Behavior After Medication

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by gadawg27, Nov 19, 2009.

  1. gadawg27

    gadawg27 New Member

    My 5 year old son has just been diagnosed by a child psychologist as ADHD, and I am meeting with his pediatrician tomorrow morning to go over medication options. He is having an extremely hard time in school and extra-curricular activities to the point where he has nightmares about getting in trouble, and I am so excited that he might finally have some relief...but of course, I am also afraid for him and nervous about medications. Let's just say I have a very long list of questions for the pediatrician tomorrow!

    My big question for you guys is for parents with kids who are on ADHD medications...which behaviors seem to have the most improvement, and which do you still have to deal with (even to a lesser degree) once your child is medicated? My son's biggest problems are getting out of his seat and talking out of turn. He is constantly on the go at school and sitting through a lesson is sooo hard for him. Sometimes he seems to just totally not care about consequences, and sometimes it's like he doesn't even hear instructions. At home he's constantly talking, constantly moving, and since he wants others to be engaged with him all the time he's constantly aggravating! Other kids get annoyed by him because he wants to play constantly, even when THEY are trying to listen and learn. But our biggest problem is figuring out which behaviors are relative to the ADHD, which are just his personality, and which are habits. I guess I'm just wondering what kind of changes to expect!

  2. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I have no experience with medications for ADHD but was wondering if the psychiatric did neuropsychological testing or did he/she just meet and talk to you and your child? It can make a big difference in the diagnosis (diagnosis).
  3. tictoc

    tictoc New Member

    My son has tried Focalin and it really did make him focus...sometimes too much. But, it also made him very anxious and increased his tics (he has Tourette Syndrome). So, just wanted to tell you to watch out for any increase in anxiety, since he already is worrying about getting in trouble.

    You will know fairly quickly if you are going to get good things out of the medication. Might take a bit longer to identify the 'bad' things. I recommend keeping a symptom log when introducing a medication, so you don't have to rely on your memory when assessing how things are going.

    Good luck.
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    It would all depend on if the diagnosis is right and if the medications are right for him. There are no magic pills. My son's first diagnosis. was ADHD/ODD. He got aggressive and mean on all stimulants. Later on he was diagnosed with high functioning autism, which was his real diagnosis.

    If he wasn't evaluated by a neuropsychologist, I'd be leery of the diagnosis. Most of our kid's first diagnosis. was ADHD/ODD. Lots of disorders make kids unable to sit still. Early onset bipolar and any sort of autism, including Aspergers, are two examples. My son had 6-10 hours of neuropsychologist testing. in my opinion it was better than anything else he ever had and then things got better.
  5. aeroeng

    aeroeng Mom of Three

    easy child was on concerta for ADHD. It did help him pay attention. I was resistant to it at first. I talked with teachers, parents and student. The one that convinced me to try it was a teenager who was actually angry that his parents did not try medications earlier in his life. So I agreed to try.

    ADHD medications should help him pay attention better not just calm him down and make him quiet. If he becomes a zombie on it, it is not working for him. I tested easy child. I had him sit down and copy sentences without it and the next day with it. Without it he could only copy 3 sentences, with it he made around 11. (He was still eager to escape though). His teacher said with the medication he talked more in class because he was able to follow what was going on. So in one since he became more active not less.

    There are also additional non medication actions the school should be ready to use. Things like frequent breaks when taking tests. Fiddle tools to keep his hands occupied. My son school even tried a "move and sit" seat, so he could wiggle to his heart's content without moving the chair.

    As far as negative things go, the ADHD medications do not have as serious side effects as the mood altering drugs do. Each one would have different side effects and you should ask your Dr. what they are. With the concerta we did note he lost his appetite early in the day, but made up for it later. Some kids have troubles getting to sleep. My son had no troubles sleeping.
  6. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    You are as likely to get as many different answers to your questions as there are adhd medications! Kid's reaction to stims differs from child to child and year to year.

    I can only tell you my difficult child's experience. The very first day difficult child went on medications was a school day. There was a difference right away. Even his handwriting was more focused. He was diagnosis'd with adhd, highly impulsive/combined type.

    The hyperactivity level decreased, the attention and focused incrased and the impulsivity decreased. That was eight years ago. Numerous medication dosages and medication changers later, he is 14 and in 8th grade. He is on a very low dose of vyvanse now and the hyperacticity and impulsivity are pretty much gone (without the medications). The "H" in adhd is pretty much gone (which sometimes happends as they get older) but the attention issues are still there.

    You will see something the first day. Dont' become discouraged though if tweaking is needed. Sometimes one type of stimulant doesn't work or a different dosage is needed.

    Good luck! Keep us posted.

  7. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Well, if it's truly just ADHD, in a nutshell the stimulant medications at the right dosage level should improve his ability to focus, sit still, pay attention and curb some of his impulses. He should be quieter, easier to redirect, and more cooperative overall.

    Hopefully your pediatrician will start low and go slow, possibly with a short-acting medication that wears off in 4 to 6 hours. But you should notice a change fairly quickly. These medications do not need to build up in your body to be effective. Also, once the medication wears off, you'll see a resurgence in the old behaviors, and in some kids they can have a rebound effect where it's a little bit worse than before the medicatio -- but they usually settle down eventually.

    That said, you should also know that they frequently mess with appetite, so be prepared to work on keeping enough calories in your kid who will suddenly not be hungry most of the time. For some families, they try to make up the difference at the end of the day with a higher calorie meal, high calorie bedtime snack, etc.

    Once you find a medication and dosage that works, you may get to a point where you'll want the coverage to last more than 4 to 6 hours (especially as he gets older and has more homework later in the day). There are longer lasting options, and that's for a discussion with the doctor.

    I hope that the treatment works and that your son gets the help he needs!

    Good luck and keep us posted :)
  8. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I have a kid (now an adult child) who was "just adhd" with no other co-morbid disorder. He acted in kindergarten and first grade pretty much like you describe your son. He was constantly on the go, never sitting still, talking constantly, class clown, silly, fast, running, impulsive, etc.

    When he was on his "wiggle medicine" he was night and day. He could sit and listen. He could write neatly. He could learn. It certainly didnt dull him though. He was still our happy, funny, comical little boy. Even on the medications, he was still running laps at recess. He still wanted to do all the sports and other very active outdoor things. He never wanted to be an indoor kid.

    He has grown up now to be quite successful in my opinion. He graduated HS and entered the Marine Corps at 17. He became a Military Policeman in the Corps. After serving for 4 years in there he got out in early 2007 and got a job working for the Sheriffs Dept in a county in VA as an Animal Control Officer. He has been there since then and he is now about to enter the police acadamy this January so he can get the training to become the Chief of Animal Control. He is next in line. He is married with two young kids and owns his own house. He is 25.

    Not bad for the wiggly little boy who didnt understand why kids had to go to school 20 years ago!
  9. Sharon74

    Sharon74 Guest

    My DS did not do well on ADHD medications at all. We tried Metadate-CD, Ritalin, Adderall-XR and eventually Strattera. The stimulants caused him to be zombie like, dull, very irritable, depressed, he could not sleep, and he could not eat. He lost so much weight that he was only 37 pounds by the time he turned 7. He was then taken off them. Eventually we found out that the diagnosis was not correct. How much time we could have saved if we had done more extensive testing in the beginning. While it may seem like a pain, it is well worth it.
  10. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    If it is the right medication and the right diagnosis, then it will be night and day. My difficult child is not strictly ADHD, however he cannot function well without his stimulant, but he has to be on a mood stabilizer and an ap also. For my difficult child, it is amazing. Our experience once we got the right medications was like LDM's.

    I hope you hit the right medication right off the bat, but if you don't then try another. The hardcore truth about these medications is they really don't have an exact way to know which one will work.
  11. gadawg27

    gadawg27 New Member

    Thanks for the replies everyone!! After lots of discussion with his Pediatrician this morning we decided to go with the lowest dose of Vyvanse to begin with. He wants him to try it a good solid two weeks before we adjust doseage or the type of medication (if needed), but he said if I notice that he is zombie-like or has wild mood swings then I should call right away. It would be so awesome if this one works for him right off the bat, but I love the idea of keeping a journal to track his behavior just in case, thanks!!

    The weight is one thing I'm worried about for sure...he's already small for his age (he's just over 5 1/2 and just in the past month finally made it to 38 lbs) and he's short too. His doctor mentioned that he probably would eat very little lunch so we should try to get him to eat a big breakfast and he may need a snack right before bedtime. I'm certainly going to be putting a lot of extra peanut butter on his sammies! :)

    Janet, your story is like a dream come true!! I sincerely hope that's how it goes with my son. My husband was EXACTLY like him as a child according to my mother in law, but of course times (and schools!!) were different so he never even saw a doctor about his "problems" and as an adult he has actually turned his being "on the go" into one of his biggest professional strengths. Of course, getting him to sit inside and watch a movie on Saturday is impossible...there's always something he can work on outside... ;) So, I'm hoping that if medication can get my son through school then he'll still manage to be sucessful as an adult and live a perfectly normal (and hopefully unmedicated by that time) life like his dad!

    So far he is really just exhibits ADHD symptoms according to the psychiatric, but I've heard that once that is controlled by medicine any other issues tend to come, we'll see how it goes!

    Thanks again nice to talk to folks that have been there and done that!! :)
  12. rachelfran

    rachelfran New Member

    My son (8 yrs) was just diagnosis adhd & aspergers by a neuropsychologist. We sat in on a class in school and saw the adhd in action.. no concentration or focus, distracted - though hard to tell what's aspergers and what's adhd.

    Saw a dev. pediatrician yesterday and she gave us vyvanse to try and I'm anxious to see how it affect the behaviors in school - which are impulsive, distracted and sometimes moody & rude. I'm hoping it doesn't make it worse.

    Am curious to know if you've seen any change in your child since you started the vyvanse (if you've started it yet).

  13. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Well my son can barely sit inside now either. Not unless its football sunday and even then he is running up and down the stairs and standing up and sitting down cheering for his He does sit and watch his tv shows sometimes but he dvr's them so he can pause them if he gets distracted. His job is perfect for him because he is outside all day long riding around in a truck and he is in and out of the truck working.
  14. gadawg27

    gadawg27 New Member


    Yes, we have seen MAJOR changes since starting Vyvanse, but the smallest dose (20mg) ended up being too much. He had all the negative emotions to the 10th power, but no positives...his reaction to anything fun or exciting was totally flat. He was MUCH more moody and rude, so if your dose is too high it might not help much! Not even a trip to the toy store, visit with Santa, or winning a medal at his wrestling tournament brought out real smiles...he barely laughed for 7 straight fun-loving guy had disappeared inside this moody, irrational, easily irritated little being. The doctor wanted us to try a full 2 weeks before we changed medications or doseage, but by day 8 I had enough and gave him just half a dose (I open the capsule and pour it into 4 oz of water and just give him 2 oz). HOLY COW! Not only did I get my boy back, but a much calmer, happier, and more easy going version! Last week was his first week back at school, and the first week EVER that he pulled no discipline cards. He was so proud of himself and so were we...we had to hit up Pizza Hut to celebrate. :)

    How has your child been doing on Vyvanse?


    My husband is that way too...thank goodness for DVR and hard labor. LOL
  15. rachelfran

    rachelfran New Member

    We had to stop the vyvanse ... He was coughing non stop for two days... She's prescribed intuniv instead but the pharmacy has to order it so we haven't started it yet.