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ADHD- when to medicate?

(16 Posts)
mrsHarper Sat 08-Dec-12 22:34:55

Ds is 6.5, received a diagnosis of ADHD at end of reception year when he was just 5. Due to age and the fact he was managing to cope with school (but still exhibiting all symptoms) it was agreed to carry on and wait and see. But now in year 2 the gaps between ds and the other kids are becoming more apparent and he is struggling with school. So really I just wanted to ask parents who have been through it when they made the decision to request a trial of medication. Is it when the child is not coping academically? socially? or both and to what degree? ie how bad do things have to get to start using medication? Whilst home life is chaotic we feel things are (just about) managable most of the time.

justaboutchilledout Sun 09-Dec-12 07:14:50

We got a diagnosis, and I was adamant that it was for info only, and had no intention of medication. Then after an awful family daytrip I suggested to my DH that we look at it for occasional use when he was out of routine (he has ASD as well). The psychiatrist was happy for us to trial it but asked us to see what it did at home and school for a week before we made any decision.

At the end of a week both we and school were staggered (in a good way) by the difference it made. There is no way in a month of Sundays I was going to take away his chance to be happy and calm, once I had seen what it did. We were managing like you but with Ritalin we started enjoying him, and he started enjoying us too. He gets quite upset now if he remembers that we have missed his "calm down pill."

So what I would say is - see what it actually does before you decide whether to use it or not.

HotheadPaisan Sun 09-Dec-12 13:52:16

justa, is it something you will do long-term do you think? Like you, I really think we should try something and see.

justaboutchilledout Sun 09-Dec-12 18:47:50

At the moment he is still in the wheelchair so until/unless that problem is solved, absolutely - he has quite enough to deal with ATM.

But assuming this is temporary, I'd ideally like him to have the experience of Ritalin for a year or so, then see if he is able to manage himself without it. I will keep him on it if he can't. I think it is likely it will be his choice not ours (he is very self-aware in that sense).

I think it is really important to see what it actually does before you decide, because otherwise you are dealing with myths and supposition. Some kids get worse on Ritalin so it's not much fun to spend years agonising, then take the plunge and THEN find out it is a disaster. Better to have ruled it out early on.

HotheadPaisan Sun 09-Dec-12 18:51:38

Missed about the wheelchair, what's happening? Still waiting on referral appt, I want to go back to the paediatrician to discuss medication irrespective of what they can offer in terms of CBT/ practical strategies, which I suspect won't be a lot.

justaboutchilledout Sun 09-Dec-12 19:31:45

You might be able to get DK to diagnose ADHD (so a new referral on your health insurance). Then she could prescribe.

Wheelchair - long and short of it, we don't know. It LOOKS like he has developed an incredibly severe form of Severs Disease but no one is really sure and it could last for years. Would write more but school run time.

mrsHarper Sun 09-Dec-12 21:04:58

Justabout- thanks for your response, I had imagined a trial would last around a month as opposed to a week, in our life not long enough to see a difference- or maybe it is! What kind of support did you receive re the meds? also how was it administered during the school day? We have had a reasonably calm weekend after a horrific week at school and that's the problem really, we make very few demands of ds at home whereas school requires him to do alot that he just doesn't want to so the symptoms become more exagerated. I have also been wondering if we have normalised alot of his hyper behaviours at home so they are less apparent to us. sorry am rambling on now but have been thinking about this constantly, was really helpful to hear how it worked for you.

Foxy800 Sun 09-Dec-12 21:42:30

The reason i have agreed to a trial is it is for a month and if I dont feel she needs it I do not have to give it, it isnt regimented which I was adamant I didnt want.

Foxy800 Sun 09-Dec-12 21:45:43

THe one dd is trialling we give in the morning (it will last 8 hours) so all the school will have to observe is any changes and any side effects. With this one if you felt they didnt need it at weekends you wouldnt need to give it.

Hope that helps.

justaboutchilledout Sun 09-Dec-12 21:47:05

Honestly, we saw a difference within 24 hours but obviously one wonders if one is imagining it. The psychiatrist said you will know if it is a real difference within 3-4 days.
We use the short-acting kind (so two doses a day, one after breakfast and one is administered at lunchtime at school). School happy to do it but we are in NZ so it's different - but I would imagine school will have a procedure for it. If your kid has a generally good appetite you can use the longacting version which only means one dose a day.
In terms of support - again it is a different health system so not that helpful. What kind of support were you hoping for?

justaboutchilledout Sun 09-Dec-12 21:48:43

(and yes absolutely, we don't have to give it at weekends but are choosing to for now). The main reason - this is for you Hothouse - is that to my surprise Ritalin has really helped with his anxiety, which I didn't expect.

HotheadPaisan Sun 09-Dec-12 21:57:09

It's anxiety I want to address, he is more hyper than he's ever been but that is manageable, it's the anxiety that is really distressing.

But it does come and go in waves of a few weeks, it's always low level but it escalates rapidly and stays for 10 days or so, he is finding it hard to deal with now.

mrsHarper Mon 10-Dec-12 12:30:15

Did either of you request a specific form of medication? I had thought Ritalin was the drug of choice but foxy is your dd going to be on Ritalin also as thought it only lasted 3-4 hours. It,s the tales of rebound hyper ness and sleep and eating side effects that put me off so always good to read of stories where this has not been the case.

Foxy800 Mon 10-Dec-12 14:03:53

No my dd is going to be trying one called mediknet which lasts 8 hours. you give one dose, it releases half then and half 4 hours later.

crazygal Mon 10-Dec-12 20:06:06

Like you,we got our dx when ds was 5,we decided to medicate at the start of this year,it was a hard choice,but like you said,it was becoming more apparent that his peers were growing up,maturing!,ds was losing friends fast,and home life was getting harder,his temper was out of control,
since we medicated,it has all helped alittle!!! in school his concentration has really improved and hes not running around the classroom now,his temper is still a big issue,but we are putting a plan together for that to help him,
over all we are glad we medicated,as hes holding friends a 'little' better smile and its worth it for that alone!

justaboutchilledout Tue 11-Dec-12 01:57:47

We were very lucky - we've had no rebound effects. Wears off by lunchtime so the appetite not an issue (but he never really liked his packed lunch anyway).

I think everyone's experience is different. (platitude alert)

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