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Parenting a Child with LD or ADHD

Medications for ADHD


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Joined: Sep 30, 2009
Posts: 4
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Posted Sep 30, 2009 at 1:48:49 PM
Subject: Medications for ADHD

Hello all! My son was diagnosed ADHD in October 2006. We started medication then and after a year of yo-yoing to try to find a medication that was a good fit for him I decided to take my ds off of ADHD medication. He has taken Adderall XR, Ritalin, Concerta, Strattera and Vyvanse. The side effects were horrible on all but Concerta. With Concerta the side effects were bad but not horrible, you know?! Anyways, I know it's so hard for my son to focus and now I am wondering if we should try medication again. I really have conflicting feelings about the meds. In one way I think "well, it will help him to be able to sit still and focus." and then I think how just because he is sitting still and focusing does not guarantee that he is going to be focused on the right thing. Like when he was on medication before he was sitting in his seat and focusing at school and falling through the cracks at the same time because he wasn't focused on school work. He was not learning and he was being overlooked because his behavior was better!
Fastforward to now and his behavior is sooooo much better and not a major concern at school but academically he is really really struggling. I have been thinking about medicating again but I really do not want to put my son and our family on that roller coaster ride again. What would you do? I would love to hear from those who are ADHD that have had experience in this as well. Thanks so much!

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Mandi
Joined May 05, 2008
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Posted:Sep 30, 2009 3:54:45 PM

There is a long thread on ADHD called ADHD only a few topics below this one. Where several people have had opinions and done a great deal of research on these medications.

I personally realize you are trying to do the right thing. However, medicating a child for ADHD is nearly never the right thing for a wide variety of reasons. There are many links in the topic titled ADHD full of research and information. I suggest you check it out. It just may help you to make up your mind.

If your instinct is not to put your family through that again and your son, may i say ne's subconscious is often wiser than one's conscious mind. It may be prudent to listen to that. I suggest you try it.

How long has he been off medication? Because some of his problems depending on that could be due to withdrawal that he goes through from theses meds. Many of them affect the brain in the exact same way as cocaine. How did you take him off? Did you wean him slowly off? Or did you just cut it off altogether suddenly?

Studies show medication for ADHD comes with the side effects forever but only impacts as it is supposed to to treat ADHD for about 3 years. After which time it's ADHD beneficial affect ceases altogether. Also, these drugs affect the brains of those with ADHD and those without it the exact same way. As there has been no organic proof of ADHD yet presented and unrefuted by further scientific testing it seems perhaps, it doesn't exist at all.... Or maybe it does and they just have not found it yet. But to choose to pump one's child full of the equivalent of cocaine, with absolutely no organic evidence that anything is wrong seems ridiculous to me. But for more ont his subject and for a whole slew of links and research look for the posting on ADHD. Ignore all the commentary if you wish or read it, but please for your own benefit and your son's take a look at the links and what the research is showing. It just may help you make up your mind.

fGood luck.

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My4LilSweetPeas
Joined Sep 30, 2009
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Posted:Sep 30, 2009 5:56:13 PM

Thanks for your reply Mandi! My ds was medicated for approx. a year from the date he was diagnosed which was October 2006. We are well out of the withdrawal period and I would like to say that I noticed during the withdrawal period that the withdrawals were worse than the condition itself before medication. This was also his very first year of school which was a terrible experience for him and the rest of us! This was partly due to medication and partly due to his teacher. I will be clear with you and tell you that I blindly went into medicating my child and I am really big on doing research so I did my homework on ADHD meds during that year and found a lot of information. It breaks my heart how many people put their kids on the medication as a result of the pressure put on them by the school system without doing their homework on the medications. I have been there and now know better. From all of my research I came to the conclusion that methylphenidate and amphetamines medications would be like, IMO, giving my child cocaine or crystal meth! I take that very seriously! It's been about 2 years since my ds has taken any medication for his ADHD and I have listened to my gut to NOT medicate my child since doing all of that research on those meds.
Now, the reason I question whether to try medication with my son again is because he is really struggling! I am not so interested in the facts and research as I am in learning from others with experience in being medicated and then with not being medicated. It's difficult for a non-ADHD person to know what is going on in the mind of an ADHD individual on a daily basis. On the outside I do see my ds struggling and sometimes wonder if he is struggling that much within his own mind...you know, as in how does my son think of things. Considering his age, 8 years old (which I failed to mention earlier), I don't think he can communicate this information to me. I need someone who has been there to fill me in on some things! ADHD has been described to me as being like seeing a wall of TV's and trying to focus on each and every one of them at the same time. Is it really and does the medication help slow down thoughts enough to help the thought process? I am a concerned mom and it breaks my heart to see people looking at my son like he is a disorder instead of the very smart little boy that I know he is. I am the best advocate for my son and I have to find all the information I can so that he can get the help he needs. I honestly do not want to medicate because I personally didn't like the info that I found on it all and I cried every. single. day seeing my son unable to eat, sleep, having stomach aches and wanting to do nothing except sit and color in a certain notebook with a certain pencil and in the end saying that his heart hurt! I hated seeing my son like that and the worst of the side effects we got was from Adderall XR. Other medications didn't do him THAT bad expecially once the right mg was figured out but I still hated medicating him. The ups and downs of the medications was bad and I had to time his meals around medications with most of them. I know there are other medications out there besides in the stimulant group of meds but I have not done research on them.
I was at the school talking to my ds's teacher yesterday and she made a comment about "you know if the meds are going to help him focus then why not because he is just having so much trouble with focus. He is just really zoning out on us here."....why not?...because of our past experience and what I know about meds that my son has already taken. BUT what about the meds that he has not taken? Might there be something out there that would actually help him. We have been through much more with my son than I let on in my OP and I am sorry for that Mandi.
I know the school probably wants me to medicate and technically can't recommend that but will push it in any way that they can! I have already told them that I will not medicate again and they still push for it indirectly! My son is 8 years old and in 1st grade. He went through 2 years of K through the public school system then I pulled him and homeschooled for his 1st grade year and he really wanted to go back so I let him and they placed him in 1st grade again. Obviously I have little faith in the school system at this point as we have had terrible experience since the beginning but my son loves being there and around everyone. He is technically supposed to be in 3rd grade. He is currently participating in regular classes and as we are trying to work through all the paperwork and waiting process of getting him in the special education program.
I am grasping for options and trying to reach out to people with experience with the same things as we have been through.
My apologies for starting another ADHD medication thread if it was unnecessary. I didn't realize the other ADHD thread was about medication as it's not clear from the subject line. Thanks again for your response!
[Modified by: My4LilSweetPeas on September 30, 2009 06:06 PM]

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My4LilSweetPeas
Joined Sep 30, 2009
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Posted:Sep 30, 2009 6:04:32 PM

I would also like to point out that I am here on this forum to talk to people. Gaining facts from links is great but IMO people can learn so much more from personal experiences. I have google and use it often but I thought by joining this forum I could find information here that I could not find on google. Thanks!

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Mandi
Joined May 05, 2008
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Posted:Sep 30, 2009 7:49:04 PM

hahahaha Like a wall of tvs? What a load of BS. It is NOTHING like that... Oh dear gods.... Who the comes up with this rubbish???

I have ADHD. I am an adult now. I have to live with this every day of my life. Let me tell you a bit about me and my life. Because i am sick to tears of the fear tactics this industy pulls on parents.

I was born to budhist hippy parents ina budhist zen commune. I was brought up by about 50 people who knew nothing about children. Highly functioning and brilliant all of them. Most with PHDs or getting PHDs from Harvard and MIT. I grew up instead of hearing bed time stories being read text books about everything from cosmology to.... bugs. And everything in between. I had the vocabulary of a 40 year old at 3. At 9 months i started speaking. Technically, english is actually my second language. My first was polish as this place i grew up was multi lingual and full of people from all over the world. Also at that time i spoke a great deal in korean. I was raised in part by the 78th patriarch of the chogey order. Diagnosed at 4. Because i was a child and i made noise when the monks wanted silence. What do you expect from a young child?

It isn't so much like many tvs. It is more like.... Hmmmm.... Thinking fast. All the time. Lots of fast thoughts floating through your head. People say you are impulsive but you aren't. The reality is that the speed of your thinking about something a desicion of some sort for example is just that much faster that you can seem impulsive. I never had behavior issues. So i don't know what it is like for people that do. I was mroe the day dreamy mildly boisterous "impulsive" type. But, if you look at my decisions carefully through out my life you will see just how well thought out they really were. Even if it did not seem that way to others looking in at the time.

The problem i find, is that because my thought processes move so fast, that i wear out that much faster too. I can't therefore focus quite as well as i would always like to. Because, my train of thought and though process is so fast. It is like....Trying to run a marathon but being physically designed for fast sprinting short distances at a time. Nothing like tvs. Sometimes, medications can help to raise energy levels. As a result, the fast speeding mind keeps running... Which is nice. Believe me it is wonderful. But medicine is not generally necesary for those with ADHD. Have you tried meditation? What about herbalism? Or homeopathy? Or other forms of therapy?

Another thing about ADHD, is often though not always it is misdiagnosed. Often weird or bad family issues and dynamics are involved that color the situation. As a result 1 person ends up scape goated and medicated. Medication is not an answer. It is not a solution. The solution is finding other methods to get around. Unconventional ways. Breaking things into smaller portions that take less time for example then short break for recharge then another piece of a task till it is done. Or switching between many things. For example, switching during homework spend 15 minutes on math, then read half a chapter, then do a little history in smaller chunks and just keep rotating. That is another way to manage this. Talk therapy can also be good for some. As well as other forms of therapy. For those with too much physical energy a recent study at harvard shows that in classes where the student have a minimum of a half hour recess outside that is physically active, the rate of ADHD diagnosis goes down by something like almost 40%. There are other ways to manage ADHD. Better ways.

My family was a mess. That was another contributing factor. To this day i don't talk to my dad. A year ago though i got married. To a man i have been with for something like 7 years now. We are talking about having a baby. My husband holds a PHD from Helsinki university in theoretical physics. He will frequently ask me to look at his work. Or discusses things with me for a new perspective which he then turns into a math equation that often turns out fruitful that he wouldn't have thought up by himself. We live in Vienna austria. To feel safe and healthy i had to literally put an ocean between myself and my family, and my diagnosis. Here, it is practically unheard of and is practically non existant. It is even less medicated than it is unheard of here in Vienna. I speak german also and irish gaelic. I spent my entire life dedicated to the study of music and ancient cultures. Right now i am working towards a degree in egyptology. Which means i also read hiroglypths And the music written at the oracle of delphi engraved int he stone. Also normal music notation, not too shabby for someone with both ADHD and dyslexia.

These diagnosies, are nto exact science. They are not really science at all. Their methodology is flawed. They are actually kangaroo courts to be totally honest. They diagnose ADHD on the basis that they will not permit any evidence to the contrary into their methodology of diagnosis. I think people's brains are different. And they behave differently and i am sure there are some similarities between some people and other people etc.... However, i have seen nothing that gives any indication that ADHD has any organic component. Which then means, that medicating a non organic problem with an organic chemical object to fix something that clearly isn't broken will never solve the problem. Contrary to what they tell you when you go for diagnosis there are a wealth of strategies and massive amounts of therapies for ADHD. There is even some doctor in canda that is doing something with a computer program as a therapy or something.

Medication doesn't slow down the thought process at all. You would do just as well to hop hi, up on sugar or coffee. All it does is provide extra energy to sustain such a fast paced mind.

If your son is zoning out, it is because his tacher is boring. Tell her to wear funny hats and to try to find ways to be interesting to a child that age. I am sure she is trying very hard to do a good job. All the same reality is reality schools are essentially prisons for children int his day and age. And that is a sad tragic fact. Which is why when me and my husband have a child i will be homeschooling. Also because i would go postal if some idiot tried to teach my kid creationism instead of evolution... As an archaeology student oh i would go nuts... Though this teacher is probably well intentioned it is important to stop and to view one's self through the eyes of children who would rather be outside playing. That is why we have teachers. We could just as well hook our kids up in our home to computer programs each day with a certain curriculum each day. But we don't. We don't because we want our children to be inspired to learn. And if a child is not, then it is something is wrong with the teacher's teaching. She is failing to do what she is there to do, to inspire young minds to learn. To keep them interested in the information she is imparting.

As an archaeologist, one of my pet theories is evolution. The most critical feature pertaining to evolution is actually the brain. I am not a brain surgeon. I am an archaeologist. But because of this background i know generally more about the brain than most people typically do. So please understand that at 8 years old your son's brain is in early stages of a development process that will not end till his mid twenties. What you put into his system now is going to alter and screw with how his brain continues to develop. The more crap you put into his system before his brain is done developing the more messed up his brain will be as it was not allowed to develop naturally. Alot of ADHD symptoms go away with age and with time. Because part of it is part of the process i believe anyway of children's brains developing. Therefore, when i say i would not test him till he is an adult on any other medication, please understand why i recommend against doing so. If it doesn't start getting better as he ages or when he is in his 20s and if he is still pretty much where he is now, then by all means, something very possibly may be organically wrong. Mayvbe because of the medication already pumped through his system, maybe because the medication was actually prescribed to treat something i am not even gonna get into that. But at that time, it may be worth revisiting the issue. Atleast that is how i personally think about it. But your child you know him i don't. What i know about though is life with ADHD, the industry and a great deal of other issues surrounding being labled and life as a labeled person etc...

So you just do what you are doing now. You just keep doing your best to be a good parent and to make the right choice. And remember, your child is an independent person. You are merely the stuard of his well being until he reaches maturity and can be responsible for himself. And don't you let anyone push you around. You stick to your guns ask the hard questions keep doing exactly what you are doing and think about what is in your son's long term best interests rather than how to satisfy a system that is unsatisfactory as recent studies show the us education system is actually the worst int he western world the best is in Finland. Where again they don't have ADHD. Atleast not like we do in the usa. Look for another route. Better long term results are gained with therapies that are not medicine based.

If there is anything more i can tell you about how people with ADHD see the world or well anything else at all, please do let me know. I am happy to help you in any way i can.

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scifinut
Joined Jul 11, 2005
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Posted:Oct 01, 2009 9:01:31 AM

Unfortunately ADHD is a "catch-all" phrase that is used too often and like many other disorders has a WIDE spectrum of effects on people. The way Mandi describes it is very different from how my daughter, son and sister describe it and each of them is different from the other. It is totally unfair to take just one viewpoint and apply it to everyone.

That being said, here is my opinion. Some people will benefit from medications, others won't. My sister takes medication for her ADHD when she really needs to focus at work or has a big project because it slows her thinking process enough for her to think clearly and it helps to keep her from being distracted by all the other tasks she has around. Neither of my children take medications for ADHD as they have had very negative reactions. My son developed his own coping mechanisms to deal with his ADD and he functions very well. My daughter has a whole lot more on her plate because she also has bipolar and complex LDs. Much of her ADHD symptoms are link to her moods, anxiety and difficulties with traditional learning. Therapies for her LDs has helped tremendously.

If medications just caused more problems it's probably time to start looking at some of the alternative therapies available. Neurofeedback, Interactive Metronome, working with an educational psychologist who can help him develop strategies, naturopathic treatments, etc.

It's also important to rule out any other learning issues. There are many LDs that have similar symptom profiles to ADHD. Therapy for those can reduce the ADHD type symptoms or completely get rid of them.

Hope this helps. :)

scifinut mom to: ms 16, bp/adhd/anxiety/complex ld mr. 20, add/dyslexic I hear and I forget I see and I remember I do and I understand. -Anonymous

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saoz
Joined Sep 24, 2009
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Posted:Oct 01, 2009 12:59:41 PM

I have two sons who have been on ritlan. One since grade three and the other since grade 5. One is in high school and the other in college. I had a wonderful pediatric doctor who was great. Maybe your son was on too high a dosage. My boys are still on low dosages. The small dosage just took the edge off and they were able to focus. It worked wonders for them, their school marks improved, self-esteem came back, socializing with their peers and stress at home declined. The other one is on concerta now because he is away from home all day. When I started them I had them on the ritlan that lasts only 4 hours. They would take it in the morning and at lunch time. After school no ritlan was given or on weekends or holidays.
Because they were able to concentrate so well at school the majority of schoolwork was done in school. Little homework was brought home except for projects. I always talked to them about their ADHD, explained to them what it was so that they knew it was not their fault. They are not addicted to it. It took close monitoring and still does. I did not like the ritlan that lasted all day. You have less control with it.The side affects of ritlan for them was lack of appetite and finding it hard to sleep. After time these symptoms decreased and they can cope now. I think that the low dosage is what made it workable and they are able to tolerate it. I know that at the end of the day there is a coming down time but as time went on it was less noticeable with age. ADHD is not a learning disability so it is good to have the childern tested for LD also.

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Mandi
Joined May 05, 2008
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Posted:Oct 01, 2009 4:54:04 PM

Studies show ritalin stops working entirely on ADHD symptoms after 3 years max. Which means the lack of symptoms is a feature of good old fashioned maturing and brain development.

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PT1
Joined Mar 07, 2005
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Posted:Oct 02, 2009 10:12:09 AM

Hi,

I am adult with NLD and borderline ADHD. I have tapered off a psych med cocktail that was orginally 4 meds (including Adderall) down to 1. Thanks to rebound insomnia, I am at a stalemate.

It was due to horrific side effects that I decided to taper. I felt the cure had become worse than the disease as one of the meds caused a hearing loss and they generally worsened my NLD issues.

If you son suffered horrific side effects from the meds, that is your answer right there. Think of it this way, if he suffered a bad reaction to aspirin, would you give him more of it?

Have you tried fish oil capsules? From what I have read, the ones that work best for ADHD have a high EPA to DHA ratio like 7 to 1.

I would also go to http://www.vitasearch.com and plug in the term ADHD. As an FYI, it is run by a vitamin company but nothing is sold on the site.

Don't get me wrong, you have to be careful with supplements. But I would take them any day over psych meds.

Mandy is so right about the statistics showing that ADHD meds cease to be effective after 3 years. So really, since you son has suffered side effect, it seems like the cost benefit ratio isn't worth it.

Finally, do you have other options besides the school he is in now? As Steve so rightfully points out, someone who is ADHD in the right school environment can look very normal.

Hope that helps. Let me know if you have other questions.

PT

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majorv
Joined Jun 01, 2008
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Posted:Oct 04, 2009 10:56:25 PM

I'm not sure about statistics that show ADHD meds don't work after 3 years, but it isn't true for my son. There are also different types of ADHD. My son has the combined type, which means he has difficulty with not only inattention but hyperactivity and impulsivity. Fortunately, he hasn't had bad side effects on any of the meds except one. If you can find an alternative therapy that works for you then that's great. Before starting meds, we tried a couple of different things without success. My son is now a senior in HS and I know that without the meds he would've either dropped out or been kicked out before now. He's tried school without meds several times. Within a few weeks his teachers are e-mailing me that he can't stay on task and isn't completing his work, and so his grades start dropping.

It's important for you to find something that helps your son because as kids get older the course content gets harder. If he misses those important foundation skills in elementary school it will be difficult for him in MS and HS.

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Mandi
Joined May 05, 2008
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Posted:Oct 05, 2009 4:47:28 AM

I am sure. As i have posted links to what the research is showing us. On many occasions.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/03/26/AR2009032604018.html

For one, that one courtesy of PT1. I would suggest to you majorv, that you look up the thread in this section calld ADHD.

There is alot of great opinion and a large amount of various personal experiences of various people there, ncluding me. We all come to this forum after our own unique and often terrible experience with all this stuff. But more importantly you will find there, a wealth of web articles and researched opinion. You can read what is out there for yourself.

Combination ADHD or no, no one has even substantiated on a physical level that it exists at all and they have declared it genetic. Which is troubling. They expect someday they will find it on a physical level, perhaps they will. But they have not yet. When they do might be the proper time to figure out or even to open the debate and the issue of it's genetic components or lack there of. Atleast that is how i feel. It is presently putting the cart before the horses.

Many of these medications affect the brain exactly like cocaine does. We are literally feeding children the chemical equivalent of cocaine. Therefore you have to understand when you took your son off the drugs, there was a period probably 3 to 6 months where you would expect to see the sym[ptoms return. They don't call it withdrawal for no reason. So if you only had him off for a few weeks to see if he could go without you essentially took someone off of cocaine stuck them in a classtroom and said "Now be good and well focused while you detox. Because that is about how long it takes just to detox. between 3 and 6 monthsish typically.

This reminds me of Hovind, when he had this dinosaur bone. He wanted to disprove carbon dating. So he says "This dinosaur bone has been totally replace by minerals lets have it carbon dated to see how real carbon dating is!"

Now let me explain the problem with this. the bone was totally replaced with minerals. ie, it was no longer a bone at all. It was a rock. And you can NOT carbon date a rock. So ofcourse his results were off because there was no carbon in the totally and completely mineralized dinosaur bone for Hovind to even test. ADHD in many respects is a similar exercise in futility. First of all no one can show physically what it is or even that it is on a physical level they are treating children for something they hope to find in the future. How is that possible??? That is like handing over the presidency to a certified psychic who says "I can predict there will be some wars and only i know how to defend the country against them because i am psychic." Totally unscientific.

Medicine has a place in the treatment of ADHD for some very severe extreme cases which most cases are just not even though most cases today are medicated. That place is as a short term fix which is all the meds can supply anyway. No matter what kind of ADHD your child has. After that, it is your child's self control and learned behaviors kicking in. Medicine may be good for 3 years to help a child or in my opinion an adult not even a child to get a skill set to cope and to manage their ADHD, in the extreme cases and extreme situations. But before you say this kid can't do it on his own, you have to wait several months for the full detox to happen otherwise ofcourse you have these other results. Again, that is like Hovind with his mineralized dinosaur bone.... You have to wait to start applying the measuring until you have reached the point where it is even measurable and when you are measuring how well he does without it rather than measuring his detox behavior.

But i agree, finding something that helps and that will not shrink his frontal lobe over the course of long term use like medicine frequently does would be a great thing to do. If medicine is a part of that treatment for a short span of time it may even be worthwhile medicating. But the proof is in the pudding. Medication has a short life span of help it provides and a very long reach for side effects and developmental havoc wreacking. Please read the research and you will se that for yourself. Because i have opinions i am not an unbiast source, however my opinions are based on researched fact i hardly came up with them all by myself to earn some money with. That would be the pharmaceutical companies.

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