What has your experience with ADHD medications been like?

Making ADD/ADHD medication decisions for you or your child can be very difficult. What has your experience with these types of medications been like and what would you suggest to other moms?

40  Answers

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I am a special education teacher and, thus, I am accustomed to making accommodations for all sorts of learning disabilities, ADHD included. With a masters degree in Human Development and Psychology from Harvard University, thirteen years of regular classroom and special education experience and a child who takes ADHD meds, I think I am in a good position to comment both personally and professionally. There are many things teachers can do to help inattentive students - including one legged stools or balance balls instead of a chair, providing fidget things like a squeeze ball, allowing a child to chew gum, and preferential seating. In my opinion, all of these accommodations should be tried before medication is considered. Sometimes we try all of those strategies, but significant difficulties persist. I've seen heartbreaking instances where a child ends up years behind in basic reading, writing and math skills, struggling socially - feeling like an outsider, and believing they are stupid, yet the parents are still unwilling to even TRY medication. Medication may not be the answer, but often in combination with accommodations, it can make a world of difference for a child.
When my own daughter was struggling to complete work and attend to lessons, I too insisted that accommodations be tried before we were willing to consider medication. I knew from testing and discussions with my daughter that she was gifted in math - she could do multiplication and division in kindergarten. Yet, my husband and I were receiving report cards and hearing in conferences that the teacher believed her to be below average in all subject areas because she couldn't complete the simplest assignments. Even written homework was an incredible chore - she took two hours to complete a simple addition sheet that she could have done verbally in two minutes. Knowing that a child only gets one chance at a good education and considering the impact that doing poorly in school can have on a child's sense of competency, self confidence, the ability to learn more complicated subject matter in subsequent grades, get into college, and on job readiness, we decided to try medication. As an education professional, I've read the research that clearly shows that children who are behind in reading, writing, and/or math in third grade are at a much higher risk of dropping out before finishing high school. I want my daughter to enjoy school, love learning and go as far as her interests and abilities can take her. I believe that if she could control her attention, she would, but she cannot control a biological function, based on the amounts of various brain chemicals that her body produces. Like autism, increased diagnoses of ADHD probably has a lot to do with a greater understanding of brain chemistry, more sophisticated diagnostic techniques, and more options for treatment. Certainly there are instances of inappropriate or over medication - but that is the case with many things in medicine - and the reason that parents must weigh the pros and cons and try different medications, if appropriate, to determine the best course of action for THEIR child. As with most things, the most reasonable and educated choice for action lies somewhere in the middle with a careful consideration of the individual in mind - NOT with extreme opinions that medication is never the answer or that medication is always the answer.
Finding the right medication for my daughter has been very difficult. We have spent a great deal of time trying different medications and reporting back to her physician. The short acting stimulants made her depressed and unable to get enough sleep so we went to another class of medication that doesn't have those same side effects, but must be taken daily. We finally settled on Strattera, but had to experiment with the timing and dosage. Now she is in the advanced math group, loves school, gets lots of positive feedback from her teacher in class and on her report card. Certainly medication is not the magic bullet and work completion remains a bit of an issue, but a manageable one that we are addressing with other accommodations and rewards/consequences at home.

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I took low dosage of Stratera for about a year, and had positive results with it. I only switched to Vyvanse because my health insurance provider stopped covering it, and I couldn't afford to pay full price. Vyvanse turned out to be a better drug choice for me anyway, so I don't regret being pushed into using it. However, I wonder how many people end up discontinuing a correctly prescribed medication for heath insurance reasons?

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I think it's frightening that people are medicating kids, I would worry about the long term impact on the developing brain. Are we medicating kids for life! Is personality sacrificed in favour of what is perceived as 'normal'. Surely behavioural therapy would be more appropriate. Maybe it's a US phenomena but medicating for ADHD is certainly not the norm in Europe. Was ADHD even a condition 20 years ago? It worries me. The Generation RX documentary is frightening and I strongly recommend it be viewed.

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medication is suppose to be used in conjunction with behavior therapy with my son the behavior therapy did not work by itself. with the combination he is able to do well in school and learn where as before he was unable to focus and would get frustrated and not all teachers are willing to put up with that before they would kick him out of class luckily we have an awesome teacher now but watching a documentary is great but it does not give an accurate depiction of treating and dealing with a child with adhd and add and i am more concerned on what works for my son and letting him have a better education and life than what they be doing in Europe i don't live there!

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We started my son on ADHD meds at 4.5 yo. We were VERY much against meds, and had tried counceling, behavior therapy, home therapy, etc... but we'd been kicked out of 3 daycares since he turned 2 and the 4th daycare said they'd only take him if we tried the one thing we had not tried - medicine. I know that officially, doctors will not diagnose kids with ADHD til they are 5, but they did with us as it was "classic" symptoms. Without going into all his specific details, I will say that putting him on ADHD meds did not make him into a zombie, but it slowed his incredible speed down to something closer to normal. His biggest issue was his impulsivity (think like a 4 year old... "hey, it would be fun to push thet child off the slide and watch them fall...")- and it really helped with this. With the meds, he has time to think a thought, and filter his actions.

At this point, my little guy is now 11 and still on ADHD meds. We've tried many kinds and I'll agree with other parents that pointed out each child is different. he thrived on Adderall, Vyvance and related meds. He was a mean monster on Concerta - we didn't last a week on that medicine he was so mean. We have him on the extended release, but it never lasts past lunch for him, so he's on a bit of a coctail to get him through the school day. I don't worry about giving it to him on the weekends or evenings, but my husband thinks he does better overall if it stays in his system at an even level, so he usually gets it every day.

Over the last 5-6 years, we've adjusted his meds based on behavior (always increasing, never decreasing). We've tried taking him off and he doesn't last a day. Where I will tollerate a tornado of a child, his classroom teachers willnot/ cannot. I have it in my head that he needs time off of the meds to learn to deal with his own impulses, but I cannot send him to school without the meds because he ends up in the Principle's office EVERY time.

We decided to put him on a special diet about 1 month ago. We cut all grains, sugar, and processed foods (including food dyes and chemicals). It's been the most amazing transformation and at this point, we've cut his ADHD meds in half. I'm not sure what his trigger is, but a change in diet might be the only path off of these meds for him.

Last thought on this subject. I have a 7 yo daughter who is high energy. We've thought she might be ADHD, but she does not have the impulse control issues my son has off-meds. We have no intention of medicating her at this point as she is not a danger to herself or others around her and she can still focus in school and is exceling. So we just send her outside to 'burn it off' or let her literally do cartwheels until she's satisfied!

Every child is truely different and if you've never parented an ADHD child, you likely don't (and almost can't) get it. You might think you do, but seriously it's one of those things you just have to experience. A normal person should be able to follow step 1, step 2, and then step 3. An ADHD child gets lost somewhere between start and 1! And after 6 years of getting up for school, getting dressed, having breakfast, etc... after 6 years of exactly the same routine I still have to remind him what's next (before his medicine kicks in) because his ADHD little mind can't hold my instructions and his scattered thoughts for a whole 30 seconds.

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Your story is almost exactly the same as what we have gone through with my son and I appreciate you sharing. It helps knowing that we are not the only family struggling with these issues. We have not tried the specialty diet, but because I have started hearing so many benefits lately, and especially seeing that it helped your situation (which is so close to mine), we are going to give it a try. We have definitely cut down on processed foods, but we are going to try and eliminate them completely along with starting a gluten-free diet. Since I know such little information on these kinds of diets, it will take a little research, but I believe is definitely worth a try.

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I spent my entire life struggling with what I now know to be ADD (inattentive) I developed coping strategies that worked for many of life's challenges, but when I had children and my life got crazier, the coping skills fell short. At the age of 43 I just tried ADD meds and the difference is astonishing. My daughter shows clear signs of ADD and while I won't use it as a first line of action, I will consider it if at some point nothing else helps her focus. It is a very personal and difficult decision. Many other cultures don't live as we do here, and thus the demands on the brain are much different. People have to stop treating behavioral and mental health problems like they are not real- it is hard enough to cope without the world telling you to just "buckle down" or snap out of it. My advice is to read about it and ask a trusted physician for help. There has always been ADD- it just didn't always have a name- or a medical solution.

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Sulyn, at the age of 40 I started taking meds for ADD. I struggled with it my entire life, just like you and I denied having ADD. That is until I read more about it. I then realized that both my son and myself probably had it. With starting back to college, I needed a boost to help me focus and concentrate. I have been on meds for about 6 months and the difference is amazing. My son has been on adderal for about 4 months and his grades have improved and he no longer brings home discipline sheets daily. It was a tough choice, but I feel I made the right choice.

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Not sure if this has been mentioned on here at all...but please take the time to check out www.feingold.org. We have our son on this diet, eliminates artificial colors, flavors, preservatives...etc...our son even seems to react neurologically to naturally occuring salycilates that are in many fruits and veggies...there is a lot of information available on the feingold website, I encourage everyone to check it out!!! We saw a HUGE difference in our son within a day of changing his diet! We have never had to put him on medication!

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We are currently using high quality essential oils with great success. Lavender and cedarwood applied several times daily has made a noticeable difference in our child. I was skeptical that they would do anything. Thank heavens I was willing to give it a try!

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I'm no expert, but my brother was diagnosed with ADHD when he was in Kindergarten. He was a happy, active, and loving boy. However, once he was started on the ADHD meds, his entire personality changed. He became a walking zombie. His joyful smile disappeared and was replaced by a permanent flat affect. He was later diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, but his symptoms did not surface until he was placed on the ADHD meds. I feel Strongly that the meds were to blame. I have been an RN for 16 years and have witnessed the mass over prescription of these meds. I do believe that some children may need some assistance with certain medications and/or counseling, but think there are entirely too many children placed on these meds just because they are......KIDS. I believe that adults place expectations that are too high for children. I've also heard moms say that they changed their children's diet and saw drastic changes in their attention spans. ( i.e. gluten free diets and limited sugars). Again, this is not my area of expertise, as I'm a Labor and Delivery nurse, but think that it is beneficial to try natural treatments, including diet and counseling before jumping to medications.

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Please know that there is a natural alternative to meds that WORKS. When our son was diagnosed with ADD at age 6 we took him to a Naturopath. She first suggested eliminating wheat from his diet, and in doing so we noticed an immediate improvement in his behavior. Next we had his neurotransmitters tested. (The company is called NeuroScience and the test is very easy...either saliva or urine or a combo of both for more comprehensive results). The results showed his excitatory neurotransmitters were off the charts elevated (in adults this sort of result would show up as anxiety, in kids it shows up as ADD/ADHD. He was prescribed two types of supplements (they are all-natural amino acids, completely safe)! Most kids only need to take them for 3-6 months and can stop taking them when their chemistry is regulated...this is not a lifelong thing! Our son was a completely different child within one week (before he was in the Principal's office daily and was a constant disruption to his class and to our family life). His change was so amazing that everyone wanted to know what we had done (his teachers, the Principal, the school psychologist). I tell everyone I know to look into alternative methods for treating ADD/ADHD. Limit screen time (it's the worst thing for kids with this brain type), keep their diet clean (no food coloring, little sugar, lots of protein), and get their neurotransmitters tested!!!

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We tried this through neuroscience, gave our 6 yr old daughter phosphatydalserine and taurine. Both worked great this summer, but then school started, along with sinus issues as usual, and maybe a little social anxiety, and her behavior returned to all the old ADHD stuff we used to see, even while maintaining the PS & taurine. She is gluten & dairy free, eats like a bird, but healthy. Diet stayed the same.... Behavior changed. This leads me to believe in her case that diet is not the critical factor. We are once again kinda cornered into considering meds.

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My son is nine years old and two days ago started a new ADHD medication called Daytrana. I'm nervous about him being on a medication but I am also hopeful! He too is a very bright child that has always made A's and B's. He is in third grade this year and has really been struggling this year. Grades slipping, having trouble fitting in, having trouble paying attention in class and completing assignments. I feel blessed that he has wonderful teachers that see his potential and have not written him off as that "bad kid". I have tried many things before making the decision to medicate. We've tried vitamins such as Focus Attention, GABA, omega-3 with dha. We've also tried behavior charts, incentives, gaining and losing privileges. None have worked and my son just seems to be frustrated, angry and down on himself because he doesn't feel he can meet everyone's expectations. The doctor has also run several blood tests, and we return in two weeks for the results. In the meantime we are trying the Daytrana. Does anyone have a child who has tried this medication that could give me advice or comments? I would appreciate it. This has been a very difficult decision for me and I pray daily for my son and want nothing but the very best for him!

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We have been right where you are with what you have mentioned. My son is 8 and is now in 3rd grade. He is also on Daytrana (patch) And is thriving on it better than any other meds that we tried. Not only does he have a crazy gag reflex so taking a pill was a major undertaking every morning (even putting it in apple sauce) the patch has been a god sent!!! Like any of the meds my son has has some weight drop so you must be mindful of his caloric intake daily. He also plays hockey so he burns off the calories as fast as we give them to him. So he might have a slight decrease in his appitite. But I have to say it has helped him tremendously with focusing in school. Just be aware that the patch does take about an hour or so to start to work so you might need to get it on him way before he needs to be fully focused. Many morning I am putting the patch on him at 5:30am while he is asleep so he is ready to focus for his 7am hockey game. :) But you will find your way with it. Each child is different and reacts differently to different meds. Once we got him on the meds and a proper IEP and changed school districts to one that had a better special education department. My son has went from "your child needs to be reatined" to all A's and B's this entire year. He is in an inclusion class with teacher support and his the happiest child ever! Best of luck with your treatment path. All things are good when the end goal is reached and treated with unconditional love and support for your child. Best of luck. You are your childs best advocate.

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I am using my wife's account because my mother sent it to me and since i grew up and still currently have ADD/ADHD, I thought it might help someone to hear my personal viewpoint as well as my professional viewpoint being that my wife and I are both nurses.
I have had ADD/ADHD since i was a young child and always struggled with being in the class and with any class/homework. with sports/exercise(my mom making me run laps around the house when i got too hyper lol). but with all this activity I was able to stay off of medications until I got to college and stopped playing sports.
If your child is able to cope without meds I implore you to do so. If your child is just completely unable to cope with school (getting into trouble constantly or cannot make the grades he/she could be able to.
Just because your child may be annoying at times (and believe me I still am and I am 28) this is not a reason to put kids on meds. Kids are hyper, they always run around running us parents down, exhausting us. only...ONLY when your child is absolutley unable to control should you consider meds. and then only with the help of a doctor/psychologist trained in these issues. not just your family dr or pediatrician(not that they don't know or don't understand these issues).
I have thanked my mom many many times for not putting me on meds for my ADD/ADHD when I was younger because it taught me to cope and adjust to my own style of learning and now I have a Bachelors degree in nursing(BSN, RN) with a specialization in Neurosurgical patients and the intensive care that they require.
Kids will be kids, but ultimately if things are out of hand then it is perfectly okay to get professional's help to diagnose and if necessary treat with the multiple meds out there for these disorders.
Thank you for your time and letting a man share his story/opinions on this issue,
Chris

"In this world you will have trouble but take heart, for I have overcome the world"
John 16:33

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Jami / Chris, thank you so much for your post. My oldest son is 6 with ADHD and we struggled a long time and finally put him on Meds. I love to hear from adults and their experiance growing up with ADHD. Even though he is doing much better in school and at home I still feel guilty at times. My husband and I just felt like we were breaking his spirit always having to be on him about his behavior and now we are able to enjoy him more. I don't mean for that to sound bad but it is true. I just need to continue to pray about it. I agree, if you are able to keep them of meds then that is the best thing for them. I need to continue to pray for guidance. Thank you for the encouraging verse! God bless you.

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In taking in my brother who is adhd it has been a difficult but rewarding year. Since, my brother was five he always had behavior problems which was stimulated by my parents babying him and give into his every whim. Well, eventually I had to take my brother in because my parents could no longer take care of my brother and sister. Both kids where academically behind, because parents did not take parent in ensuring their children where progressing. Neverhtless, taking in my brother I though his behavior problems would disappear with structure, a stimulating environment, consequences for your actions, and montoring his diet. Well his behavior has come down some; he thinks before he hits somebody, unless he is very angry. He doesn't fall out in the stores anymore and he knows to ask for something when he goes to the store instead of taking it. Also, he has become more out going in contrast how he used to be where he wanted to sit in front of video games all day (issues from his father). Which to add on to exercising I have done research that has stated, kids with adhd since they are very active need lots of exercise. Exercising helps bring the behavior down, which I have noticed since I try to keep him active as possible. In doing all of that in one year, I have managed to get him into general education. Now the problem I'm having is rather or not to medicate him, because he is having problems focusing in school, he has to be constently reminded to stay on task, he forgets what he has learned, and he is still trying to play acadmic catchup. A result from him being in a behavior school that focused on behavior and not academics. In reading everybody's post I still struggle because I'm afraid he will get addicted to the medication due to family history of addication. But at the same time I want him to achieve academically, because he is very smart it's just him remembering and focusing (did I mention he is an amazing reading with an extensive vocabulary).

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Check with your insurance to see if you could do a thorough neurological evaluation. His excellent vocabulary and difficulty with memory and attention may indicate a bological difficulty in one, small, area. A true learning disability is a biologically based difficulty with nuerology which interfers with the learning process. Many of us have differences; some have compensatory skills, others will need help overcoming, whether it is modification, therapy, or medication.

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The documentary "Generation RX" will answer the question and make you think. Please watch and be informed.

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It is currently available on Netflix.

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21 years ago my son was diagnosed with ADHD and put on meds for 6 months I watched my happy little boy seem to be lost while on the meds, so I made a dissision to take him off and started a small reward system and self relaxing exercises (back then no internet or much info) The teachers had a fit because he was not drugged, but he is now 28 and doing great in life. I am so glad I choose to take him off the meds, but it was a hard struggle to get him where he is today but so well worth it

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My youngest son is ADHD! After reading alot of comments on different post I do fell blessed. My son is currently on Concerta two 36mg pills in the morning and a 1mg Tenax in morning and a 1mg Tenax at 5 in the evening. My son is doing well but has issues with aniety. The doctor just put him on Strattera. We have not taken it yet cause I monitor him when trying anything new so have to wait till weekend due to my work schudule. People are so quick to judge but as a mother you want your child to be able to funtion and do well in school and for some children medication does make a big difference. Mornings are rough for us my son is not a morning person at all. Each child is different and well no one is prefect The medications are not a cure and you will have good days and some bad days. Does anyone esle have children that are taking strattera with concerta would love to hear some feed back. Vyanse worked great but my son lost a lot on weight taking that one so we switched to concerta and he has gained.

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My experience has been great. I take 10 mg of ritalin 2 x per day and 5 mg 1 x per day. It is a low dose for an adult, but it has worked for me. I have never had any side effects other than losing a few pound at first, but the weight comes back in a few months. It's like having a light turned on in a dark room. You can see things clearly for the first time in your life. With or without medicine, counseling and strategies to help you with difficulties are the most important things.

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I had temporary guardianship for my cousins son. He had been on ADHD meds for many years. His request to me when he came for a month over the summer was to not have to take the meds. They made him feel different. I said we'd try it, but he had to have a great diet. No processed foods, lots of veggies and fruit. The difference in him was amazing! On the meds, he didn't sleep much, couldn't focus on books he wanted to read, and his growth was stunted (age 10). During our experimental month, he slept soundly, grew 1.5 inches! and we visited the library for new chapter books every 2 days. I'd pick him up from camp and he wanted to go home to finish his book!

Perhaps he was mis-diagnosed (my fear), living with elderly grandparents who literally wanted total silence when he was out of his room. Perhaps it was the food. Or maybe the combination.

Someone asked why this is more an issue in the US than Europe. A HUGE difference between those cultures is the food we eat and how it's grown. All 4 of my kids eat veggies - it may not be their favorite, but I don't give them alternatives. Did they get nasty when they refused to eat and grew hungry at age 2? Yup! But I don't give in. Now even my 4 yo asks for tons of veggies on his pizza. We eat no red meat, only healthy naturally grown chicken, turkey and fish in moderation. As soon as they're old enough, we have salad with every dinner. And veggies, fruit and natural meats are guaranteed gluten-free.

If meds are the last resort, then try food first. It'll help the entire family to eat healthier.

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I have guardianship of my now 11 year old grandson. He had been with me since kindergarden. He is a very active young man. He was driving me insane. As well as his teachers. When he entered the first grade his teacher knew that something was going on with him. He could not and would not set in his seat. He was up and down. She (teacher) suggested I have him evaluated for ADD/ADHD. He pass be was diagnosed with it. We started him on different types of medication. I think his first medication was Ritilin. it did not work, made him a zombie. Then we switched to Adderall this one was a joke. Dr put him on 36 mg Concerta, worked some what but did not last. She then added 15 mg Ritilin in the am and 15 mg Ritilin in the PM. He was still out of control. So it was decided that 2 mg Intuvin be added. so the combination seems to be working he takes his morning dose og 36 concerta 15 ritilin and 2 intuvin, when he gets home from school around 330 pm he takes his 15 ritilin. Weekends he takes his morning dose and depending on where and what we are doing he may skip his PM dose. He has been taking this combination now for about 3 years. Hopefully he will outgrow alot of this. and put his focus else where. He school work is average he works hard so that makes me proud of him. Homework if we do not get at it the minute he walks through that door then we are doing homework still at 9pm. If anyone has any more suggestions for me I am very open minded. As long as it is the best for him

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I worked with Special Children when I worked as an assistant in CDC class. All of children were very different. They all had different needs and some were on medicine which made them tired. Some that didn't have the medications were ready to learn what they could. Some had varing learning disabilites. I asked if I could work with them on their own level of learning and not try to push them to go to the next level. until ready. One that no one thought would ever be able to read,did.They wanted to go read to the Principal and smilled the whole time she read. Yes it was simple words but to the child it mean't a lot.. The ones that were able were taught to wash dishes, learn to cook. and even some had to be taught how to use the bathroom.,dress themselves.
I wouldn't want to put a child on any medication unless there was no other way. They all needed to know they were loved.
Unfortunately I feel some just want the child out of their way because of their handicap.
The one I spoke about learning to read has finished school.
Thanks
a retired Assistant.

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The choice to put my child on meds was a difficult one. My son wasn't diagnosed as ADHD until 5th grade. We tried a couple of medications and ended up on Vyvanse. It has worked great. It can be a difficult decision, but I knew it was the right thing when my he came home after the first week and said that he felt smarter. The main question we asked ourselves before going on the meds is "have we done all that we could do" and we decided to give it a try, to make sure we had at least given it a chance. He has been on the meds now going on 4 years and he is an honor roll student in high school. The struggle now is that he feels he doesn't need it., but I know (and so does he) that he does. We give him a break from the meds on the weekends and it is a great compromise.

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I was wondering if anyone has tried biofeedback therapy and if so has it made any difference in your child ADHD? We have been discouraged by medical professionals to use medication for my sons ADHD because of severe mental illness in both sides of our families. Also does anyone have an experience with long term side effects ADHD medication use? I am trying to determine risk vs benefits of medication for my son at this time. We are just in the beginning stages of figuring all this out.

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There are counterindications to meds. One of my children also has ticks, which is augmented with dopamine reuptake inhibitors. Many of these meds are dopamine or norepinephrine based, which should be carefully monitored, regardless of history. My experience is that occupational therapies are wonderfully helpful, however, there is never only one answer. Check your insurance to consider a full nuerological evaluation from a neuropsychologist who specializes in developmental disabilities.

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Has anyone tried MMS? There is a group in Brazil having great success. My son-in-law has ADHD and I am proud to say he is a very successful high school teacher and sought after basketball coach.

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My son was on Strattera for a little over a year. At the age of 7, he looked at me, said he never wanted to see his dad again, he didn't love me anymore, and that he just needed to die. I immediately stopped giving him the Strattera. The only reason I had considered medication was because the school told me he would be isolated outside of the classroom if I didn't do something to "fix his problem"! He is very social and isolation would have been devastating to him, so i turned to medication. This was when he was in 1st grade. Now he is in 5th, and medication free since conclusion of his 4th grade year.
The decision to remove all meds was a difficult one, until I learned some things about ADHD medications that truly stunned me. The stimulant medications used to treat ADHD symptoms, like Adderall, Ritalin, and several others, fall into the same drug classifications as Cocaine and Methamphetamines. This class is reserved for the most dangerous and addictive drugs known. I also discovered that over the last 30 to 40 years the use of behavioral medications in children has shown a steep incline, such to the degree that in the mid 90's the United States was responsible for more than 90% of the WORLD'S Ritalin use! I did some more research and found that behavioral medication for children was originally lobbied by the school system, as a means to "control" or "calm down" children in the classroom who were considered to be "overactive" or otherwise disruptive. To top it off, the epidemic often does not stop with a single medication. We start by giving our children something that is supposed to help them, maybe switch meds a couple times till we find one that's "right". Then we notice that they aren't themselves, or have mood swings, perhaps signs of depression occasionally. The doctor prescribes a mood stabilizer like Prozac, just to "even them out". Now we give them a "downer" to calm them down, and an "upper" to make them feel better. As time goes on, this paradox can cause alarming behaviors in the child that are often seen as dangerous to themselves or others, consequently resulting in anti-psychotic meds being prescribed....and all before the child reaches the age of 12! Of course this is the extreme, but it happens every day in this country, and so many parents don't know the facts about what they are giving their children. I know this scenario happens first hand, because my son's doctor tried to get me to put him on Prozac when he was 7, for just the reason above. If all of this wasn't enough, the now adults that were given these meds as children, have a much higher rate of depression and suicide.
There are lots of extrasensory things that can be done to alleviate the need for meds, these should be explored first. There is a place for medication. I chose to take my son off meds for several reasons, and I'm glad I did. All I can say is please do the research, find the best option for your own child, and never stop searching for answers.

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Hah. My experience.... my child went psychotic and was never the same again. Never. I wrote about it in the book "It's Not Mental."

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My soon to be 18yr daughter has ADHD. We put her concerta in the 2nd grade and it worked great for about 18 mo then nothing. We tried several different meds including a non stimulant and nothing worked. After about 3yrs of trying to find something that would work we decided to not medicate her. We informed her teachers and school admisistrators and they weren't happy but I told them that I wasn't going to keep giving her meds that weren't doing anything to help her just for the sake of giving it to her. They were just going to have to deal with it. It was hard not only on her but on us as well. She has had a hard time with grades until recently when I put her in a independant study charter school. She is now getting A's. There are alternatives out there to medication. You have to find what works for your child not everyone else. I wish I had put her in the charter school a couple of years ago, we both would have been a lot happier sooner. There are dietary things you can try as well. The Revolution did a whole show on diet for people with ADHD and she decided to try it herself to see if makes a difference. Time will tell. The best thing you can do it follow your instincts and not cave to pressure especially from teachers. They may think they know better but it is still your child and you have to do what is best for them not the teachers and trust me they will try to intimidate and threaten and whatever else they can think of to get you to do what they want and that may not be what is in your childs best interest. You trust your gut feeling even if it isn't a popular decision. As long as you are comfortable with it then that is all that matters.

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This is a subject that I feel strongly about, because I do have 2 ADHD children (now teenagers). While I am a strong advocate of ADHD medication when needed, I also advise parents to watch for certain side effects. My statement has always been "If your child needed Asthma Medicine to breathe wouldn't you give it to them? Then if they need ADHD medication to do well in school & function in society, why would you deny this to them?" That said, my 18 year old has always been a straight A student. He was on ADHD medication from 1st grade through 5th grade. In 5th grade he developed some very severe tics as a result of his medication in relation to his Tourettes Syndrome. We took him off the stimulant medication and put him on meds to calm his tics. As a result of the new meds he gained 40 lbs in 2 months. He has struggled with his weight ever since. When I took him off the medication, he begged me to put him back on, because he could focus better in school. We tried ALL sorts of homeopathic means, behavior therapy, etc. None of that works when you have this chemical imbalance. We never put him on stimulant medication again. He still takes meds for his tics today. While not as severe, they are still evident. Did the ADHD medication make his Tourettes worse? I'll never know, and after years of guilt and second guessing, I've put it behind me. He worked hard, and I am proud to say he is graduating from High School this year with all A's and 3 scholarship offers. He was determined to succeed. Kid #2 our youngest and our only daughter (age 13), is a xerox of my son, only she threw Dyslexia into the the mix. I have tried ADHD meds on her briefly (2 weeks - 1 month trials), especially once school got much harder. I have tried all sorts of therapies for her her learning disabilities. I think everything has helped a little, but she still struggles daily. What I could not do to my daughter was put her through the severe tics my son endured, and the rapid weight gain. She has always had strong bad reactions to the stimulant medication, including passing out in class once. We've never put her on stimulant medication again. That will be a decision she will need to make as an adult, should she choose to do this later on in life. I BELIEVE ADHD MEDICINE IS A GOOD, USEFUL TOOL!, I just ask you to please watch your children for tics. I never understood why the doctor always asked me if my child had any tics. Once I recognized what a tic was it was too late. It's not cancer, and it's not life threatening, but it's hard to see your child struggle with yet one more issue.

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Yes, dopamine plays a role in many of these meds, as well as tics. Very sorry you are dealing with this. While it is not always an answer, and sometimes kids are just too "primed" for the tics, there are some newer meds which are norepinephrine based you might ask your practictioner about if your son is still interested. I am always grateful for my child being old enough to tell me what he thinks of these things now.

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My son's doctor wants to put him on straterra. We have tried most stimulants and the side effects are intolerable. I am scared to put him on straterra because i am afraid it will cause depression
and because it has to stay in his system. Has anyone tried straterra? What are your thoughts?

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Does anyone have a child with down syndrome who has add, adhd, and used medication? my son is very smart (eg. he can tell you who all the presidents of the US are looking at their pictures....he speaks very well), however; he is easily distracted, can't focus, and would do 5 things between directions 1 and 2...so similar to what many of you have shared.....

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I dont even know who my child is any more because of adderall xr she has become a person that I dont know how to cope with. It is being noticed at school as well as at home. Grades have dropped . she was an A, B Honer Roll child to making Fs .. She has become mean to others around her. Lies all the time even over small things that dont even make sence to lie about . Makes messes that r unbelieviable .. She is not the child who started this drug .. I am so upset over it all ..

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Has anyone here tried the Feingold Diet, I changed my sons diet following the guidelines and found I had a completely different child, I believe diet is a huge factor, I see it in my sons class every week and then I see what those kids are eating... Shocking!!!

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My 12 year old son was diagnosed with ADHD at 8 BECAUSE his school pushed for medication.He is very hyper and has a hard time concentrating. He has tried Adderall, Concerta, Strattera, Vyvanse and Biphentin. ALL of these meds had serious side effects including weight loss due to no appetite, moodiness, tics, severe anxiety, depression, daily headaches and stomachaches. Those meds are a nightmare!!!!I am now just starting him on an alternative route. He just started taking LTO-3 and Omega 3 fish oil capsules from the HealthFoodStore. I hope this works and I'll keep you posted!

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Horrible. We went down the med path, and it was a nightmare. I know it reacts differently with everyone, and I understand the risks involved. But one thing that NO DOCTOR ever mentioned? Diet. Not one doctor asked me about her diet. They all just told me she had ADHD. As time went on, and the drugs only seemed to create a monster, and couldn't take anymore. I then did what made sense to me at that point, and went back to my farm roots. As an experiment (after all, that's what everyone was doing with her, experimenting). So I decided to try my own experiment. We slowly removed all the sugar and processed food from her life (well, as much as possible). The change was incredible. Night and day. Yes, she was still a handful, but nowhere near what she was. That's when we decided to quit the drugs altogether. At the age of 7, she suffered from a mild stroke. A stroke @ age 7! I found out later that this was caused by me taking her off the drugs so abruptly (aka Cold Turkey). A stroke was a side-effect? That's when I started to question the drugs and delved deeper into a more natural and hands on approach.

I quit my job, we moved to a smaller house, and removed as many toxins as possible from our lives. Me & my husband had to adjust our lives as well - since we wanted to lead by example. No cell phones on in the house (wireless radiation), no more microwave food, no more processed juices (i make my own now), minimized the dairy intake, cut out the sugar completely, etc. Slowly it all started to work.

I agree with what one of our doctors told us, we have to keep her active. We have to continue to challenge her. We have to work with her teacher, have her sit on a ball instead of a desk, engage her mind more, engage her world more. All of this worked. Again, not easy, but who said raising a child was easy?

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Gosh I'm so confused about what to do... I have this cooperative great 6 year old daughter for about 2 or 3 weeks, then she gradually changes and life is incredibly stressful for a few weeks. It spirals, then she might go back to the "great kid behavior" for a while. We've tried changes in discipline, diet, and many natural things with only minimal improvements over all. But we haven't tried everything yet... I can see why even moms that are most persistent about not medicating children would reach the end of their rope and eventually have to conform to what society is doing. It breaks my heart that my little girl can't feel calm and comfortable inside in spite of our efforts to help her. That she has anxiety at all hurts me... I sure do appreciate this site and all these posts to give me examples of so many different scenarios, from temporary highs with lots of denial to successes that are helpful from a humbled many. Each case is so individual - ADHD and it's various remedies is definitely not any kind of onevsize fits all. Currently considering meds, and scared.

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My child started Concerta 26 mgs. last October. The first month, we noticed an improvement when it came to her doing her homework, attitude was so much better, and was able to focus on one task without interruption, however the teacher did not.. After talking with the teacher and giving my child's doctor all the paper work and notes from the teacher, he went up on the med to 36 mg, I believe. She was on this for about 2 months and everything got worse than what it was before she was prescribed to anything. Angry all the time, acted like she was depressed, still had trouble focusing, incomplete work at school, least little thing distracts her, and so on. My main concern at first was weight loss. After talking with the doctor, he dropped the dosage back to 26 mgs. which did nothing to help. She started dropping weight left and right, which was a really big concern for me. From October 2011 to May 2012 she lost 28 pounds. To me, that is NOT normal for an 8 yr old. Only thing I was told as to her weight loss was that it was normal for children to lose weight once they start these types of meds.. I ended up taking her off the meds once her teacher addressed me with her losing so much weight. Now, it's a new school year, 3 weeks into it and the problems have already started back up.. I really don't know what to do. The meds scare the hell outta me cause in the end we seen not signs of improvement and weight loss. What do I do?

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Ever since my child has been on meds I have reversed the meal plan. Biggest meal is in the morning before he goes to school. It can be pasta, or even a roast (chicken thigh, potato and vegs). He has excellent health, weight and height and although he has been on meds for 4 years has continued to grow.

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Alot of the children I treat have shown improvements and others have not shown any change. Medication is tricky. I would say try other natural meds/vitamins or therapies before you try medication. Hello I am a Board certified behavior therapist and clinical director of an amazing company crystal minds new beginning. Crystal Minds New Beginning uses an Integrational approach to therapy. It combines fragments and pieces of Occupational therapy, speech therapy, art therapy, physical therapy and Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). We also use VB-MAPP, developed by B.F.Skinner, which is a verbal approach to behavior analysis. All of our programs have a verbal component to it whether it is ASL (sign language training), PECS (Picture communication exchange System) and other forms of verbal behaviors, including further development of Tacts, Mands and intra-verbals. We also understand that apart from speech and behavior, academic enhancements help individuals develop healthy self-esteems and prepare them for the later years of their lives therefore we also offer academic enhancements and tutoring programs to get your child on track!
For any questions please visit www.cmnbtherapy.com or email us at info@cmnbtherapy.com

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Went raw vegan and her problems solved themselves. Nutritional therapy!

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not really sure.

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All medications have their place. However, getting the correct diagnosis seems to present its own problems. ADHD seems to be the pat answer, when in my personal circumstances I did further research and looked for answers because despite the appearance of ADHD I felt there was more to it than just that. There were too many "extras" that did not fit in with justADHD. Along the way we discovered our daughter suffers from bipolar disorder. A diagnosis largely not investigated in our country when it happens to be a child.
I am grateful for the correct diagnosis because medication for ADHD does not generally agree with the bipolar child, and in fact, can make the situation and behavior worse. Any questions on this and behavior patterns beyond just ADHD please visit my site on circle of moms, CHILDHOOD BIPOLAR.

Questions and more questions can help you to know and do the right thing for your child. Follow your instinct and don't blindly believe the first diagnosis if your gut feel is telling you differently.

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My 8.5yr old daughter was just diagnosed with ADHD and is struggling in reading and writing. She's fine socially. She's struggled with growing, gaining weight (keeping on weight) and they've already been doing preferential seating with her since Kindergarten. I'm concerned that if we go the medication route, that she'll lose weight or have a hard time growing then she already does. The school just started giving her o.t., counseling (for anxiety and self-bullying, that she was just diagnosed with) and resource room time for reading and writing. Does anyone have any suggestion of diet changes? (she doesn't drink soda and avoids most unhealthy sugary foods.) Does anyone have any medications to definitely avoid given her problems with growing and gaining weight? Thanks for your thoughts or suggestions!

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My son is 6 and is on the autism spectrum PDD and has ADHD. We have been successful in pulling him more and more off the spectrum but the behavior still needed help. He'd be up doing everything in the classroom while everyone else was in circle time, he didn't focus too well, he didn't sit still long enough to let the academics seep in. I will say that medication has helped. Last year we tried a nonstimulant medicine Guanfacine (Intunive) for 6 months. It was the lowest dosage, once per day. Luckily I had a good relationship with his preschool teachers who would call me at work and let me know that my son seemed a bit drowsy and not himself. I stopped it immediately. This school year I tried a stimulant medicine called Adderall (again, the low dosage that I sprinkle on his applesauce in the morning). I must say that it has helped! He is focused enough to sit still and do his work, sit in circle reading time. He has now developed a love for reading books. Academically speaking, he is at the top of his class. Keep in mind that his teachers (all of his teachers like Science, Art, Computer, After School) and I have great relationships in which they keep me posted. Once per month, I email everyone to see how he's doing. Don't get me wrong, but every once in awhile, he acts up a bit but I do have to realize that he is a 6 year old little boy. Overall, I'm satisfied with the medicine and I don't plan on keeping him on it for life. Surely my son will mature with age and he won't need the medicine as much. The same goes for the autism spectrum, we have retrained his brain and now he is barely on the spectrum. Each child is different, but I hope this helps.

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My daughter was diagnosed with ADHD when she was 5 and in Kindergarten. She is very impulsive and would hurt others without thinking. She has been on Ritalin ever since. This helped her in school but in the evening I still had problems getting her through the night. She would take hours to complete a homework paper that would take others only a few minutes to complete. She has problems falling asleep and I gave her melatonin to help with that. Then we added clonidine as well. Because she is so active she really needs extra sleep at night or she becomes very angry . She is now 7 and is still on Ritalin, in addition to Intuniv and Resperidone. I also give her Melatonin. She is no longer angry and I do not have to go to war with her everyday. However, I feel like I am now overmedicating my child. I just don't know where to go from here. She has also started wetting her pants during the day. We have taken red dye out of her diet and it helps a bit as well. Going the nutritional way seems so confusing and difficult to control. Just not sure what to do....

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