Daughter: "I must have ADHD. Can you test me for it?" Questions

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by MidwestMom, Mar 11, 2010.

  1. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    My thirteen year old has learning disabilities...most notably an auditory processing disorder. She has always told me she can't pay attention. Everyone said "no" to ADHD. Ok, now she asked me again to test her for it because she has so much trouble paying attention. She also is very disorganized and forgets things, although with help from the resource teacher her grades have been pretty good C-plus average. She is a happy, well-adjusted teen and frankly I don't want to go through another neuropsychologist evaluation with her. So...

    1/How do you know if somebody has ADHD and, if so, can it be managed without medication? I am very anti-stimulant for teenagers because my oldest daughter has informed me that these drugs are abused by teens a lot. Now, this daughter is NOTHING like her sister and I doubt she'd ever abuse drugs...but her birthfather IS a drug addict. It worries me that maybe there could be a genetic predisposition...I really don't want to go there since her life is good, except for this pesty inability to concentrate.

    2/What does ADHD really look like? My daughter has no behavioral problems or social issues. She is level-headed and not particularly impulsive. Can she still have ADHD?

    Thanks to all moms!
  2. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    Hi! Have you considered just ADD rather than ADHD? Girls tend to have the first as opposed to the hyperactivity. You could probably have the testing done through a therapist or psychiatrist pretty easily. You also don't have to go straight to medication - sometimes it takes being trained in organizational skills instead.

    Hope all is well!

  3. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Here's a link to an interesting article on how to assess for ADHD:

    http://www.greatschools.org/Learning Disability (LD)/ADHD/evaluation-for-ADHD.gs?content=715

    Off to the right-hand side of this article there are links to other articles on ADHD.

    It has been very hard to tease out what is the underlying cause for inattention in two of my children (son J and younger daughter M). M was diagnosed with ADHD-inattentive a couple of years ago by a neuropsychologist and her psychiatrist was willing to rx stimulants, but I felt it was due more to anxiety than anything else. When we treated her anxiety more vigorously, her inattention (and grades!) improved.

    J has been a very complicated case. He was diagnosed at age 9 with ADHD-inattentive and anxiety and rxed stimulants. He did well, but then he become very depressed so we stopped the stimulants. When neuropsychologist testing was repeated at age 14, the tester said he had Major Depressive Disorder with a rule-out on ADHD and BiPolar (BP). Now that he is at his Residential Treatment Center (RTC) and his depression has lifted, the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) staff is seeing signs of inattention again and the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) psychiatrist has just started J on a new trial of Concerta. I'll be able to let you know how it's going after we have family therapy later today.

    I do know that J is smart and he has struggled mightily with academics since he was very young. If ADHD is the culprit and we don't treat it, I think we do a grave disservice to him. Likewise if your daughter truly has ADHD and you don't identify it and treat it, she could become very frustrated. The complicating factor in your case is that her Auditory Processing Disorders (APD) could be causing inattention, and that needs a good professional to tease the symptoms out.

    The best treatment for ADHD is a combination of medication and coping strategies. I don't have the citations at hand, but I've heard for years that teens with ADHD who are not medicated are more at risk for substance abuse than teens who are not. If I can dig up the studies later, I'll post them.
  4. aeroeng

    aeroeng Mom of Three

    Yes it is possible to treat ADD and ADHD without drugs, but the techniques are not all ways as effective. My oldest son was diagnosed as ADHD, he used a very low level of concerta and it really helped him pay attention better. At the end of 5th grade he requested that he stop taking it as he just did not like it. My youngest son was diagnosed with ADD, but has never taken any drugs for it. His attention issues are not as pronoun and the school has developed a set of strategies for him. These include things like putting his desk in the back so he can move quietly without disturbing other students, help with organization, a special seat that allows him to wiggle. ect. Teacher techniques to draw his attention back.

    I believe the older son would be getting better grades if he were to take the Concerta, but I let him make is own choice (This one is a easy child and generally behaves well). The younger ones ADD is just not that bad he seems to be doing well with school strategies only. But, if I had a child with more severe ADD I would be careful with the drugs but I would be willing to test them out and try.

    When I asked the Dr. about the potential for abuse related to the drug he told me that the dosage the ADHD kids take are very small compared to the dosage that drug abusers required to get a high. He said they would need to take 20 or 30 of his pills to get high. He also pointed out that I would be the one with the control on the bottle of pills. So I think drug abuse from ADD/ADHD medication is not a real high risk.
  5. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Today most professionals diagnose patients with ADHD and then add a qualifier:

    ADHD-predominately inattentive type
    ADHD-predominately hyperactive/impulsive type
    ADHD-combined type
  6. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Jamie was ADHD highly hyperactive with no behavioral issues outside of normal boy things and issues that hyperactivity would bring to the table. No ODD.

    He did need medication. He certainly is not a drug addict. He tried pot one time in his teens and didnt like it.
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Thank you. After sorting all this out, I think I"ll take her back to the neuropsychologist (sigh). I am not going to put her on stimulants. I'd rather she get slightly poorer grades and not take ADHD medication. And she really isn't interested in medication either. But if they could help train her in organization, that would be great! I'm tired of her calling home to say, "Mom, can you puleeeeeeeeeeez bring my folder? I left it on the sofa."
    She can make an informed decision as an adult if she wants to take stimulants, but both of us (her and I) have seen stimulant abuse and I have no idea of the risk potential, just that it can happen.
    Thanks again :)