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ADHD in Boys

Took my son off his meds for anger issues

New to forum and slightly desperate, glad to have found my way here!

My son just turned 13.  He was diagnosed with moderate to severe ADHD at the age of 5 1/2.  We elected to go the medication route and he was put on Concerta.  The dosage was upped approximately every 3-6 months until he stabled out at 72 milligrams.  He’s been on 72 milligrams for about 6 years now.  About 3-6 months ago, he started having anger management issues and becoming depressed and withdrawn.  Disrespect to teachers at school, at home, etc…  It’s been progressively getting worse.  After talking to his doctor and researching side effects, we elected to take him off his meds.  The doctor, his counselor, and my husband and I believed the meds and hitting puberty were a big contributing factor to his anger issues. 

He’s been off the meds since last Friday.  He’s a different boy!  He’s happy, he smiles all the time, he dances around the house, he gets over conflict almost immediately.  BUT, he’s almost out-of-control-hyper.  He is off the wall!  We’re worried about when he goes back to school (he was suspended due to his smart mouth).  My son is SCARED about going back.  He said 1) if I can’t police myself around those who love me, what’s it going to be like when I can’t police myself at school where no one loves me, and 2) he doesn’t feel smart anymore. (He’s gifted). 

We know his body needs to get used to not being on the medication anymore.  He has all that seratonin and dopamine running through his body now that the meds aren’t inhibiting them.  We’re NOT willing to do meds again as all of them have a possible side effect of anger and depression plus HE doesn’t want back on them.  He said he likes being happy and smiling again. 

Thoughts on alternative treatments?  Thoughts on the school system?  I’m a former social worker so I’m familiar with behavior mod and whatnot but it’s a different story when it’s your own kid, lol. 

The school is being pretty accomodating right now.  They’re willing to let him doodle/have a stress ball to keep his hands occupied, they’re willing to let him leave class to talk to the guidance counselor if he gets too frustrated.  But what I’m searching for is ways to help him focus, ways to help HIM recognize when he needs to take a step back.

Thanks in advance!


I’m not much help but would like to follow this thread.  my son is 6 and we are going through the exact situation.  best of luck to you and your family.

Posted by kimbader on Nov 22, 2013 at 3:27am

I don’t know exactly what you’re going through, but I can somewhat relate to the anger issues. My 10 year old son is on Strattera for ADHD. We upped his dose a few months ago from 40 to 60mg and the anger issues he had were unbearable for me, as they were directed to only me. After doing some research, I found that anger is a side effect from medication and had him switched from 60mg to 50mg. It has made a world of difference in his anger, but the medication doesn’t last as long throughout the day. I know you said you’re unwilling to put him back on medication, and I applaud you for that. I just wish I could be of help and give advice as to where to go from here, but I struggle with the same thing each day when my son comes home from school. Best of luck to you and your family.

Posted by adavidson1982 on Nov 22, 2013 at 4:04am

I am overwhelmed with the amount of similarities that families are having and the medical community has yet to address this need. I would like to follow this thread. I do not have the answer but I am doing research with other experts to find some solutions and then see what works. I am willing to share the results I find.


Posted by charris on Nov 22, 2013 at 7:24pm

I don’t have any answers either.  Our son is 13 and has terrible reactions to any kind of medication…stimulant and non-stimulant (we have tried 4 total) and also homeopathic/naturopathic.  His doctors (MD and ND) don’t know the answer either except to say that some kids are not able to metabolize any kind of medication.  Lucky us….it’s so depressing to not be able to help your child!
Hopefully someone out there has answers! Take care.

Posted by mick5719 on Nov 22, 2013 at 7:41pm

I’m here to let you know that it does get better. I still have struggles but it’s not as bad as it use to be.  When I took my son off of meds I started researching everything that I can do to help him. I’ve changed his eating habits which is adding protein to his diet. All he like eating is carbs, no veg & no fruits. Now I have him eat more protein and give him the essential vitamins that they say ADHD kids are lacking, such as DHA, magnesium, zince, vitamin B etc…. I also found a Brain Resource Center that help with ADD/ADHD, Cognitive training and mood disorders. It was very expensive so I had to stop but I saw a big difference in my son. Google and see if you have anything like that in your area that has neurofeedback, biofeedback, CBT, etc….

Hope I was able to help.  Just know it will get better smile .

Posted by stressedmom on Nov 22, 2013 at 7:48pm

My son is almost 6 and has ADHD, ODD, depression and sever anger issues. The one thing that has been great is his teacher allows me to text her anytime to let her know what’s going on with him that day. It has been a struggle already so I feel your pain. Have you thought about online school also? The one offered in my state allows them to take field trips also. It be a good alternative. Diet and exercise has also ben shown to work also to relieve stresses during exercise and limiting sugars, etc.
I hope you find answers! Best of luck!

Posted by cseebs84 on Nov 22, 2013 at 11:38pm

When I first went off my medication I also felt happy again, forgot what that felt like, I was so used to feeling like a zombie or robot for so long but I was focused.  For the first few weeks to maybe 2 months there will be a lot of adjustment with his body like he may go through terrible tired spells where he wont want to get out of bed, or maybe depression, crying a lot, or lashing out, depends on what kind of meds he was on and for how long.  I was only on them for over a year and it did a number on me when I decided to go all natural istead of the strong addicting medications.  Good Luck and after a couple months he will be fine, make sure he eats his fruits and veggies, protein shakes, not pizza and doritos or he will feel crazy and uncontrollable to himself.  Gluten Free is a must and organic too.  Red and Yellow food dye is a huge no no for adhd people, sugar causes crashes.  Good luck again and I hope you keep him off of those medicaitons hes old enough now to notice what works and what doesn’t.

Posted by BexIssues on Nov 23, 2013 at 7:14am

My 11 year old has also become withdrawn and angry. It’s hard to even Speak to him because he is so angry. He also is violent when he doesn’t get his way. He hits and kicks me and I don’t know how to help him. We’ve recently switched meds to see if it helps. It’s been 1 1/2 weeks and there is no change. Do I take him off meds entirely and hope for the best in school?  How do I help him?

Posted by sleroux on Nov 25, 2013 at 2:46am

sleroux maybe he just needs to switch meds or his meds are too high for his body to handle, if that doesn’t work then wean him off of the drugs and see how he does.

Posted by BexIssues on Nov 25, 2013 at 6:17am

When I was diagnosed with Celiacs disease, we decided to make the entire gluten free (and dairy free grain free and sugar free as we discovered more issues) But the most amazing thing was seeing the enormous difference this diet change made in my 2 ADHD kids. We have been able to drop their Med dosages dramatically. I would definitely look into it. I had to see to believe. Lots of great resources online for this.

Posted by on Dec 07, 2013 at 5:59pm

lefever.five that is the best thing I’ve heard since being part of this additude site.  Thank you so much for sharing.  I try so hard to teach people about adhd and going gluten free and no one listens and no one tries it out.  I also was able to completely go off of meds (took a while though) once gluten free.

Thank you again for telling that story, made my day

Posted by BexIssues on Dec 10, 2013 at 10:12pm

Whst about short acting Ritalin, low dose during school? This is always an option if he can’t focus at school…

Posted by Starla571 on Dec 19, 2013 at 6:55am

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