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 in Boys

No meds decision...

Hello All,

Is a no-meds decision always wrong?
My 6+ year old has been quite unmanageable when younger but as years are passing by we do feel it is lot manageable. However the daydreaming and too much talking, unorganisedness is very much there.

While I do assist him in studies, he usually gets good grades. I read a lot abt ADHD kids lagging behind in studies. I wonder if his good grades are due to our efforts in reading to him and giving him lots of exposure (which just kinda happened).

Sometimes, it feels promising. Sometimes, I wonder if he will be able to manage his life without us.

Thank you already for sharing your thoughts on this dilemma.



Not all ADHD is the same. I believe sometimes as a child grows to be more mature, the ADHD is easier to manage. I don’t give my son meds anymore cause he hates them and am sick of multiple trips to the doctor to adjust medication.

I think if you can get your child into healthy habits, right diet, enough exercise and nutritional supplements you can manage ADHD.

Posted by Maceystars on Aug 31, 2014 at 5:30pm

Thank you for your reply Maceystars!

Diet yes we do control. But he is young and the moment we are out of the situation (like a kiddie bday party), he will feast on whatever he gets hold of!

He does listen at home. He will have lesser sweets and all. But Will he self control come some day?

He does get good exercise playing with kids nearby. And socially he is kinda ok as of now. I don’t give him any supplements though. I read articles. I try to cover the protein and vitamins through diet only. Any supplements that are must-haves for a big diff?

Thank you so much!

Posted by Leanz on Aug 31, 2014 at 5:49pm

I knew something was up with my son in Preschool, but had no idea it was ADHD until he was in grade 4.  We didn’t start medication until last year in grade 6 (middle school).  I wish we’d started him on medication in grade 5, but before that he really didn’t need it.  Yes, he was a little impulsive and did things without thinking, but he had friends and generally things were good at school.  His grades were good.  And we were managing with different strategies at home.  Of course I had to fight each year to get a teacher that would work well with him (accommodations, etc. though I didn’t know that’s what they were called at the time).  It was a lot of work, but I think he did fine without meds.

Last year was a huge transition for him. His grades started to drop and so did his self esteem.  He started acting out of frustration and was very anxious.  I pushed to have him seen by someone who really knew about ADHD and they recommended medication.  I agreed and it helped tremendously.  His anxiety dropped and everything became a little more manageable.

I think he should have started on the medication a year earlier, but he had two teachers that weren’t terribly perceptive and they missed the signs that he was starting to struggle.  He basically spent all last year making up for that year… learning the things he missed because he wasn’t able to focus on the way the teacher was teaching.  I’m hoping now that he’s caught up and on the medication that things will be easier next year, but I notice that *all* of his ADHD symptoms (at home, emotions, etc.) are increasing as he gets older.  I’m hoping this is because he’s 12 and headed into puberty and that they’ll ease off again once he’s through this tough age.

Posted by Rai0414 on Aug 31, 2014 at 7:14pm

Whether you go with meds or not, you’ll need to learn as much as you can about ADHD as you can.  Become an expert.  Then you’ll know what your child is capable of and what he needs support in.

After that, he’ll need at least 10 hours of sleep per night (ADHD kids often have troubles getting to sleep and/or staying asleep.  This is crucial.  Symptoms are always worse if they’re not getting enough.

Exercise is important.  And protein at every meal.  And you can also try Omega 3.  Make sure it’s a high quality brand.

Posted by Rai0414 on Aug 31, 2014 at 7:18pm

We don’t do meds, but we also homeschool, I will say I notice a difference if he gets good excercise
And I watch his protein, he has a Cliff Builder 20 grams of protein, for breakfast most mornings.
Also in my neighbourhood Most parents are helping their kids with their school work, and that has nothing to do with ADHD,
I think if he’s happy and you feel he feels successful without meds , then don’t worry, just do your research and stay open minded for what may come.

Posted by Anna from toronto on Aug 31, 2014 at 10:44pm

Thank you Rai0414 and Anna from Toronto for your replies.

Yes, I have observed he needs more sleep to feel fresh. Didn’t know it was due to ADHD!
Also In general yes he is happy and doing good in school. May be I am thinking too ahead in time. Sometimes I am relaxed. Sometimes I don’t have anyone around to understand my worries. Thanks a ton again!

Posted by Leanz on Sep 01, 2014 at 5:10pm

I have no support at my school or in my neighborhood. So, joining this magazine and educating myself is helping a lot. Thanks for teaching me. Take care

Posted by brad12 on Sep 01, 2014 at 6:57pm

Same here brad12! I didn’t know how to put it. No support at school and neighbourhood. And so less people coming in daily contact with my son actually understand any of these things. It’s so easy to mistake him for a purposeful troublemaker. :-(

Posted by Leanz on Sep 02, 2014 at 12:04pm

You have to find the balance between helping and harming. If you help too much all through their childhood, you can actually harm them because they won’t be able to do for themselves. At some point, you have to begin to take a step back and be more of a facilitator and a soft place to land. That point is different for every child, but I feel like it’s older than six years old.

It sounds like, right now, he’s doing well without medication. You will recognize if things go downhill and can consider medication at that time. Or, if you begin to take a step back and he cannot manage on his own (at an appropriate age), that may signal that it’s time to consider medication (

ADDconnect Moderator, Author & Mom to Tween Boy with ADHD and LDs

Posted by adhdmomma on Sep 02, 2014 at 3:54pm

“Is a no-meds decision always wrong?”

Of course not smile

First of all, there are no absolutes for anything, in any aspect of life.

My son has never been medicated and is doing just fine. Would he get better grades on meds? Yes, but so would everyone. This doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have ADHD, it just means that he’s (we’ve all) learned strategies to deal with it.

One thing I need to stress - this is the big difference between meds and no meds - is that meds, when you find the right type, provide quick results, whereas other interventions (diet, exercise, tutoring, behavior management, etc) require patience, but they do, in fact, work.

It is ABSOLUTELY NOT WRONG to decide not to medicate your child. You do what you think is best, and not what others pressure you to do.

Posted by OopsForgotAgain on Sep 03, 2014 at 5:34am

Thank you Adhdmomma! Very good piece of advice, in general too for parenting! Really appreciate!

Thank you OopsForgotAgainfor sharing your experiences of your son.  It’s a different satisfaction when you get to hear what you secretly are really hoping to hear. A big part of me do not want to medicate him. But sometimes wondered if I was just being stubborn and actually depriving him of help that is possible.

Thank you all of you for hearing me out and for the support!


Posted by Leanz on Sep 03, 2014 at 5:32pm

There’s nothing wrong with using ADHD medication for an ADHD kid.  There’s also nothing wrong with not using it.  But we need to be letting go of our own preconceived ideas and prejudices.  Some kids need medication.  Some don’t.  *That* should be the deciding factor, not whether we want to medicate or not. Not because our friends/family think it’s a good idea or not.  Not because society thinks it’s a good thing or not.  But because our kids do or don’t need it!  This isn’t a political debate!  It shouldn’t be a hot topic.  It shouldn’t be something that makes you feel guilty one way or another.  If your son needed glasses, would you feel guilty getting them for him?  What if he did just fine moving a little closer to the board instead?  Would that be ok?  Why does medication have to have this stigma attached to it?  If you’ve educated yourself on ADHD and have basically become an expert on it, you should have confidence in your decision.

My son didn’t need medication for most of elementary school.  Could he have gone on it?  Sure.  Could it have helped?  Probably.  Might the possible side effects have outweighed the possible benefits?  At that point, probably yes.  But then he hit middle school and things exploded.  Accommodations and spectacular teachers and structure and support weren’t cutting it anymore.  His self esteem crashed and his anxiety spiked. Do you know how many 11 year olds commit suicide?  Way too many.  My son needed more help and medication was it.  I don’t feel guilt about it at all.  I feel like I made an informed choice that I think is the right choice for my son.  Not for me.  Not for the teachers.  Not for anyone else but him.

Posted by Rai0414 on Sep 03, 2014 at 7:31pm

BTW, that’s a general rant… not one directed at anyone in particular.  Just frustrated that this is even an issue.  :(

Posted by Rai0414 on Sep 03, 2014 at 7:32pm

Cool it! May be its frustrating for one person after 11 years of exposure and study. Someone else is just starting off. I do not know how to put it to explain how alone I am here in all this study. Am I an expert? In this part of the world, yes, I am. For example if I go out right now and tell neighbours about ADHD, they might even ask, is it viral?
Discussion on meds with people around is unthinkable!

Posted by Leanz on Sep 04, 2014 at 2:07pm

I didn’t mean to irritate anyone. Really sorry if it was too naive. I would like to close the discussion from my side. Thank you for the replies.

Posted by Leanz on Sep 04, 2014 at 5:55pm

Sorry, I think you took my last comments wrong… I’m just frustrated that society, or family, or friends, or teachers, or even doctors, feel it’s their right to guilt us into doing or not doing something about medicating our ADHD kids.  Around here (I’m in Canada), the general perception is that ADHD is overdiagnosed, maybe not even real, and that lazy parents medicate their poor kids.  I’ve also heard the opposite (generally from down in the States, but not always) where doctors push medications on kids as soon as they’re diagnosed and make parents feel guilty if they choose not to medicate.  That’s wrong.  Both are wrong.  There shouldn’t be guilt.  There should just be information so parents can make the best possible decisions for their individual kids.

It sounds like your son is doing well without medication. You’re his parent and you know him best and want the best for him.  You shouldn’t feel guilt over your decision.You should feel supported.

I didn’t medicate my son either at that age.  Of course he wasn’t diagnosed until age 9 (so actually I’ve only had exposure for a couple years), but I still wouldn’t have at that age.  He was doing just fine with accommodations, etc. If you had asked me if I would have medicated my ADHD kid back then, I probably would have spouted all the propaganda I’d heard on why ADHD medication is bad.  And then my son was diagnosed and I learned about it and I decided it wasn’t for my son, but for some kids it must be the right decision.  And then my son hit middle school and his life pretty much imploded.  Medication became the right decision for him.  But that still doesn’t mean it’s the right decision for every kid.

The answer to your question is no, of course a no-meds decision isn’t always wrong.  I was just trying to say a no-meds decision isn’t always right either.  And no one can tell you what’s right or wrong for your own kid except them.  They need to be the priority and their well-being needs to be paramount.

That’s all I was ranting about.

Posted by Rai0414 on Sep 04, 2014 at 6:27pm

Nah I’m not under pressure at all from anyone. No one around us knows abt it!

“The answer to your question is no, of course a no-meds decision isn’t always wrong.  I was just trying to say a no-meds decision isn’t always right either”—
Hmm this was spot on. Makes sense.
Thanks!! grin

Posted by Leanz on Sep 05, 2014 at 1:43pm

OK. I think it’s time we had a frank, honest discussion about the overdiagnosis of ADHD  and the overprescribing of stimulants. In what I have seen in my practice, stimulants are given out much like Junior Mints with very little regard to either of the two (yes, remember, there’s TWO…and I know there’s been a lot of contradictory evidence about the cardiovascular stuff recently….but there’s still that OTHER one…) black box warnings. I see them given (on a regular basis, I’m afraid) to people who suffer from psychosis, seizure disorders, and, in the most egregious case, to a patient with known methamphetamine dependence.

These are serious, powerful drugs with serious side effects. By the way, in any of the statistics above, did anyone think to wonder that anxiety is one of the most common side effects of stimulants? This leads to the other problem I see on a regular basis: the co-prescribing of benzodiazepines to those individuals on stimulants. In most cases, what does it serve us to give, basically, an upper AND a downer to the same individual…?

Ever wonder why there’s such a shortage of stimulants? Have we stopped to ask ourselves if this is an iatrogenic problem? Maybe, just maybe, (gasp!) could we be overprescribing these medications?

Let’s also consider the abuse potential of these medications (remember that pesky OTHER black box warning?). There is little, if any, regard given to the abuse potential from what I have witnessed. Have any of us reviewed the statistics of stimulants diversion/abuse recently? Have they increased or decreased over the last few years?

Let’s have that sensible discussion about stimulant prescribing. And let’s remember that what’s best for our patients is not simply granting their every prescription wish.

Posted by Steptach on Sep 16, 2014 at 1:44pm

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