My 14 year old was diagnosed with ADHD at age 7 - he hasn't been on meds in years because I changed his diet. he has done really well. Now he is having trouble sleeping again. Are meds the answer?

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MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 01/18/2012

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Absolutely! My daughter is very antisocial and didn't have many friends but honestly since I took her off the meds, she has made a bunch of friends! The meds will also make them withdrawn because it makes them very quiet, at least with my daugher it did. I enjoy her spunkyness, as long as she is able to get through her school work, I am perfectly fine with her not being on meds. I mean she is definitely absent minded at times but like I said, as long as she is able to concentrate on her school work I am OK with that. With the techniques she has developed and because she is now older, she knows what is acceptable and tries very hard to meet that standard. I will also let the teachers know that she has ADHD and that she will require more time and patience, so far it has worked well. I also ensure to make her get out and play/hang with the children in the community. I am very willing to drive her and any other children to the movies or the alike, just to make sure she is interacting outside of school. However, in the lower grades she often had no friends and none to hang out with during recess and lunches. Since she is such a sweet girl, she would just hang out with the teacher. It has been very hard for both of us, for me worrying that she is getting what she needs out of life and not being bullied (hasn't happened yet - thank god) and for her trying her hardest and still not getting it like the others. Now she goes to every school dance and really enjoys it. I have made sure to always be positive with her and let her know how wonderful she is, I think she has gained alot of self confidence from this....

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MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 01/18/2012

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Absolutely! yes I forgot to mention that! I brought somone with me so they could sit with my daughter outside the office so she wasn't scared. Again she was 5 then, he may be OK waiting outside of the room on his own with a favorite snack and a book or something he likes. You may be in there 30 mins or more though, all depends on how much you have to say and how much the doc has. Now I allow her to stay in the room with me because she knows I am on her side and I always look at her first and tell her "Ok, I am going to explain any difficulties we are having, you know I love you and you know why we are here" But she is 13 now and fully aware. So, yes, you will aboslutely get a chance to tell the doctor everything you need to without your boy present...

Pearl - posted on 01/18/2012

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and in those appointments, to i get time with the doctor myself so i dont talk about his negative behavior? I will take your idea on how to approach the subject as why we are making that doctors visit

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 01/18/2012

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Ah, I have always been very honest with my girl. I have explained to her ADHD from the get go but in a way she could understand, since she was 5 at the beginning. Now she completly understands and is able to explain how she is feeling each day in regards to her ADHD. I have also always told her just because she has ADHD does not mean she cannot do everything all the other kids can do, she just may need to work a little harder. If she needs help with how or what to do she asks me and we talk about it together and figure out a good solution. So far it has worked wonderfully. If it was me and she was 8 for our first visit, I would ask her "Well, you know how you have a hard time staying focused in school and have a hard time with the other children? Well, we are going to talk to a special doctor that may be able to help us understand and make good decisions that can really help you." "Don't worry, we are just going to ask and answer questions and perhaps play a few games with them. It would be nice to have some help in figuring out some good ideas to help, right?" Something to that affect, I bet he will be more than willing to go. ;) The appointments are not scary, I know they are before you go because you don't know what to expect but you will be relieved when you leave that it wasn't bad at all. They will get him to do some walking with one foot on front of the other - kinda like walking a tight rope but on the floor and do some reading and math. They do this to see where his level of cognitivity is. They will check his relexes, which he may think is fun to see his leg go flying when they tap his knee! ;) They will ask you a bunch of questions and you will have a chance to explain everything and ask as many questions as you want to too. Just try to find ways to make it all positive (even though you are scared!), if they see it as being a good thing they will not label themselves either. I think the meds allowed her to have time to get to know herself by interacting with other children and learning what was acceptable because they definitely help her focus more, so within those 8 years I was able to support her and help her as well. Now that she has had time to learn these skills, I feel it best to take her off. I don't like some of the side affects, such as not being able to sleep and she was often complaining of not feeling well (upset tummy). they definitely made her more antisocial and withdrawn. But mostly I choose to take her off for now - it could change to where she needs them again - because I am concerned of long term affects. However, if her grades being to fall drastically or she starts telling me she is having a hard time, I would definitely put her back on them. The most important thing to me is that she is accepted by others and not looked as being really weird. So, the past year have been great without them but it is possible she may need them again. I hope that she has had enough time to really know herself and is able to cope without but we will see...

Pearl - posted on 01/18/2012

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btw i was once told when speaking to a proffesional that sometimes people who go on meds, some people can sometimes actually go off it. As far as your daughter is concerned......the fact that she took the meds an x amount of time, do you find that her body learned better habbits? or if yes would you rather relate it that shes older?

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 01/18/2012

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Oh and another thing, he may just feel way more comfortable at home and is able to stay calm. It also could be ADD rather than ADHD (with the hyperactivity). Although, it would be best to have a few appts with a couple specialists, as it may just be a sensory thing too. Too much noise or activity around him makes him inable to focus. Well, I shouldn't say "just" it is all hard for us moms and them... My daughter too love drawing and reading, she is at her calmest during those times, I think it is because she is really engaged and her over active brain has time to rest while she is doing something that "soothes" her....

Pearl - posted on 01/18/2012

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thanks for your support. I know i will wind up at the neuro one day. What do you think i shall tell myson that im taking him there for. hes got lots of dignity (thnak god! i encourage that). When i give him his vitamins (vitamins include natures calm, omega 3 fishoil and alpha gpc with b12) he asks me what am i taking this for (he always needs answers and asks lots of questions) so i told him that its an immune booster and that helps you not be sick often and answer was accepted and if i ever forget to give it to him he reminds me.

I can see alot of my sons behavior in what your describing in

your daughter

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 01/18/2012

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Oh my I so hear you! It is soo scary to not know the unknown! I don't know how many times I have cried myself to sleep worrying about my girl, way too many to ever be able to count! However, I think the best thing I did was going to a specialist and seeking 2nd and 3rd opinions with other specialists. From the information they gave me I was able to do my own research - thank goodness for Google! ;) I have been able to drastically calm my nerves but I still have them from time to time. Since as they grow new things arise, new issues that I need to figure out how to deal with without making her feel bad about herself. One of my biggest fears was my daughter being labelled. So with that I decided I would not label her myself, I firmly believe with a lot of extra effort on my part she can be a wonderful product to society. I have had bad teachers and have had to set them straight and tell them what I expect otherwise there would be issues for THEM not my girl. Her first year of school they wanted to put a divider up around her desk, to segragate her from the other children in the class because she couldn't stay in her chair! I almost lost it! No way! You are not doing that to my child, you gotta be kidding me, that would only have made her behaviour worse. My daugher too is above average in her grades and I often wonder how as well. Somehow she is still taking it all in, she just can't sit still while doing it. I have accepted this, as long as she is getting it, I don't care if she needs to be somewhat active during. Although now, she has calmed down a bit - mostly because Grade 7 is different. No desks to play in anymore and she gets to switch classes after each one, so she gets a different scenary every 45 mins. Although, she has stated to me that she can not sit by a window in class, if she does she can't stop looking out the window. Every teacher meeting was always the exact same too - your daughter cannot stay in her seat, she cannot stay out of her desk, she cannot look at me when teaching and on and on and on... I would say but her marks are good right? They would say Yep, my response was then I guess you need to help her to learn to stay in her seat. One teacher would actually give her a stress ball, so she would have something to do but that teacher was an exception because most are not interested unless you make them be. So, this past year I stopped going to the meets altogether. I was only leaving upset everytime. I started emailing them and asked that they email me when they have a concern instead. I am then able to articulate myself professionally and explain to them what I expect without getting upset. I also, never ever use her ADHD as a reason to not be able to do something and ensure that the teachers never ever devulge her disorder. She knows she can come to me about anything, so if she is ever made to be embarresed or sad, I am right there. I too did vitamins until she was about 12, I have not seen a change since I stopped but they are good for them anyhow, so why not continue... Mine only liked the Flinstone ones and I decided by 12 she wasn't getting Flinstone vitamins anymore. ;) Honestly, not knowing is harder and having a specialist to hear you and help you understand may really relieve some of your worries. I know when I brought my girl and told them all my techniques, at the time she was 5 years, I was told that I was doing a wonderful job and to continue with it. That really made me feel good and made me see I was a good mom (even with any mistakes I may have made). I too was afraid of the meds, deathly afraid! And to be perfectly frank I still am, which is why I took her off now that she is older and has some control and understanding. However, they really did help her to get to where she is today, it gave me enough of a chance to really work with her. I would give it a chance, noone says you have to do what they say and always get at least a 2nd opinion, if not a 3rd too. I also continue with bringing her to the specialist yearly, to ensure she is still doing well in their view, as well as to see if there has been any further developments that have been proven to work other than meds. Good luck and stay strong, your boy needs that because it is hard for them to be at times. Love him and be positive, have strong rules and just let him know he is perfect the way he is, that he just needs to work on certain things. He will be OK, I promise. ;)

Pearl - posted on 01/18/2012

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i gotya. I have a 8 year old son thats got some issues but not clear on what they are and based on "his" issues i asked you how your daughter is doing socially. He's a yummy boy and always strives to be a good kid. When he comes home from school i always ask him so how was your day and he would answer "better than all other days and tomorrow will be even better". There is a strangness to him. Academically hes doin above average and all other behavior is a hugh contradiction to his marks. He is also immature compared to his classmates, he does not have too many friends because he is laughed at based on his behavior and also being bullied. Teachers are amazed by how well he is keepinng up in class because most of the time he's somewhere around his seat but hardly in it and totally looks like he would'nt know what's going on but when called on by teacher, he has got the answer and sometimes the only one in the class that can answer the teacher. When hes home he is a super calm child. he loves to draw or play musical toys and loves to dance and always repeating the stories that his teacher read to them in class. I know the right thing to do is go to a neuro at this time and every night i tell myself that tomorrow i will call but when the morning comes i have a fear of picking up that phone to make an appointment. I dont know exactly what is scaring me, if its a matter of him being labled or if it means him going on meds but I AM SCARED and as im typing the fear is overcoming me just like every morning. For the last 2 years im treating him with vitamins that is recomended for adhd. I have no idea if things would have been worse if i wouldnt be giving it to him. I really wish i would gather my strength to go to the neuro and know that i did my motherly duties. I know that is the right thing to do but ........

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 01/18/2012

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I should also state that it is still not perfect and she still has issues with some things but we work on them as they come. Another thing that I have been consistent with is ensuring she has a very strict routine and boundaries wih suitable cosequences if not followed. I have found this to be very very helpful because she then knows what to expect at all times. I still have to give constant reminders for things, like doing her chores when she gets home or having a time limit on how long she takes to do things like getting ready in the morning but she is much better than she was a year ago. I find she gets better everyday... She is also much more immature than other kids her age but I don't mind that, it means I don't have to worry about the typical teen desires YET. Like boyfriends! LOL ;) And she definitely has ADHD 24/7, there is just no such thing as "only" at school... If that seems to be the case I would say something else is the driving factor. ADHD is a disorder, it doesn't choose when it will happen. What it is actually is the inability to produce the white matter in their frontal lobe, this stuff is for focusing/attention. Meds help produce it but teaching them how to cope is much more affective in the long run....

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 01/18/2012

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Meds can also keep them awake. My 13 year old's medication - Concerta is a long release pill and lasts 12 hours (so they say) but she would take it at 7am and still would not be able to get to sleep until close to 11pm or even 12am and her bedtime is 9pm! I have since taken her off, as I have done a lot of work with her and she has learnt how to manage her inattentiveness and hyperness. BTW - she has severe combined ADHD, she has it so bad that she has been granted disability by the Government. Meds are only a part of the battle, working with them and having tons and tons of patience and doing research until it is coming out of your ears has been the best medication for my daughter and our family.. I never liked the meds for the 8 years she was on them, she had terrible side affects, insomnia was only one of them... We tried others too, i just worry about what these drugs are doing to their insides. They have not been around for 40 years, so who knows what problems they may have when they are over 40, I believe in working hard with them and teaching them how to survive with the disorder. However, meds were important as a child because it takes years of patience and teaching before they can understand what works for them....

Pearl - posted on 01/13/2012

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some meds have a side of efect of not being able to sleep at night but there are other meds to fight that side efect that child can take before he goes to sleep. ask your doctor

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I have NOT read through the posts..you should try OTC Melatonin. It's super cheap and OTC! It works GREAT! My 12 year old (who is ADHD) uses it.

Wendy - posted on 11/08/2008

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I'm new to this group. My daughter was diagnosed with ADHD at 8 and has a reading special learning disability; I haven't gone the med route because the first specialist wanted to put her on meds for seizures. She doesn't have seizures. Any info is appreciated.

Kimberly - posted on 11/08/2008

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I have a ADD child and a ADHD child. When I was having sleeping problems with them, I gave them a turkey sandwich and milk before bed, both help with the sleeping issue. My oldest is now on meds but not just for the ADD. The other child and I have a deal, he can quietly read with a booklight as long as he doesn't wake his younger brother and lights go off at 11pm, it sounds unconventional but it works for us. (he is 13)

Donna - posted on 11/07/2008

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My daughter also has ADHD and we have been using melatonin for about a year now and what a difference! It use to take me 45 minutes to 2 hours to get her to bed at night. Now I just give it to her an hour before bed and she actually goes to sleep at bed time! It is worth a try and it is natural at that.

Elaine - posted on 11/07/2008

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Yeah - I agree about the 24/7 - and the developmental changes. I changed Sawyer's diet to no dairy - all soy, no red dies, (juices, candy, hot dogs...etc.) No caffeine. i pretty much put him on MY diabetic diet - just at a higher caloric intake. it worked for a few years, and now he is having trouble sleeping again, and in school - but I think some of the school thing is girls. lol - but the sleeping problem is a definite sign with him that he is having problems again. I have made him an appointment with a new doctor, and the great thing about the company I work for is that I have access to a hotline that helps with issues like this, that will recommend therapists for him. I also want to thank everyone on here for all of their suggestions and help - I am very thankful, and grateful for other supportive parents of ADHD children.

Jessica - posted on 11/07/2008

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Good Luck! I have a 2nd grader with ADHD and we are just beginning to understand that it may be a lifelong struggle for him as he goes through different stages of development. I agree that medications are not a bad thing. He is on Concerta, with absolutely no side effects and we are very happy with his progress. The medication helps him slow down and think more clearly, but the real progress has been made with our family therapist and behavior modification. Getting a diagnosis and an Rx from a peditrician is only 1/2 of the treatment. Our pediatrician is great, but we went right to the specialists from the get go. We go to therapy on an as needed basis as new issues and struggles arise, but in the beginning we went more frequently. I would be interested to know the diet changes that you incorporated with your son. We did alot of research and we are now giving our son a daily children's DHA/ARA supplement (artic fish oil tabs) and we make sure he has protein with his breakfast. The biggest life saver for our family has been consistancy. Our therapist and our perscribing psychiatrist work together as a team and do not reccomend frequent switching around of meds of taking "perscription vacations" over the summer, weekends or school holidays. Our son has ADHD 24/7 not just at school!

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Not always my step son has been on meds sence 1st grade and even with the meds he has had trouble sleeping.

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Have you tried Melatonin? It is not a medicine, but a natural herb(I think it's an herb). You can find it in health food stores. You usally start with 1mg and gradually increase until you find the amount that works. Talk to your doctor about it.

Elaine - posted on 11/05/2008

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When he was younger, his doctor put him on meds for two weeks, and then off for two weeks so he could tell the difference. At that time, he stated to the doctor that the medicine made his "brain slow down" - HIS words, not mine - lol - poor thing. He knows he is better with the medicine - BUT - the medicine makes him sleepy, and his stomach hurt, that is why he wanted to stop taking it. But he also knows that when he eats right, he feels better too. And to answer Tracey - I also have an 18 year old son, so I am VERY aware of the hormonal and adolescent issues - believe me! I don't really think this is one of them - this is definitely his ADHD taking hold again. He just wants to feel better - and to be able to sleep better, too. I just wasn't sure if meds were the answer again - especially at his age. The strattera also kept him from growing?? After he came off of it at 10 - he started growing. It was like he was stuck in a age 7 body for three years...

Tracy - posted on 11/05/2008

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You may want to consider whether, at 14 he's also dealing with other adolescent issues that have nothing whatever to do with the ADHD. James has always known that his medication makes things better for him. Even when he was a little guy he'd ask for his medication when he knew he needed to pay attention. He has never refused to take it. But in conference with his doctor/teachers at that age, we often considered other factors besides the ADHD that may be effecting him. It's hard to tell sometimes where the line between adolescent hormones & ADHD issues is. If it's hormones he will eventually out grow it.

Elaine - posted on 11/05/2008

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Yeah - Sawyer was on Strattera for a few years, but then started to refuse to take it when he was around 10.It was a daily battle. I did some research, took him off the strattera, and changed his diet. (i REALLY didn't like his doctor at the time either) He does pretty good, and is a good eater, but now he is having trouble again. I guess I will find another doctor for him and maybe get him back on Strattera to see how it affects him at this age. Thanks for your feedback!!

Tracy - posted on 11/05/2008

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Yes, meds may be helpful. I know there are a lot of people out there who think that medicating a kid for ADHD is not a good idea. I do not agree. The way I see it is: if he was diabetic I would not think twice about giving him insulin if that's what was necessary. It's the same with medicating any condition. If he needs it and it helps him function I don't see the problem. My 17 year-old son has been medicated for ADHD since he was 6. For the first 7 years he took the old standard Ritalin, but in grade 9 we changed to Strattera. This drug has been wonderful for him & is free of the stigmas that go with Ritalin. It provides the focus support he needs without supressing his personality. There was an adjustment period but I think he is doing better on the Strattera than he was on the Ritalin. As for dietary adjustments, I did try that a little bit, but James was finicky eater so it didn't work for him.

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