Out of Options, Medication it is?

Milah - posted on 11/18/2013 ( 1 mom has responded )

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Hello,

I'm a single mother of an amazing 9 year old boy. It's been a real struggle for him in school for the past two years. I've tried everything possible in my motherly powers to get him to try to stay focus and on task. This year, 4th grade its the same story...he's not on task...he can't stay focus..doesn't complete assignments, etc. I've already seen a doctor she said he has ADD which is now just ADHD. She suggested concerta...and my heart just broke into a million pieces. After starting this school year and hearing the same things from his teacher yet again. I know something needs to be done in order for him to succeed in school. I'm nervous and I know that this is a major decision for both him and I. If I try this medication will it affect his personality? He plays soccer, will this affect this performance on the field? I read that one of the most common side effects of the medication is loss of appetite. How do you handle that? I'm just worried as any Mom would be..please help!

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Medication isn't the end of the world, but I recommend asking your doctor about trying ritalin before concerta.
Concerta is basically a 12 hour, time released dose of Ritalin, and even at the lowest doses, the extended period on the drug is too much for many children (and even many adults).
When you medicate your child for ADHD, you will notice intense mood swings, irritability, and emotional instability whenever the medication is wearing off. The best way I know to describe it, is that the symptoms of the ADHD are simply suppressed while medicated, and instead of experiencing and dealing with these symptoms gradually all day, the child just gets them all at once when the medication wears off. To me (and it is not like this for everyone, but I've heard this from lots of people), the longer I am medicated, the worse I feel when the medication wears off.

Ritalin only lasts 4 to 6 hours. Doctors don't like to prescribe it as much because most kids need a second dose at school, usually around 1pm. However, letting the medication wear off for that short time allows the child's appetite to return so that he can eat some lunch, and dealing with the extra pill each day is a lot easier than dealing with the effects of being medicated for 12 hours straight!
Like Concerta, Ritalin does not stay in the system, so you do not have to give it to him on weekends or days that he doesn't need to focus. That said, expect him to be a little more hyper and out of control on those days though, and don't get onto him about it. Try to plan activities that will allow him to let his mind wonder and go where it wants without him having to try to control it all the time. A little time off from trying to control my mind is like a gift from Heaven. Also, you can decide whether to give him an evening dose or not. Keep in mind that it does suppress the appetite, so you always want to make sure he eats between doses. Also, it keeps people awake--not hyper, but still awake. So be careful not to give a new dose any less than 7 hours before bedtime.

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