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help or guidance plz

hi
my 6 year old so to be 7 year old son has been diagnosed with combined adhd. his pedi first stop was to put him on meds. now i have nothing agents meds, but i dont want it to be our first stop. i asked the doctor about alternatives, and her answer was alternatives are garbage and to stop reading anything about them on-line because the dont work and there is no proof they do any good or work. i was shooked, most i talk to said there doctor was encoring to try different things. but i told her i was ready to try meds just yet, she wasnt to happy but said ill give you 3 month to try your way then come back and when you see it dosnt work we’ll put him on meds she gave me a ton to read all on meds but i didn’t find any of it help full. the 3 months she gave me a had a hard time find anyone to help me in the medical i did find a homeopath doctor but none of her help is covered by our insurance ( were in canada in case you are wondering) i tried to change his diet but between his father not help at all and only having 3 months to get the changes working i didnt get anywhere close to find anything, when i went back i told we were going the way we where now so i could have more time to get other thing in place and try them first. i am going this alone no one in my family is behind me and my son’s grandmother thinks its all about me do what i want to prove a point to the doctor, or that i wont give up because i dont want to be defeated, why cant people see i am doing what i think is best for my son, that if there is something natural or better the medication, then thats the way i want to go first. i am so frustrated with everyone around me for not trying to support me and trust i know my son and whats best for him. my own health problem dont help either ( i was diagnosed with depression 4-5 years ago i am on meds and doing the best i can) i looking for help advice and guidance plz i am feeling so lost.

Replies

You are doing absolutely what is right for your child.  Medication was a last resort for my child but a step we ultimately had to take.  However, every child is different.  We have friends and family members who are able to manage their children’s ADHD with exercise, supplements, behavioral therapy, and diet changes.  We watch sugar, food dyes, no artificial sweeteners, no nitrates etc-pretty much try to eat as clean as possible.  Our son takes fish oil supplements every day.  We have a trampoline in the backyard which helps a lot.  We do therapy with a neuropsychologist every 2 weeks.  Good luck to you!  Explore all of your options, your child may or may not need meds in addition to changes in diet exercise therapy and strict routine/schedule.

Posted by Jr Litigator on May 05, 2014 at 4:20pm

Hi,
My son is 4 and was diagnosed with sensory integration disorder at 3 months and ADHD at 2 years old. 
He was treated by a GP who is also a qualified Homeopath.  He was on drops since he was 3 months old and it did wonders.  I haven’t taken him back as his dad’s insurance doesn’t cover it.

I only give anti-anxiety meds nothing else; as prescribed by his pediatrician.  I do not believe in the rest and dealing with medical personnel and research on a daily basis I say no to meds and side-effects, but that’s just me. 

Take a moment and breathe.  I am a single mom since my son was 15 months old and his dad doesn’t support him at all.  It is hard, very hard but you can do it regardless of family and spousal support.

First things first - trust your gut.  We have been given a natural instinct for right and wrong when it comes to our kids.

My son has been battling with his diet for years now, do not think you will fix it in 3 months.  See what he likes, popcorn, yogurt etc.  Make a list and slowly introduce new tastes and textures.  If he only wants to eat a certain thing don’t fight too much.  Give a good multivitamin - ADDVance and EyeQ works for my son.

Go and seek alternative help, it’s nonsense that it doesn’t work; it does.  I have ADD myself and I know alternative meds do work, depending on what you use.  Make sure you get a good practitioner to work with.

My son goes to equi-therapy.  It incorporates occupational therapy while riding and helps him calm down.  Music also helps when is too hyper. As I live in South Africa treatment is limited as is schools if you don’t have a lot of money; so I use what I have.

Please do not let your family interfere.  You as a mom need to trust yourself.  You have a long road to go and as hard as it is for you imagine what it is like for your son. 

Drugs are manufactured to control, suppress and modify certain brain chemicals or actions. If you can deal with emotional problems; which will occur due to the stimulation, work and changes he will go through do it.

Maybe find a good child psychologist he can talk to, play therapy etc. and you need to talk to someone to.  I’ve only recently come to realize I need to talk to someone as well, it is stressful to look after the needs of another and special needs aren’t easy.

Depression, anxiety etc. for a parent trying to cope with these conditions are pretty normal.  I deal with my own ups and downs and have to deal with ADD myself.  You need to take care of yourself.  If you can take a day off, go see a movie (leave your son with his dad) have tea somewhere and do something nice for yourself.  I realize that is the hardest part; taking care of self.

You can contact me anytime if you want to chat; being a single mom I know how daunting this is.

Posted by OliviaJane on May 05, 2014 at 4:23pm

I wish I had better news for you, but I have to agree with your doc. Although there are things you can do, things that I do, that reduce the effects of ADHD on your child, without meds, he really won’t function like he should without them.

Here are some steps I take to help my son function better. First, we have a strict morning, after school, and bedtime routine. When I say after school, I mean that I have gotten a job working on the Internet so that I can pick him up right after school. We go straight home and do homework. I don’t stop at the bank or the store. We go straight home. There is nothing else. That being said, I think the bedtime is the most important as they help with sleep. I don’t think my son would function as well as he does without his 10 hours of sleep per night every night. Poor sleep can make symptoms much worse.

I also give my son supplements in the morning and at night. Some of these supplements, such as EPA Omega 3, are meant to help with motor coordination deficits associated with ADHD. Some, such as PS, are to help with memory and visual processing. Finally, some, such as melitonin and L-theanine are to help him relax and go to sleep at night.

Another thing I do is give him a high protein, low sugar diet. We also avoid artificial dyes such as Reds #1 and #40 and Yellows #5 and 6 along with the preservative sodium benzoate.

At school, he receives OT and Speech services as well as Resource for handwriting. He gets extra time on tests and is allowed to type homework assignments. All of this is stipulated in his IEP. By the way, I pushed for a full eval and got him an IEP. The services he gets through the school help him with social functioning.

Finally, I take him to the Cleveland Clinic to see a special doctor. This doctor has worked with me to help find the right meds for my son because they don’t all work the same. Currently, he takes 5 mg of short acting Ritalin in the morning and wears a Ritalin patch. He also takes 1mg of Intuniv, a non-stimulant. If you don’t like the idea of giving stimulants to your kid, you might consider trying them first although I don’t think they work as well alone as in combination with Ritalin. We tried extended release pills. They seemed to make him worse and I got calls from the school just about every day telling me my son was spacing out and not able to concentrate on his work. To prevent you from reusing it, the patch has been over engineered to take off a layer of skin cells. So, it causes a little irritation. But, the difference with and without it is like night and day. My son goes to school on the bus without any problems and I don’t get daily calls from the nurse. If your child genuinely has ADHD, your probably going to need to put him on meds. That being the case, I recommend you enlist the help of a specialist.

That is what I do for my son to help him. Sorry if that isn’t what you wanted to hear. None the less, I hope you found it helpful.
Sue H in PC, Ohio

Posted by SueH on May 05, 2014 at 4:34pm

A friend of mine is lucky enough to have a relative who is an excellent acupuncturist and naturopath of herbal meds and homeopathic treatments.  He worked extensively with her son in many aspects trying to get the AHDH under control. They also went elsewhere to try biofeedback.  Nothing seemed to work for them.
I realize everyone is different and what works for one , may not work for another.
Exercise and activity is beneficial for everyone but should be mandatory for anyone with ADHD.  Can you increase the amount of activity your son has before he goes to school.  Also, stay away from video games, they seem to exasperate the problem.

Posted by use2be on May 05, 2014 at 5:32pm

I’m sorry to hear you’re struggling. The diagnosis is one of the toughest parts, then you have to decide what to do about it.

Since ADHD isn’t a physical handicap, I think it’s easy for people to downplay it. If your son was missing a leg, you wouldn’t make him hop around. You’d get him something to help him walk.

If you went to the dr and had high blood pressure, your dr would say to try diet and exercise, but after a few months if that wasn’t working, they’d want to medicate you. Would you continue to fight with your dr to prove you could do it, or would you take the blood pressure medication to help your body?

Having uncontrolled adhd is hurting your son. It hurts his idea of himself, it hurts his relationship with everyone in his life, it makes him come up with bad coping skills. Everything in his life is harder with uncontrolled adhd. Why are you making him hop around on one leg when medicine might make his life so much better?

Posted by linkybo on May 05, 2014 at 6:30pm

My son was diagnosed over 2 years ago and we’re also from Canada (BC).  It seems like there’s a strong anti-medication vibe up here.  That’s ok… I don’t think we should be pushing people onto drugs, but if people actually need them, there shouldn’t be a stigma or any guilt.

I have to say, I think probably your paediatrician is right.  Other things will make a difference to your son (exercise, at least 10 hours of sleep per night, good quality omega 3, a high protein diet), but medication will have the biggest impact.  But what a horrible way to put it to you!!

It sounds like they didn’t mention what you need to do to support him and what accommodations are necessary in school.  (This is the same problem I had with the paediatrician we saw and why I pushed to get sent to the ADHD clinic at the Children’s Hospital here.)  It makes you feel like it’s medication or nothing, and that’s not the right picture at all!  Even with medication, your son will need so much support and help and accommodations to succeed.  My son just started on medication, but he still needs all the other support, accommodations, etc. that we were doing before.  There’s no way medication alone will “fix” ADHD!

The #1 thing you can do for your son is to become an expert in ADHD.  Learn as much as you can so you can support him the way he needs it.  Once you truly understand you’ll be able to make an educated decision on medication.

Two years ago my son was 9 and getting fine grades.  The paediatrician told us he didn’t need medication and sent us on our way. I was fine with no medication, but I wasn’t fine with not getting any other support! So I went out and learned as much as I could about ADHD.  We changed some things we did at home and his teachers implemented some accommodations at school.  He did ok.  When my son hit middle school this year (age 11) things got worse though.  His grades dropped, his self esteem was terrible, he was getting into serious trouble and he was near a mental breakdown.  I pushed and got him in to see a psychiatrist who deals only with kids.  We got him on medication and things turned around.  The medication doesn’t change him as a person at all (you hear the horror stories of the zombie kids… those are kids who aren’t on the right dosage or medication).  In fact, many of the ADHD qualities are still there.  The difference is that he’s able to focus on what he needs to a little better, and he’s more willing to try.  Even his friendships have improved (something the medication helps with that you don’t always consider).

When I started on this journey, I had no intentions of putting my son on medication.  Now I honestly wish we’d tried it sooner.  I think he missed out on some learning last year and now he’s behind.  His grades had been good, but he’s a smart kid so he’d been doing it his own way.  Well in math, you can only do that for so long and then you run into troubles.  I also think it could have helped his friendships.  Plus there’s new evidence that medication will actually help their brains grow faster in the ways they need them to.

You know what it’s like to take medication for depression.  My husband takes medication for OCD.  He says it doesn’t take away the OCD, but it sure helps!  He wouldn’t be able to cope without it.  His brain needs it.  It’s the same thing with our kids.

Posted by Rai0414 on May 05, 2014 at 10:23pm

thank you everyone for you support and help advice and words.I am also looking into taking him to a clinic to be reevaluated by a special team that look into everything and can tell me more about how he and his brain work and what his problems are in more detail. i am hoping to get into there before the begin of the next school year

Posted by odinsmommy on May 06, 2014 at 1:30am

http://www.healthinc.co.za/ht-add-adhd.html 
For interest sake concerning your question about alternative meds.

Posted by OliviaJane on May 06, 2014 at 10:32am

Oh and another thing.  I have ADD and have not taken any stimulant drugs for it; ever.  You can deal with it without drugs, depending on the severity.  My son’s are worse than mine but I saw his Dr yesterday and he told me things to look out for: test hearing, IQ, eye sight, etc.  and take it from there.

Posted by OliviaJane on May 06, 2014 at 10:34am

I think the stigma associated with mental health and the misunderstanding associated with it, leads to misinformation. I agree that a diabetic would not go without insulin just to prove he/ she could do without , but why we refuse to give our kids a better chance of learning, focusing, making friends is difficult to understand. I think if we refuse to believe the dopamine in the brain being unavailable and the differences in the ADHD brain, we lack the knowledge to make a better decision. Again not saying that medication is the only go to but don’t dismiss it.

Posted by JulieBmotherof3 on May 07, 2014 at 12:10am

Sounds like you need to find a new doctor. My now 14 year old son was diagnosed at 7. Our first psych pushed meds. Our second doc supported our goal not to medicate him; the cardiac side affects were a concern given our family history. It hasn’t always been easy, but he’s a super kid and we don’t regret our decision. A daily medication to sustain life is understandable; we just couldn’t see medicating him just he could become a compliant student. We provide a ton of structure and as he’s gotten older, he is involved in decision making. School has been the hardest part. 504 plans were a complete failure as they have no teeth. He’s now on an IEP with resource support and our world is definitely brighter. Stick to your gut and good luck to you!

Posted by Cheryl P on May 07, 2014 at 8:55am

“we just couldn’t see medicating him just he could become a compliant student”

See? Stigma.

Don’t get me wrong… I’m happy some kids do well without medication.  My son did ok without it until he was 11.  But it’s ignorant… naive… uninformed? to say all medication does is make teachers’ lives easier.

ADHD is like any other mental condition… If you have it, it’s an all day, every day thing, not just at school. And the effects aren’t just academic… they can affect kids’ self-esteem, they can cause anxiety or depression, they can ruin relationships… Heartbreakingly, stats show that the incidence of suicide is higher in teens with ADHD. So in some cases these medications might actually be sustaining lives!

You can’t tell someone who’s got depression to “shake it off”. Sometimes counselling, etc. will work for them, but sometimes the only thing that will get a person on the road to wellness again is medication. ADHD is no different.

Posted by Rai0414 on May 07, 2014 at 9:51am

You said, “A daily medication to sustain life is understandable…”

I see medication for ADHD for kids who really struggle as “a daily medication to sustain life.” My son was sad, frustrated, and defeated every day until he was diagnosed and treated. He couldn’t follow through on anything asked of him, nor anything HE wanted to do.

Offering him medication for ADHD is offering him a chance at happiness, friendships, academic success, and a future. As well, it can prevent him from self-medicating, far more dangerous than taking ADHD medication as prescribed.

I agree that behavior modification and alternative treatments should be tried first, but they are rarely enough to treat ADHD fully. I also agree that not every individual with ADHD needs to take medication for it, but many do need it to do more things successfully than just breathe. Your generalization that ADHD medication is just to make teacher’s lives easier is inaccurate for the majority. My son takes medication to even the playing field as much as possible in light of disabilities and to give him a life.

Penny
ADDconnect Moderator & Mom to Tween Boy with ADHD and LDs

Posted by adhdmomma on May 07, 2014 at 5:33pm

I held off on medication for my twin boys as long as I could only because of the fact that once upon a time research seemed to suggest that it would stunt their growth (& they were already vertically challenged from the get go).  I decided that unless their grades suffered or they started getting in a bunch of “trouble” we would continue to hold out.  (And I did this knowing from personal experience—as the mom who only got properly diagnosed due to having children—that the day I started taking Vyvanse was the day my life dramatically improved & changed in ways that are too numerous to recount).  I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was purposely withholding THE one thing that would/could easily relieve them of so much internal suffering while I did EVERYTHING ELSE I could possibly do in the meantime to help them manage it.  They were enrolled in after school Martial Arts, they were enrolled in band at school, they took vitamins and fish oil, and I over-functioned as their planner, coordinator, and micro-manager of all executive function deficits.  Why was I able to DO all that which was previously so difficult for me?  Now I was taking Vyvanse.

But as soon as research started following these growth measurements over a longer period of time, the definitive conclusion that height would be impacted was changed to reveal that in the long run any short-term effects are negligible or completely negated.  Even so, only because they were children & I’m not the type of person who runs to the medicine cabinet at the first sign of “illness” (even though I AM a medical professional—physician assistant) I continued to do the most conservative thing possible; in medicine we call it “watchful waiting.”

During this time of my continued close surveillance of anything & everything I never once talked to them about the risks/benefits of taking meds for ADHD; I didn’t talk much about ADHD to them (just whatever was necessary to help them understand what was going on & how to overcome certain challenges).  I didn’t want them to feel pressured into taking meds because, after all, I was On Watch…making sure that at the first signs of “real trouble” I would swoop in to Save The Day.

So I was a bit blown away when my son (who is the only one of the two who has problems sitting still when he’s bored) came to me and said, “Mom, I want to take meds to see if it will help me stay in my seat in school…”

Those few trips to the principal’s office and that one lunch detention for the aforementioned offense had already taken a toll on my child who honestly did NOT want to cause trouble, be in trouble, or draw attention to himself in middle school.  Those infractions PLUS his inability to keep his mouth shut had already started to annoy his brand new middle school friends and he was already starting to feel the effects of being mildly excluded from The Group whereas his identical twin brother who was always The Quiet One was being welcomed into The Group completely & without hesitation. 

Long story short—one of my boys will probably never shake the horrible impact that middle school experience caused him.  He went from the Happy-Go-Lucky and very outgoing, warm, and friendly child (vs The Quiet One who wouldn’t even go up to the counter at McDonalds to ask for a different Happy Meal toy as a child—brother was the one who was the Go-To for things like that) to the extremely reclusive and socially non-interactive child.  Over the course of one school year these things changed him in ways that are also too numerous to recount.  By the time I had a doctor’s appointment set up to start him on meds for ADHD (took a few weeks) he was clinically depressed and suicidal.

Posted by BC on May 07, 2014 at 6:27pm

Don’t stop there! How’s “Happy-Go-Lucky” doing now that he’s on medication?

Middle school is hard. My oldest (non-ADHD) son seemed to sail through, but my youngest was headed for a mental breakdown after just 4 months. And like your son, I thought he was doing ok until, clearly, he wasn’t. I still think he was probably ok up until about grade 3 or 4 without the medication, but I’m seeing more gaps in his learning (especially in math, which is something he used to enjoy). I think he missed things in grade 4 and especially 5… skills and knowledge he might have gotten if he’d been able to slow down and focus on what he needed to focus on. :/

Posted by Rai0414 on May 08, 2014 at 9:52am

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