New Issue!

Spring 2017 Issue ADDitude magazine Read the 'ADHD Therapies That Work' issue now!

The New ADDitude Forums Are Live!

Reach our full community by posting to ADDitude's discussion forums here

ADHD Professionals

ADHD, ODD, chronically tired teen disengaging with school


15yr old son ADHD, ODD, chronically tired and disengaging school
Posted by heather3 to ADHD Professionals on Jan 28, 2014

Our son is 15.5 years old with ADHD inattentive type, chronic sleep issues, currently on Seroquel at night and vyvanse in the day. He is designated gifted. He is suffering with chronically being fatigued, and is more oppositional than ever, He refuses to do school work and rarely makes it to 2nd class. He has good friends but, they are now starting to experiment with pot and he finds it helpful to relax himself. He does not use alcohol.
Our family is falling apart given the differences in approach between myself and my husband. I am late for work and cancelling morning clients trying to support my child. I am exhausted.
My son is going downhill monthly and it is very hard to watch. He is also dealing with depression but decided to stop his medication last month so his irritability and oppositional manner is worse.
If anyone has any suggestions I would very much appreciate this. At this point my straight A student is failing academic classes. He simply isn’t making the lectures and can no longer rely on his intellectual giftedness to get him through.
He sees himself as ‘messed up’ and ‘going nowhere’.


Talk to his doctor about the fatigue and other issues with his current medication regimen. Maybe it’s time to try something new. Be sure to spell out your expectations too. We parents of children with ADHD often use their differences as an excuse, but that is not a wise approach. I would ask him to see a therapist weekly too, until he gets back on track.

Hang in there!

ADDconnect Moderator & Mom to Tween Boy with ADHD and LDs

Posted by adhdmomma on Jan 29, 2014 at 9:45pm

My heart goes out to you. Having tried traditional routes, I invite you to talk to a functional medicine specialist. There have been a number of success stories among my coaching clients in Indiana!
I have had positive experience myself going this route. Good luck!

Posted by Lisa Boester (lisa@artoflifeindy. Boester on Jan 29, 2014 at 10:07pm

Seroquel has stong Histamine 1 receptor antagonizing effects if I recall correctly- sedating, but if the dose is too high, the effects may last longer than desired.

For sleep issues some people with ADHD actually find Melatonin helps (yes people on stimulants). Due to its price and safety its worth a try.

I have taken Seroquel and it only provided mild benefit. I find Abilify much better and not sedating. If you look at its receptor profile it effects many serotonin receptor subtypes implicated in emotional and stress regulation in the Prefrontal Cortex (superior to other drugs). I have tried all the atypical neuroleptics and its been a miracle for me. It also lacks sexual and hormonal side effects, QTc interval prolongation on heart function, is often effective at quite low doses.

You’d have to check for contradictions/interactions and of course discuss with your professional.

Also Clonidine is often used at night to help people with ADHD sleep (and it reduces ADHD symptoms as well).

Not giving you advice, only avenues for inquiry with your doctor.

Posted by MadAussie on Feb 26, 2014 at 6:13am

Oh of course, never neglect to enquire about life issues as well.

Do remember that your son is 15, regardless of how intelligent he is.

My brother is also of very high intelligence. Although he does not have ADHD, he was not only smoking Marijuana, but tripping on LSD, and taking various other drugs at that age. He proceeded to get Honors at university before going down the career path.

Never neglect to look at issues in your sons life, and look at the relationship between you both with a loving eye. 15 is often one of the hardest years in adolescence. Usually maturity has increased significantly by age 17.

Your near the end of the war I think, don’t give up, stay positive, but remember your son is becoming his own person, and he may take directions you do not like. Authoritarian attitudes in my experience do NOT help such situations. Not saying that’s your attitude, just a caution against getting too controlling or tough smile

Oh one further tip. People at that age can struggle with sexuality issues. Not the most comfortable topic, but you want to make sure he is not “lonely and wanting a girlfriend (or boyfriend!)”. Or he may have other sexuality issues. They are more common than many people think and can profoundly impact mood.

Hope you don’t think this is complete garbage advice smile

Posted by MadAussie on Feb 26, 2014 at 6:20am

I would find a doctor who can administer an IgG and IgA food intolerance (not allergy) test first. Food intolerances can cause ADHD symptoms as well as affect the thyroid and adrenals which can cause sleep issues. Also if the body is out of balance in terms of vitamin and minerals, which can happen with a food intolerance, then symptoms including ODD can develop. This is exactly what happened to our kid. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are food intolerances at the bottom of this issue.

The second thing I would check after the food issues is his primitive reflexes. You have to find a specialist trained in this specifically. Most OTs and PTs don’t have this training unless they have studied it outside of their basic training. Look up websites and practitioner recommendations for one of these programs and get him tested. Blomberg Rhythmic Movement Training, Rhythmic Movement Training International, or Masgutova Method. These are the only programs that teach this. Primitive reflexes that are causing issues can cause a myrid of symptoms including ODD, anxiety, fear, hyperactivity or in-activity, attention etc…
Good Luck!

Posted by theparkersrus on Mar 16, 2014 at 5:35am

You’ve gotten wonderful suggestions so far. Everything above is well intentioned and well thought out.

Also take very good care of yourself. It’s not selfish, it’s efficient. I mean not just very good care, pamper yourself.

Your emotional connection is quicksand, the more you struggle, the more you are trapped. I wonder if you can set his issues as a third party in the room which you and your son look at objectively, no emotion .... just an interesting project.

If you really want to change the beat you can imagine he is the adopted son of a distant third cousin whom you have never met but, nevertheless, have decided to assist.

Posted by John Tucker, PhD, ACG. ADHD Coach on Mar 16, 2014 at 5:59am

Reply to this thread

You must be logged in to reply. To log in, click here.
Not a member? Join ADDConnect today. It's free and easy!

Not a member yet? Join here »

Search the ADDConnect Group Discussions