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Teen diagnosed with ADD confused and a little lost....and that is just me!(15 Posts)
My son (I am going to call him Fred) is nearly 16 and we have always known he could be diagnosed with ADHD. We chose not to pursue this as on the whole we all managed. However, Fred is not coping with the increased expectation of independence at school now. We were referred to a Paed on another matter and she instantly asked re ADHD. Fred had already been diagnosed with dyslexia and part of that assessment demonstrated that he is really quite bright despite his lack of academic achievement. Anyway with my Fred's consent we and his teachers completed the Connors and he is clearly ADD (the H is less of an issue now he is older).
He does indulges in risk taking behaviour; everything from too much to drink in a public space (last night!), jumping out of tress (two weeks in hospital after that one) and has I am sure flirted with illegal drugs etc. He has little sense of self preservation and lacks brakes and has been known (!) to be rude to those in authority from teachers to Police. Of course he is rude to us too but it is hard to separate out what is 'normal' teen defiance. Achieving his 5 GCSEs is appearing more and more unlikely. Sometimes it feels as though he has made no progress at school since leaving Juniors with Level 5 sats. He has been on a 14 - 16 placement at the local Tech and his lecturers there acknowledge he is bored because the pace suits people who struggle to understand and therefore disruptive. A vocational course post 16 might cause a problem - I can't see Fred spending months how to lay bricks without throwing them around for example!
We are seeing the Paed tomorrow and I am sure she will want to start medication. Fred is not opposed to this, my husband and I are not sure what to think despite masses of reading.
Any advice would be welcomed. Stories of teens who started medication would help. Any thoughts about the questions we should be asking would be fantastic. He is just a couple of months before Exams - this feels really make or break.
I posted recently on a thread started, I think, by MaryZ as she was asking similar questions. I am sure other more knowledgeable folk will be along shortly, my only experience of med's for ADHD is my friend's adult husband who has been on Ritalin for many years and it works.
IIRC, your ds would initially be started on a medication that has a very short life in the body to see how effective it is before taking a longer lasting version.
We are in almost the same situation, except that the H bit is still an issue for 14 year old ds, who seems to spend most of his time doing handstands and jumping around . He also has no fear of consequences, and luckily gets rid of a lot of his excess energy by playing (and being good at) a huge number of sports. He is, however, very keen to get some help, as he says he has been struggling for years and he's been on constant report in school since September.
ds interestingly comes up almost zero on the oppositional part of the Connors forms. I think it is because ds1 has been an appalling teenager, and living with him has been tough for all of us. I think I have been a much better parent to ds2 than I was to ds1 - I was much less confrontational, I was sympathetic to his problems, I really listened to him over the years about the difficulties I had in school. The result is that he has decided that we are all on his side, that we are trying to help and he is very enthusiastic about starting medication.
He started on Equasym XL 10 mg a couple of days ago, and we go back on Friday when they will up it to 20 mg, and then monitor him for a bit.
He himself says that if he had another "illness" we would use medication, so why not take this. (He is also on roaccutane and on fish oils atm, so is rattling a bit ).
Also, what swung it for me is that ds wasn't medicated at any time, despite our requests. He ended up not coping and self medicating with cannabis, vallium and pretty much anything else he could get is hands on, so I'm not taking that risk (even though I suspect it is unlikely to happen) with ds2.
Interestingly ds1 has been a lot better off since he left school - so a vocational course with lots of hands-on active learning might suit your son. ds1 has just gone back to college to learn cheffing and is enjoying it (well, most of it ).
Oh I hope the Meds help your young man. I would say that Fred is still very fidgeting, more so than his siblings and still struggled with staying still. He did not manage to stay in the exam hall for a single one of his mocks. He was either sent out or begged to be allowed to go . He has however stopped some behaviours, mainly those which involve him hurting himself. I can see that his use of 'brakes' has improved over the past year so perhaps this will become less of a problem for your young man too?
My lad is year 11, I am guessing yours is year 10? I wish I had sorted this before. Fred is reasonably cooperative on the whole and talking this evening he said if the dr suggested Meds he would try them. I have been trying to think if advantages to having ad(h)d. Multitasking when in the working world might be one? Fred is also quite good at solving problems, if unable to do a BTec he is considering plumbing. I can imagine him being good at that once he has got over the hurdle of learning stuff in the first place.
As an aside, son number one has aspergers. He is very happy now he works with people who share his interests! It is interesting to see the associations within families of different atypical ways of working.
We are in Ireland, so ds2 is in third year, which is junior cert year (your GCSE equivalent), so the pressure is on in school.
Last year he had three exams cancelled as they weren't allowed to leave the hall, and the supervisor got cross at his squirming and fidgeting and (allegedly) talking to the people around him .
The advantage of an ADHD diagnosis is that he can do his state exams in a room on his own, and therefore walk around. He did three of his Christmas exams separate from the crowd, and I reckon he got at least 20% more than he would have, due to the fact that he could chew gum, chuck a ball around, and get up and do press ups between questions. It made a massive difference to his ability to concentrate for a whole 3 hour exam.
There are massive advantages to having ADHD. Having a lot of energy is one. Being able to move from task to task is another. Being able to be enthusiastic about lots of different things, being able to think on your feet, react quickly, get yourself out of (as well as into ) trouble.
ds2 is popular with his peers, he is a really nice kid. Without ADHD he would have less confidence, he would worry more.
His only concern is that the medication will affect his personality. But if it does he can stop it.
Your son is 16. He has tried the non-medication route for 16 years and is struggling. I strongly think you should try going the medication route until after his GCSE's anyway. To be fair to him.
I can't see any down sides to medication of kids this age, I really can't. I can see down sides if your child was 8, because you could try organising him, talking to him, practising various behaviours etc. But I bet you have (unknowingly) tried these things over the years - I know I have - and it isn't enough.
Good luck tomorrow.
A week ago I was dithering. Now I'm sure that a trial of medication is the right way to go.
And yes, the familial bonkers-ness is very interesting. As long as you don't have to live with it .
We shall see what the paed. says in an hour or so. Thanks Mary, you are right we have tried all the non med options. Will come back later with the results of our appointment.
Well Fred now has Ritalin 10 mg. he took one this morning (at home with his dad) and has texted saying he is able to concentrate on what he is doing!!!!!!
I do feel a bit like that. The rest of me is just furious that I did not sort this out before.
Btw Fred Asked me if it was placebo!!!! I said probably not but who cares!
Yes, but he might not have been willing before.
You can't look back, just go on from here.
Will they up the dose? ds2 is on 10 mg but that's slow release over 8 to 10 hours apparently, so very low dose. He seems calm, but he's on holidays so I don't know.
They are upping it to 20 on Friday, and then probably up again until they get a clinically effective dose.
How often does your son have to take the 10 mg dose? Is it two or three a day?
Two times a day for now with a review in four weeks. Next step is to find out if gp will prescribe it as not many do apparently. Then we will have to consider post 16 prescribing. Anyway, a lot of finding out to do before we worry about any of that. Will it help Fred at school? We shall see.
Oh, yes, your prescribing is funny isn't it?
Much simpler here, we just pay
through the nose for it.
ds's medication is currently costing me about 140 euro a month.
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