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"Mind altering drugs"
By Susan B. on Wed Mar 17, 2010 at 10:00 AM EDT
I have a 10 y/o daughter recently diagnosed with ADHD, inattentive type or NLD, either way, medication was suggested. I have tried all other modalities in helping her out, lists, pictures reminders, tutoring and some Spec. ed. support in school. SHe has not progressed much or at all in social or academics. My husband is adamantly against "MIND ALTERING drugs" and says the help is more structure and discipline from us. I would give her my own brain if I could but can't. Has anybody faced this opposition from within their family or outside? How did you handle it? All I know is that my daughter is suffering because my husband if not even considering this avenue....
By Bill L. on Wed Mar 17, 2010 at 10:10 AM EDT
Susan - My wife and I had a simlar issue, our son was taking ADHD meds but his body weight makes it hard to manage. His focus really became an issue as the dose he was on at the time was not enough to last the day but we couldn't go any higher with the dose do to his body weight. In researching alternate methods I settled on using the "Total Transformation". Search on the topic and research for yourself to see if might work for you and husband.

Good luck...
By Julie M. on Wed Mar 17, 2010 at 10:25 AM EDT
Susan, I have a 9 yr old boy that has ADHD. My x-husband was so against the medication that I didn't even think we were going to get to try it. I had 2 Dr.s meet withus, one has a add boy of her on. By the time they, as a team, expained the bebefits to my x, we had aggreed that we would try it during school only. Although Will has a problem not only focusing with friend, he also does in after school sports. We now have him on Ritilan, it has hanged his life, he is much calmer and more focused. He is not getting furstrated in calss of with his friends as much. The pill last for about 8 yrs. Sometimes he need the afternoon pill but most the time he doesn't. It's funny now Will, my son, does not want to go to school without it. He tells me the difference it makes. I would just keep putting information, DRs, and conversation in your husbands ear until he comes around. Discipline is not the answer where threre is a true problem!! Anything I can do to help, let me know!!

By Gail R. on Wed Mar 17, 2010 at 10:44 AM EDT
Hi Sue,
My 13 yo daughter was diagnosed with add/inattentive with Executive Functioning problems in third grade, as her mom I have struggled with her to get her through her class work, etc.. My husband was in denial that she had problems. Although, he got frustrated working with her on homework and left it to me. I was against giving meds to her and against her doctor opinion. She struggled and her social life was dreadful, no friends, no birthdays, etc. Very painful as a mom and I'm sure she blocked it out, but it hurt her too.
Starting this school year, I gave in as her grades sunked last year. She started on Concerta, she can tell the difference, she is paying attention in school, (not day dreaming), no more outburts, being loud in the inappropriate time, more friends. She takes it Monday through Thursday only. As, the downside is when she comes off it around 3-4pm, she is very moody and knows it, and on friday she doesn't want to hurt her friends. In the beginning, she wanted to take it, but now she doesn't .. just another event that I will be with dealing with in a few days... And, her dad accepts it, but doesn't want others to know... I say tell the world... let everyone know, because I'm sure there are others out there trying to hide things and getting stressed out on it... Good Luck!
By Amy S. on Wed Mar 17, 2010 at 1:58 PM EDT
I was against it and in denial as well but soon as he was put on it I saw a change in my son. In order for medicine to work they have to continue to take it even when on weekends and school spring summer breaks. It makes it harder for the body to work if not taken on a daily basis. As your kid gets older they'll need changes. My son has been on the meds for almost a year now and already went through a dosage change. I don't know which works best for any kid it varies. Just keep trying and don't give up.
By Susan B. on Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 1:05 PM EDT
Bill, Julie, Gail and Amy- Thank you for your input. It's amazing what a few typed in characters can do to help a stranger in the similar situations ;o), It helped alleviate some of my stress as well as give me hope in pursing whatever avenues I need to to help my daughter. I'm glad I found this group - I hope your families are fairing well and will reach out to you guys again if need be and if any of you need support or an ear - your know where I am!
Bill- how is the Total Transformation working for you? My mother saw the frustration I was going through with my daughter before she got diagnosed and I haven't had the opportunity to listen to the package yet.....
Thanks again-
By Penny W. on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 12:45 PM EDT
It is a tough, gut-wrenching decision to put your child on routine medication. It is even more difficult with the knowledge that it affects their brains. However, ADHD is a neurological disorder, it is a difference in our children's brains. No amount of discipline will change the physiology of the brain your child was born with. Yes, they can learn coping mechanisms/strategies as they mature but even that is a really tough thing. I too was scared to death to give my child a stimulant. Through public opinion, I felt like medication was just doping a child into submission. I did not know the facts. And I think that's what is important for your husband here -- he needs the facts. He only knows what society's skepticism has taught him. Now it's time to hunker down and read and research and get the facts. Ultimately, we decided medication was worth a try to see if it could help our sad, defeated little 6yo boy. If it didn't work, if it changed his personaility, if we could live with the side effects, we would stop the meds and look for other alternatives. But the meds brought us a focused, successful, happy little boy. It doesn't remove the ADHD but it does allow our children some clarity for better decisions and focus. Kind of like eyeglasses. Good books for your husband to read: anything by Dr. Edward Hallowell but my absolute favorite is Superparenting ADD; also Russell Barkley's book.

By Donna P. on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 10:56 AM EST
Good Day,
I am new to the group. My 5 year old daughter just got diagnosed with ADHD three months ago. Has anyone tried the over the counter drug Synaptol? What about Omega 3 or Neurofeedback therapy? Do any of these alternatives work? I know it must sound Naive, but it seems like so many parents struggle with this decision of putting the child on medication.
By Jan B. on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 5:25 PM EST
My advice is do not medicate
Teach your child to manage their response to their environment and limit tv
and video games and no caffeine

On Saturday, February 25, 2012, Donna P. <> wrote:
By Gina Q. on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 3:05 PM EDT
I agree with Jan B I heard so many kids dying on those medications not only that I know of kids who came off them when they were teens and got hooked on drugs like cocaine and became drug users because it made them feel even. They need to learn how to control themselves and with my son who is 5 he has OT twice a week he gets no red dye in his diet and he is doing well in school, limit sugar as well. and at least 10 hours of sleep. my son has tons of friends and I work with him at home till he knows his stuff so he dont fall behind
By Paul R. on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 10:09 PM EDT
After reading all the posts in this thread it is hard to believe that some people still believe that ADHD is just a behavioral problem. ADHD is a medical issue and symptoms can be reduced by medication improving the life of the child. It is very hard to understand what a child is going through if you don't have ADHD. I have twins and so I have the advantage of one child with and one child without ADHD. It is not what we as parents believe what we should do or how we are perceived by our peers but what is best for our kids. The parents with 5 year old kids have just begun to see the issue that are possible. When your child comes home crying after a hard day and tells you" I just cant focus and the teacher put me in remedial punishment because they thought I was refusing to do the work". That is when you have to put all your preconceived notions and trepidation against medication aside and try everything to help your child become productive and successful. I have made the food for my twins since birth they have not eaten anything that was not created in my own kitchen from organic, hormone, and dye free food. He has a neurologist, psychiatrist, psychologist, counselor, private tutor, gymnastics and lacrosse coaches and 2 parents that care but he still has ADHD. He is successful because of the medication, without it I have seen him fail and it is not a pleasant moment in his life. So take the shutters off and do what is best for your child and not what is best for you.
By Gina Q. on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 10:51 PM EDT
To Paul R. what chose is right for your twins is your decision not mine. ADHD is not just a behavior problem but it does come across to some as if they are misbehaving. For me and my son who is 5 years old he has a IEP and a OT who work with him in school so he doesnt have to sit for long periods of time. And if he has trouble in something they send the work home and we do it then. Im not saying you are a bad parent or ADHD is gonna magically go away, my son has come home with points for refusing his work I got my ass up there and that wont ever happen again, is OT was notified and now that she know my child she know its hard for him. If it comes down to it I will and my child from school and homeschool him before medicating him. I just have way to many friends now in there 30s tell me when they were a child they took ritalin and had to take a sleeping pill to get to sleep at 8 years old. or change there medicine so many times that there weight is dropping and they are walking skeltons. Im sure my kid is gonna have good days and bad but Im a room mother Im activily trying to become a teacher myself and I am very active at the school so I will make sure he wont fall threw the cracks or feel bad or depressed about something he cant do. I have plenty of support from therapists and feel confident enough that he will do great with out drugs
By Amy R. on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 11:24 PM EDT
My 12 year old was diagnosed in second grade with ADHD. We have tried every medicine out there and they are too strong, or the dose is wrong, etc..... Since my son was 7 years old he has taken meds that made him feel different and introvert. He is now in 6th grade and refuses to take ANY meds and claims he does not have ADHD. He also has aspergers, so his social skills are not great. I have not told him about having aspergers. I recently had him tested again and the psychologist was shocked at the severity of his ADHD and how he is functioning without medication. He isn't functioning, I am enabling him by doing everything for him. I don't know what to do.....
By Cathy D. on Sun Apr 29, 2012 at 12:14 AM EDT
The only thing I can say to Gina Q is best of luck to you, your going to need it!!
By Paul R. on Sun Apr 29, 2012 at 12:29 AM EDT
There are many drugs out there that are not similar to Ritalin. Medicating your child is your choice. We have used Guanfacine to help with impulsiveness and focus with great results. It is actually a blood pressure medicine. I agree that the Ritalin is harsh drug for a kids and haven't used it, but my son is a A&B honor role student and reads at a 6th grade level he is in the 4th grade. He has a six pack stomach and no problem sleeping. He is well adjusted and the medication isn't the reason we are. Presenting Information about drug abuse and creating an atmosphere of fear is not helpful. Here is a link to some information about ADHD medications and drug abuse.
By Gina Q. on Sun Apr 29, 2012 at 9:27 AM EDT
I was told that my sons ADHD was not very severe, his IQ is above adverage and he is functioning fine. Im not judging those of you who want to medicate your kids and Im happy it works for you but its doesnt work for my family. We have wonderful teachers where we live and they have been working with my son and hes doing great. he has lots of friends. Its strange almost half his class has sensory issues and they see a OT as well so its good to know hes not alone. My husband has ADD and he takes no medication for him the army helped him he is now in college graduating in electronics. Sometimes all you need is a parent to back you up and give you the support you need. I think some kids have a more severe case then my son but my son has learn to mainstream pretty good I must say. Im proud of all he has accomplished. In no way was I trying to create fear on this board this is a support board and I wouldnt want to do that all I was saying those kinds of drugs are additive and for teens it can lead to other things )as per my kids psychologist)
By Christine J. on Sun Apr 29, 2012 at 4:31 PM EDT
So I didn't get to read all of the responses, but I have quite a bit of experience with ADHD in my house, ups and downs, with my 20 yo son having a fairly severe inattentive form diagnosed in 4th grade, an 18 yo son diagnosed around the same time as his brother, and now my 10 yo daughter recently diagnosed. And I myself have adult ADHD. The boys were also treated in the beginning as just being troublemakers until they were evaluated. We tried without medication at first but quickly realized they needed it. It was trial and error to find the right meds and dosages that worked, the first or even second might not be the right one for your kids. A combination may even be the right course. And if your child feels "off" or lethargic, then the dose is incorrect. There was a comment made above about someone's son's meds wearing off early in the day, my daughter takes a second lesser dose of her med at school in the afternoon that helps her through the rest of the day and homework. And I myself do the same. I don't think there is anything wrong with putting them on meds if it is beneficial to them. Meds are prescribed much differently than they were done in the past, with a lot more observation and listening to how the kids themselves feel. I have the benefit of having it myself and knowing how they feel, and I let go of my apprehension and went with the meds. It has proven to be the best decision we could have made for them. My 18yo, 10yo and myself all would have the angry outbursts and meltdowns, the depression, the kids have issues socializing, overreact to most anything, and the common inattentiveness. The meds have helped us all a great deal, along with their IEPs at school and other extra help they need, and I with my organizational needs (smartphones really are great!), and seeing our psychiatrist and therapist regularly. And now my 18yo will be graduating and going to college. It is still a struggle every day, but we are learning. And I pray my two youngest kids don't have it too.
By Susan B. on Sun Apr 29, 2012 at 6:31 PM EDT
I am am the originator of this post. - 2 yrs ago! Well, I am back after my eye caught the title in my email box and I checked into it. I've read every post in this and am so thankful for those well versed in explaining their situation without shedding anxiety to others who are in the same boat. My daughter was finally placed on meds (with great trepidation on my part) and she has since been doing so much better socially and academically- has even made the honor roll twice! Homework is no longer a fight and she is a model student to others re: organization and dispering conflict among peers (can you believe that!) At home we still have our defiance and occassionaly disrespect but it it a lot of the impulsivity that comes when her meds are wearing off. We are still working with her pediatrician in finding a better med for her since Concerta worked well, but took away her appetite. She say she feels better, is glad she doesn't cry as often and has come a long way from 2 years ago. I have extreme gratitude and respect for all my fellow family who share there trials and tribulations and MOST OF ALL SUPPORT in this post. Thank you all for being there. - Susan
By Jaimie P. on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 10:35 PM EDT
I am just now reading your post. I very much am on the same wave link as you. ADD or ADHD is a disease, that is only managable, not curable. I have a spouse, son and granddaughter with ADHD. I tell people to compare it to someone with diabetes. You would not tell someone to stop their antiseziure meds or diabetes meds. People with this disease need to find a way to keep it in control. I stopped my sons meds and switched to other nonmedication methods. He is 16 and has made very bad impulsive decisions since we switched. I wish what he and I are going through on no one. The meds help keep your ADD or ADHD child safe and excell in live by making thought out decisions.
By Anna H. on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 11:18 AM EST
I have a super-long response to this thread, but it involves a lot of research I did on this subject, and so I hope it helps some of you out there.

Putting your child on meds for any reason is a gut-wrenching decision indeed, but most especially when it's those "mind-altering drugs" we're talking about. To Jaime P, I would say that you will get a LOT of unsolicited advice and negative opinions about your child's ADHD and medicating for it --including from people who have nothing whatsoever to do with the care of your child. You have to know that these comments and opinions, while no doubt well-intentioned, come from an overall ignorance on the subject. I've learned that I need to make decisions for my ADD child based on research and medical advice rather than the uneducated opinions of those around me...and I try to educate those people when I can.

As a parent of a child with ADD/ADHD, you owe it to your child to research this topic to the best of your ability. When you do, you'll learn that ADD/ADHD isn't just a trendy in-vogue new diagnosis that we all use just to calm down "kids who are just being kids". There's lots of research out there that confirms that ADD and ADHD are very real pathological illnesses, and in learning as much as you can about it, you arm yourself with the best strategies for helping your child handle this illness.

Here's what I've learned about ADD/ADHD in relation to this topic:

ADD/ADHD appears to be linked to underactivity in dopamine reception. Dopamine is a chemical in the brain that does many things, but primarily, it is the chemical that teaches us to go to--or respectively, to avoid--pleasant or unpleasant things based on experience. For example, if you eat something that you feel tastes awful, dopamine is the chemical that will teach you in the future to not eat that food to avoid the unpleasant taste. Dopamine is also what will teach you to stay away from fire after you first learn that getting burned hurts, or conversely, to eat cake because it tastes good. Dopamine is your pleasure rewards and motivation center.

Brain scans of unmedicated adults with ADHD have shown low dopamine receptors in the brain, meaning that the dopamine in the ADHD brain travels slowly in getting to its receptors. This most notably can explain why ADHD people have difficulty with impulse control--because the dopamine takes so long to get to where it's supposed to go, ADHD sufferers struggle with recognizing the correlation between action and consequence in any particular moment. This also explains why they struggle with attention in boring or repetitive tasks. Additionally, the lack of dopamine and variations in nor-adrenaline/nor-epinephrine lead ADHD sufferers to constantly *seek stimulation*, which is why these people suffer from lack of impulse control and hyperactivity, and constantly seek out variety and stimulation from electronics (games, tv, computers), stimulation from eating and drinking (ADHD is linked with higher levels of obesity and alcoholism), and in some cases, drug-taking and dangerous "thrill-seeking" type of adrenaline pursuits.

The drugs that are out there for ADHD are thought to stimulate dopamine reception, or help speed up dopamine in getting to its receptors, which is why most ADHD meds are stimulants like amphetamines and caffeine. Amphetamines, by the way, while related are not the same thing as the highly dangerous methamphetamines found in crank labs.

Amphetamines are indeed concerning drugs to give to children, but maybe not for the reasons that Jaime P's husband stated. ADHD drugs are indeed considered psychotropic drugs, and many people fear that we are screwing with our kids' brains by giving them this stuff, but it's important to know that ADHD drugs are not in the same class of psychotropic drug as anti-psychotic "mind-altering" drugs (like Prozac or Haldol) are. A little perspective goes a long way: even something as benign as caffeine is considered to be one of many psychotropic drugs, and in fact, caffeine and amphetamines are in the same class of drug--they are both stimulants. Where your husband IS right to be concerned, however, is that prolonged usage has been linked with high blood pressure and heart problems in some--so it's important to weigh that in with your deliberations on whether or not to use these drugs.

With that said...MOST prescribed drugs come with a certain amount of side effects and risk. But we take them when the benefits outweigh the risks. If your child was diagnosed with diabetes, would you hesitate for a moment to give them the recommended diabetes meds?? I understand Gina Q's profound refusal to medicate her child--I did as well when my son was her child's age, and felt I could handle this with non-med methods. But by the time we got to the 3rd grade, his ADD was so profoundly affecting his academics, his ability to socialize, and causing him to be a huge distraction to the kids around him, that I had to do something. When we started him on Adderall, his improvement in ALL of the above was SO profound in comparison to everything else we had tried, I knew this was the right thing for him. I read that studies showed that using these drugs for a period of time--usually up until somewhere in high school--permanently affected a developing brain's dopamine travel for the positive.

What's right for you and your child? These drugs may not be it. Start with non-chemical solutions, and work your way up. Look into the Feingold diet--some claim it helped their ADHD sufferer by avoiding sugar, artificial sweeteners, artificial flavors, artificial colors (red dyes in particular), sulfur dioxide (used to preserve dried fruit) and other preservatives and salicylates. Avoiding the above is NOT easy--you'll be amazed once you start paying attention to food labels how much ALL of these things are in the foods and beverages you get from a typical grocery store shelf, and typically, wholesale avoiding these ingredients involves remarkably considerable diligence and/or shopping at whole food stores.

If the above efforts don't work or aren't helping enough, try caffeine--stimulants generally have an opposite effect on ADHD patients than they do on healthy patients. Instead of causing them to bounce off the wall stimulants generally are calming to ADHD sufferers. I have heard first-hand from people who reported that caffeine DID help to calm their child and to focus, and certainly it's much less risky than amphetamines. If that does not work, find a physician that specializes in ADD/ADHD, talk extensively about your concerns with your doctor and come up with a plan together for your child. Hope this helped.