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Parents of ADHD Children

Stimulants vs Nonstimulants


My daughter was diagnosed with ADHD in August of last year.  She also has sensory issues.  She started on Focalin XR and was doing better but having rebound issues at the end of the day and had a bit of a decrease in appetite.  She was switched to generic Adderall XR due to cost/insurance.  We noticed her appetite decrease even more.  She lost 13 pounds in four months, so we decided to take a break from the stimulants.  She was also getting very moody and more argumentative.  She was also becoming hypersensitive, if you will (freaking out if the dog licked her pants, for example).  We hoped that we could find a more natural way to treat the ADHD symptoms, but nothing has really worked (essential oils, supplements, diet, etc.).

I was reading Taking Charge of ADHD by Russell Barkley last night.  In the book he mentioned that kids with anxiety might actually do better on nonstimulants since the nonstimulants (like Strattera) can also help decrease the defiant and oppositional behaviors and that the stimulant medications can actually make the anxiety worse.  We think that anxiety could also be an issue for her since her dad and I both suffer from anxiety.  In fact, I am going to see my own doctor tomorrow about going back on meds to help my own anxiety.

Our daughter has an appointment on Wednesday to discuss our treatment options.  We are probably going to go ahead and try the Strattera and if that does not help maybe think about going back to Focalin XR or trying a different stimulant (not generic Adderall XR).  Our doctor did tell us that Strattera probably will not help as much with the hyperactivity as a stimulant would, but that it was worth trying.  If it will help with anxiety, that would be an added bonus.

I was just wondering if anyone from their personal experience had any input as to which they had found most beneficial for their situation (stimulant vs. nonstimulant).

Thank you so much for any insight you can offer.


My dd 11 takes 10 mg of strattera & it works wonderfully for her.  The side effects of the stimulants was too much for us.  She has had no side effects with the strattera.  She also struggles with mild anxiety.


Posted by hal6242 on Jan 21, 2014 at 4:30am

My son also suffers from anxiety and he cannot take stimulants.  He had a bad experience with intuniv, so currently he is not on anything.  I think the next medication for us would be Strattera.  I wish he could take stimulants because they work quickly and well, but he can’t.  Check with your doctor and see if a non-stimulant would work better.  Good luck.

Posted by americangothic95 on Jan 21, 2014 at 6:44am

My 8yr old son is ADD inattentive and suffers from anxiety. We are treating the anxiety with Zoloft. He tried intunive and straterra with no success. The first stimulant we tried was concerta which sent his anxiety and anxiety related behaviors thru the roof! We have since switched to Dexedrine which is also a stimulant but it made an immediate amazing positive change in his ability to focus and we had no issues with increased anxiety. He did have a short term problem with picking at his fingers which is an anxiety related tic but it has subsided and we are very happy with what we’re seeing. After over a year trying to get the meds right I think so much just depends on the child and finding the right med for their individual needs.

Posted by brlk13 on Jan 21, 2014 at 8:44am

Thank you all for taking the time to respond.  My daughter was diagnosed with ADHD combined type.  I like how the stimulants work quickly but not the decrease in appetite.  It is hard to work around since she is a picky eater.  After going on Adderall XR (generic) she complained of food not tasting good and it was battle to get her to eat anything.  It was also making it harder for her to sleep.  The good news is that her doctor told me they sometimes has trial packs to try to start to see if it will work before having to spend a lot of money on a medication that might not work.  Our doctor has told us that a stimulant would probably work better to address the hyperactivity but Strattera might be worth trying. Thank you again.  grin

Posted by mjsmom73 on Jan 21, 2014 at 8:53am

My six year old has high anxiety and OCD.  We have taken Intuniv for 3 months with wonderful results.  Her ADHD is combined type n symptoms are gone.  Her anxiety n OCD so much better.  We are so happy.

Posted by lope on Jan 21, 2014 at 5:17pm

Holly & lope, I am so happy to hear that your kids have had good success with nonstimulants.  It gives me hope that maybe the Strattera will work out for us.  We were actually supposed to go back next week, but I requested to move her appointment up due to the fact that she was having such a hard time coping without medication.  I hope the stimulants keeps working well for both of you.  Thank you both for your encouraging replies.  grin

Posted by mjsmom73 on Jan 21, 2014 at 8:19pm

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