Newly diagnosed 17 yo with ADHD ODD Possible Depression

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Iamwipedouttoo, Aug 21, 2009.

  1. Iamwipedouttoo

    Iamwipedouttoo New Member

    I have a 17 year old daughter who was just recently diagnosed as having ADHD with ODD and possible depression. I also have a 19 year old and a 14 year old (and a 40-something huband.)

    I am at my wits end and doing my best to understand the whole thing but it is hard to understand and she is not taking the diagnosis well. We are all seeing a counselor together so I guess that is a start of what is going to be a very long road.

    I could go on and on about the background but I'll cut it short by saying she just never seemed to like to take the word no for an answer, even when she was given an explanation (according to my mom, that was the reason why we have had so many problems with her! Funny, my other two didn't have the same problem and were given explanations, too.). We tried many different discipline methods with her and none seemed to work.

    Despite our bringing up her issues with pediatricians and teachers we were always patted on the head and told "good luck. You have a strong willed, stubborn child. Be firm and she'll be fine." or "She'll be able to be more organized as she grows." or "All kids don't listen from time to time. Why should she be any different?"

    I've been like a crazy person the past few years delving into any parents of teens minds to try to figure out if this was just typical teen behavior or something else so I feel some sort of relief from knowing there is a real problem causing all the things we've seen with her over the years. I can't help but feel angry with all the individuals I trusted to give me good advice who didn't, though.

    As you probably know, years and years of this has left me exhausted.

    I am worried that the extra stress is catching up with all of us. I am very worried about my my fourteen year old. I am not as involved with his school activity as I had planned because of all the extra stuff we have to do with his sister right now and while he's being understanding I fear if this goes on too long, he'll end up resenting her even more than he already says he does. I am worried about my 19 year old, too. It is not an easy thing to deal with for all of us.

    To complicate things, my husband refuses to give into the adhd stuff. According to him she just needs to decide to get her head out of her you-know-what.

    Anyway, that is that...I could go on and on but I'm so sick over thinking and talking about this every day that I need a break.

    Thank you guys for being here. At least I know now that I am not alone. I wish I would have found you all sooner!
  2. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    You are definately NOT alone! As stated on the main page, this truly is a soft place to land. Glad you found us but sorry you had to.

    A couple of questions first. Who diagnosed your daughter? Is she on medications? Normally, the best people to diagnosis this type of thing is a psychiatrist who specializes in children/juveniles.

    One of our "staples around here, and I'm sure others will agree, is the book The Explosive Child by Ross Greene. A lot of us have read it and incorporate some, if not all, of the technique(s) described.

    Also, you mentioned counseling and that is a great start. If he hasn't stated it already, you may want to talk to the counselor alone about your husband's view on ADHD. People have a lot of misconceptions about it anyway and if he is balking at ANY kind of "mental" diagnosis, the counselor may have some good information for him. Another thing, if you feel the counselor doesn't have the knowledge or expertise to help the situation, don't hesitate to "fire" him/her and find one that does. If that happens, try to find the next one first or make sure that your appointment isn't going to be months away. Sometimes even not quite right counseling is better than nothing. (sometimes...make sure you aren't doing more harm than good by staying if you need to.)

    At your daughter's age, I hate to say, you may not have a lot of time to change things. But....because of her age, I think you can use some techniques more than others. A popular one around here especially for our older kids is "do to get". If she wants to get/keep her cell phone....she has to do something to acheive that. Chores, grades, etc. Pretty typical technique but one that is also tailored to our specific lives. Some people have made the requirement that their child not call them nasty names while others dangle incentives to get their child to practice basic hygene.

    Grrrr. Another difficult child just got home. We take turns doing the dishes here. I've done them the last 4 times (husband works long and weird hours) and announced that it's his turn. He refused so I told him fine...he get's nothing till they are done. If he wants to eat....he needs to do the dishes. He's 19, doesn't work and takes little to no responsibility for himself and generally pitches a fit when he's expected to pull his weight in this house. Fine. You don't want to do the dishes? You get no benefits from living in this house unless you make an effort to contribute in some way. I'm not going to deprive him of ALL food but he won't get the benefit of eating what I cook for supper. There are frozen things he can nuke as well as lunch meat.

    At 17, you have options. Obviously, your daughter needs to learn to live in the real world and accept that she's not always going to get her way or have things handed to her. She may learn that while still living at home or it may take a healthy dose of reality when she moves out on her own. How long till she's 18 by the way? Another thing a lot of us do is draw up behavior contracts when our kids hit 18. If they want to continue living at home, they need to follow certain rules and/or expectations. You just have to be willing to follow through on the consequences set out because if you don't, that's that much more authority you have lost and it will be that much harder to enforce something down the road.

    Anyway, I'm sure more people will be along with more/better advice.

    Again, welcome! You are not alone anymore!!
  3. dadside

    dadside New Member

    First ... welcome! You'll find a lot of knowledgable people here.

    I've never been a fan of ODD as a diagnosis because it doesn't tell me anything and I don't think it stands on its own. There is something else causing the defiance, in my view. So I think having a really comprehensive evaluation is necessary so ways of dealing with the problematic behavior/attitude can be established. The ODD may be a defense against some real or perceived weakness.

    I think it important that you do spend more time with your 14-y.o., as you noted. Let the 17-y.o. go some, and let professionals address the root issues, so that the younger one doesn't lose any more. I really don't know what the outcome will bewith the 17-y.o., but the potential losses for your younger one seem greater than what the 17y.o. might gain.

    As for ADHD, it is real, and your husband needs to accept it. The attention deficit part is the hardest for me to grasp, because people with it may spend hours on some things they really like, but can't maintain focus too long on other things. Also, I understand that attention deficit people are, on average, rather intelligent. If through medication or whatever, the ADHD issue is addressed effectively, the ODD may lessen.

    Doubtless, others with more specific experience dealing with ODD will be along.
  4. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    One other might want to make a signature like the one I have at the bottom of my post. It helps us keep track of who is who and what is going on. You can go to USER CP (at the top of the screen) to do this.
  5. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Welcome! I'm glad you found us, but sorry you needed to.

    I'm also sorry for all the questions, but your answers will help us help you:

    What kind of doctor diagnosed her?
    Has she ever had neuropsychological testing?
    Is she taking any medications, and if so, what and how has she reacted to them?
    How does she do in school, both academically and with peers?
    What behaviors are you seeing that most concern you?

    Again, welcome. You are definitely not alone any longer.
  6. Babbs

    Babbs New Member

    Welcome... I don't post much or often but its a great place to read and have comfort knowing someone will listen but that others have been in your shoes as well.

    From your brief description, it sounds as though your daughter is really struggling with what is known as executive functioning - that is being able to organize, make plans, initiate activities, review whether or not actions taken were appropriate or successful, etc. There is a lot of information out there these days on executive functioning and most people with AD/HD have significant problems with it. I know that my difficult child likes to argue because he just can't get tasks initiated without significant effort - its actually easier for him to argue about something for 2 hours than to start the task which eventually takes less than 5 minutes to complete!

    The Explosive Child is a great book, another good author is Chris Dendy - one of her books, "A Bird's Eye View" (the title is close), is actually written based on interviews from teenagers who have AD/HD and struggle with it. Gives a great perspective on the insides of their heads as well as some wonderful ideas of what works for them and what they found hadn't.

    I'm sorry to hear that your husband isn't on board that there may be a neurological answer for her behavior. One of the best things that helped my SO understand difficult child's issues was we took a Parent to Parent class with the local CHADD (Children and Adults with AD/HD) chapter. Gave tons of information and helped SO understand that AD/HD goes way beyond hyperactivity or daydreamyness...
  7. Iamwipedouttoo

    Iamwipedouttoo New Member

    Thank you all for your words of support. I really appreciate it. It has been a crazy few weeks and just knowing that I am not alone in all this is really helping.

    Thanks for the book reference. I've already read "Driven to Distraction" and "Teens with ADHD" and would love to read anything I can my hands on to try to make sense of all of this.

    To answer a few questions...

    What kind of doctor diagnosed her?

    Child/Adolescent Psychiatrist diagnosed her and is monitoring her medications. She (and us) are also seeing a talk therapist, a psychologist, who sees a lot of teens (different practice because of insurance) and she feels the ADHD diagnosis is correct.

    Has she ever had neuropsychological testing?

    She may have had it as part of testing the school gives out but if this has been done, I am not aware of her results.
    Is she taking any medications, and if so, what and how has she reacted to them?

    Vyvanse 30mg, seems to take the edge off. In my opinion she seems more able to slow down before she reacts to situations. My husband doesn't think it does anything. I have seen an honest improvement, though, it's not a complete turnaround.

    To give you an idea - She missed a dose one day last week and I noticed that she was really agrumentative (all the while she was trying to do her homeowork and noone was asking her for anything, mind you - she tried to start 8 fights in one hour! No kidding.). It was so bad that my 14 year old came to me in private and asked what exactly her medicine was supposed to do and after I explained it he exclaimed, "Well, it's OBVIOUSLY not working." He didn't know she missed her dose that day! That was enough proof to me that the medications are helping.

    She seems moodier in the evenings than when she first gets home from school though she's better than she's ever been.
    How does she do in school, both academically and with peers?
    Academically, she was always a challenge but I've always been told she is really smart - all she needs to do is apply herself. She had difficulty reading in K, 1st grade but we got her help over the summer before 2nd and she was back on track by beginning of 2nd. Homework has always been a problem. Younger years she's miss entire sections of worksheets. Older elementary, middle I noticed she had a hard time organizing to even know what she had to do. The teacher had to sign her assignment books and I had to sign them at home (it was always a fight, too!). I would hear regularly from teachers about her excess chattiness. High school, she goes through spurts of doing okay (C-level) but often fails tests, especially in classes she has a problem with the teacher (I hear every excuse in the book - I was in the high school 3x last year because she felt she was being mistreated or because she claimed the teacher wasn't teaching.) According to her teachers she could easily make As and Bs if she just applied herself.

    Girls always seem to move on or keep it casual with her (she does not have a best friend, the one time in her life she did she forgot all about her when she an another girl started to spend time together. The new best friend ditched her for another friend and she's not had a best girl friend since though she spends some time with girls she's met at school.

    She says she prefers guy friends because they aren't so catty and that most girls are You-know-whats. She's had the same boyfriend for 9 months now though they have been going on again off again over the summer (I found out he has adhd after she was diagnosed).
    What behaviors are you seeing that most concern you?
      1. Her failure to do what she says she'll do even when she is told and agrees beforehand
      2. Rewards, no matter how big or small, do not work with her - we told her we'd buy a car for her if she handed in all homework and kept Cs or better in all her classes the 1st semester of school last year. You can guess how that went. When she didn't get the car, she blamed her teachers for her not handing in work and not getting the grades she was expected to and us for being unreasonable.
      3. Her anger over what she perceives as unfair treatment (related to peers and siblings). Teachers are always the problem for her grades. We are unreasonable in our expectations (which are be respectful of others, do your chores, try in school, be in by curfew, and clean up after yourself in the common areas of the house).
      4. Her forgetfullness and lack of organization, then her anger at me or my husband when we don't remind her of things that should be her responsibility - getting up for school, doing her homework, etc.
      5. My fear to drive with her because she gets so mad at me when I have to intervene that I am scared to drive with her. My husband won't drive with her anymore for the same reason. (we almost got into three accidents over the past year - she's had her permit THAT long!)
    That is what is going on right now, anyway.

    I hope that answers your questions. I'm sure I left things out.

    I am seriously considering going to talk to someone about this whole situation with my daughter and my husband's refusal to give into the adhd diagnosis. It is really causing a lot of extra stress. We had to come up with a plan for her to get to use of her cell phone and he was resistant to making any changes to the way we handled rewards/consequences saying we've done it all before and that writing it down was stupid and unecessary. I was so upset because our daughter seemed to feel it was necessary and I saw that requirement as part of the adhd - it doesn't matter if the other two kids don't need it written down - SHE does. I am also upset because he isn't getting that we need to focus more on short term rewards with her. He's wants it all or nothing. So yeah, I think I need to find someone for me because he's driving me mad. lol

    Thanks again to all of you. (((hugs))))
  8. Babbs

    Babbs New Member

    It annoys me to no end to hear about yet another student who "could earn A's and B's if they just applied themselves." Do teachers really think that smart students want to fail? That her life wouldn't be easier if she could just "apply herself?" gggggrrrr

    One major point to remember is that the hallmark of executive functioning problems is the inability to organize, problem solve, initiate and follow through on tasks.

    My difficult child is 4th grade and this kind of **** is written all over his kindergarten and 1st grade report cards - before I got him on medications and into behavioral managment therapy training. Teachers just don't get how hard it is for our kids to pull it together and get stuff done. I know that your daughter would be much happier if she could just sit down and get stuff done.

    30 mg of Vyvanse is a very very very low dose. My 4th grader is on 50mg and I know of many high schoolers who are on 75-120mg. Have you asked her how her brain feels before and after the medications? Sometimes bringing it to the child's attention helps - difficult child will come tell me the "woodpeckers are flying around his brain" when medications get skipped.

    When it comes to being able to organize materials, something to remember - if your brain is working its hardest to focus and pay attention to the correct information, lots of information gets lost in the process. Basic organizational tasks will need to be taught, retaught, and reinforced for her - yes, the average highschooler can do it independently, but she has a neurological reason for not being able to do these tasks. This is the same reason why rewards don't work - they haven't been immediate enough and frequent enough. The long term delayed gratification and organization needed to earn the car last year was way beyond her ability. It's akin to telling a student on crutches that if he runs a 5 minute mile he'll get a car.

    A good place to start is to break down tasks for her into smaller components and have some sort of visual aid for her to see that the task is slowly being completed - many of our kids are very visual and abstract concepts like time management are just beyond their abilities at this point. They do better when they can actually see something progressing - and when rewards are immediate and given when the task is completed.

    CHADD has a great resource for parents and teachers - there's a book that's available through their website for around $13 called "CHADD The Educator's Manual on Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder". I buy one every year and gift it to my difficult child's teacher in September - I've learned that I have to be the one educating his teachers since most school districts won't. The book covers everything from how AD/HD impacts kids educationally to how to best help support them from pre-school to college years and also has sections on social skills and peer releationship help.

    I think the hardest shift for many parents is realizing that many of the behaviors which drive us crazy are due to our difficult children' disabilities and to see the behavior through a disability context. This doesn't mean that adverse behaviors are ok, it doesn't let the child off the "hook" for the behavior - it means having a better understanding of why the behavior happened and how the child may need something different in the environment to help support them so that the behavior doesn't reoccur or gets slowly extinguished.
  9. graceupongrace

    graceupongrace New Member

    This sounds so like what I've gone through with my difficult child! :faint: Sending many understanding ((( hugs ))) your way!

    We're not out of the woods (I'm not sure we ever will be), but Vyvanse has really helped both the inattention and impulsivity components of his ADHD. He takes 70 mg in the morning, then I usually give him 10 mg of methylphenidate (Ritalin) around 6 or 7 p.m. to get him (and me -- lol!) through the evening after the Vyvanse wears off.

    I have eliminated a lot of small rules in favor of one big one: no respect, no privileges. You smart off to me and then ask me for money to go to the movies? Uh-uh. You refuse to do your chores, then ask me to drive you to a friend's house? Nope. You call me a name and then want me to buy your favorite food at the store? Not gonna happen.

    You are wise to understand that what works with your other two will not necessarily work with your difficult child. They're wired differently. I'm sorry husband isn't getting it. ADHD is real, and it's ugly. It's also more complex than many people believe -- it's not all about a kid who can't sit still and bounces around the room. My difficult child has never been like that. Unfortunately, ADHD has been overdiagnosed by pediatricians who really aren't qualified to deal with the intricacies of brain chemistry disorders, and that has led to a lot of misunderstanding about the condition. (Just my opinion.) I hope husband will attempt to understand the diagnosis, rather than just write it off.

    Meanwhile, there's lots of good advice and support here -- and just as important, no one will blame you for your child's bad behavior.
  10. Iamwipedouttoo

    Iamwipedouttoo New Member

    Thanks for all the great input and advice.

    I noticed I forgot to mention she'll be turning 18 next summer so we don't have a lot of time but we have some. She is allegedly very willing to try to work on being better about things but still flip flops between being angry and relieved with the diagnosis so we'll see where that all plays in as we try to move forward. Ugh.

    I'll definately ask difficult child more about how the medications make her feel. Thanks for bringing that up. When she first started taking them she said that she noticed she said she felt better able to slow down and think before she reacted. Then insert friend of hers who takes the same medications who told her that he felt like he wasn't his normal fun self while taking the medication. After her friend imparted his wisdom, I noticed she was annoyed with the idea of having to be on medication (understandable) and I noticed when I would ask how the medications made her feel every day she was getting aggravated so I have let it go the past week and a half to avoid a conflict but I see your point in getting her to be more aware of what the medications do for her so I'm going to broach the subject with her again and see where she is at.

    She's also been getting upset when I offer suggestions to help her stay organized - even when I ask if she wants my advice first and she says yes. She claims she knows what she needs to do and isn't "stupid". Though I try to explain that offering suggestions to help isn't me saying she is stupid, she sees it this way. I guess that will be something she can work out with her therapist. I left it as, well, when you want my help, you let me know.

    I know she is struggling with the diagnosis itself and I can't blame her. It doesn't help that dad doesn't accept it and has no problem saying so. I really wish he would read some of the things I've been reading and come here to read what you all have shared. I'll keep working on him. He's threatened to not come to therapy with us when we all go because he feels the whole thing is just ridiculous.

    I hope he'll come around but right now he's just done and thinks I should be to. I'm sorry, though, she's my child and I can't turn my back on her like that, though I should probably be prepared for the fact that even with all we are doing to help it might not. :(

    I'm mentally exhausted.

    On a positive note, I did get to spend some quality time with my son last night and am looking forward to some more tonight with both of my other kids since difficult child has to work. Our home is so peaceful without the stress she adds. I feel like a horrible parent when I say that but it is so true.
  11. Estherfromjerusalem

    Estherfromjerusalem Well-Known Member

    Iamwipedouttoo -- welcome to the board.

    My difficult child is already 23, but I so identified with what you wrote about your home being so peaceful without her adding that stress. I have felt that way about my difficult child for so long. He still lives at home. From the second he walks through the door, I feel the tension in the air, and the minute he leaves the house I feel the tension seep out of me. I know I sometimes feel like a lousy parent because of it, but that's just the way it is. I haven't updated on the board about him, but I'll just tell you here -- he worked and saved up, and is at the moment in Thailand for one month. Instead of worrying about him, I am just enjoying the fact that he is far away.

    I just told you that to share with you that you are not alone in enjoying the peace and quiet when the difficult child is not around -- so don't feel guilty about it, please.

    Sorry I can't give you any advice -- my difficult child was never medicated with anything at all, and he did very badly in high school and didn't matriculate.

    And yet, I still love him.

    Love, Esther