Daughter wants to be put on adderall

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by clive, Nov 23, 2009.

  1. clive

    clive Clive

    Hello, this is my first post. I'll try to be brief, but it concerns my daughter who is now 18 and has had school, substance abuse and emotional problems since about 15, so there is quite a bit of history to her problems.

    She developed a weed habit around 9th grade, started flunking out, switched to the alternate school in our community, where she continued failing every class... dropped out about 3 semesters in a row... last fall she had an incident with the police which resulted in a resisting arrest/assault on police officer conviction... which resulted in some time in jail, rehab, a 3/4 house, and finally an IOP program, which she has completed. She claims she is no longer smoking weed, and tests clean.

    All along, she had insisted that there is something wrong with her--she thinks ADHD--that it's impossible for her to concentrate in school. Of course we, and counselors and therapists always blamed this on the weed use. A year ago she was tested for ADHD, but the psychiatric refused to give her a diagnosis for that, because he suspected she was still using. He said ADHD was a possibility, but according to his testing methods, she was not ADHD--he suggested we look into the possibility of bipolar--we did, and a different psychiatric gave her a negative on that.

    Although it's impossible to know for sure, she insists she's not using, and has been insistent that adderall would be the solution to her problems (which she's still having) in school. She is an 18 year old, and technically 10th grade. She is now living with a friend, and the friend is on adderall. My daughter says she's taken her friend's adderall, and it makes a huge difference in her ability to focus and be motivated in school. Obviously it's not a good thing that she's taken somebody else's prescribed medicine, we don't approve of it, and we've told her.

    So... now she is coming to us, assumably clear-eyed and clean, asking insistently if we will send her to a doctor who will prescribe adderall to her. Of course there are many reasons for us to be suspicious. But she's got me convinced that it's worth a try. Of course, you don't just ask a doctor to give you adderall... the doctor has to examine her and form the opinion that she would benefit from it.

    So... any thoughts, stories, similar scenarios? There are many more details to this story, and I'd be glad to fill them in, as needed.
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Well, I'd be careful. My daughter was also a substance abuser, but she's clean now and she's told me all the daughter secrets of drug abuse.

    Adderrall is a very coveted drug on the streets. She used it. The kids crush it in pillcrushers and snort it, either alone or with other drugs such as cocaine. It's interesting that she targeted Aderrall because my daughter told me that all the ADHD medications are used, but Adderrall is the one kids like the most. She also told me that kids fake ADHD to get the drugs. Adderrall, at the time my daughter abused it, went for $10/pill on the street so it's far cheaper and less of a hassel to get it legally.

    In my opinion, if she abused substances she should stay far away from stimulants, which are speed. I wouldn't help her get it. If she isn't clean, it wouldn't help her anyway. There are other ways to handle ADHD, if she really has it. And if you are/were a drug addict, you should never take those sorts of drugs because it is too tempting to abuse them. And she probably will. Now that my daughter is clean she won't take any medication except for Ibuprofen and it's even hard to get her to take antibiotics. She tries to do the herbal remedy thing. I'd tell her no way.

    PS...the friend should not have given her any of her Adderrall and I'll bet the friend uses drugs too. And, hate to say it, but it is usually more than weed that our kids use. They just don't admit it. My daughter shocked me with her list of drugs she used once she was clean. We had never guessed how deeply she was involved in drugs.

    It is not hard to talk a doctor into giving you Adderrall, especially if he has no idea of your drug abuse history. My daughter's friends did it all the time. They knew ADHD symptoms and talked it up.

    JMO from one who went thru it. I'd say weed and maybe other drug use would cause a lack of concentration. There is a reason Adderrall is a controlled substance...that is because it is widely abused. Take care and good luck, whatever you decide to do.
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2009
  3. maril

    maril New Member

    Hello, clive.

    The fact that she is specifically asking for Adderall is concerning, in that, it's sought (as MWM gives info) out for illegal use. My son is presently substance-free (tested regularly), has recently been reevaluated and ADHD continues to be a diagnosis. He has an appointment coming up to see about medications; however, in the recent testing and evaluation results, it was noted prescription medications, particularly stimulants, will have to be closely monitored, due to his history of substance use (something we knew, the professionals reinforced it). He also has named Adderall (did not tolerate it well in the past when prescribed to him) as a medication he would like to try again, and I reminded him of the side effects he had from it in the past; as well, I once again reminded him that I know it's a drug that's sought for illegal use.

    In my opinion, if she is clean, maybe reevaluation would be a good thing, and then if diagnosed with ADHD, proceed carefully from there, as far as medications go. Also, I realize she is 18 and lives away from home, but she is asking for your help and support and that is positive.

    Good luck!
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2009
  4. clive

    clive Clive

    Thanks for the input. Although I only mentioned weed, my daughter also has revealed a huge list of drugs she had taken in the past. I'm not naive about the possibility that she could still be using, or interested in adderall for something other than focusing in school. It's a tough call--it's been about a year now that she's been on probation, which included a rehab facility and 3/4 house for a while, where she was monitored closely for any substance abuse. Since she's been home, she's had random drug testing, and tested clean.

    She's back in school, and seems to be trying hard, but has already had to drop 2 classes because she got too far behind--actually absenteeism was what made her get so far behind. Why does she skip so much? She says she goes, but often gets distracted, loses all concentration, and leaves at break time or between classes. Of course, this would be easy for any high school kid to say, and our response would be the usual disciplinary stuff, consequences, etc... but this has been going on with her for years, and nothing makes her change this behavior. She repeatedly states she really wants to get through high school and graduate, and says she tries her hardest. Her instructors say she does well, when she's there, and does the work.

    Anyway, thanks for your responses, I read through some old posts that mentioned adderall, and they do mention the fact that it's a drug that's often sold on the street, which makes me hesitant to help her get ahold of it. But on the other hand, if she needs the kind of help that would benefit from medication (which, by the way, I'm not a big fan of), I am open to giving it a try.
  5. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    Since she had the weed habit, I would be concerned about addiction and an underlying anxiety problem.

    Is your daughter willing to go to a t-doctor? Is she in school? Would she consider the use of a tutor? Perhaps a college student familiar with- the subject. See if she is open to go to a store like Office Max and buying organizing materials.

    If she is going to school, I would be more willing to entertain the idea of a stimulant medication (assuming a doctor diagnosis's her with ADD of course!). A low dose and regular check ups would be important. However, as with all medications, it is almost always best to try other things first and you have even more reason to be concerned here. It is curious, that she is not in school (I don't think) and asking for this medication. Other things should probably be considered first

    Please know that there is a natural supplement called PS (long word...can't recall the spelling). IF you go to www.iherb.com and check it out, you'll see many posts complimenting the results. I understand it is more commonly used in Europe for ADD and dementia. To the best of my knowledge, there is no risk of addiction and many people have gotten good results. If she is s serious about wanting help concentrating, perhaps this is a good thing to try (along with- possibly a therapist or coach and organizing materials).
  6. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    I would be hesitant as well, although an evaluation might not be a bad thing.

    As an 18 year old sophomore, she might feel as if school will be never-ending so why bother. Are you starting to consider a GED program as a viable option for her?

  7. clive

    clive Clive

    I posted a reply earlier today, but it hasn't appeared--not sure what the deal is there, but here's another, in response to some remarks:

    She IS currently attending school, but with about 4 weeks left, has been dropped from two of the classes due to poor attendance. Her explanation of this is that she goes, and at some point loses all concentration, and feels it's useless to be there anymore, so she leaves at breaktime, or between classes. The teachers have given her many chances, she is in attendance violation for all classes--as I said, only one has dropped her--the other she reached a mutual understanding with the instructor to drop, because she felt she was in over her head with the subject matter of that particular class, with no hope of passing.

    All of her teachers know she's a bright kid, and when she's there, and does the work, she does great. But for some reason, she can't stay on task. We've been through all the disciplinary measures, consequences, etc, and nothing phases her. Now she is an 18 year old young lady living outside the home, responsible for herself. But we would like to help her, if she has legitimate obstacle to learning and staying on task.

    The natural supplement idea sounds good, I'll check it out. Thanks everyone, I hope this gets posted!
  8. plainjane2

    plainjane2 New Member

    When my daughter asked for ADHD medicine, I did not want her to take it for similar reasons, but now I wish I had gotten her a prescription years ago.

    My difficult child asked for Adderal when she was 12 or 13 (she'll be 18 on Friday). She had plenty of school and behavior problems, and I assumed a friend had encouraged her to request the medications for "recreational" purposes, so I resisted the idea.

    I used the request as an excuse to get her into therapy. (Again.) The psychologist diagnosis'ed depression and ODD. She went to this therapist weekly for more than a year, and although I thought antidepressants helped her, she refused to take them for more than two months here and there.

    Finally, after three or four years of up and down grades, her school performance took a nosedive and she basically flunked out of high school the fall of her junior year as a result of not doing the work and skipping school. (she's really very smart.) At this point, I asked her psychiatrist what he thought of her taking an ADHD medication, even with-out the ADHD diagnosis, and he said she could try it and if it helps, great. It helped.

    She ended up at the alternative, self-paced high school, and is doing great there, with the Vyvanse helping her focus: "It makes you want to do math." I don't know about other medications, but one dose of Vyvanse lasts 8 hours -- basically the length of the school day plus some homework time.

    That's my experience.

    I just wish school issues were my difficult child's only problem.
  9. compassion

    compassion Member

    Strateera is really helping my daughter focus. It makes a huge difference for her in acedemics,driivng, and tasks like grocery shopping. Impusivity and focus issues are huge with my daughter. Realisitcally,we are making progress in tiny baby steps a little each week with online school.
  10. clive

    clive Clive

    Thanks again everybody for the responses. I just got finished watching CNN's Campbell Brown's report tonight on, guess what, the wide use (and abuse) of adderall on campus currently. So, with some pretty alarming bits of information there, I was once again conflicted about whether to set up a doctor appointment. for my daughter. Then I logged on here to find two stories from parents whose daughters had a genuine need for help with attention problems, and both daughters have been helped by medication.

    So we'll proceed carefully and thoughtfully, and by Monday make a decision whether to have her checked out. If we do let her see a doctor, it will of course have to be the opinion of the doctor whether she is a candidate for a medication.

    thanks again!
  11. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Just a warning. it is incredibly easy to fake ADHD and even easier, unfortunately, to get doctors to prescribe stimulants. That she asked up front for Adderrall is worrying to me. Her problems aren't going to go away because of any pill and Adderrall is the one most widely coveted by drug addicts/users. You probably don't know the full extent of her drug use. My guess is it went beyond marijuana and that she is still using. I feel this is true due to my unfortuante experiences. Of course, all kids are different. Has she shown a willingness to change? Why won't she try Straterra? It is not abused. It's an antidepressant.

    I'd be very concerned if this was my daughter after what I learned about the ADHD medications and teens who use them wrong. Do you REALLY trust her to ONLY take it to help her focus?

    When I tried Ritalin it acted like Speed. It doesn't calm down most people. You have to honestly, truly have ADHD with no mood disorder, and there is no way to prove it.

    Whatever you decide to do, I wish you good luck.
  12. graceupongrace

    graceupongrace New Member

    I agree with MWM & others that asking for Adderal by name is a big red flag.

    If you decide to have her evaluated, make sure you let the doctor know about her request, about the fact that she took someone else's Adderal, and about her history with drugs. Also, be careful about the doctor you choose -- look for a psychiatrist who specializes in treating adolescents. A good doctor is unlikely to prescribe medications on the first visit. We went through a great deal of evaluation and testing before we got to that point.

    ADHD medications really can help kids who truly have that condition (they have helped my difficult child quite a bit), and in fact, kids with ADHD that goes untreated are more likely to abuse drugs. But like other prescription medications, there's also serious potential for abuse.

    Good luck, and keep us posted!
  13. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    hi! I haven't read all of this, so pardon if I repeat what has been said.

    It is possible that your daughter does need "something" to help with concentration. With her history of drug use it is highly unlikely that any doctor with a true history would EVER give her adderall or any other stimulant. It is like giving an alcoholic a daily glass of wine because it can bee good for your heart.

    You might offer to see if a doctor would prescribe strattera. It is a medication similar to prozac that really does wonders for some people with adhd. My brother has used it for years. EVERYONE can tell if he misses a few days. His doctor helps him with the forms to hav ethe drug co provide it to then.

    If she insists on adderall then in my humble opinion it is about getting high.
  14. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    She may be looking for it as a source of money if she knows kids who take it to get high. If she is willing to go into therapy and let a professional help her with deciding if adderall will help her, I can't see it being a problem. But to just suddenly decide it's the one drug that is going to work? Sounds like she thinks the turnip truck has been through town...
  15. clive

    clive Clive

    We haven't made any moves yet, but will probably get her an appointment with a doctor to explore her attention problems. She hasn't been persistent about asking for it--only when I ask her how she's doing in school, and with job-hunting. She usually replies something like "ok, but I really need that adderall." I've mentioned that there might be alternate medications or methods to use, and she says she'd be ok with that.

    Meanwhile, she's moving back into our house--2 months or so living with her best friend (in a house that also includes her friend's mom, sister, and sister's baby) has apparently made her appreciate her own family much more than before, so she's coming back. I will try to post if and when we get some feedback from a doctor. Thanks again everybody.
  16. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    Our doctor would not put our daughter on a stimulant, because she has bipolar disorder and it is contraindicated. We tried a low dose of the natural PS and it has definitely helped her. We are considering trying a more moderate dosage. Honestly, it has made a difference in her memory. We also gave her a little vitamin D3, and this seem to boost her spirits slightly.

    I was intrigued to discover that the PS is commonly used in other parts of the world and has been for years. It does not seem to have side effects and is over the counter. We use Jarrow Brand PS 100. I have used this myself, also low dosage, to counter the side effects of Topamax, which I take for headache prevention (Topamax causes something like ADD).

    Here are some typical reviews I saw at the i herb website (a very popular vitamin website):
    PS 100, From California PS 100 really works I'm much sharper when I take this product Now my mother, sister and my 23 year old niece take this product also!
    Awesome results to improve my children's concentration and performance in school, March 12, 2009 From Taiwan Jarrow Formulas, PS-100, 100 mg is an effective supplement to drastically improve my kids's learning capability in school via increased concentration and brain function. Thanks to iHerb for recommending PS-100 !
    Lasted edited by : Dec 2, 2009
  17. katya02

    katya02 Solace

    Hi and welcome, Clive. I'm sorry I'm coming late to this conversation, but wanted to add my thoughts. From a doctor's point of view, any time a patient comes in and requests a specific controlled medication it's a huge red flag. Plenty of docs get tired of dealing with aggressive and assaultive drug seekers and just give them what they want, so it's easy to get scripts for controlled drugs from them; others aren't very tuned in to the red flags that tip you off to drug seekers. But I agree with the comments by MWM and the others who are urging caution. Your daughter's friend should never have let her use her Adderall, and the fact that she did means there's a good chance she's selling.

    With your daughter's history of drug use I would not help her obtain any controlled substance in any way. Even if something were prescribed for legitimate reasons, her behavior pattern is too much of a risk. My difficult child has a history of drug use and has begged for methylphenidate to help his lack of concentration (his descriptions sound much like your daughter's), but it would be a disaster for him to have it. Anyone with substance abuse issues or bipolar illness should not take stimulants - ever.

    Your daughter's pattern of absenteeism does raise another red flag for me. While someone with ADHD will find it difficult to focus through a long class, losing track of things to the point of just leaving between classes is not an ADHD trait. That's a voluntary action. Unless she also gets lost on her way to various destinations, i.e. gets off a bus randomly before getting home and doesn't recall that she was going home, or can't recall where she was heading when she's halfway to an appointment, leaving school in the middle of the day isn't a medical issue. And if she is doing those things, there may be a medical issue but it's not ADHD.

    You're doing everything you can to help your daughter complete high school. After her consistent absenteeism, taking her home and giving her another chance is very supportive on your part. I hope you and your wife make plans for some firm house rules - not many, but rules about important things that you're prepared to follow through on, such as no drug/alcohol use - and the consequences for breaking them. With an adult child in the house it works better to have the rules up front and everyone on the same page.

    Best wishes, and I hope the doctor is able to give you and your daughter some helpful suggestions.
  18. Bean

    Bean Member

    I have to agree. Been there. My daughter also "tried" it - a friend's, she said. At the time she was requesting it she was 16 and a career truant, so it didn't seem reasonable to give it to her for school. Also, too, was the fact that she was specifically asking for it, too.