Scared Mom here.......very new

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Registered: 03-26-2003
Scared Mom here.......very new
8
Thu, 05-08-2003 - 11:58am
Hello all.....I'm a 28 y/o Mom to a "Just turned 8" year old ds. We're going to the physician today, for another evaluation, pertaining to ADD. I looked over the "Newly diagnosed" board, but it seems very quiet over there!

My ds was just given a month long screening by his Vice Prinicipal and Grade 1 teacher (he's repeating 2nd grade) Upon doing alot of research on the net, regarding different drugs and treatments, I'm terrified! Side effects such as insomnia, and irritability??? My son hasn't been irritable a day in his life! He's the happiest child I know! He's also an amazing sleeper, into bed by 9pm every night, and out like a light. This ADD Diagnosis seems to stem around his inability to sit still, listen to direction, his impulsivity (which causes him to blurt out in class, etc), and his general "immature" nature. (concerning some things)In other ways, he's as mature as a 30 year old! I absolutely respect his teacher and vice-principal...but I'm afraid of these drugs, and their possible side effects. I don't know what I'd do if he all of a sudden became irritable or moody! That's just not him! DH has been fighting me, as he was diagnosed with ADHD as a child, and given Ritalin, which he states worked miracles for him and his family.......and while I understand that, DH was "out of control" as a child, leaving footprints on the ceiling! I don't know about his irritability...I guess that's my biggest fear..what if these medications change his personality? He has more personality than most adults I know! I'll be discussing all of this things with our physician today, but i can't help but be concerned....have any of your previously happy and easy going children turned into moody, irritable kids? I've concerned diet therapy, and herbs, but again, DH is fighting me on it......any words of advice? Encouragement? I could use them all!! Thanks! Lil
Avatar for kathy_in_ga
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Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 05-08-2003 - 2:11pm
Hi Lil & welcome. I can't answer the part about moods changeing after a stimulant was introduced, my son was also diagnosed as bipolar, which is a mood disorder sort of speak. Anyway, most children who are put on meds do wonderfully. They loose that annoying behavior that keeps other kids from them, they are able to follow a conversation, not intrude on one, they become normal happy kids. Now some of the kids who are thought to be ADHD actually have another diagnosis, found usually after stimulants don't work. As you probably know ADHD is inherited there are many theories about chemicals that effect the brain. IF your son becomes moody & is not able to tolerate the med he is on, tell the doc & try a different med. Most people who post on the board are having problems with their child, that's why all you read is the "bad" stuff. I know what I started researching childhood onset bipolar all I found were some horrid scarey stories. I realized that the ones who posted are the ones having the most problems, the ones who needed advice or help. One thing to remember is that only a doctor can diagnose ADHD, not a teacher. Has your son been tested for any learning disabilities, or giftedness? Many kids who have a LD tend to hide it with acting out, talking out & such. A gifted child can be board & are tyring to keep themselves awake. Good luck at the doc & post back as to what is decided.

Kathy

Avatar for littleroses
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Registered: 03-28-2003
Thu, 05-08-2003 - 6:31pm
You are right to be concerned...because you love your son. We have all been there. I was terrified to give my daughter medication. I read everything I could and agonized over it. I got flack from my family who disapproved of the idea. I wouldn't encourage or discourage you to give your son medication because that is not something anyone else can determine. I can share with you my experiences. Also, here is a link pertaining to the study of medication and the brains of children from the American Medical Association that came out in Oct '02: http://www.sciencenews.org/20021012/fob1.asp

A site from PBS Frontline about medications: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/medicating/

My daughter was diagnosed as ADHD when she was 8 (last year). After much angst, we dedided to try medication over Christmas break. She had homework over the break which was to keep a journal of a total of 5 pages with a minimum of 5 sentences. The first two pages she wrote were without medication. Her printing was atrocious, unorganized, and the sentences were very simple, even for her age. It took her an hour to write 5 simple sentences. This was what we were used to and thus the huge homework problems. The first day on her meds, she wrote in far neater handwriting, more complex sentences and she did it in only 30 minutes. I was amazed and so was she! She was happy to have been able to have completed the task so quickly. The next day, even better, she had more thoughts into her writing and completed the assignment in 15 minutes. Wow! She was still the same girl only, on the second day, I realized that she was sitting down for hours constructing buildings with her sister's wooden blocks. My dd never did quiet sitting down activities like that ever! Little things like that seemed to add up to make her seem "unlocked" like she could come out. Yet, she was still herself. She still was sassy at times, doesn't like to clean her room, still fairly fidgety, but she is able to do other things now too. I kept that journal for teachers and the psychologist and everyone to show the amazing transformation of her abilities.

I'm not the mom who expects my kids to be superstars. I never was and I'm a happy functioning adult. But, I don't like to see my kids suffer either. How can a little kid hate and flounder in kindergarten? First grade? There was a problem.

Now, we did experience side effects, this is true. For two weeks, my daughter couldn't go to bed past until about midnight. (Thank goodness for Xmas break). She is normally a great sleeper, always had been. She also would pick at her face until there were little sores. Yeah, I cried and wondered what I was doing to my baby. Was it worth it? But, I hung in there knowing that the body needed to adapt to medication levels. And, then after about 3 weeks, it was all gone. Those side effects dissipated, but she was able to function in school. The social problems didn't go away, but her ability to do average school work increased. However, she was able to slow down and learn social skills faster than she ever had.

She has been on medication for about a year and a half now. This year (3rd grade)has been a banner year for my dd for the first time in her school career. Her grades are average, sometimes less but we don't struggle endlessly over homework everynight. She tries very hard now, has more motivation. She hasn't got a referral or gone to the principal's office this year. To me, this is bliss. Our relationship has improved 100%. I'm not simply the warden anymore...the person with all the rules. I get to be fun and she gets to be fun. Whether or not this all has to do with medication, I don't know, but I forget a dose on occasion and the impulsivity and hyperactivity rev up into full gear so I imagine the meds have a large part in it.

I don't know what to tell you about alternative therapies or herbs. If you do try anything, check with your doctor first. Many of these can have adverse effects. Fish oil pills, for example are often recommended, but even those can act as a blood thinner. So, it never hurts to ask. A lot of these places often usually simply have something to sell. Investigate, just like you're doing now!

I know you're scared, but you're doing a great job. Keep coming back here (or anywhere) for support because the truth is, no one really understands how hard it is unless they experienced this. Also, people are great, never treated my questions as dumb and are super supportive. Good luck!

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Thu, 05-08-2003 - 8:44pm
Hi! My son just turned 8, too, and has been on medication since kindergarten. We did find that Adderall made him irritable and had a nasty rebound effect (awful behavior when the medicine wears off), so he was switched to Concerta two years ago. The medicine helps him focus and control his outbursts - it does not change his personality. He does very well in school and loves school. We had a problem with him around Christmas - we increased his dosage and he has been fine.

Not all kids with ADHD are "ceiling walkers" like your DH was as a child - my son will actually sit and play with the same toy for hours. However, taking him to the grocery store is a different story altogether . . . I avoid that whenever possible. There are several different medications, and if one doesn't seem to work, like with my child, then switch to another and give it a shot.

Listen to your husband - he knows what he is talking about, having been through it himself. My child will tell you he feels much better when he is taking his meds - it's not just so that the teachers can handle them. It's so they feel better about themselves and improve their self-esteem. I literally cried when the doctor told me I should medicate my child, but three years later, I can't imagine not doing it. He is still my loving, creative, silly boy - just screams a lot less!!

Please, please try to relax and read through the messages here. I know how scary it is - I was scared, too. But when I look at my son, and at his report card, I am so glad that we chose the treatment route that we did.

Avatar for keke0116
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Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 05-08-2003 - 8:59pm
The 'goal' of meds is to help the child with the areas that are a problem while leaving the 'child' (i.e. his personality and uniqueness) intact. No easy task, for sure, but that's the goal. I've sort of had the opposite issues with Kevin (my 11 y.o.) ... he was more introverted and grumpy, and when he first went on meds, it helped him be more pleasant and fun to be around. What you need to do, should you opt to use meds, is start out on the lowest dose possible and see what reaction you get. The idea is to use the lowest dose which offers the maximum benefit without the negative side effects. Some kids don't really experience any/many. Kevin has never had a sleep issue on any meds. His appetite fluctuates ... but nothing horrible. IF you go the med-route, just be as conservative as possible, keep track of what he takes and what reactions you see, and the first sign of problems, call the doc.

(((HUGS)))

Good Luck.

Nancy

Nancy 

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Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 05-08-2003 - 11:52pm
Thank you for sharing your story .....it sounds to me, like medication was definately the right choice for your dd......I will admit that the side effects story was right in line with what I was fearing...and I can very well understand, how you could be looking at her, crying, wondering what was happening...but then it dissapated, because you were strong enough to "hang in there".......congratulations..to both of you! I'm looking forward to posting on here more often..what an overwhelming number of responses, especially considering the slowed rate of posting since the new "ack" board changes! Lil
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Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 05-08-2003 - 11:55pm
I think you hit the nail on the head when you mentioned that "it's not just so that the teacher's can handle them"....THAT is alot of what I was fearing...but not able to come to that conclusion on my own..until I read it in your post. I don't want to make my child "tolerable"...I want him to be "him"...just less frustrated, and more motivated. I want him to take pride in the work that he does..and in the friends that he makes, ,etc. Thank you for sharing that very valuable piece of truth with me. Lil
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 05-08-2003 - 11:58pm
Thank you Nancy, that's good advice. I think, knowing my doc, he'll agree...and we'll start him out on the lowest dosage possible...you can always increase if need be. And it's good to hear that Kevin didn't start having trouble sleeping!@ (Little rays of sunshine throughout all of these posts!) Thanks! Lil
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Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 05-09-2003 - 12:01am
Oh dear, I posted and it disappeared into cyber space! I wanted to thank you for "your" post..I found all of the posts below to be very inspirational..I'll definately keep you all updated, and be back for "round two" thanks for the support! Lil