Too young for meds?

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-02-2003
Too young for meds?
5
Tue, 09-02-2003 - 11:26am
Hi! My name is Misty and I have a 5 year old daughter. We have been struggling with whether or not to put her on meds for ADHD. We went to TX Children's Hospital for a diagnosis (which I don't feel was thorough enough but without any way of blood/urine/saliva/etc testing how can you be sure?) and they recommened we put her on medication. My husband says we should try and if it doesn't work then we'll just take her off of it... it doesn't seem that clear cut to me. Her kindergarten teacher asked us to give her some time with Hailey to get to know her before we had any sort of discussion with her about her behavior. She seems to be doing much better in this class than she was just a few weeks ago in the Pre-K room. We still have a lot of the symptoms, though. She has to be told more than a dozen times to do something. She has a wild imagination... almost morbid at times. Her latest thing is that she tells me she sees dead ppl... not ghosts, but a homeless man sleeping under an overpass and she insists that he's dead! We also have violent outburts. There hasn't been any serious ones in the last few weeks, but once in a lifetime is more than enough for me. She's also paranoid, if that's the correct word, that no one likes her. Recently she told me that she hates herself. It breaks my heart that my little shirley temple doll is having these feelings and I want to help her... but I'm scared. You read/hear so much about doctors who will prescribe just because the parents can't handle their child... what if it's not her and it's just me?! I don't honestly believe that, but I guess I am hoping that it will just go away? That she'll outgrow it? She's my only child and I had her quite young so I don't really have a lot to base her behavior on. I just want her to be happy.

I guess I just wanted to introduce myself and my situation.

I hope that everyone has a happy Tuesday!

Misty

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Tue, 09-02-2003 - 1:12pm
It's really strange to read a post that sounds exactly like your own child. I cried when I was told my son needed medication - I heard all the horror stories about "drugging your child" and I did not want to lose what makes my son so very special. But I have a very caring doctor and supportive psychologist, and we started my son on meds a week before he started kindergarten. It took a while to find the right dosage but the difference is unbelievable. He will even tell you he feels better when he is taking his medication - he does not like to feel angry and out of control. (Not to mention that those behaviors do not make him real popular with the kids at school.) I know exactly how you feel - but you want to help your child. My son's outbursts have all but disappeared with the medication and he has started trying to make friends in the neighborhood. He does very well in school - he is a good student and very interested in learning. I will never ever regret the decision to medicate him - it has made all the difference in the world for him. I don't really care if certain drugs are over-prescribed - MY child needs it, and that is all I care about. (I'm not really so sure they are over-prescribed, anyway - I would like to see some of the activists in a room of 25 kids with no medication and see how they handle it.) It is not an easy decision to make, but if it helps your child, it is the right decision.
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-15-2003
Tue, 09-02-2003 - 1:37pm
Hi Misty,

Just wondered, do you live in Houston? We live in Sugar Land, and went to Tx Children's too, although for neuropsych testing (my 5 yo ds had already been diagnosed by outside psychiatrists). I was disappointed too, because I felt the testing wasn't thorough enough. Part of that was his age, there are only certain things they can test for at that age. I just wish they'd told me that beforehand; I never could get a good description out of them about what they actually tested.

Probably all of us go through second-guessing at some time or other about whether or how much we're responsible; it's only natural. That tends to disappear if and when meds improve the situation. I think your K teacher's approach is good, though -- giving her time to get to know Hailey first. Whatever you end up choosing to do, it helps to have someone else observe her behavior.

Keep us posted,

Melissa

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
Tue, 09-02-2003 - 6:33pm
Oh, gosh, I love that one about the 25 kids in a room! Can my in-laws be in that room? ds has made me promise never to let them know those pills aren't vitimins! I do love my in-laws. In every other way I'm in contention for being the luckiest dil out there.

Yes, I think the teacher has a good head on her sholders. I'd watch that peranoid streak. You know, if you decide to go for meds, think about strattera. It has done wonderful things for my son.

Sio

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-03-2003
Tue, 09-02-2003 - 8:11pm
I know your decision is hard because my DH and I have certainly been there. It is a personal decision and for us, probably the hardest parenting decision we ever made. Your husband has a point - you can always try it and if your child doesn't do well, then you can stop. From what I know about the ADHD meds, they are all reversable once they are out of the system. There is a lot of info on the National Institute of Health website. Plus, there are a lot of good books out there with information.

Now that we've had our DS on meds for about six months (we were lucky - we got the right one the first time and it is still working - Concerta 18 mg), I very much regret not starting him sooner. He could have saved a lot of grief, and so could we. He spent so much time in struggling and being frustrated and having teachers and other kids annoyed with him - I wish I could have saved him from that.

And, yes, to the pundits - all of that is part of growing up. But, we know with our kids the ADHD part is to such a degree that it is debilitating.

For our DS, I would rather he have the chance to fit in and to feel good about himself. He is so proud of himself, now. Before meds, he felt bad and got all these bad messages from adults. That is the part that is so damaging to our kids. At six years old, my son had pretty much been in trouble for about 2 years - that is 33% of his life spent in trouble and feeling bad and frustrated - what a long time and what a waste when there is help.

Good luck with your decision - hope I haven't been too strong in my opinion, but that's been our struggle - and this is what we're doing that is working.

Avatar for kathy_in_ga
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 09-02-2003 - 10:57pm
If you do decide to try meds, start on a weekend so you can be there to look for any unwanted side effects. If you have done everything you can to help your DD and it still hasn't worked, then why not try meds? I never regretted starting my son on meds when we was 4.5 y/o, even though we had a rough time the first few months.