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Please educate me about ADHD

(49 Posts)
Maryhadalittlelambstew Mon 16-Jan-17 19:49:49

Hello MN, posting for traffic!

I don't post often but I've just found out that my 8 year old son has been diagnosed with ADHD. Im feeling overwhelmed and confused by the diagnosis. He's always been active, curious and at some times challenging but I know very little about ADHD. If it means he will get extra support at school then I'm thrilled but does this diagnosis mean medication? He sleeps 10 hours a night, eats well, sits through a church service (albeit unwillingly sometimes!) and can watch films and plays games or with playmobil for hours, he also loves monopoly! I hate the idea of medicating my son but that could be because I know so little about the condition. Please educate me! The diagnosis came about when his teacher flagged it up at school. We then saw various bodies including cahms and then a paediatrician in a clinic.

So as not to drip feed I'm a single mother of four children. A dd13, ds8,dd7 and ds5. My ex husband and I share parenting 50/50.

I'd be really grateful for any replies x

lesbsc101 Mon 16-Jan-17 20:04:15

Don't do anything that you don't want to do! If you feel that he does not need medication then don't put him on any. IMO the only children that benefit from medication are the children whose ADHD is impeding their education/normality of life. Keep doing what you are doing and don't give the diagnosis another thought if you are all happy. smile

showmeislands Mon 16-Jan-17 20:08:34

I'm a child psychologist - medication definitely not needed for all children with a diagnosis of ADHD. Some just need more support at school. Others benefit from some therapy to help with strategies. Sounds like your son is doing well.

CigarsofthePharoahs Mon 16-Jan-17 20:13:52

I feel the same as lesbsc101.
If you think he is coping well enough with some extra support, then hold off on the medication.
I'm in the position of having a 6 year old who may have ADHD. It was flagged up by the school. He is slightly disruptive in that he regularly interrupts to ask irrelevant questions, struggled with concentration and can't sit still at school.
The school SENCO is giving him extra support anyway and we're holding off pressing for a diagnosis as it does seem to be helping and CAMHS are well known to be slow and awful.
His behaviour at home is very hit and miss, like your son he can sit and watch a film and can cope with a church service if he has paper and pens to draw with.
When it comes to sitting and reading with me or any activity that isn't something he has chosen to do it's a totally different story, he's all over the place, twitchy and struggles to see the task through even if it's quite short.
When he is bored or tired he will walk or run round and round in circles in our front room. It's exhausting to watch and he'll go on doing that for ages if you let him!
For my son, I really don't like the idea of medication as it has supressed appetite as a side effect and he's already bone thin.

Msqueen33 Mon 16-Jan-17 20:14:45

My dd has autism and ADHD and her ADHD really impacted her learning. We only chose to medicate after behavioural intervention wasn't working. Don't medicate unless you need to. If he's doing okay don't feel pressured.

Allthewaves Mon 16-Jan-17 20:19:13

There's different varaties of adhd and severties. My 8 yr old is typical combined inattentive, impulsive and hyperactive - though he's in milder end. He is a very good sleeper, brilliant napped as a baby, eats like a horse. He's also very energetic, loud, runs everywhere - basically like a puppy. Home was fine, school struggled with his inability to keep his bum on seat, shouting out ect but he's never mean or cross.

I um and ah over meds from a year (we knew something was different from age of 2, dainosed formally at 6) and started meds at 7. It was a rocky start as his appetite was affected but after 6 months he was pretty much side effect free. He's gone from lower middle of his class to top of maths and english, it's amazing the change it's made to his education. Hes even progressed quicker at his swim lessons now he can focus.

Maryhadalittlelambstew Mon 16-Jan-17 20:24:36

Thank you so much for the replies. It's really good to know that I don't have to go ahead with meds. I had a coffee with a friend today who has a son in secondary school who has had ADHD since he was 6 and is on medication and I got the impression from what she said that I won't have a choice in the matter which worries me. I really want to work with the school, cahms and the senco. He's such a happy, affectionate little thing. He's not aggressive and doesn't appear agitated. Of course I'm not saying that all children with ADHD are unhappy or anything, I'm just so confused. The children's dad is all for medication and I'm just worried. Sorry, my postd aren't making much sense I'm sure. I'm ever so grateful for your replies. Thank you x

Allthewaves Mon 16-Jan-17 20:25:27

I won't lie it was a rocky six months starting meds as his weight plummeted and he's already stick like but having breakfast before meds, pushing tea back so meds have worn off and introducing supper built his weight back up quickly.

I also use these fish oils oldest has capsules, younger have liquid

and these multivitamins as study's have shown correlation between vitamin deficiency

Maryhadalittlelambstew Mon 16-Jan-17 20:29:29

If medication will benefit him then of course I'll go with that, I want what's best for him. I think I'm just struggling to work out why he might need it. Allthewaves my little one sounds very similar to yours, he's like a little puppy! So happy and bouncy! I just want to do what's best for my son but I don't feel very well informed. My ex husband is very keen on the medication route. I'm just unsure where to turn x

Maryhadalittlelambstew Mon 16-Jan-17 20:30:23

Allthewaves thank you x

Allthewaves Mon 16-Jan-17 20:30:37

I'm in a different area of the uk and we have specialised adhd service. When my son reached 7 the pead basically said either we try meds or they sign us off from any further help as they felt there was nothing else they could do for him. I was so angry at the time but looking back, he had completed all the help classes at the service, teachers were using all the techniques given but he was still causing mid level disruption like the class clown.

Maryhadalittlelambstew Mon 16-Jan-17 20:32:11

Sorry when I say it's good to know I don't have to go ahead with meds I just meant it's good to know some people haven't and others have so there are options there x

Allthewaves Mon 16-Jan-17 20:32:53

this is quite handy site

Maryhadalittlelambstew Mon 16-Jan-17 20:33:17

Please may I ask where in the uk you are? If you don't mind telling me via pm I'd be really grateful x

Msqueen33 Mon 16-Jan-17 20:38:02

See what school say as my dd is calmer at home as she doesn't have to focus as much. Don't let your ex force you into meds. It's not a route needed for everyone. My youngest has asd and I strongly think ADHD and I'm keeping an open mind about meds but after behavioural intervention. Don't be forced by anyone. Our experience of meds has been good thankfully. And we've not experienced any side effects.

WillowGreen Mon 16-Jan-17 20:45:26

I would also look in sensory differences ( sensityto noise, not liking textures etc). Most people with ADHD have them and being in the right environment can help you concentrate.
Having a good routine and visual reminders can help too. With the right environment he can avoid medication but he needs to cope in the wrong environment as well.
It's sounds like your son is doing well. Don't scare yourself with all the worst case scenarios. The more you find out about it the better.

angelofmylifetime Mon 16-Jan-17 20:47:44

I can only tell you my experience and hope you and your lovely son find life a lot easier.....

My son, now in his mid twenties, has battled against his ADHD all his life. He now describes it as having a hundred televisions on full volume going off on his head, and to be able to try and concentrate on anything he has to shout louder to try and focus. Schooldays were a nightmare as teachers were generally so uneducated (and unkind) about the condition. hough the occasional teacher was understanding and tried to focus his attention on the many things he was interested in. The naughty child syndrome meant he was unable to make friends and was never invited to a party or on a play date. The good points were he was interested and passionate about so many things, had unlimited enegry which as an adult he focusses on sport and going to the gym each day. However this was difficult as a child when he was expected to conform into society (and schools) expectations. As a young teenager we moved him from mainstream school into a unit within a college that understood ADHD, and things were immediately better. There they did not ask him to stop his motor tics, did not expect him to sit in silence and sit at a desk for 7 hours a day. It was wonderful that he was no longer the scapegoat for his previous school's wrongs.

On his 18th birthday all medical, social and psychological help stopped. Apparently all is cured when you become 18 and your symptoms magically disapear. Like hell they do. There are no clinics within our county for sufferers of adult ADHD.

Now he is a hard worker, working 12 hour shifts and then onto another job, never gets tired and sleeps little. He works harder, loves harder and feels things so much more than everyone else. Life is tough for him though, and he still lives at home. Like being scapegoated at school for every wrong, the same happens locally now he is an adult. He stands out, he's loud, he's honest, he does not properly understand relationships, and so despite his wonderful qualities those that come across him think badly of him. However, with medication and maturity he has now made a group of friends, and unlike others who treated him as the entertainment, seem genuinely to support him.

Medication. In his particular case medication enabled him to have a life, an education, friends a social life and to live in a loving home. Without the medication none of this was possible. Even in recent times he tried to withdraw from the medication he has been stable on for some time. Within 48 hours he had lost his job and his long term girlfriend. He became totally out of control, and then seriously depressed as he felt he could not live with the symptoms the medication lessens.

I am now a foster carer and have looked after several other children who jump on the ADHD bandwagon, and additonally others who I knew had it but their symptoms were put down to other factors. It's impossible to explain but have leant over the years over who guninely has ADHD and who does not.

So now ADHD dominates his life, and casts a shadow over the household at times, but really he is still trying to fit into the role that society expects. But those that take him into their hearts get to meet the kindest, most gentle, hilarious, loving, generous, hard working, bright, passionate person you will ever meet, despite his volume on 100% at 3am each morning.

I wanted to be honest, my son is just one person, everyone is different. However much depends on the understaning of those around him. I wish you and your son the best of luck.

JsOtherHalf Mon 16-Jan-17 20:55:20

Young adult relative may have benefited from meds as a child.
Now they are aimless, in and out of jobs, abusive relationships, make impulsive decisions which get them into trouble, and so on.

MrsTerryPratchett Mon 16-Jan-17 20:59:56

IMO the only children that benefit from medication are the children whose ADHD is impeding their education/normality of life. So true.

DD has moderately severe ADHD. And she's fab. I think she may end up with meds because she's very bright but not doing well academically because she can't focus well.

School have been utterly shit through kindergarten but better in Grade 1 (not the UK).

Starlight2345 Mon 16-Jan-17 21:06:30

My DS is in the process of been assessed.

I joined a fb group which recommended watching this you tube. Warning it is nearly 3 hours long. [[ ]]

I watched it the weekend. It really helped me understand ADHD. There are some parts that don't apply to my DS. He has lots of friends.. Which is said common but it did describe him in some ways to a tee. I have been told..He will see CAHMS at tend of month and see consultant..IF they decide if he has ADHD they will then decide if they think medication is appropriate and then if so. I get to decide. We have an ADHD nurse apparently.

cece Mon 16-Jan-17 21:19:07

I have two boys with ADHD.

One is medicated, the other not.

The reason one is medicated is because his ADHD was having a negative effect on his school life (and home life). My other son is able to manage his much less severe ADHD himself and therefore doesn't need it.

You can try it and if it doesn't suit then it is fine to stop taking it. Plus it is entirely your decision whether to give it or not.

KathyBeale Mon 16-Jan-17 21:23:57

Just watching with interest as my 7-year-old is in the process of being diagnosed with ADD. He is quite different from the way your children sound in lots of ways, though similar in others. I will post more tomorrow as I am too tired to properly type now!

bootygirl Mon 16-Jan-17 21:31:53

I have two sons with late Dx of ADHD (ds2 also has Aspergers). Were we live if the child is not medicated they get NO resource hours. Ds2 has problems with short term memory affecting school work & found meds help. He is on meds since he was 11yr & is very aware of the benefits for his emotions when on them. DS1 only Dx this year (exam year) he coped fine till secondary when he had 11 subjects lots of things to organise ...

He did nt 'feel' meds helped but I can tell you he went from failing four subjects to improvements in all subjects and only struggling in one (language). So last week his consultant told him to stop the meds. After one day he went back on them as he could feel the difference!! As his consultant said the right med at the right dose. Should nt change who you are but make the subtle differences that 'nurotypical' people take for granted.

My boys have had to learn how to 'read' people & often see the good in more people and none of the bad. Can be impulsive & hyper but are really fun & kind.

unlucky83 Mon 16-Jan-17 21:35:07

My DD1 was diagnosed at 14. Girls apparently tend to conform more so we didn't have any behaviour problems at school -we did at home - she is oppositional. And she had friendship issues and was bullied at primary. And she always reacted to teasing which made it worse ...
I thought she probably had it for years but didn't want her labelled (which I now think was a mistake)
Apparently it becomes increasingly hard for them when they are at secondary - the pressure increases, it is more focused work and they need to take more responsibility, organise themselves they feel that they are constantly failing, others make things look easy.
What made me get DD diagnosed was I thought she was going to start school refusing - she became more and more reluctant to go (And for someone with ADHD school can be hell - having to sit concentrating quietly all day on something you aren't really interested in)
We tried strategies and a learning plan for about 6 months before we tried medication. And it made a world of difference. I cried when I saw her maths book (maths had always been a battle) - it had gone from a couple of sums and lots of doodles to pages full of beautifully written equations...
She is now at medication just on school days and it is working, her school work is better (although I suspect the dose needs to be increased...they do seem to get a tolerance) and she wants to go...
Her first parents evening on the medication was like they were talking about a different child - the 'F' word - focus wasn't mentioned - every other one all through her school years I heard she needs to focus...if she would focus etc etc.
However - I wouldn't rush to put them on medication. I would only do it if you think they really need it. IME when it wears off (about 8.30pm) and at the weekend when she doesn't take it - she seems to be more hyper than before. The first few days of the holidays are like that too then she goes back to being just her normal loud, bouncy self. It is like it is suppressed for 12hrs but it still has to come out. And she is a bit of a night owl - I struggle to get her to go to bed at a reasonable time.
Talking to other parents I think what happens is they end up medicating more - it becomes a bit of a vicious circle - they are more challenging than ever during the 'come down' and that is at the weekends too and any sleep problems get worse - so they get medicated to sleep at night...
And the medication is an appetite suppressant - DD has lost weight - not huge amounts - and she eats like a horse after 8.30pm and at the weekends ...non stop and not all low fat healthy things. I think if she was on it more weight loss might be a problem...
(Actually she's actually kicking off a bit now...bouncing around and 'talking' loudly - winding her younger sister up, when she needs to be getting to sleep - sigh)
Also people with ADHD can concentrate - they can actually concentrate too much on something they are interested in - hyperfocus. Problem is getting them interested in something in the first place ...and once they are focused they can forget everything else...which can also be a problem.

I should say I was diagnosed as an adult - about a month ago. So I do have quite an insight - and I dropped out of school etc at 14ish.
I have started on medication - they build it up gradually so it is a really low dose at the moment, not really having an effect - the idea is once they get my dose right (and have monitored any side effects) I can just take it when I need to concentrate on something and I'm struggling... but the first time I took it was really weird - actually quite frightening. Everything went quiet, silent, calm and I realised that normally my brain is working all the time - it is really 'noisy'....constantly thinking about several things at the same time... DD said she felt the same.

Maryhadalittlelambstew Mon 16-Jan-17 21:41:25

Thank you so, so much everyone for all the replies. It's helping so much hearing from other parents. It sounds like the are many forms of ADHD and I need to start arming myself with information to help our family. A PP said about her son working harder, loving harder and that reminds me of my little boy a lot. He gives everything his all and is the most loving, affectionate boy on the planet (biased mummy!). He really enjoys sensory things, he loves stroking the cat and having his back rubbed or hair played with and was the same as a baby. When I stop and think he hasn't been invited to as many play dates or parties as his siblings. I feel a bit guilty about that now, I probably should have picked up on the sooner.

Thanks again for the replies, please keep them coming! Off to read links and watch the YouTube vid x

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