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ADD (ADHD) Advice on meds...

(15 Posts)
Chelz Sat 18-Jun-05 09:32:20

Hello everyone,
I am Michelle, totally new to all this (joined today) and would really welcome some advice.
I have a daugher aged almost 10 who I believe has ADD. Since age 4, something was 'not quite right' and after countless fruitless appointments with behaviourists etc, I have researched all kinds of conditions and decided that my daughter has ADD. I know that sounds opinionated , but the professionals have not found a solution in over 5 years! Now that I have pushed (and then some!) most contacts (teachers, family etc) are pretty much in agreement. Whilst reading up, I realised that I have ADD too. Seems my diagnosis (since seeing the Horizon programme) was easy as it all came together really quickly.
I have been asked to consider medication for my daughter, if diagnosed, and wonder if anyone can give me their views on side effects or problems encountered with these meds. Also coping mechanisms or strategies from those who are 'in the know'.
Thank you for taking the time to read this, I would really appreciate any help or suggestions!

TheRealMrsF Sat 18-Jun-05 10:54:12


Like you i believe i am ADHD...and also believe i have Asperger's Syndrome to some degree!

It's when you read up and watch programmes and you see your life mirrored ...and it is like pieces of a puzzle coming together!

One of my 3 sons is 11 and was diagnosed with ADHD at age 7...after i insisted we try medication...and when it worked it was agreed that he 'must have ADHD'...however in his case at 9 he was alao diagnosed as ASPERGERS Syndrome.

Also he takes MELATONIN at night to assist sleep.

The medication debate is a tough one- but i will give my 'biased' opinion- cos it works for us.

My step son is also ADHD/AS and was not on medication till age 15 and was in prison by 17. So when Tom was diagnosed at 7 i did not hesitate to try the meds as i firmly believe that 'if' it works it gives the child what i call a "window Of Oppertunity" to learn both at school and behaviour wise...which unmedicated my sone would not.
He has always taken METHYLPHENIDATE....commonly known as RITALIN...but tom has taken other brands of it!!!

There are days when i doubt my right to give a drug to a child ...just to make him'Fit In'to school etc.....BUT....there are days when we forget to medicate...and within an hour or so it is clear that he is not coping and he will even ask for his meds to help him.

I have tried them...and they certainly 'clear my jumbled thoughts'...but i am scared that if i take them the paed will stop tom having them so i have not taken any for 3 months.

The points to consider are
1)To start DO NOT USE LONG ACTING TABLETS.(reason i say this is that if you start off with a tablet that only lasts 4 hours - maybe if the drug does NOT help/cause unwanted side effects ...then you know that withing 4 hours the drug will be wearing off. (Tom is now on a tablet he takes just once a day...and it lasts for 12 hours...brilliant for him as no dose needed at school...however originally he had a small dose every 4 hours...meaning a dose at lunchtime in school...which WAS a problem cos the school forgot to remind him...and then by the time he was noticibly hyper etc....they'd give the tablet...but it took a while to take effect!!!

2)The tablets do NOT linger in the system...and don't need weeks to 'build up' etc -so if you gave it one day...and not the next...that would not matter (my antidepressants have to be taken every day and take 2 weeks to take effect and 2 weeks to leave my system)
So.....when you begin the 'Trial of Medication' you can 'experiment'...give it to her and not tell the school...then don't give it and see if there is a difference to how she copes. (Tom's teacher commented the first day that he had written his longest story ever!!!!...then the next day he didn't call out so much....etc)
You may start at a low dose and then increase slowly....

The 'child within' DOES NOT CHANGE!!!! Tom says that it 'Untangles his wires'

4)Yes- it can supress appetite....but personally i think its only at high doses...and if that is a problem...give her plenty to eat at time of taking and when tablet wears off...have a big meal that if she's not hungry between won't matter!

5) There are 'other ways' that people will suggest you dietry changes oils etc.....BUT!!!!! For us...limiting foods to TOM would have meant he would be eating hardly anything....and yes for a couple of years i felt...."I could do more"...and NOT just slap him on tablets....BUT.....i had to do what i CAN MANAGE....and so now i do 'make better food choices" for him....raed labels a bit more.... but do not rigidly stick to a particular regime.

Hope this helps.....Ask me anything you need to know!

tallulah Sat 18-Jun-05 11:39:08

Can't put it better than Mrs F

My 15 yo has been on meds since he was 7. We've never noticed any side effects. If there are any they are outweighed by the benefits of taking them (which, in a nutshell, are that they turn him into a human being).

We also found no difference with diet, but behaviour management works in tandem with the meds.

TheRealMrsF Sat 18-Jun-05 13:06:24

amynnixmum Mon 20-Jun-05 10:17:25

Hi Chelz,

My ds 4 1/2 does not have a diagnosis although he has been assessed. He has quite a few ADHD behaviours and just recently we have begun to realise that he also has a few AS tendancies as well. We are still getting our heads around his difficulties at the moment so are not considering meds at this stage.

Although he was reluctant to give a diagnosis at this stage the paediatrician gave me an 8 week behavioural modification program that is designed especially for children with ADHD and ADD. We have only just started to use it so I can't really comment on how good it is but I think there is already some improvement in DS behaviour.

If you would like me to send you a copy then CAT me.

Davros Mon 20-Jun-05 10:35:20

amynnixmum, its good that your Paed has given you a program but it amazes me how they expect you to successfully do all of it yourselves. Do you have anyone else around who can help implement the program? I think its hard to make it work without some support....

amynnixmum Mon 20-Jun-05 10:45:06

Hi Davros,

I think the program is really designed for parents or carers. There are eight steps to the program and the first four focus on how we speak to DS and how to use positive attention etc to gain compliance. Having sorted us out the second half of the program then focuses on the child.

You're right that it is difficult to do - we have already done the first step of the program but are having to repeat it as we had a couple of really bad weeks. I'm not really sure about how we would get more support with it though - I think DH and I just need to make this our No1 priority for the next few weeks. Preschool know about it and they are great.

Cosmo74 Mon 20-Jun-05 16:08:33

amynnixmum I suspect that my DS has ADD/ADHD of some kind but we are still waiting on an assessment - long story - but wanted to ask if I could get a copy of the program you are doing - that is if you don't mind. Me and Hubby both work full-time but I am finishing in 3 weeks to start my mat. leave so I would be at home full-time with DS and he will be finished school (he is 5) and am determined to try and get him a little more settled before going back to school again.

If you don't mind let me know and I will try to CAT you - have only used that once.


Davros Mon 20-Jun-05 17:42:26

amynnixmum, it makes more sense now and sounds good. I suppose, if you have anyone babysitting or grandparents around, they could use the same strategies. Be interesting to see what happens next....

Chelz Mon 20-Jun-05 23:03:53

Wow thank you.
I left it a couple of days, wasnt sure how quickly these things get found - and wham! Thank you especially to Mrs F for being so frank and open. I have questioned my right to dose my daughter, but then questioned my right not to if it could assist her!!
Whooo, children eh? Why doesnt anyone give you a text book when you have them???
Interesting to see that there is no "build up", so has to be worth a try to see if it helps. I love the "untangles his wires" quote, perfect!
Thanks so much everyone. Amynnixmum, please can I have the info? I am not sure yet what CAT is! (sorry - lessons to learn and all that!!)

amynnixmum Tue 21-Jun-05 10:59:06

CAT is to contact another talker - see the list at the top of the page (its listed under useful stuff). If you do that mn will send me an email from you and I can then email you the info.

I haven't got your CAT yet but it sometimes takes a while. Soon as I get it i will send you the program. Maybe we could all keep each other updated on how successful the program is for each of us.

Cosmo74 Tue 21-Jun-05 15:45:18

Amynnixmum i didn't CAT you yet as I wanted to check that it was OK with you first - I will CAT you know - hoping it all goes well

TheRealMrsF Tue 21-Jun-05 21:48:29

other thing i wanted to add....but once i knew you'd had chance to digest my LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOng poST!...was that when tom was about 6...b4 his diagnosis...we tried many 'Behaviour Strategies' the only way of helping him manage....however for him this was disastorous as he kept saying "Its so hard to try hard all the time"..."or so hard to be good"...basically it was exhausting him...he had low self esteem and it felt like we were trying to change his very was this that "changed Him" in a negative way. It was an awful year for him...and by 7 when he had been diagnosed...he was choosing to sit away from the class...he was so unhappy.

So I suggested the meds as relief for him...i felt to deny him this chance was like starving him.

If he had any other medical problem...we'd not hestitate to offer relief.

So looking at it in hindesight.... behaviour management alone is great...but not when the child has so many 'niggley problems' it can become a critism of all they do...sure don't start off that way...the idea is to praise the positive and 'ignore' many negatives...but if the child is behaving so is difficult to find behaviour to praise that doesn't insult them or appear condescending!

I write this to 'back up' what you said ...."I have questioned my right to dose my daughter, but then questioned my right not to if it could assist her!! " . The first tablet i gave tom sat in my hand for over half an hour that first day....i was so scared to give him it....but can honestly say it gives him the chance to achieve and have friends.

Cosmo74 Wed 22-Jun-05 14:15:30

Mrs F - my DS (5 1/2) says the same things if he had a bad day at school 'I will really try hard tomorrow' or 'I was too tired to try hard' this breaks my heart, I hate that at this young age all he thinks about is being good or bad - as I said before he is not so bad a home but at school they have real problems with him and I just do not know what I am suppose to do about that.

I just got a letter from the HV yesterday saying that the school have done thir upmost to get DS assessed - me and hubby just laughed at that - I do not see how they have done their upmost - they noticed the problem in September and only asked for an assessment in February ( after I insisted on it) his teacher is still sending me home notes saying that DS was bold at lunchtime etc... do they not realise that he was not bold he cannot help it and we are trying to get something sorted for him - and instead of them sending him to another classroom to sit on the bold chair by himself if they give him the praise for being good and tried to work with the bad behaviour they may get a better response - Oh enough waffling - only 2 weeks of this school year left and then he is mine all summer and we are going to forget about being bold/good and let him have some fun. Don't get me wrong I will still keep him in check the HV has given me ABC charts to fill in which I will but am afraid that because the charts will be his behaviour at home that they will then think that there is not a problem and just ignore his request for assessment.

Anyhow enough waffling from me - am trying to stay positive and just looking forward to summer holidays.

TheRealMrsF Wed 22-Jun-05 22:19:26

like you i am eagre to get the boys out of school for the holidays...hard though it is having all 3 home..i HATE them being at school!!
I dread collecting them...finding out what has gone wrong that day etc!

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