10 year old has adhd and they are still testing for how he learns....only one pill worked for him...i had to try him on ridlin but he went really NOT HIMSELF. he has been in alot of schools. But his sister is fine...i think it is passed though the mom to son and vice versa...and one care to comment i'd appreciate it. take care moms

Kendra - posted on 05/29/2009

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http://www.autismhopeandhealing.com/



I suggest this website to anyone with questions regarding ADHD and Autism. There are other alternatives to medicine. My daughter has ADHD and she is on an anti-yeast medicine and a gluten-free diet. We have seen HUGE changes in her. Still working on freeing her completely but she is making a lot of progress.

Amanda - posted on 05/28/2009

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Last year his teacher was a terrible fit for him. She saw him as a bright but bad kid, and she gave up on him early in the year. We regret we didn't listen to our gut, and request a different teacher, but we survived and learned some good lessons. This year his teacher is a perfect fit. He is amazing, and my son has thrived in his classroom.




I have experienced the same thing this year with my one son's kindergarten teacher. she's never out right said anything, but her comments and they way she says things and looks when we have meeting about him ticks me off to no end! I am so glad my son is going to another school next year. I hope this next teacher is nicer or I will request another teacher.

Vicki - posted on 05/28/2009

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My son was diagnosed in 2nd grade. Now he's almost done with 3rd grade, and he's never been on medication. He also happens to be extremely bright and is at the top of his class academically. He does struggle with some peer relationships. It is especially difficult for him to make good choices on the playground and the school bus. Some alternative choices we make, which seem to make a difference in his ability to control his engine and to listen the first time are: rewarding his good choices, making sure he understands the consequences for making poor choices, eating whole organic foods that are minimally processed, taking daily vitamins, jumping on the mini trampoline for 5 minutes before school, and he sees a behavioral therapist 2x/month.



He has friends who take meds, and friends who don't. Just this year he started thinking he might want to try meds. He thinks it would help him get along better with his peers. My biggest concern is how ADHD affects his self concept. I know there are times that he thinks he is a bad kid, because of this challenge in his brain. His therapist tells him that he is a hunter, and most kids are farmers, and neither one is good or bad, but school is designed for farmers, so he has to try much harder to get along in their world. He has friends who can tolerate him and others who can't. It's all been a tremendous learning experience.



Last year his teacher was a terrible fit for him. She saw him as a bright but bad kid, and she gave up on him early in the year. We regret we didn't listen to our gut, and request a different teacher, but we survived and learned some good lessons. This year his teacher is a perfect fit. He is amazing, and my son has thrived in his classroom.



My husband and I think Daniel Amen has some interesting things to say about this subject. In his opinion, the brain is extremely elastic and capable of changing without the aid of drugs. His book "Change Your Brain, Change Your Life" talks about brain plasticity and is frequently featured on Public Televison (PBS).

Amanda - posted on 05/28/2009

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This is a personal decision each family should make on an individual basis. People are going to give all kinds of opinions and state what they think is right and wrong. It doesn't matter what anyone else thinks.

[deleted account]

My son will be 7 this summer and was dx at the age of 4! I knew from the time he was 9 months old that he had it, but I didn't have him tested until he was 4! He has been on meds since! Right now he takes Vyvanse, 30 mg, and he has been doing great! This is an 8 year olds dose! He is very severe! He wore the doc out when we 1st went to have him tested! He has been on this dose for a little over a year! He is still his same old self! I did talk to his doctor on how his meds work at school, but as soon as he gets home he is back to his hyper self! She thinks that might mean he has ODD also! I myself can't handle him when he doesn't have his meds! I have MS so I am not able to handle a lot of his actions! His sister is normal, but she tries very hard to keep up with him! She usually loses the battle and ends up napping! She will be 4 this summer! I was very happy with the decision to medicate him! We haven't had any trouble with it! I do agree with most of you though, it does depend on the child and your situation! I do not agree with leaving it out as an option though! I think you consider all your options and meds should be 1 of them! Don't jump to them right away cause everyone says to, but don't not consider them! For some people they work well and others they don't! My family was against us putting my son on his meds, but now they make sure when I send hime to their houses he has them! They still throw their objective comments in once in awhile, but we just shrug them off cause for him it was a good decision! I hope you find what work for your situation!

Karmen - posted on 05/27/2009

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both my sons are medicated. when my oldest was 6 i had a lot of trouble with him at school. his kinder teacher kept saying he was just a brat & never helped me out. once i put him on meds when he was in the first grade there was a dramatic change. he was failing the beginning of the year before meds...after meds all his grades went up. he is now a 6th grader going into 7th & is a & b student! so medication does help in some cases.

Mary - posted on 05/27/2009

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I am a mom of a 24 yr old ADHD and 2 ADD kids(18 & 21) The 24 yr old continues with problems and was on meds growing up. It was good, but as an adult he chooses not to be on meds. The 21 yr old has gone back to it because she sees the need to stay focused in school. The 18 decided not to use it and did okay in school this year. I would say academically it is beneficial and maybe on weekends it isn't necessary. If it seems that she is lethargic see the doc immediately and the same if it seems not to be working. I am also a public school teacher and I truly see how it works in the classroom for the student.

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My son was dx at the age of 6, but we used behavior modification in school and at home. Although I never ruled out meds altogether, I obviously wasn't jumping on the medication bandwagon. I had heard so many stories about medication changing personality & I loved my kids' personalities & didn't want that to change. (My step-daughter was dx in high school & she did not like them at all, as she felt it really dulled her artist abilities. - she's a musician)

When my son got into high school, he spiraled - he felt overwhelmed & got physically sick because of the stress (vomiting & such), then he would miss a week of school due to illness. When he got back to school, he had to make up all that work & feel even more overwhelmed, got sick, etc. He had to drop his language class his Freshman year so he could focus on the core classes. Last semester, was the same story & I started seeing signs of depression, which really worried me. We talked it over & decided to try medication. Luckily, the first medication we tried (Vyvanse) worked wonders! He is actually back to his happy self again & is doing so much better in school. No, he's not a straight "A" student or anything, but he is taking notes in class, remembers his homework (both to do it & turn it in). He still gets very stressed during finals, but he did very well this semester.

Similar story with my daughter (dx in 3rd grade), but she was failing 8th grade last semester and not caring. We put her on Vyvanse, and her grades & attitude greatly improved. It helps her pay attention better in class & she now does her homework.

So unlike other stories, I actually got my kids back after putting them on medication. There are so many different medications out there, you just need to find the right one for your child. (In the case of my step-daughter, I think if she had tried a few more medications, she would have done better, but now at 27, she has struggled over the years, but has learned to adapt.)

Although I regret not putting my kids on medication earlier, it is still a personal decision that you need to decide. Each ADHD person is different.

Tamara - posted on 05/27/2009

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Quoting Cidalia:

It depends. How severe is it? Is it interfering a lot with learning? Have you tried other coping methods (organizational training, etc.). and it's still severe? If so, then yes, meds can be a good thing. But be aware of what each medication is, what it does, dosages, quick release, slow release, potential side effects and monitor your child for these (not every child will react the same). Sometimes, if it's severe, not medicating at all can be just as bad as medicating a child with a mild form. I have my son on Ritalin. It's a med that goes in and out of the system quickly. No lingering. He has no side effects. He was having severe problems concentrating in school and at home. On the other hand, I have stepchildren who were diagnosed with ADD/ADHD, and I'm concerned that at least 2 of them are not actually ADD and also 2 of them (one who is ADHD) are on meds that I wouldn't give a child who only had ADHD (antipsychotics). It's not a black and white situation.


 

Blanaid - posted on 05/25/2009

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Hi! My son was diagnosed (although we all know that they're born with ADHD) in 2007 just before his 8th birthday. We weren't surprised at all!! He was diagnosed with dyslexia in 2006 so he has the double-whammy of inattention and restlessness. He wasn't doing well in school and couldn't sit still long enough to learn and when he did learn something he promptly forgot about it!! He's been on Concerta XL 36mg and Strattera 40mg both in the morning at 7.45 and Equasym 5mg at 3.30pm to give him a 3 hour boost for his homework and he's doing GREAT! No more notes home from school. His reports are great and I'm so happy for him because he was feeling "different" from his other friends and now he's not.

On the other hand my husband was diagnosed with ADD last November and now he's on 2 Concerta XL 36mg tablets in the morning and 18mg in the afternoon. I joke that I'm the only one in the house not taking any meds as my mother lives with us and she has Alzheimers and is on a TON of meds!! Lol.. :)

Alison - posted on 05/25/2009

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Sorry Lori, I could not disagree more! My husband's quality of life has improved greatly since he has started taking medication almost three years ago. Without it, he has no restraint. Life without self control is VERY MESSY. Before medication he was in constant conflict with friends and colleagues (and wife!), loosing his job on a regular basis, impatient, aggressive, having frequent car accidents... All of this made him insecure and unhappy and frankly, I have a hard time imagining how we could have made our marriage work in that context.



I would not say that everything is easy or perfect now, but it is so much more manageable. I am not saying that medicating is the best answer for everyone, but I think it is always dangerous to judge others for the choice that they make. I have a lot of respect for people who are successful with natural/alternative treatments for any ailment. I just don't think it is wise to assume that "natural" is automatically best. You need to evaluate on a case by case basis. And my husband still has ALL of his dynamic personality, with less negativity and aggression.

Lori - posted on 05/24/2009

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Drugs are a a restraint, a chemical restraint. The drugs in question are also amphetamines and regulated by the DEA. Consider this carefully, if you would not tie your child up or incarcerate them for their behavior why would you consider giving them drugs. Some kids do need to be restrained but only do so with the knowledge that you are restraining them just as much as tying them in a chair and only do so if their behavior poses a risk to them self or others. As a medical professional these are the rules I have to live by when dosing my patients. Do not be giving the child you love potentially harmful chemicals for the sake of convenience Please!

Alison - posted on 05/22/2009

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Ultimately, you have to find out what works for your child and for your family.



My husbands doctor wanted him to go off his medication on week-ends to improve its efficacy. My husband and I both agreed that this is not an option, because there is too much conflict and drama (and car accidents...) when he is off his medication.



What works and what doesn't is both about the chemistry of the pharmaceuticals and the personalities and lifestyle of your family. Don't let the professionals decide for you. But do not be closed to the idea of medication. My husbands childhood would have been SOOOOOOOOOO different if he had been diagnosed and medicated. (He was only dx'd at 30)

User - posted on 05/10/2009

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Thank you that was very helpful. My 5 yr old son was diagnosed last may with ADHD and i was basically forced into medicating by the preschools psychologist. I tried a few things including diet changes, but saw no positive effects. His attention and impulsivity have greatly improved, as well as self-esteem. I was worried about the long term effects and I believe that him being without the medication (methylphenidate) he would be in more harm due to his lack of self-control. However, i am newly engaged to a wonderful and loving man who would like to eventually take my son of the medication because he fears the long term effects. I am confused at what i should do and if no medication would be more or less helpful in my son growing up to be a well-rounded, disciplined, and positive person. Any suggestions/ideas/etc ????

Cidalia - posted on 05/07/2009

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It depends. How severe is it? Is it interfering a lot with learning? Have you tried other coping methods (organizational training, etc.). and it's still severe? If so, then yes, meds can be a good thing. But be aware of what each medication is, what it does, dosages, quick release, slow release, potential side effects and monitor your child for these (not every child will react the same). Sometimes, if it's severe, not medicating at all can be just as bad as medicating a child with a mild form. I have my son on Ritalin. It's a med that goes in and out of the system quickly. No lingering. He has no side effects. He was having severe problems concentrating in school and at home. On the other hand, I have stepchildren who were diagnosed with ADD/ADHD, and I'm concerned that at least 2 of them are not actually ADD and also 2 of them (one who is ADHD) are on meds that I wouldn't give a child who only had ADHD (antipsychotics). It's not a black and white situation.

Kandace - posted on 05/06/2009

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I have a son with ADHD that we just started medication with. It's only been a week so I will let you know how it goes....the real reason I posted is because I'm dyslexic and struggled in school. Its hard to concentrate when that is not how you learn. I was put in special classes in elementary school and by middle school I had learned how to deal with it. I was a member of the NJHS in 8th grade and continued to do well through out high school. It may benifit her to go to a few special classes I was in class with all of the other children for most of the day and went to a math and reading class at certain times of the day. I feel it was beneficial, when I went to my 1st year of middle school, I was you daughters age and this year in particular was when I was really able to catch up on what I had missed in k-5! I took a state test that summer and was released...no more special classes and I graduated with a fairly high GPA! I just had to learn to work around it. If you really believe she has these problems it's never to late to start. I can tell you feel strongly about it. My parents had a hard time getting me tested, but my special reading teacher could tell and worked with me to overcome it. If you strongly feel this is the issue I would push as hard as you can.

Brenda - posted on 05/06/2009

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it depend's how your child respond's to them,my son jack took strterra for abot a year and half,but he lost loads of weight and stopped growing,yes it was nice that he was calm,but he was no longer the jack we knew.and after a real bad bout of depression and feeling like he wanted to kill himself,enough was enough,we stopped,he now has grown taller and has got an appitite,we now give him kalms if he needs any extra help,they are herbal and have no side affect's,i think at the end of the day you have to do what is right for your child and you,hope that helps

Selena - posted on 05/06/2009

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I was asking because my ADHD daughter (12 years) has been dx since 2005. She has always struggled in school some school years are better then others...this year is prooving to be a difficult one....by the way I choose not to medicate ,sometimes but ...not often I wonder if I made the right choice ...when she did try the meds she was not herself nobody in my family liked it also she c/o chest pains and stomach pains all the time ,she changed from her sweet bubbly self (not overactive...she is inattentive type)...to a flat depressed person....I felt like nobody but my family took these complaints seriously....so I took her of the meds.....I also have strong feelings that she may be dyslexic (family history of it also, just found that out)...her last assesment was 4 long years ago(2 years overdue)...I might be able to afford to get my own assesment done this year (fingers crossed)....in her last assesment they strongly believed that she had a language based learning disorder.....hmmmmm dyslexia???? but they wanted to try meds first and deal with her inattentiveness first....well i"m not expert but i wonder if we dealt with her LD if that could help her with her inattentiveness????....but I feel like all the pro's want me to medicate...they don't pressure me but I see it in some of there eyes....I see it different I think she is inattentive not because I don't medicate her but because she learns DIFFERENTLY then most students....I was just like her .

Barb - posted on 05/06/2009

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I completely agree with Karrylee. Our daughter has ADHD and she is on medication. We tried natural alternatives first and it was not enough to help her at school. We do not regret putting her on medication. She is a student with A's & B's on her report cards and the medications are there to help her be able to do the job she is doing. Is it for everyone? It is something that each Parent has to decide for their child. I realize it is highly debated,however I truly believe that our daughter has benifited our daughter greatly.

Kerrylee - posted on 05/05/2009

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I think it depends on how severe the adhd is and how well you are coping because some kids respond well to medication like my son and others do not, you have to ask yourself are you willing to try medication or not.

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