Taking child off meds?

Steph - posted on 07/14/2009 ( 22 moms have responded )

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Has anyone taken or considered taking their child off of their meds completely? I would love to see if the meds are holding my child back from getting better after years of behavioral health treatment! Any success from anyone?

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Amy - posted on 10/15/2012

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Yes.



I think about it daily! My poor ds has been on meds for over a year and a half and I feel like I don't even know him anymore. He used to be hyper, yes, and unfocused...but he was SWEET, and CARING and HAPPY. Well, not now. He will be 8yrs old next month and he started on Focalin, and Intuniv when he was 6. Then we switched to Concerta and Intuniv. Now he is just on Intuniv.

Anyway, the meds were PUSHED on us by his school!! They said they couldn't handle him. I am so angry I let them do that to me. I should have stood my ground and said NO - he is just 6yrs old, and he will grow out of this hyperactivity and impulsiveness, but I caved. Maybe that makes me a bad Mom, I sure feel like one!



Now we are weaning him off his Intuniv. He was on 3mg (waaaaay too much for him). He got very angry, irritable, had temper tantrums, nightmares, night sweats, didn't sleep well at all, very argumentative, lied, stole things, lost a TON of weight, and was obsessed with gore and violence. The side effects were horrible! Today is day six on the 2mg dose and he is doing a little better. Tomorrow will be his last day on 2mg, then Wed we will go down to the 1mg dose. Each time I decrease him, he has about 4-5 days of being SUPER hyper and irritable, then levels out to his "normal" hyperactivity level, which is not as bad as the withdrawal phase. I just hope he tolerates the 1mg dose and we can come OFF these meds. I hate them! The side effects are just not worth the tiny bit of benefit we saw!!



Also - to Gwen...I hardly think comparing Ritalin to insulin or anti-seizure medicine is accurate! You don't DIE from lack of ritalin! With diabetes, you have a lack of insulin in the body and can die without it. Nobody's body has a lack of ritalin! Same with seizures, it is life threatening to have seizures, especially while driving. You and your child might be "happier" on Ritalin, but I certainly don't believe he NEEDS it, I just think you tell yourself that to make you feel better about giving it to him. I understand, I've been there!!



Amy

Kara - posted on 07/17/2009

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My oldest was diagnosis in 3rd grade, he is now 22. He stopped taking his meds when he turned 18 and has had a lot of set backs. He did not continue to college, he has been in 2 motorcycle accidents, and is still quite impulsive. The anger issues have gotten better, but I wish he would consider going back on his meds. My youngest is now 16, and we have worked closely with his Dr. with meds and dosages. We let him stop his meds when he started Jr High, but noticed that he was struggling with his grades. His Freshman year we let him stay off the meds for the 1st quarter, but still were concerned and noticed that his self esteem was really low. We took him back to his PCP and started him on Vyvance. He now gets straight "A's", self esteem is wonderful, he is ahead of his class. The nice thing about Vyvance is that the side effects are much milder, he is able to stop and start the med without problems, so he doesn't have to take over Holiday's, weekends, and the Summer. Talk with your Dr. and be honest about your concerns, not all ADD/ADHD kids shouldn't stop their meds, if you decide to, then keep a journal and have your child re-evaluated from time to time. There are so many different meds out there now, it's not just Ritalin...maybe try something different or even try a different dosage......Good luck

Leeann - posted on 02/13/2014

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Amy-

We did move our son into a small Christian school that his sibs were also attending. He's a sixth grader (this school is middle-high) and the sixth grade has about 22 kids total. He is really blossoming there. The teachers are understanding, there's less "going on" and the pace is slower instructionally. That is NOT to say that enough isn't being taught- my daughter graduated from the school and got offered scholarships to every college she applied to- but that the STRESS isn't there because the manner of teaching is more age and behaviorally appropriate. My other two kids thrive(d) there and I expect my youngest to as well.

Nazari - posted on 07/16/2009

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WELL I HAVE A 7 YEAR OLD, MEDICATION WASN'T THE ANSWER HE GOT WORSE. HE GOT BETTER WITH A LOT OF SPEECH THERAPY AND BEHAVIOR THERAPY, HE IS DOING GREAT HE IS GOING NOW TO 3RD GRADE I'M VERY PROUD OF HIM, IT'S BEEN A LOT OF YEARS OF SEEN ANY KIND OF DIFFERENTS DRS.

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Brenda - posted on 02/14/2014

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We took our DS off of meds completely last spring (not by choice) because he developed a big shoulder tic and our doctor wanted to see if it went away once he was off meds (it did). He was off for several months, and it was a hard several months. It did give me some insight into the future though. My son was first diagnosed with ADHD at 9 and he was very challenging at that time! When we was off meds at 11, he was still challenging, but he had a slightly better level of control than he did at 9. It wasn't an acceptable level, but better. So I hope that in a few more years, as he matures, we will eventually be able to wean him off the drugs.

Leeann - posted on 02/13/2014

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To be fair, I don't think you can "skip a dose" or "skip a day" and use that as your measure of how a child will do off medication. My son was AWFUL when we took him off his medications for the summer- it took a good week for them to get out of his system, possibly closer to two. During that time he was MORE hyper, more random, more unfocused and just an emotional train wreck. Once that PASSED, however, he was fine.

We used meds for him (vyvanse) for the latter half of third grade and all of fourth grade, with summers off. At the end of fourth grade, we were just done with the side effects and other issues we felt using medicine had brought. It solved some problems, yes, but created others.

He's now halfway through his sixth grade year. He is doing very well. He's liked by his peers, does well enough in school and is a fine young man. Just the other day, I asked him about his "medicine years" and he said, quite simply and directly, "they wrecked my life." His further explanation was that he felt like he "couldn't stop arguing or feeling angry. My brain would be trying to stop but I'd just keep talking." I think they just made him very intense and that intensity would make it hard for him to "let things go." That's naturally a part of his personality anyway but the meds really amplified it.

I do think that the period of medication did help him to focus on HOW to learn and HOW to be organized (as much as any boy in 6th grade typically is) and helped him learn some coping strategies, which he is able to still employ today. Time to mature has helped a lot.

Amy - posted on 02/12/2014

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Hi Cherita!
I tried e-mailing you but never heard back. I don't know if you will read this, but I wanted to give you an update on my son. He turned 9 three months ago. I left him on his Intuniv. We are still giving him 2 mg every morning before school. He is doing pretty well. We definitely have bad days! He still struggles to focus, and is more hyperactive than his classmates, but has a personality. We have tried to go up to 3 mgs and it's just too much for him. He is only 66lbs. Maybe when he gets older and bigger, I may try to go up again. The Intuniv has been the best med for my ds. We have tried Concerta, focalin and Ritalin. He did not do well on stimulants at all. Made him even more hyper and lose a lot of weight.
My hubby and I are thinking about sending him to a private school. I am hoping that may help. Small classrooms, christian environment. Can't hurt :)
I hope your ds is doing well!! Send me a reply if you read this. I would love to hear from you :)
God bless!
Amy

Cherita - posted on 10/20/2013

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Amy (10/15/12) - I don't know if you will see this or not but I am very curious as to what ended up happening with your son after taking him off medications. We are going through the same thing. Take medication or he can't come to school. He is five and has SPD and possibly mildly autistic but nobody ever gives us a good answer. All I know is he was hyper, exciting, extremely loving and funny. Always on the go but now he doesn't feel like exerting himself much. Doesn't want to jump, swim or ride his bike. Its horrible. Just started a new medication now which is Intuniv. He has done nothing but sleep and his eyes are completely glassed over. Could you please write me at wellshomesales@aol.com and share with me your outcome and anything else you may have done with your son? Mine goes to OT and Speech but maybe he needs more, maybe another location, I just don't know. Thank you.

Debbie - posted on 10/07/2013

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My son was diagnosed with ADHD at age 6 when he was in Kindergarten. Everyday I would get notes from his teacher on how he was misbehaving in class. The school decided to take the initiative to send us to see his pediatrician for his behavior. My son then was put on a generic brand for Ritalin 5 mg tablets twice daily. I really didn't see much change in him in regards to his behavior, but noticed that he wasn't having any appetite. He would tell me that he wasn't hungry, and this was concerning me because as his mother I knew that he eats all day long. It's very hard to keep tabs on meds when you're a single mom of 5 boys, so from time to time I would forget to give him his pills. When I explained that to the dtr she was not happy, and told me that she could report me to child welfare . So we started him on it again, but a month later I decided to just take him off of it and see ..I haven't seen any difference in his behavior with or without meds. My question is how do I go about taking him off the meds permanently? He's doing fine, he says he doesn't want them anymore. Do I have to get a doctors approval ?

[deleted account]

btw - forgot to say - it is totally up to you what you chose - do not let anyone else influence you because you know your child best - better then the doctors, better then friends.

[deleted account]

I had a therapist once tell me that if the meds make a child worse then there was something else going on and not ADHD. I've heard people say the meds make their child a different person. This makes me wonder how and if the problem was what the docs told you. I only say this because my little guy has been on ritalin for the last year. He is still the same attitude, imaginative, amazing child - but now his caring and loving/focused side shine, and the other side only come out when the meds wear off. Even his teachers were amazed at his self-control this year and he passed without needing a TA! I also take concerta (just started again this week) - I am the same person, only happier since I can more focus at work.

I think we need to advocate for our children and find out exactly why someone believes a child is ADHD or ADD before putting them on anything. Other illnesses can mimic ADHD, but the meds for ADHD will not help them - dilexia, depression, bi-polar disorder are only a few I'e heard of. But number one - if your child is truly ADHD why deprive said child of the ability to focus and feel more confident in themselves? If you child was diabetic you would give them insulin without question, if a child was epileptic you would give them the anti-seizure medication - why is this so different?

Just my two cents.

Kara - posted on 07/28/2009

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my son turned 7 on july 11. he told me that morning that he knew he didnt need his meds and just let me know there was no way i was going to get him to take them any more. so far he is back to the little boy i got complamented on in public for his behavior. he is so much better. we just upped his therapy to 2xs a week. his therapist is really impressed by the change.


if you do decide to stop the meds talk it over with your child. go for it while its summer. you can always start them back up. how do you know if you never try? keep us updated

Krys - posted on 07/17/2009

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Hmm I understand your terror of taking your child off your meds. I was terrified a year and half ago when the psychiatrist wanted to take my bipolar son off his Lithium as he was becoming toxic. He's 15 dx'd with Aspergers/Bipolar/ADD. He has been on meds since Grade 1, first of all to try to deal with his ADD in school and then his mood disorder as he got older.
Anyway as I said it was a terrifying prospect taking him off his meds but so far we have been fortunate and he has been controllable.
We do use a lot of the behavioral tools that we have learned over the years and it has helped in that he is older so more mature. I am not sure we could have taken him off meds earlier.

Krys

Toni - posted on 07/16/2009

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I have taken my child off of their meds twice, hoping that in some way he might have out grown his ADHD. Both times we had to eventually put him back on his meds. So, all I can say is talk to his doctor and give it a try. Good luck and God bless.

Kelly - posted on 07/16/2009

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My daughter has ADD. We would take her off the meds every summer, and put her back on during school, until she came to us after one summer ws over and said "mommy please don't put me back on those meds, they make me feel yucky", so we took her off all together, and we made sure she was in all the right programs at school, and it also helps to make sure their teacher is compassionate with a child with ADD or ADHD, and that they understand the condition, and are willing to do everything in their power to make sure that your child succeeds, and if not, it is your right to request another teacher.

Donita - posted on 07/15/2009

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It's ultimatly your choice. Some kids can grow out of or control their symptoms and other can not. Just remember to stay strong because either way it will be hard. Sometimes the meds can cause or make the problem worse. i've seen it work both ways with different close family members. So if I was no help. Your not a bad mom if you do or if you don't medicate you child.

Loreita - posted on 07/15/2009

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I had done the same, but I actually would forget to give her her meds. Wow did the teacher and I pay for those times. My daughter was put on meds when she was 5. She could not pay attention in class and had a very hard time learning. Things were better at school. Every once in a while we would have to up the dose of her meds and when that stopped working they would change it to something else. We struggled with putting her on meds because of so much controversy on the subject. We just decided to follow the DRs opinion. She was 43 lbs for 3 years and the DR was not worried. I started to look for a way to earn income from home and came across a company that informed me of how toxic our household products were. Everything from shampoo, conditioners, cleaners, laundry products, even anti-itch stuff. I had never been taught that though they may not be swallowing this stuff that their bodies absorb it. That even though they are capped they are still outgassing. So I immediately removed everything from my home and replaced it with the stuff from this company. Stuff that does not need a safety cap. I also took her off her meds and started having her take vitamins from this company. This was right before school started that year and I was very nervous. To my delight she started getting notes home from the teacher stating how well she was doing and not sure why we had her on an IEP. The last 3 years have been awesome. She is getting good grades, she is participating in class, volunteering to help and making friends. I am so thankful that I came across someone who would help me find a way to help her. I hope this info helps and if anyone has additional questions I would love to answer them. Just email me at loreitah@msn.com.

Loreita - posted on 07/15/2009

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I had done the same, but I actually would forget to give her her meds. Wow did the teacher and I pay for those times. My daughter was put on meds when she was 5. She could not pay attention in class and had a very hard time learning. Things were better at school. Every once in a while we would have to up the dose of her meds and when that stopped working they would change it to something else. We struggled with putting her on meds because of so much controversy on the subject. We just decided to follow the DRs opinion. She was 43 lbs for 3 years and the DR was not worried. I started to look for a way to earn income from home and came across a company that informed me of how toxic our household products were. Everything from shampoo, conditioners, cleaners, laundry products, even anti-itch stuff. I had never been taught that though they may not be swallowing this stuff that their bodies absorb it. That even though they are capped they are still outgassing. So I immediately removed everything from my home and replaced it with the stuff from this company. Stuff that does not need a safety cap. I also took her off her meds and started having her take vitamins from this company. This was right before school started that year and I was very nervous. To my delight she started getting notes home from the teacher stating how well she was doing and not sure why we had her on an IEP. The last 3 years have been awesome. She is getting good grades, she is participating in class, volunteering to help and making friends. I am so thankful that I came across someone who would help me find a way to help her. I hope this info helps and if anyone has additional questions I would love to answer them. Just email me at loreitah@msn.com.

Michele - posted on 07/14/2009

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i actually tested my son, by conveniently forgetting his meds....lets just say....I WON'T DO THAT AGAIN!!!! i noticed a total difference in his behavior all day, but especially towards the evening, his frustration levels were through the roof, i really see where the meds actually help him, maybe skip a dose and see if you notice a difference

Kenna - posted on 07/14/2009

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I have a similar story to Pamela's. My daughter was diagnosed with ADHD at age 5, when the school district told me she was the "worst case they had ever seen". Then at age 9, after her Dad and I divorced, the doctor prescribed an antidepressant to her. She started having extreme mood swings, either super smiley or in a rage all the time. Consequently she was diagnosed as bipolar. Once given another prescription for that, now 3 different meds daily, she did seem more balanced. However, she only gained 3 pounds over the next 3 years. I reverted back to our family physician, away from all the psychiatrists, psychologists, etc. Our family doc called in a consult for evaluation, and together we all made the decision to take her off all meds for six months, then we would revisit the decision. She is now 15, and she drives me absolutely crazy - but only in the same ways as any other 15 year old girl! I found her to be more vivacious without the meds, more herself. And she filled out to normal size almost instantly too! She also gained more confidence without feeling something was wrong with her. I have never second guessed the decision to remove all meds.
I hope this helps, as every child is different.

Pamela - posted on 07/14/2009

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I have a success story to tell you. My son now 13 was diagnosed at age 5 with ADHD. At age 8, he was diagnosed again with ADHD as well as bi-polar disorder. From age 5 or 6 he was on ritalin and many other medicines. We went year sgoing to different doctors and therapists. When he was 10, I had really had enough! His behavior was still terrible and he started having violent outburst. We went from school to school because he continued to get thrown out. At that time he was taking an adult dose of seraquil and the highest dose of ritalin. (Keep in mind throughout the years, we have tried like 12 different pills!) That summer I took him off of all meds. Against the doctors direction and against many family members oppinions. It was a difficult summer but when he returned to school, we (meaning his teachers and close family) saw a dramatic difference. It has now been 3 years-no meds-no doctors and life could not be better. I do strongly believe that the medicines make them a different person. I also believe that over the years, children do grow out of most of the ADHD actions. I hope this helps.

Sally - posted on 07/14/2009

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I take my child off meds every summer and have done so for 6 years. My doctor knows and is fine with it. My child is now 13 and can tell me if he thinks he needs one in the summer.

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