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

1 6

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?

0 0

We are just starting the ADHD hamster wheel nightmare! I know with time we will find the right medicine/dosage that will work for my child. Brenda, thanks for your comments. It helps. My son is 7 and very bright. He has made A's and B's so far. His grades are starting to decline. Socially, he does not fit. The doctors are also considering Aspergers. I feel like I will need a degree before we figure out what my child needs!

2 5

Gina - It's a long road, but don't be discouraged. You will have successes and you will make mistakes. Know that you are a good mother, because you are trying to help your child adjust from being a square peg trying to fit in that "perfect" round hole. It won't always be a perfect fit, but in the end you will know you did all you could to be an advocate for your child. Loving and supporting our kids is the best we can for them.

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Stephany and Vicki your advice is perfect. It's a long hard struggle and you constantly question yourself, but, if your child has diagnosis you will try anything to help them. My son was diagnosed at 11 years old, after struggling right through his early schooling. We eventually put him on Concerta (this is monitored closely by the paediatrician) and it has changed his life. He started to improve at school, make friends and 'fit in', now at 17 years old, has been accepted in a local college and is doing a course he loves and is good at. My husband also was diagnosed with ADHD by a private doctor as our own did not believe in adult ADHD. He is taking medication and it had changed his life - and mine. I am now awaiting for the diagnosis of my youngest son (who is 11 years old) who possibly also has ADHD. Although things can be strained at times I can honestly say that we have a great family life, my daughter and I are the 'normal ones' but we all get along wonderfully. I did try everything else to help my son before the deciding on medication, i.e. the food he ate, the routines we had, the outings and holidays which were finely tuned to fit round him and our daily lives. You will meet people who will say you are doing the wrong thing - don't listen to them. Embrace the life you have with your child - love` what they give you - there is never a dull moment!

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Stephanie you comment was very well written. I agree it's our job as parent to help your kids succeed however we can. If we neglect their needs (because they can't communicate them) we aren't doing them any favors. If they fall behind in school, who do you think we're going to blame??? Naturally we'll blame ourselves and by that point it will be a steeper uphill battle to get them back on track. My son was in kindergarden when I noticed issues. I thought it was just him trying to adjust to school but when his first grade teacher pointed the same issues out, I finally realized he needed help. He was marginal and I pushed hard for Dr's to do something. I was very picky about the medication. I wanted him on Strattera. It's a very low dose and he is thriving on it! As a matter of fact he asks for it in the morning. He feels better about himself. I have always told him he is responsible for his action and the medicine will tell his brain to do the right thing but he still has do make his body do the right actions. I wont give him a free pass to misbehave because he has ADHD, but the medication really helps him make better decision and feel good about himself. Remember its your job as a parent to stand up for your kids and get them the help they need!!....whatever that may be.

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Ive tried all kinds of medication, it didnt help. I got tired of changing prescribtions and dozes. I figured it was toture to the child and had to finally stop. He has been off medication since June last year and Im seeing results. Prayer has been the only solution. I changed his school to an ACE school. He is getting distictions now, something we have alway known he was capable but had never experienced. Im still praying for everynight in his ear while he is sleeping and also requires support with the homework. Few times he pretends to have forgotten the homework book, support at his new school has been amazing. I give him Omega supplements, Chia seeds and also encourage him to do more of the things that he enjoys and excells in, like reading... It boosts his confidence.

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Very knowlegable answer! I like that you want to provide "fidgits" and alternative seating, I have not had the fortune to work with such educators with my son. I have had to provide knowledge and educate them in how to deal with and handle him on a whole. He is medicated and has been since he was 3. Without the medication, my son would not be able to funtion in the "real world" or within society. Medication and my tenacity are what keep him from being institutionalized. Thanks for being such a great teacher!!!!!

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Love the ideas to help with fidgeting - I'm going to try those out!

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If a child is dosed with psychotropic drugs throughout the process of growing up, what does that mean for their sense of agency? For their ability to achieve mastery over their emotions and behavior? I have a 14 y.o. step-son who has been diagnosed with Asperger's a year ago. Since age of 4 he has been a guinea pig for all kinds of different meds, I cannot say we ever saw him in peace with himself.... Unfortunately, his mom is very pro-med and I couldn't win an argument about trying alternatives like diet, exercises, etc.... He has spent a couple of month in the psychiatric hospital at age 8 and has been followed by the their team after... they medicated him for bipolar, condact disorder, anxiety disorder, you name it.... Last year he has spent couple of weeks in psycho ward at CHEO. With new meds to follow. One of them Trizadone... It appeared that it is highly addictive, has a long list of side-affects, some of them are depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts... we experienced all that. How sad... We have made some changes, after watching "Generation RX". Please watch and be informed. Good luck.

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Add a commentMy 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 currently receives Speech and Occupational Therapy. He has an Exceptional Childrens teacher that also helps in his classroom. Before the medication 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 son, who is now 9, was diagnosed with ADHD when he was 6. We have tried many meds. We are now taking Concerta which is working quite well. Every child is different. My son also has Aspergers Syndrome. I remember when we decided to try the meds for ADHD. I fought it for a long time. My son came to me and told me that he knew he needed to be still and keep his hands to himself but his brain just would not allow it. That is when we decided to do the meds. He is so much better now. He is doing great in school. His teachers are wonderful. They make many accomodations for him with his Asperger's. Now he has a great group of friends and does his school work well.

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We actual had a difficult time finding a med that worked until the doc asked if we had a family history of ADHD and when I said yes she asked what did that family member take? We found out it was ritalin and guess what it actually worked!My daughter is 2 diff people on and off the meds I was so mad it took me so long to give them to her.

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I wanted to add a child that turns into a zombie on meds is likely to have been given a to strong of dose.Nevaeh never seemed out of it until she was given to much.

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and also judgemental folks who say we are messing up our kids... walk a mile in my daughters shoes and see the dramatic improvment in grades, behavior and wellbeing that nothing else would help! My daughter is 7 and can tell you herself she feels normal and can focus on things she normally wouldn't be able too. Most of us are not quick to jump on the medication bandwagon but when all else fails what do we do? ignore a problem that could harm our child in the long run??

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I used the feingold diet with my son, best thing I ever did and he was never medicated.

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1 9

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!

2 5

Do you speak from experience? If you are a parent, I am sure you are aware that we as mothers are always second guessing our selves in relation to how we parent and care for our children. From "did I pack a good lunch" to " I yelled at my kids this morning, I'm a bad mom!" Choosing whether or not to put a child on any medication is a very difficult, personal decision. But especially ADHD, with all the controversy that surrounds it. Please do not judge, if you have not had to make this decision and live with your child's continued "failures" in school and life due to this disability. It's real, and it takes a very pro-active parent to be able to help thier child with this situation. I hope you never have to make this decision for any of your children.

1 0

Thank you, Vicki for saying what I wanted to say. No one can know how tough of a decision this is until you have to do it, for your child's sake. Judgment has no place and we are not trying to change our children, just make them more able to cope.

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The point of a public debate should be to discuss both pro and against just because someone doesn't agree with medicating children for behavioural disorders doesn't make it wrong. Medicating children is a very serious issue with long term impacts, which I just don't agree with, I am referring to medicating for psychologcial issues not physical ailments.

0 0

I have always wondered what the long term effects will be on a child's brain. When my daughter was dx with ADD-I, they tried her on all sorts of ADD meds but nothing seemed to work. She became very thin from not eating due to the meds. Not too mention she rarely slept and had a hard time "winding down". My youngest was dx with ADD-I a few years after her older sibling, they put her on Aderall which caused her to have manic-like episodes. She became very angry and tried to stab her sister with scissors. I took both girls off meds and their weight improved drastically not too mention they were finally sleeping well. Turns out a few years after everyone dx oldest DD with ADD they tested her and found out she didn't have ADD but NVLD. So in other words, the docs treated her for over 3 years without various medications that were not working to begin with and I am glad as her Mom I decided to take her off the meds (which by the way the doctor was not pleased that I did that). But after I forced them to do more testing and found out she did not have ADD-I, I stopped taking her to the doctor only to find out from the teachers, who at that time never knew I took her off the meds said they never would've guessed because there were no changes in her focus at school on or off the meds. Glad I listened to my own instincts because the meds weren't doing her any good.

0 3

No one can understand what a gut wrenching decision it is to not only admit your child has a lifelong condition, but also that medication is required. I don't know one mom who has a child with ADHD that hasn't tried every option available before putting their kids on medication. I refused to medicate my son for more than a year and tried everything, researched on my own, talked to many "experts" and ended up listening to my son. One week on the ADHD meds and he described it as a "light went on" in his head, that he could "actually hear the teacher". He described one incident to me where he was trying so hard to concentrate on the teacher, because he knew the lesson was important and all he could do was hear a fly buzzing against the window. No matter how he tried all he could do was hear the fly, but with the medicine he could actually focus on what the teacher was saying and ignore the fly. He made the choice, because he is suffering, not me.

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With all due respect, just because we are discussing medications, doesn't mean we haven't tried the obvious. Have you ever dealt with a child who doesn't know if they are coming or going? Can't enjoy being a kid? Can't be social with kids their own age? Most of us moms don't want to use medications but I have tried all kinds of disciplinary things. When they can't control themselves, it's another story. I wish for you to spend a week at my house then tell me what you would do. When you get to where you cry everyday b/c you can't help your child function normally. ADHD affects very basic tasks and it is grueling every day. I believe this is a chemical imbalance that needs medical attention. We run a very consistant household,my rules have always been the same, but most of the time, I still can't make him turn in his school work, or comprehend a word problem, or focus on the teacher for 2 secs... my child knows he's not normal and has anxiety from struggling, not keeping up, and lost in his own mind. You need to look at this differently. We aren't blinding just feeding our kids pills. We have no other choice but seek a medical professional. 20 yrs ago, people hid their "mental family members" in institutions. I feel sorry for those back then who didn't get treated right or misdiagnosed. My husband has ADD/ADHD and struggles till this day. Mental disorders were not given the same respect as other parts of the medical field. Finally in 2012, human beings can get some support for a condition that ruins their life. There is a lot more to the subject than a bunch of moms shoving pills down their kids. Of course we would rather not, but this is not a cut and dry subject.

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Yes, ADHD was around 20 years ago it just didn't have a name. The medication does not have to be for life - it can be changed and stopped as needed. My child suffered at school for being 'different'. He was stopped from going on a school trip because he was too much to handle, at 10 years old my son did not have any idea of this and I cried myself to sleep because I didn't know how to help him. When he was diagnosed with ADHD we did not jump straight onto the medication band wagon, first did behaviour therapy, food diaries, strict routines, star charts and lots of exercise and love. But, it wasn't enough to help him through his school day and school work, which was a constant struggle. He did not understand what was wrong with him and hurt me so much that I couldn't make it better. Putting him on the medication was not an easy decision or one we took lightly, but we would do it all again. He said (once the meds were taking) that it was like having the curtains opened in an otherwise darkened room. I do worry about the long term affects, but at the moment to him (and the rest of the family) the day to day things need to be dealt with first.

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I've never posted here before, but I would like to provide some perspective from my experience. It appears that some who are passing judgement have never dealt with ADD or ADHD first-hand. First, this condition absolutely did exist before there was a name or a clinical diagnosis for it. We simply called the behavior 'hyperactive'. I grew up with two close family members with ADD or ADHD as children. They were both very bright, but because there was no treatment, they had many failures in school and the resulting low self-esteem. As teenagers they were juvenile deliquents, and as adults they have been in and out of the criminal justice system their entire adult lives. My daughter has ADHD, and the difference her medication makes in her ability to focus, cooperate, and function at home and at school is nothing short of life-changing, We wouldn't dream of letting her deal with this without finding an effective treatment for her. When behavioral therapy was not effective, we found the right brand and dosage of the medication, Yes, this is an ongoing challenge, but it is truly the only thing that helps. We rarely see parents stigmatized for treating their child with medication when their child has a medical diagnosis. Is it because the ADHD diagnosis resides in the mental health category that people feel free to stigmatize parents who find that the best treatment for their child's condition is with medication?

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I totally agree wih michelle unless you have lived with ADHD first hand, you have absolutely no idea what you are dealing with on a day to day basis. Medication works for us as a family and has worked wonders for my son, now we have finally found the correct medication and dosage for him. And yes adhd has existed for many years all over the world but has had name changes over the years.

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Absolutely ADHD was around 20 years ago, except those children were labelled as "lazy", "difficult", "bad". Until you know the pain and frustration of having a child with a condition like ADHD, it is unfair to pass judgement on parents for medicating their child. We are not looking for a "quick fix", in fact we have explored all avenues and haven't seen the same results. I want my child to succeed, and without having serious side effects. You have to find a doctor that believes that the medication has to be a home-run. In other words, you find the right medication and the right dose and it has to have very minimal side effects, if any. My son is smart, talented, kind, and just happens to have ADHD (inattentive), and I am not going to be made to feel guilty because I choose to help him in anyway I can to learn and suceed. This stigma of medicating a child with ADHD is ridiculous! For every negative story you hear, there are hundreds of postive stories you DON'T hear.

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To Ruth Lloyd Evans. Too many narrow minded people like you that make it hard for mothers who have to cope with this very real situation. Yes it has been around for 20 yrs, my 29yr old son has had ADDH all his life. And my 10yr old son has ADD. I was against drugs but in the end conceived that we would have to give them a go as I was purely the best choice for our son as his quality of life was 0. The difference after struggling insistently for more than 4yrs is astounding. At least he is able to sit still long enough in class now to actually listen and concentrate. For a boy who was struggling and hated to go school he has come leaps n bounds in the 2yrs has been taking Concerta (a slow release 8hr dosage). He can read chapter books now and is picking up all the little things he missed and didn't understand, not mention the friends and playmates he now has. Oh and we are Australians. As far as we know there is no long term damage to his brain,but if he was not on medication I can assure you he would not be mentally stable or be able to develope as other children do. Cause it doesn't matter how you love your child there is a certain social code that they can never measure up to, and that in itself is damaging to the child's mental well being and health. Ostrasization! Is the word. As for my adult son that is a whole different story,and because I chose not medicate because of my naivety he has not fared well. As they get older they know they are not right and they eventually seek to medicate themselves. Cheer! Janelle

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I have a god son and birth son both with ADHD because we have been doing this for over 10 years I feel I am fearly educated about it. Yes medication is needed but as another mother said in conjunction with behavior modification. I have heard many experts on the matter discuss that adhd is not something new. People have had it for decades but it was either explained away with other things like their just not good at that or handled with strict schedules and regiments. One case I heard of was a woman brought her daugher in to be tested after determining she had adhd they noticed that the 80 yr old grandmother was having the same issues but they were contributing it to her age and recent death of her husband. After bringing in grandma they realized that she had adhd since she was a teen but it was controlled by the strict schedule and routine her husband required. When he passed there was noone to direct her and because of adhd she was having trouble functioning. In the past any mentally related issue was thought to be BAD so many people hid it or ignored it. People with ADHD are no different that someone with a heart problem or kidney problem or any other major organ.

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I agree with Vicki and Kathy completely. My daughter is 11 and is a fabulous kid. Her issues are solely focusing/paying attention, staying in seat. We have tried every behavior system (on our own with our own research). I live on parenting websites and was constantly fishing for ideas that we tried. Nothing we were doing was working. ADD was always in the back of my mind, but never explored because I thought that if I explored it, they would just want her on meds. I'm not anti-medication, but I didn't want my daughter to be on it. We have been dealing with these small behavior issues since my daughter was 3. I've run out of ideas and am not finding something we haven't already tried on these various websites. 2 weeks ago I took her to the doctor with hopes of more suggestions I could try. Doc said I've done everything and meanwhile my daughter sat there begging for help because it frustrates her. My kid wants help.....doc says meds are what is needed....who the F am I to stand in the way? It is not about me. They put my daughter on extended release tablets, a very low dose, and for the past 2 weeks we have seen a good enough change in her behaviors. My main concern, was I didn't want it messing with her mind and personailty. She is my baby...just the same as always. If the medication helps her and is a positive....go with it!

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I too feared that ADHD was just a "designer diagnosis" for typically hyper kids. Since my child was premature, born at 29 weeks, and had already suffered through slow infant stem development, behind in milestones and social development, the last thing I wanted to label my child with was with an ADHD diagnosis. He had always struggled in school; I had to endure too many negative comments to count and constant behavior reprehension from his teachers, not to mention, my son was constantly ostracized by his fellow classmates and teachers alike due to not being able to assimilate to a classroom environment. He could never sit still, could never concentrate on anything longer than 15 seconds (if I was lucky), would literally be moving without thought or process to his movements. His work at school suffered tremendously, my patience wore thin and his social status plummeted to the point that he was practically a loner. No one could handle his outrageous behavior...and if you even think about going down the path of "well, you should discipline him, have standards, be a better parent, hold him accountable"...don't even DARE. I am one of the most consistent parents that I know; I am educated, set up very clear and realistic expectations for him, as well as, clear and realistic levels of punishment for every time he crossed the line. I can't count how many sentences that child has written in punishment, written letters of apology (that he had to read out loud in class), toilets he's cleaned and hours in time-out he's received. Don't GO THERE. We spent hundreds of hours and money in specialized treatment to give "hyper" kids physical and mental crutches to curb their impulsiveness. Despite all of that, despite all the patience, guidance, money, time, you name it...it was his 5th grade teacher that approached me, wondering why we never had our son tested for ADHD. As she said, "There's a genius hidden in that brain of his...all of that knowledge is fighting to get out, but it's trapped at the one end of the tunnel, with no way out.". My husband and I agonized over the decision. In fact, we interviewed several psychologists and had a family discussion about the matter...and we asked our son, after his diagnosis was confirmed, if he wanted to try medication. We never told him that he had ADHD. He told us that he wanted to do something because he hated feeling so hyper, that he wanted friends, that he wanted to do well in school, that he hated feeling like a failure because, like he said, "I know this stuff Mom, but it won't come out". Needless to say, it was a very long process, we didn't even start until the end of his 6th grade year. He is now in 7th grade and for the FIRST TIME, he made the principal's honor roll, two trimesters in a row...finally has a group of friends as he's finally able to calm down enough to mature normally. He tells us all the time that he finally feels good about himself and he likes school. His personality has not changed...he's still witty and charming, but now he's calmer, confident and finally, the true person he was supposed to be all along. I can assure you that the last thing I wanted to do was "label" my child...in fact, we don't take advantage of any of the special programs designed for ADHD children in our school district because my son is so afraid of people knowing (due to ignorance like what spurred me to write something...such as the question regarding the existence of ADHD). My son is doing this well on his own determination and medication. I would like to see one parent that didn't struggle with this decision like I did or take this lightly...we all struggle, we all wonder if we're doing the right thing even despite the rewards. It isn't an easy decision and to assume otherwise is shameful, disrespectful and for lack of a better term, utterly ignorant.

0 15

I have been very on the fence with the issue of medication. For me it is not an option because my ex and I cannot agree and because ADD is so difficult to prove it is nearly impossible to get a court to order medication. So, I have advocated very many accomodations and read many books on behavior therapy and tried whatever I can, The problem is YOU are not with your child all day, A teacher or several teachers are and many do not believe in ADD. Yes "believe" is the term I have been told repeatedly like it's comparable to the tooth fairy. Anyhow, I am currently trying vitamins and some caffeine as my research has led me to the conclusion that caffeine has a calming effect on those with ADD. You do all you can do and unfortuantly you always second guess yourself.....

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My thoughts exactly vicki. I have a 7 year old son with ADHD who is highly gifted across the board. At 5 he wasn't performing well at school and I knew no amount of therapy was going to help. The specialists words were " your son can be ANYTHING he wants to be with his high IQ, BUT he can't if he can't concentrate", I was totally against medication but my hands were tied, how could NOT give my son every opportunity possible!! I was in tears the first day I gave him mess, trialling many until we found the right fit - that being concerta a slow release medication which lasts the whole school day. He is thriving I am happy to say. I was initially embarrassed to tell people my son was medicated but I'm not anymore. Everywhere I go I get comments from people telling me what a wonderful son I have. Medication is never started with the intention of a lifelong use, slow baby steps at the right time and the right age!! People who feel they can judge without having to care for a child with ADHD have no right and no idea of the stress and heartbreak day in day out looking after kids like this. So my advice is if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all!!!

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My child is going to be seven years old in June and he is on Adderall as a stimulant to help him for his ADHD. I have been completely against medication from the start because I don't want to feel as if my child needs medication to get by in life. He has bilateral hearing aids due to hearing loss in both ears that he has had since he was two years of age and he has also been going to speech therapy three times a week for years due to speech apraxia caused by the hearing issues and he also has an IEP due to being far behind education wise from not speaking until almost 3 yrs old. He started Kindergarten at 5 yrs old not knowing his alphabet, numbers, shapes, colors, or even how to write his name. I have worked my bought off this past two years drilling all of the above into him as well as making sure he gets all that he needs in school also had to pay for two tutors to come after school and help him along. I put him in baseball, karate, and soccer as well to help drain some of his overbearing energy that keeps him from learning and concentrating. He has been diagnosed by his pediatrician as being adhd and I even had a second opinion from a local child pyschologist and medications and behavioral plans were brought into play. I have done the bahavior thing before but chose to try again because I feared the medication part. But I had no choice at the end because my son was failing at school and in life all because he couldnt sit down long enough to finish one simple task and he isnt by all means a stupid boy even with all his obstacles he is above average mentality wise for his age group but he is being held back by his own behaviors. Some of us parents don't just wake up one morning saying hey let me drug my child today but instead we say why do I have too and if you have the situations we have you'd understand completely that it is not something we want to do just something that has to be done and hopefully it wont be a forever type of treatment.

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I wonder about the immunizations that cause Autism as well. Very similar symptoms.

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@Vicki and Kathy, this is soo true. I used to forgo birthday parties, outings to the library, my friends home because my son's behavior was an issue. I will say, the medication (along with maturity and other intervention services like "me and his father's entire family", speech, occupational therapy and great relationships with all of his teachers have helped alot. I monitor my son thoroughly to make sure that although he's on medication, he still needs a chance to be a 6 year old kid which sometimes means "yes" he's going to act up and do what 6 year old boys do. Until you are a parent dealing with the day in day out 24/7...it's hard to get someone else to understand.

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From what. I understand is YES it was around 20yrs ago it just wasn't called ADHD,that argument always irritats me. Just as bi polar disorder &other disorders where just keept hush hush& possibly commited to an institution just as *gasp*unwed pregnant daughters. I feel our medical feild has made sum wonderful advances in helping people such as my son be better productive citizens. Rember we used to bleed people for everythin& labodamize people who acted different.There are misdiagnosed kids just as in ANY adult can get the wrong diagnosis & I'm shure almost all parents thought long& hard& weighed the good&bad before choosing to give their kids a pill,as well as spent months& months going from Dr.office to Dr. office.trying countless behavioral therapist suggestions before reaching their decision. It took us 3yrs to come to our decision with the help of our son. We haven't found the right one yet(just started)but on the first day it was wonderful.he could focus even tho I still had to prompt him to do what I asked,just like any normal child he was able to get ready for bed(brush teeth,jammys,5min clean up without forgetting/sidetracked.I got to see a glemse of what its like in a home without these issues,cause anyone who works 24/7with a kid wich ADHD u know it can try you're sanity! I just wish it would have worked.PS the only drug my son has ever had is ibprohen for headaches&fevers&even win those I didn't give whole dosage,just half&if it didn't help after an hurt I would give the other half,but I've never had 2 give that 2nd half!

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I understand your feelings completely Ruth, and have often felt the same way passionately, but I am also glad to read what Vicki wrote too. When u find yourself in "the years" of trying one thing after another to help your child, you DO sometimes find yourself desperate and willing to resort to things you normally would rather not - all for the child's well being acedemically, socially & emotionally. (and sometimes your own well being too). Worth noting: 20 years ago, or more, there wasn't so much BHT & preservatives & fake colors & hormones and x- boxes, and computer games, wii, iPads, after school this and that every day of the week, every toy imaginable, 8 tv channels for kids, some 16 vaccinations or so much antibiotic overuse, etc. We (albeit unintentionally) could very well be creating the way kids are now by using the conveniences of masses. I had no piano, gymnastics, computer games or much tv... I used to go outside and "play" catch bugs, ride a bike, climb a tree, and I got toys only for birthday and Christmas, and teachers didn't hand out sugar and red #40 as a reward for behaving. When I got sick it was rare that I was rushed to the doctor to get antibiotics - mom took care of it. And instead of carting me around in a mini van to every activity in the world, Mom actually had time to prepare a pretty wholesome dinner instead of pulling up to some drive thru every night. Times are so different. We can't all be Johnny Depp with our own island or Madonna with all day to meditate and eat only organic ya know...

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I was reading these with my daughter who was diagnosed with ADHD at 13 and she is 14 now. she wanted to say that she didn't ask for medication to be normal, she couldn't focus in class or when she did homework. She wouldn't understand social cues that were easy to understand for other people. The medication helped her not only with focus, but with home life and other relationships. When we were trying out medications, she had some side effects, but we stopped the medication if we noticed them. I don't know why it is frightening

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I completely and totally agree. I have witnessed. Medicating for life is putting it mildly. These kids grow into teenagers. In high school, they start selling/trading/snorting. They, I believe, are made to believe they cannot perform without meds. It is a GATEWAY drug. Beware parents. Isn't it amazing how magically, around 7 or 8 years old, and usually noticed by teachers, these kids are "problem performers"? Hello? What did we do years ago? I think it is mainly teachers wanting quiet little zombies rather than dealing with children being children.

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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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My son is very much like yours. We got kicked out of our second daycare at 5. Unfortunately the final straw was MEDICATION. After behavioral problems had put him on the warning list, at the recommendation of the school his pediatrician put him on Adderall which lasted 1 day. He was sad all day and was unable to sleep at all for 24 hours. I them tried him on Vyvance and on day 4 of irritability he lost it and attacked a teacher. That evening he attacked me. Since then we've been doing a sitter at home (this all occurred 3 months ago) which although it is costing me a FORTUNE is really working better for him. I am taking him to a child psychiatrist next week to try meds again. In a one-on-one he is fine, but I see his inability to focus when we are at karate, the playground, etc. People have lots of opinions until they are faced with the issues as a parent themselves. I too said I'd never medicate a child until I am now living with one who gets frustrated and upset because he can't "behave like other kids" (his words).

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Wow, I think we have the same kid, except mine is 8. As a last resort we started medication a year ago. It's helped him tremendously but the biggest transformation has been with the diet. I read the book "breaking the vicious cycle" and started him on it last fall. His teacher couldn't believe the difference. She's been a teacher for years and is in charge of services for the school. She is a true believer now. I'm glad to know it worked for you too. My son has chrohns disease too and it's helps his digestive system too.

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My son is very similar. He is 6, and he was suspended from 2 preschools before I looked into having him tested by the county school system for special education. During the testing, I could see what his teachers were telling me about. He was fine one-on-one, but in the group he immediately tensed up. When he got frustrated, he just got mad and shut down. He wanted to leave the room. THey put him in a special education preschool class for the remainder of the school year, and he was seeing their on-site psychiatrist. He started to have progress just over those 3 months. I loved his teacher and psychiatrist because they really knew how to handle him and really cared for him. This past year, however, he was in a class for behaviorally challenged children of all age groups (k-5); and it was the worst year any kindergartener could have had. He went from bad to worse, they shortened his day, he lost instruction time, he can't read like he should and gets mad about it. He's come home from school saying "I wish God didn't make me this way." He knows he's done something he shouldn't, but he doesn't know how to control it and he feels left out. He wants "another chance" to be better. His teacher all but gave up on him. His one-on-one and teacher kept telling us "can't you put him on medicine." We refused after it was suggested by the behavior MD, but now my husband wants to try it. Our son was getting better at one point, and he's been better at home; but the last 4 months of school this year were awful. The only saving grace was that when he did get to spend time in an actual kindergarten classroom with kids his own age, he behaved better. I think he was finally learning from good examples how to act around others. He did get frustrated here and there, but he was able to control himself probably due to peer pressure or concern for embarrassment. It angers me that he's been stuck in a class with older kids who behave just as bad and then the school expects him to learn good behavior. It angers me that he didn't get to participate in any of the field trips and activities that other kindergarteners get to enjoy. I want him to excel. He is smart. His teacher will at least give him that credit, but he tests poorly because he doesn't want to work with her or because he can't read or because he just feels incapable. I would try the meds if I felt all other areas had truly been given a chance, but I think the school setting was worse for him than it should have been and has made it appear that he really needs the meds.

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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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Sulyn, like you I was diagnosed late in life w/ADD. I was in denial for probably three years before I consented to trying medication -- because, like Kimberly, I was falling short in college and, like you, my coping skills were no match for my overactive toddler, full-time job and single life as a homeowner. I won't say I noticed the difference immediately, but I do know my life is much less chaotic with Concerta than without. I credit my therapist, an ADDer herself, with my success thus far, and she is already helping me monitor my daughter's ADD-like behaviors. Hopefully that will keep school from being such a frustrating experience for her as it was for me.

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Same here! I would have done so much better in school if I knew I had add. I failed 2 classes my freshman yr! I would consider it but my sons too young, I feel. I will have him evaluated soon though. I don't want him falling behind because I am afraid of medicine. I take it myself now and let me tell you, I can finally multitask! I will definitely consider it if he needs it in the future. I'll just make sure I dispense it always:) until he gets married! Ha

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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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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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do you rub them on him or put them in a diffuser

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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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Thank you so much for your comment!! Today has only been day two of the medication and I can already tell a difference! More so today than yesterday! I put it on him at 7am yesterday and his teacher notes she could tell a difference but it seemed to take a while for him to settle down. I put it on him at 530am this morning and his teacher said he did wonderful!!! She said he got a lot accomplished today, was more attentive, and less talkative. She also mentioned that she believed he noticed a difference because he seemed a lot happier with himself! I can't tell you how happy I was to hear this! I know we are only just beginning, but I am so hopeful. Plus he is in a regular classroom and I would like him to stay there. I am concerned about the appetite suppression. I already noticed yesterday and today that he wasn't eating me out of house an home after school. In fact he didn't eat anything until dinner. My son plays baseball so I worry about him burning more calories than he will eat. I'm glad to know how well the patch is working for your child, it gives me much hope for my son using this medication. Thanks again for your comment :)

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My son was diagnosed at the age of 4 because of is lack of impulsive control and we were worried for his safety and the safety of others. We tried many different medications and I can say the Daytrana patch was by far my favorite. It seemed to work the best for him and had the least amount of side affects. (the only side affects he has ever had were trouble sleeping, but he is a night owl anyway, and not lack of appetite when he is on the medication, which we monitor closly). Unfortunately he, like myself, have an extremely high tolerance for medication and adjust to it quickly so we ran out of doses to give him. He is now 9 and is on Vyvanse. It seems to work well but we usually have to adjust the dose about every 6-9 months. We tried all the special diets and they didn't seem to work, but that was a few years ago and I am now considering them again. I think you have to do what is best for your child. Every child is different. You have to stand up for what you think is best and it is crucial that you find a Doctor that supports you and is willing to listen to you. I was lucky enough to have a Doctor that is AMAZING and also has a child with ADHD so she knows exactly what I am going through. Just remember that what your doing is not to make them "normal" but to give them a chance to grow up having a positive self image. We have always told my son that he still makes all the choices but his medicine helps him to make better ones sometimes. Good Luck

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My son is 10 and has been on Daytrana all school year...it's great. He's getting the best report cards he's ever gotten! We started him on Ritalin last year, but he had to go to the nurse during the day to get another dose. The Daytrana works all day, and sometimes, depending on what he has scheduled for the day, we will cut the patch down so it's not a full dose. The only down side is the lack of appetite and the rash he gets where the patch is. For the appetite, the doctor said that as long as he makes up for it by eating more on the weekend, and his weight stays relatively consistent, he's fine. It drives me nuts though, as I know he needs to eat, but he wont because he's not hungry. That's the battle. As for the rash, we alternate sides each day, and put Aquafor on the area and that helps a lot. We are really happy with Daytrana. Good luck and be strong!

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I than everyone for writing and sharing your experiences. We as Mom's want what is best for the child we love so much. My son was suspected of having add/hd in kinder. confirmed it in 2nd grade when he was struggling more. We wanted to have a plan in place so he can be more successful in 3rd grade. he has done much better with his modifications and having an aide but still gets frustrated and tired easily from all the expectations. He repeatedly tells us "soemtimes it is to hard and too much". He is an extremely bright child (excels in almost all testing) but also super sensitive. We are now starting a social group. We are very pleased with his school and support he gets (has his own lap top to help with writng output).. Still he struggles and we are considering meds even though I have been trying to hold off. He does not eat much the way it is and is already so sensitive. But I want him to be happier! Has anyone else heard of the neurotransmitters test? Do you see a specialist for meds or the ped?

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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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Thank you, for sharing the intuition, love and prayer you used to help your son. I have spent years working with my children, and educating myself. You remind me that it is our child's need to be loved, accepted and, when necessary, supported which must guide us. Gratefully,

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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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We tried neurofeedback for our daughter in 4th grade, it did seem to calm her a bit but the results were temporary. We did it for one year, very expensive, out of pocket and not lasting.

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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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Nearly 80% of Tourettes sufferers have ADHD/ADD and nearly 30% of ADHD sufferers have tics/tourettes. Does the medication make it worse? It is contraindicated but there is new thought that says low dosage ADHD medication may be appropriate and have little or no side effects. In the main, if there is a sibling with tourettes most practitioners will not prescribe Ritalin. Clonidine helps with tics and hyperactivity, the only serious side effect being low blood pressure. By the way, the peak time for tics are around the age of 11 -12 so you may find that this was just coincidental.

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Prescription of ADHD medicine has dramatically risen within the last few decades. Statistics show that in 1990 there were approximately 600,000 children using stimulants; by 2011 it grew to 3.5 million. Medically, stimulant and non-stimulant ADHD medicines have been proven to help students with focus and concentration issues; historically, mothers and children all over the country have experienced life changing benefits with just a low dosage of the prescribed med.
It is important, however, to take a moment and analyze other possible causes and treatments that can help improve brain performance in addition to or as a replacement of ADHD prescription medication. The implementation of a holistic nutrition approach to support brain function and enhance cognitive performance is a possible approach.
Neurology Dr. Campbell-McBride (2010) has profoundly studied the digestive system and the relationship between gut health and psychological disorders in children. In her book Gut and psychology syndrome: Natural treatment for dyspraxia, autism, ADD, ADHD, depression, schizophrenia she discusses the dynamic of healthy gut and how it might affect our children’s behaviors. She affirms that the good bacteria on the gut provides a natural barrier against invaders, toxins and parasites. 70% of the body’s immune system resides in the gut. It has the ability to produce antibiotic-like, antifungal, and antiviral substances that dissolve the membranes of bacteria and viruses before they are able to attack the body. Research shows that when the intestinal flora is not in balance it cannot properly defend and fulfill brain and nervous central system’s functions properly “starting a process of pathology or disease developing”.
A specific diet to address nutritional deficiencies and promote good bacteria in the intestines has the potential to be just as life changing, if not more so than the medications themselves with the added benefits of no side effects and improved overall health.

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I was prescribed ADHD medication as a child and it had a strong negative effect on my social, emotional and mental development. You shouldn't be prescribed these drugs until your brain is completely developed. Being prescribed as a child and later as an adult, there is a night and day experience regarding the effects of these drugs. I no longer take ADHD medication as it affected my mood stability over long-term use. These medications are serious drugs they are not to be taken lightly. I find them effective for adults but even then I am skeptical. I am a parent as well and we all want what is best for our kids and feel helpless like my parents did but from my experience medication is not the answer. Possibly a different learning environment or teaching method. I wonder if a REAL Montessori education would be effective for children with ADHD?

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thrue our experience for my son taking a aderall medication is top for us , effects for this medication to him is difficult for everybody if he took this in the morning the 1st hour his bursting emotion can't explain it .after 4hrs he calm down in feels okay ,what I suggest to other mom ,ask your doctor in try out some other medicine that it fits to your child until u find the right one. take note how the effects everytime u give medicine in discuss that to your doctor .i wish all the best mother having a gifted child like me its a long journey but hang on there .

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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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My 6.5 yr old has been on Concerta for a few weeks now and has horrible fits of rage when the medicine wears off in the evening. His doctor has prescribed Strattera but I'm so afraid of the depression/ suicidal thoughts side effects.

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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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