i think medication should be used as a last resort.

Frances - posted on 10/27/2010 ( 23 moms have responded )

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I'm new to this community but we've had our share of problems. My child had been diagnosed with ADHD in first grade. We moved and he ended up going from a private small class setting with 2 teachers and 1 aide to a full time public school. At first, I just wrote it off as a problem with adjustment, yes, it may have been denial but something kept bothering me about my son. I knew that he was different and I felt like he had ADHD but before first grade it was not easy to tell as I know younger children developmentally act like they do. Anyway, the first, second and third school diagnosed him and we did an IEP at each school. We medicated him on 3 different meds but each one proved worse than the last. Metadate: did not allow him to eat, Focalin: kept him up at night past midnight and finally Concerta: made him aggressive. My son has been suspended twice at this new school and now they want to place him out of district so that they don't deal with him. I asked for Independent evals and the 2 docs: psychiatrist and neurodevelopmental both recommended meds because they say that he will not be successful without them. Intuniv was suggested as well as Addoral, Strattera, and Vyvanse. I'm just not sure how he will react to these other ones and I'm very nervous about putting him on, side effects and finally residual effects and stunting of growth. Any thoughts? I'm sure that there are worse situations than mine as I've read a few of these blogs and I truly feel like there is no easy solution to this matter. Are we doing the right thing for our kids? The schools that I dealt with act like meds are the only answer but I don't want my child to act like a zombie or lose creativity, you know the good parts when he's on them.

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Tracy - posted on 11/03/2010

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Hello...My 15 year old son was diagnosed with ADHD and an anxiety disorder at age 8. I could have told you something was wrong from the day he was born.....I just thought it was his personality..sensitive to touch, tags on shirts, on the go like an engine..the kid never slept through the night I swear until he was 2. Well, on this journey that has lead to today, we tried many alternatives to meds. I guess we hoped he really did not need them. And I think a part of us felt a little guilty if he did. It would mean something is really wrong with him. Well, long story short..we read and learned that the issue really is a chemical one in his brain. The ones responsible for allowing to our son to settle were not working correctly. Once we realized it was a biological issue, it was much easier to say, "Ok, he needs help to self regulate." He, like your son tried many different meds until the right one for him was found. His anxiety was addressed with meds and therapy as well and I am happy to say he is doing quite well as a freshman in HS. Melatonin 2mg has allowed him to have a normal nights sleep, and us! I believe this can only be good for him and his well being. I tell my family and friends we have decided to do whatever we can to allow our son to feel settled in his body and if the right meds. do that for him then that is what we are going to do. Imagine a world that moves too fast for you to understand? Imagine everyone mad at you for something you cannot control? You don't want your little boy to feel like he is a bad boy. My son is not drugged out..he is his funny, clever, athletically capable child (all sports good, especially karate) who can now focus when he needs to and be settled in his own body....Good luck on your journey! He is worth it!

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Patty - posted on 11/07/2010

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I posted on a differnt community (venting). But I am walking right behind you in many ways. But one differnce is that the small country school that my son is going to is more in believing that he is just very unruly, easily distracted and is just "all boy". He has been attending there 1st and 2nd grade. they will not support the fact he "might" need meds. I actually feel like the bad parent like I am looking for all of the negative things. I have been told or suggested to try him on "biofeedback. Have you heard of that? not really counceling, but a relative swears by it, as it seemed to have taken away her daughters negativity, mood swings, and even calmed her down. She was 8 when she began the sessions. I am looking into a bit more. it is a thought if you have something like that in your community. Good luck. All children are a gift from God, and he has a purpose for each of them.

Linn - posted on 11/04/2010

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My son has been on meds for about 6 months. We didn't want to do meds either, as we were afraid we would turn him into a zombie. He has autism as well as symptoms of ADHD and OCD. We have him stabilized on 2 meds buspar for anxiety and risperdal for mood issues and aggression. On these meds he has been able to still be active and creative. I feel like it has helped him, but would like to see him get off meds someday. Best of luck to you!

Marcia - posted on 11/04/2010

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-My grandson is also ADHD. I waited to put him on meds but for his sake I relented. We tried some of the meds you mentioned and he did not do well on them at all. He had a change in doctors and she recommend Ritalin. I had heard negative things about Ritalin and was reluctant but it has been improved over the years. My grandson is doing so much better since he's been on it. I give him Melatonin, a natural herb, at night to help him get to sleep. Otherwise, he would be up til midnight. I hope this helps.

Terri - posted on 11/04/2010

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Just wondering if an Epson salt bath would help..
you work up to 2 cups total .. try to have kid in water for 15 or 20 min....
just start with 1/4 cup.. DONT FILL TUB all the way up with water mind ya..
but see if after a few weeks if you see any difference...
Are you in any therapy's OT maybe...
Hugs!

Michelle - posted on 11/03/2010

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My daughter was put on Strattera and it works for her. She is now an Adult and can manage her ADD now. When she was younger, it did stem her appetite, but she did eat and we did have to play with what time of day to give it to her so that she would not fall asleep during the day and be up all night long. I wish I had better news, but this is the only one that we found that was not a narcotic and she never felt like a zombie or that she lost any of her creativity. As a matter of fact it was just the opposite, but not to the extreme.

Willoughby - posted on 11/03/2010

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Well, I can certainly sympathize with you. My son was diagnosed at age 4 with ADHD, then a few years later, they added ODD, then Bi-Polar. He was put on ALL kinds on meds from Adderral, Concerta, the Datranna patch, Abilify, I can't even remember what else. Last year we had to put him in an emergency care center because of horrible behavior, self threats, and violence. Finally they told us they didn't feel comfortable with the Bi-Polar and they told us it was Asperger's.He turned 13 is past Sept. He is now on Vyvanse, Depakote, Intuniv, and takes clonidine to sleep. I don't like him being on all those meds, but he told me he feels better on the meds than off. Please know that you are NOT alone and if anyone is interested I have a blog on wordpress, if you'd like to hear our story in full. It's wtarrell.wordpress.com Much luck to all of you

Lisa - posted on 11/03/2010

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As you can see, by all these responses, you are NOT alone!
My boy has only tried Adderall, so far, and I'm looking to get him connected with a Psychiatrist who can give me some information about other meds, since the Adderall is no longer working for him. It's almost as if he's not taking anything at all.
I know exactly how you feel, in that it seems that there should be SOMETHING that can be done to help our babies, that won't have the detrimental side effects, etc., that the medication has. All I can say is, keep trying. Keep looking. It's infuriating, when we look online for SOME kind of help, and all that's out there (mostly) are schemes put out there by people who think that they can make a quick buck by selling their 'snake oils', and taking advantage of the poor parents out there who are looking for some form of hope for their children. It's a serious trial-and-error system that brings you to what works for your boy. You're not alone, please remember that. God Bless you in all you do. You can do it!

Jessica - posted on 11/03/2010

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When my oldest son started school, he was non-verbal, a head banger, and not potty-trained. In less than 2 months, the teachers had him talking, his head banging stopped, and then he was beginning to use language to communicate. After a 5 month period, it was suggested that I start him on a low dose of Ritalin. I was appalled-how could they suggest that my baby take such a powerful drug? Well, I went along with them, because it was a low dose, and we did it very slowly. My child changed before my eyes, into a boy who could have a conversation with me-sit still, and learn. Medication is often maligned because some use medical management as a way to deal with their kids...in my older sons cases, it saved their lives. Both have a dual diagnosis of ASD and BiPolar Disorder, and medication has always helped them to function in a way that they could not if not carefully monitored and adjusted. I am the kind of mother who was and is into natural modalities, but there is a place for the right meds at the right times. My youngest son is normal-he will not need the meds his brothers did. I would not hesitate to do what I did for his brothers if he needed it. The creative parts of my older sons were enhanced because they could sit still and learn, and use their very gifted intellectual and musical talents, not disrupt class constantly out of turn,etc. It's the matter of finding the right combination of meds, food, and sleep that your son needs to be a success...trial and error. I was a single mother dealing with these 2 kids, too. Today, they are well-adjusted young men just beginning to explore what it means to be themselves in a very confusing difficult world-they both have the advantage of having had a tremendous amount of support and encouragement from a host of doctors, psychiatrists, therapists and teachers along the way. It seems daunting...but you will, with the help of the right professionals, get the right medical combination for your son.

Angela - posted on 11/03/2010

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Have you tried natural ways? There is a website www.feingold.org that shows how getting all the 'junk' out of the diet can restore the body and mind and works well of ADHD. If anything, it's a good read! There's a doctor in Wisconsin (I'm at work or I would get the info to you with this note) that takes bloodwork, hair samples, stool samples, and urine samples to find the definciencies in your child and then suggests the trace minerals (for example) that your child would need. Be warned, to buy the stuff is expensive! But if it works, it's always worth it, vs meds. It was amazing to see all the paperwork come back with what my son did have, didn't have or had too much of in his own chemical makeup. (I've tried searching for this dr online and can't get his name that way, so will have to wait to give it to you when I get home and get in my sons file.)

Michelle - posted on 11/03/2010

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Frances i have been where you are now. My now 12 yo was certainly different right from the age of about 18months old to other children and by the time he started school I was told he was labelled as ADHD. I was told by so called professionals that it would be the best thing for him for me to medicate him. I was a single mother at the time and believed that they knew better than I....(i know now better) but then I medicated him till he was 10 and the only thing the paediatrician could offer me was a higher dosage of meds...by this time 5 years of meds was about enough all of us could take.
I took him out of a school of 1500 and we moved and enrolled him in a school of 50.
After about 18 months of no meds I know have my wonderful (but still highly strung) 12 yo that is going to become dux of his year for year 7....
Go with what you feel is best not anyone else. you are his mum and only you know him best....
Good luck with whatever decision you take...

Jodi - posted on 11/03/2010

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Thanks for writing this Frances. My son is in grade 1, he was diagnosed with GDD when he was 3, his teacher and his speech pathologist are wanting me to look into medicating him for ADD because he has trouble concentrating. I'm stumped as to what I want to do... I feel that maybe he just doesn't understand what is being taught or gets bored easily. When I asked them on a scale of 1-10 where he attention was at they said 2. I guess for me I'm just not sure that is the problem and do they just want a quick fix and medicate!? Such a difficult decision.
I've been taking my son to a chiropractor for almost 2 years, and my next step is to look into diet, I'll will exhaust all other options before I turn to medication.

Mary - posted on 11/03/2010

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My 15 year old takes concerta three times a day. she has such a high metabolism that even on the hightest dose she's wonky by the eve. Her younger sister is on the adderall and that has been working well and she is slowly decreasing the dose as she learns more coping techniques.
the meds have not ever made them sleepy or act zoned out. hope you find the combination that works for you guys!

Autumn - posted on 11/02/2010

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Ritalin has done wonders for my son... Focalin is a derivative of it, but Focalin is much stronger.

I used to think the same thing about medication, but seriously, it has been a godsend, and has given my son the edge he needs to get himself in hand.

Amy - posted on 11/02/2010

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Strattera has been a Godsend for my son with Aspergers. He's able to concentrate, stay on task, and has been doing better with social situations. I, too, had been adamant against ADHD medications, before they had him properly diagnosed, but this one has worked wonders! Now if only we could get the insurance to start covering it, since it is on their preferred list of medications...

Becky - posted on 11/02/2010

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Would you medicate your child if he had diabetes or cancer? Do you use antibiotics for infections? Treating mental illness or neurological disorders is NO different.

It's great if you have the time, patience and brains to do homeschool. Or if your child can even control themselves long enough for you to teach them. My daughter has taken adderall XR since she was 4 (10 now). For a short two weeks, we had her on concerta, but I might as well have been giving her sugar pills.



My son, 15, is bi-polar. We have had to put him on different meds as well. It was either medicate him or have him locked up when he beat the crap out of someone.

I do not regret putting my children on medication one bit. And I hope as they grow older, my son especially, realizes how much better they make his life.

Heather - posted on 11/02/2010

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Hi - my heart goes out to you - I have a son who was diagnosed with ADHD at age 3 and they wanted him on medication then. He was then diagnosed as also having Aspergers and as being gifted. He is now 15 and we have never tried medication. It was a hard time as I was once told by a psychiatrist that not giving him the meds was 'an indirect form of child abuse as I was not offering him the window of opportunity to succeed!'. Medication for ADHD does not sit well for me. My ex-husband was also diagnosed with ADHD as a child and put on Ritalin - he hated it and appeared to have as many if not more problems on it than my son without it. Yes our journey has been tough at times and my son has been in trouble at every school he went to and other places too such as swim clubs, etc. However, I tried a natural approach - no artificial additives in his diet and also tried Omega 3 and some other supplements. This seemed to help somewhat. However in the end I pulled him out of school and have homeschooled him for the last 5 years and it has been the best thing we have ever done. Life became so much less of a struggle. My anxiety stopped and we no longer go to see all the 'specialists' that we used to. No more IEPs! He is doing so well and heading along a path to University where when he was at school I wondered if he would achieve anything - he is a beautiful loving boy and I am very proud of him. Give lots of positive encouragement - try to ignore some of the annoying behaviour and see what happens. It is hard work, but has got easier with time. I know not everyone can homeschool but just a suggestion. Good luck with whatever you do and remember you are doing a great job! :0)

Mary - posted on 11/02/2010

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If you feel uncomfortable with medication, try finding a holistic specialist in your area. They can be a little expensive, but can find some natural ways that may take the edge off for him, and let him know what it feels like to feel under control.

Sherri - posted on 11/02/2010

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My godson, who I am raising, has ADHD and ODD. He has done the medication rounds for 7 years. Nothing ever seemed to work correctly. He is now on Vyvanse, Strattera, and Seroquel and all the meds are finally working the way they should. Unfortunately finding the right meds is a real trial and error but it is worth it when you finally find the right combination. I understand not wanting to medicate him but do you really want to go through this for the rest of his life? The schools push medications because they have many children to educate and they cannot keep stopping class to deal with one child. No school system is going to want to deal with a child that cannot be dealt with. If you truly do not want to medicate him, homeschooling is your only choice. I must warn you that if you do not medicate him while he is attending public schools, the school will call Children's Services and they will demand he be medicated. I have seen it happen.

Erin - posted on 11/02/2010

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I think its worth trying the meds once you've tried changing other things like diet or sleep or behaviour management. If the problem is a chemical imbalance in the brain, then it seems to me that the solution is to fix the imbalance with the right chemicals.

It could also be that your son has more going on than just ADHD. For example, if a child also has ODD or sensory integration problems or anxiety or a sleep disorder, then meds can fix one problem but not the other problem, and then the other problem becomes more obvious. It isn't immediately evident whether a new symptom/behaviour is a side effect from a med or is simply an underlying issue that becomes a lot more obvious once the hyperactivity is treated.

I would just keep experimenting. I agree, kids shouldn't become zombies or lose their creativity or their unique personalities just to make them easier to manage! But sometimes when you find the right med and make the right correction in the brain, its just magic to see what the child can be like when that chemical imbalance is corrected.

Wendy - posted on 11/02/2010

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I feel you pain on not wanting to medicate your son. I felt the same way at first. Did they first try him of Ritialyn? That was the first one that we tried. My son was diagnosed w/ ADHD in 1st grade, we also had to medicate him for depression (banging head on wall saying he wanted to be dead, pulling a knife out of the drawer and threating his sister that he'd kill himself, all very heartbreaking and scary). He's underweight (5th persentile) for his age and some nights he still has trouble falling asleep but we deffinently notice a difference when he isn't medicated. I homeschool and weaned him off all meds for about a month just to "prove" to certain family members that it wasn't just me trying to "make something wrong" with him. What a disaster! School didn't happen since he couldn't concentrate, the fighting/yelling on both sides was on-going and the stress that I felt was never-ending. I know that school push meds so that their job is easier but if you don't want to go that route then don't. Find out what dietary/routine management regiume works and tell his teachers about it. Have them "part of the team" and maybe they will work with you rather than "shoving" you of to another district. Good luck. btw my son is on Daytrona Patch, Celexa and (new)Vyvanse. We did try Adderal, Strattera, Concerta, Ritalyn (reg and slow dose). Some have worked and some haven't. Now I'm hitting the puberty hormonal spin on it too. fun, fun. Good luck. and remember that we're here for you too.

Miranda - posted on 10/27/2010

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If you are not comfortable with meds do not put him on them... Home school him if that is a possibility for you I would strongly suggest getting him in counseling that would help so much I hope this helps you goodl luck and GOD BLESS

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