Does ADD/ADHD go in cycles?

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Does ADD/ADHD go in cycles?
7
Wed, 09-03-2003 - 10:51am
Hi all,

As you know I'm in the middle of getting my DS Austin evaluated. He had a really good start to the school year, likes his teacher, and no problems until yesterday. He was even listening at home and being cooperative. Then this weekend, all HE** broke loose! I was trying to see what could have been the cause. He just wouldn't listen. He had gotten some new Play Station games and sat in front of the screen for a lot of the weekend. It seems like it overstimulates him or something cause then he would be bouncing off the walls if we put it up. And then he was drinking more pop than usual, but that's all I could relate it too.

Then yesterday, his teacher wrote in his assignment book that he was playing with his crayon box at the wrong time, wasn't able to finish his assignment, and was having a hard time "focusing". And then to get him to get all his homework done, was a complete nightmare. He kept rubbing his eyes, putting his head down. All he wants to do is play that darn Play Station. We ended up yelling, he was crying and it was a complete battle. We even threatened to send him away if he doesn't shape up---I know, not good (we apologized later) but we are pulling our hair out with him! He disrupts our whole family- it's like constant chaos when he's around. I love him but I can't live like this anymore.

Anyone else's kids go through cycles with the ADD or is it pretty much a 24hr/7day thing?

Thanks!!!!

Amy

Nurturedheartmom

Amy -

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-25-2003
Wed, 09-03-2003 - 12:20pm
Yes, ADHD is a 24/7 thing. That being said, you can definitely have good focus days and bad ones. It's like anything else. Tons of things affect it. And if he's on meds (forgive me I don't remember from your post) he may need it upped. Or he may have just had a horrid day. You could also be dealing with ODD - that definitely cycles (drives me nuts!!) But I would ask your doctor about that one.

First thing first mom, take away the video games until he shapes up. Period. As hard as it is, you have to. Take away the source of the arguments. You almost become a drill sargent. You have to. Sigh.

Good luck.

Ethy

Avatar for kathy_in_ga
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 09-03-2003 - 6:59pm
Yes ADHD is a 24/7 thing. BUT, there is suuch a thing as a "honey moon" period. This is where everything goes just fine, all is well, then all he!! breaks loose. Sounds like that may have happened. Your son was focused on school & it was all new, now it's getting old & the behaviors are showing up.

Only one thing goes in cycles (that I know of) & that is Bipolar disorder. My son has BP & they cycle dailey, weekly, monthly, seasonally.

An idea for you. I made a list of unwanted behaviors & put it on the fridge. Then I made another list of privleges using my sons favorite (nitendo) first then I put NO TV next, then no going outside next, after that I put going to bed early. For EACH unwanted behavior he lost a privlege for the rest of the day, Nitendo would go first. I actually unhook the thing & lock it up for the rest of the day. IF he shows another behavior that is on the list the next privlege is taken away. My son tested this rule, and ended up going to bed after dinner. He has yet to loose the 2nd privlege. I have taken the nitendo out. I also have a timer next to the game & set it for an hour. When the timer goes off Joiner has to go outside & play. After playing outside for an hour he can play the nitendo again. Hope this helps you some.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-15-2003
Wed, 09-03-2003 - 7:56pm
One other thing to keep in mind is that ADHD kids tend to selectively focus -- can't focus at all on the boring stuff, often will hyperfocus on stuff like Nintendo, which provides a lot of fast-paced stimulation. And removing something from a hyperfocused kid often will provoke a meltdown. I like Kathy's idea of the timer. Even knowing in advance when it's time to quit probably won't avoid meltdowns in the beginning, tho. But if you're consistent enough with it, he should eventually come to accept it. I have kind of a love-hate relationship with PC games. I love them because at times they're the only thing that will get my ds to sit down and be quiet for a while; and I hate them because it's so hard to get him to stop (don't practice what I preach, LOL; we're not consistent enough).

As far as cycling, ADHD doesn't cycle, though things like the honeymoon period often seen at the start of a school year, when everything is still stimulating, can make it seem like it. While bipolar disorder (my ds is ADHD/suspected bp) cycles, most bp kids cycle daily.

I hear you on the family disruption -- my ds is like a whirlwind, leaves total chaos in his path. He had a 6-week period where he was calm, and what a difference!!! At least I know it's possible, LOL.

Good luck,

Melissa

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
Wed, 09-03-2003 - 8:30pm
It sounds to me like the "hyper focus" demon of AD/HD has reared it's ugly head at your house! Wouldn't it be great if they would focus like that on their home work?

Sweetie, I so feel your pain!

Sio

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Wed, 09-03-2003 - 9:33pm
Hi Amy, I'm usually just a lurker here, but I could have written every word of your post about my DS (7). He was diagnosed with ADHD over the summer, but has shown symptoms for years. Prior to starting him on meds he did have up times and down times. I know ADHD doesn't cycle so to speak, but his symptoms definitely have that type of behavior. It seems like he can hold it together for a short period of time when starting new things like school, little league, hockey, etc. but once the novelty has worn off he loses it again. My DS also goes mental over his playstation games. Has gone even so far as to smash his bedroom door so hard the door knob went through the drywall when he couldn't get past a certain level on a game. DH and I took away EVERYTHING from his room. I mean EVERYTHING. He had to earn each piece of furniture, clothes, games, toys, etc. back. Oh, we also threatened DS that he was headed for a Sheriff's Youth Ranch near our house if he didn't even try to take some responsibility. We even took him to the ranch and drove around. Since then we have been more educated in ADHD and realize he really isn't in control and that's probably not the best way to handle it, but it did scare the crap out of him and I think something in him clicked that this was serious. Prior to that he thought everything was a big joke. We could scream in his face to the point where any other child would cry and cry, but my DS would start to laugh because our nose looked funny while we yelled or something.

Anyway, sorry to get off topic. I just wanted to let you know our experience. It sounds so similar to yours.

Laura

Laura, mom to B & E
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 09-03-2003 - 10:46pm
Laura!

My son does the EXACT same thing. It's like I'm sitting there screaming my head off and he's slowly grinning and then busts out laughing and says he can't help it. It makes me furious. But I try to remember, if he does have ADHD, he really can't help it. I'm hoping I can make it to the end of October because that's when I will be asking his teacher about filling out an evaluation.

Today was a little better. He got a break when he came home, got to play his Play station, we sat down and did homework, then he got to play for a little bit but we limited it. Yes, I think the novelty of his new teacher is wearing off...and the fact that there is SO MUCH work for second grade. He's already tired. Oh...it's going to be a long year.

When he tries though, he is a wiz. Like he had 20 math equations and he wanted me to time him and he flew through it, and got them all right. So I don't know....

Thanks for sharing!

Amy
Nurturedheartmom

Amy -

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Thu, 09-04-2003 - 9:22pm
Amy,

I can't believe how similar out boys are. My DS is like a math wizard. He just gets it and flies through every problem. His homework tonight was to come up with fifteen ways to make 15. The teacher gave the example 10+5=15 type of assignment. He came up with complex equations like 10+30-35*3=15. I couldn't believe he worked multiplication into the assignment. I was impressed for a 7-year-old. Reading, writing and spelling are a different story. I see no ADHD symptoms in him when he does math homework even in the late evening when his meds have worn off. This is his first school year on meds and what a difference it has made. His teacher even called me to say what a model boy he is in school. When I mentioned his ADHD she didn't even realize he had it. I guess she hadn't gone through the records from 1st grade yet.

Getting back to the point, I know it's soooo hard to stop and tell yourself he has ADHD and to cut him some slack. I just can't ignore the behavior problems he has ADHD or not. And just a note about the evaluation you mentioned your son's teacher will be doing in October. We had one done last year and I have to say I was disappointed on how it was done. It was a BASC assessment. The teacher filled out a questionaire and his dad and I did, too. Then a school social worker in the district office plugged the numbers into a computer and compiled a report of "normal level" "at risk" or "severe maladjustment" for certain categories such as attention, behavior, etc. Then we got a letter in the mail with the results saying we should take it to a psychologist. No one interviewed him, observed him or anything. DH and I handled it on our own during the summer with a psychologist and a psychiatrist. I just thought I'd share that.

Laura

Laura, mom to B & E