Opinions? Suggestions? Help?!

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by ShakespeareMamaX, Jun 28, 2007.

  1. ShakespeareMamaX

    ShakespeareMamaX New Member

    So....I'm new. Heh... I have a son (difficult child, I suppose?). He turned 8 today (hooray!), but I caught myself, earlier, trying to convince myself that he didn't, actually, turn 6.

    I'll try to keep this short, for those of you, like me, who may have short attention spans.

    In the middle of kindergarten, my son was diagnosed with ADHD. He was given Ritalin, sent on his way, and his behavior and work levels sky-rocketed with magnificentness. Simple fix, right?

    So first grade came. The dosage on the Ritalin had to be increased...regularly. After the 2nd or 3rd time, I had had enough. I didn't need my kid pumped with enough drugs to calm a buffalo when there was the option to just switch medications and start at another low dose. So, Concerta...here we came.

    Tics... Hallucinations... Fantastically fun adventures came from this medication, yet, he seemed alright, behavior-wise, with an acception of insomnia, nightmares and so scarce an appetite, I had a celebration when he finally gained a pound after a year of trying.

    Not worth it. To see my son, uncontrollably, rolling his eyes and flicking his fingers while just trying to have a normal conversation was not awesome. It scared the foolishness out of me.

    So, another medication change.

    Adderoll... No control. Anger fits. Crying jags. *sigh* Absolutely horrible. This one only lasted about a month.

    Now, my son is on Strattera. It's been a little over a month, and, though I know it takes a bit to "kick in", he's:

    regressed in maturity (interest in baby toys, books, etc...),

    is VERY defiant and demanding (stating things such as "don't you DARE!", "I don't have to", "no, I won't", etc...),

    I've, recently, had to physically restrain him on several occasions when he tried running away from me to pick something up and wing it at me, punching me, kicking me, spitting on me,

    and he's been quite reckless in terms of falling, not jumping, purposely FALLING off of mid-air swings, standing on the tippy-top of the jungle gyms, and randomly hitting himself with things including his own fists.

    When nobody's looking (or so he thinks), he tortures the cats.

    He also has gotten very sneaky in his days, as he has always, been, but he's been stealing to the point to where his teacher, who apologized before she said it, called him "deviant". He steals anything from books to toys to candy from home to tin foil (and a lot of things end up in his mouth...like tin foil....ick).

    This is NOT my child.

    Granted, his appetite and sleeping habits have improved (still having nightmares, though), but he has NEVER been violent.

    I've been told my son is the smartest in the class in many subjects, and was able to read Charlotte's Web before he had reached first grade (he's very smart, but, sometimes, I think too smart!). He's always been excellent at sharing, but never a very social player. He's kind and concerned for others' well-being and has one of the best senses of humor I've ever encountered.

    He's a funny, hyper, sneaky, daydreamer... And the hardest puzzle in my life.

    Somebody, please... I'm sick of changing medications. I HATED medications in the beginning, but it's gotten to the point where it's inevitable for him to take them just to function through school.

    I get those phone calls, regularly, from the school asking if he's had his medications today because he's "uncontrollable".

    I've been accused of not knowing how to raise my child because I didn't make enough #@!*% charts with stupid stickers on them.

    I talk to his teacher in person, on the phone, through emails, a daily journal every day.

    I'm in regular contact with his school psychologist, an out of school psychologist, a psychiatrist and the pediatrician who first diagnosed him and started him on the medications.

    I have PPTs on a regular basis with the principal, nurse, school psychologist, teacher, and some other lady who, I guess, just likes to watch to come up with pointless plans to "fix" my son and to make sure the nurse keeps weighing him to monitor that he's still how much he weighed when he was 5.

    I'm starting to doubt this is just ADHD. But what do I know?

    Maybe I'll make myself a sticker chart.

    So much for keeping it short, eh...
  2. AllStressedOut

    AllStressedOut New Member

    You're not alone and you've come to the right place for great advice. Unfortunately, I don't have much because I'm new too. I have 3 difficult child's and they all have similar problems to yours. Besides locking them in a closet, nothing else works. (I'm kidding)

    All kidding aside, someone will respond to you quickly and offer some great advice I'm sure.

    I would agree it probably isn't just ADHD, but what else it may be, I'm unsure. I'm sorry I'm not much help, but welcome and I hope someone offers you some great info to help!
  3. ShakespeareMamaX

    ShakespeareMamaX New Member

    Thanks for your response. And thank you even more for actually reading all of what I wrote! Hehe I didn't intend the length, but I had to get it all out.

    I see so many people on here with situations that sound just like mine. I couldn't help but think maybe I've actually found a place where people will try to help me instead of accusing me of being a rotten mom who just doesn't know how to handle her kid without drugging him up.

    You always think you're the only one dealing with this kinda stuff until you run into, well....a place like this! :smile:

    And I hear you on the closet treatment... Haha

    I've had plenty of dreams where my difficult child was just sitting... quietly...and duct tape had the starring role. ;D
  4. oceans

    oceans New Member

    Maybe start again with a new evaluation. Perhaps a new child psychiatrist or a multi evaluation at a children's hospital? Sometimes ADD is a first diagnoses when they are very young, and as they grow it is apparent that there is something else going on. It sounds like stimulants might not be a good solution for him. We had the same thing happen with the ADD diagnoses and stimulants. It turns out that my son does not have ADD at all. He has a mood disorder. It manifests mostly as a major depression, although he has had his times were I strongly suspected he was having hypomania. He needed to go through a number of medication trials before we hit a combination that has him very stable. We went to several different psychiatrist and psychologists, and he had 2 hospitalizations before things fell into place. Sometimes you need to keep asking questions before you get the right answers.
  5. WhymeMom?

    WhymeMom? No real answers to life..

    It sounds to me like you are due for another medical evaluation. I am not a professional on this as my child is what I call a "first generation" ADD sufferer....he was first diagnosed with ADD in second grade and we went thru medications, successfully at first, then they lost effectiveness.

    Since he is 24 now there have been advancements in diagnosing and treatment....There are others here that can speak better on this, but I would recommend you find a children's hospital in your area that evaluates children and get a neuro psychological evaluation (not the correct term, but its not coming to me at the moment). It does sound like more than ADHD and that usually doesn't stand alone in a diagnosis....

    The medication merry go round is not easy to do and its great when something works, but a bummer when it loses effectiveness....

    Thinking of you and your family, hope you find some answers...Others will be along to offer you more definative posts.....
  6. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Hello and welcome to the board. :biggrin:

    I'm not a doctor, but I'm wondering with all of your son's reactions/personality changes on these ADHD medications if he was misdiagnosed.

    I am big on 2nd opinions, even 3 or 4 if that's what it takes.

    An evaluation with a neuropsychologist may be your best bet. It's and evaluation that last usually over a period of 2 days and is very involved.

    Are you able to wean your son off his ADHD medications during summer break to see how his behavior is then?? Many parents here take a break from the medications over the summer months.

    You're not alone. It's not your fault. And I myself have learned to dispise those sticker charts. lol (never worked for any of my kids)

    I empathize with you. I also had a son who was too smart for his own good, and now have a grandson who seems to be following in his uncle's footsteps. Sure takes parenting to a different level. lol

  7. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hi and welcome to the board!

    I'm another poster who would suggest to you that it's time for a more complete evaluation for your son. Some of his reactions to the stims and recent behavior regressions are disconcerning.

    I would also suggest either an evaluation by a neuropsychologist or a multidisciplinary evaluation at a teacheing university or children's hospital.

    Glad to have you here with us. We understand.

  8. jannie

    jannie trying to survive....

    I agree with the others that new evaluations may be in order. However, it sounds like your child may be having negative reactions to straterra as well as the other stimulants. Hallucinations and agressive outbursts could be a side effect of these medications. First, I talk to the dcotor about stopping the straterra and then take some time to observe him and his symptoms. I'm sure the doctor will have a different medication suggestions. sorry you're going through this.
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    From reading your description, and the reactions to stimulants (and without having a signature to see the family history), I'd have him re-evaluated, and I would highly recommend a neuropsychologist or a Child Psychiatrist (with the MD) or both (we needed both to get an accurate picture). All diagnosis. are subjective, since there are no blood tests, and often the first diagnosis. is wrong. Look at the history of your family. Are there any mood disorders or substance abuse in the family tree? Neurological disorders? Learning Disability (LD) problems? A neuropsychologist does intensive testing and can often pinpoint disorders that other professionals can't because they just don't look for them. in my opinion just talking to a child isn't enough to figure out what's wrong. At least, it did not work well for us. The testing told us tons. As for medications, we threw ADHD medications at my kid, then bipolar medications--both were wrong diagnoses, so I try to advise other parents to be careful and get the total evaluation and even a second opinion. My son was a puzzle, but I feel sort of guilty too--I allowed him to be put on over ten medications for disorders he didn't even have. In his case he has high functioning autism and doesn't need medications at all, in fact medications for ADHD made him aggressive and Prozac was worse. FYI, Straterra is an antidepressant and is known to cause trouble with kids who have mood disorders. I hope this helps. Good luck, whatever you decide to try.
  10. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member


    I think you should start a journal of all that has happened and the reactions to each medication.
    Then get another evaluation. This time from a Nueropsychologist. Be sure to bring the journal with you.

    I do not think stimulants are the answer for your child. And it is scary to see what they do to him. I would be looking at alternatives. Why did he stay on Concerta for a year if he was hallucinating?
  11. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I just read a response from you on Slsh's post. You were in a Residential Treatment Center (RTC) environment.

    Are your difficult children docs aware of your own diagnosis? Alot of these diagnosis's are hereditary. It is possibel difficult child has the same issues you had as a child.
    Sometimes that is good because you know what works and what doesn't. Sometimes it is bad because you are so much alike, it becomes a battle all the time.
  12. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Nothing new to add in way of advice-just wanted to pop in to say welcome! Glad you found us-you are not alone!
  13. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    Just popping in to offer you my welcome. I hope you can find some answers here - lots of very wise parents on this board.

    Again welcome. :flower:
  14. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Welcome. I'm also thinking about the possibility of misdiagnosis. Sometimes the ritalin works for all sorts of reasons, when later on it's not enough. It happened like that with difficult child 1 - he didn't react too badly (apart from rebound) but he did turn out, at 15, to get a diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome.

    difficult child 3 had a number of labels thrown at him until finally several experts told us he had autism. Later on I discovered he fitted the criteria for hyperlexia, which in this case is I think a subset of high-functioning autism. Certainly the hyperlexia has been a big breakthrough opportunity for his communication (which was not a problem for difficult child 1, since his diagnosis is not full-on autism).

    I'm tired and probably not making a lot of sense right now. I'll keep looking for your posts along with a few others, while I catch up on my last month's absence.

  15. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    Hi and welcome!

    First and foremost (and I know this is trivial but...), I'd put an instant stop to the school nurse weighing him *and* to their calls about if he has had his daily medications. You are the mother, they are the educators. His weight is not their concern (I'd bet weight monitoring isn't in the IEP). They are just going to have to take it on faith, whether they like it or not, that you are perfectly capable of monitoring his medical issues and of giving medications as prescribed. After 15 years of Special Education with one kid or the another, I've found that some district staff have serious "boundary issues". Once they veer over into non-educational matters, it's really hard to rein them in. This also, as you know too well, puts the whole thing in your lap - you must've forgotten medications therefore they can't possibly do their jobs because of you. Ugh, give me a break. Next call about "uncontrollable" behavior, I'd calmly suggest that they perhaps might need to tweak behavior management plan and/or revise *their* strategies. Medication alone isn't going to solve *their* problems.

    I have to agree with- a reevaluation. We all bring our biases to the board, but it does sound like more than ADHD possibly going on. But - it could also be a medication reaction. I hear you about the revolving pharmacy door - I've lost count of all the medication combos thank you has been on. It was trial and error, and about a year into it I remember being really frustrated that they best medicine had to offer was "let's see what happens when we add ABC". This is not a lab rat, this is my kid. Unfortunately, there is no absolute in terms of what will or won't work. It took years to finally get a combo for thank you that held his massive mood swings in check for the most part without having major side effects.

    And thank you for the giggle!! I'm chuckling over the sticker charts. Gosh... you'd think professionals would figure out that trying a new layout or different stickers just isn't going to cut it when you've already done charts out the ears. The solution to thank you's first suicidal gesture at age 6 was... you guessed it, yet another chart with stickers.

    Maybe you should start a sticker chart for the school - for the calls and the meetings and the stepping out of bounds. :wink: Might make a good visual aid at your next PPT. (I'm just evil sometimes!)

    Again - welcome!
  16. waytootired

    waytootired New Member

    Bless your heart....You are definately not alone. The medication game is the hardest. To see your baby go through the side affects is heart breaking. So often I hear from my difficult child,"I just wish I was a normal kid." It hurts so much..

    You have reeived a lot of good advise so far. Don't be afraid to fight for you kid..get another opinion. Sure the doctors are smart and should know their stuff, but they aren't all the same. Search for a good fit for you and your child, get a thorough evaulutaion and don't forget to take care of yourself too. Even just a quick pedicure or cup of coffee away from you difficult child can help your state of mind. Keeping a journel of behaviors and medications trials & errors is important. You tend to forget reactions as time passes.

    Bless you and welcome to a safe and caring place.
  17. 3sacharm

    3sacharm New Member

    Hi, I have a son the same age and I have gone through similar experiences with medication trials. My son was diagnosed Bi-polar and the first medication he was on was a mood stabilzer (lithium) , we later introduced the ADHD medications. I do agree with others, you need to bring him to be re-valuted and possibly re-diagnosed and re visit the medications that are being perscribed. Earlier this year we had a major behavoir wrong medication crises (ended ip so agressive he was asked to leave school). At that time I switched psychiatrists and brought him to the head of inpatient child psychiatric at our local childrens hospital. a fresh look from an experinced psychiatrist was helpful. godd luck.
  18. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    I read your post on the natural treatments forum where you say that you are wheat intolerant. Have you considered having your son be gluten free? Or is he already?

    My younger daughter appeared to me to have ADHD which mostly went away when she went gluten free. She had stomach issues and we have a family history of celiac disease so the reduced ADHD was a side effect of the diet.

    After reading on that celiac.com board, I decided to try the diet for my oldest daughter who was diagnosis'ed with ODD and depression. She didn't have any GI symptoms. Her ODD and depression have gone away on the gluten free/casein free diet. Before we started her on the diet, she was taking 20 mg of Lexapro and we were needing to add something else like a mood stabilizer or an antipsychotic. Now, we have slowly weaned her down to 2.5 mg of Lexapro. I expect she will be able to get off completely but she goes through a couple of weeks of withdrawal at each doseage decrease so we are going slowly.

    Anyway, since you know that you have problems with wheat, his behaviour problems could be related to that as well. If you haven't already done so, search on http://www.celiac.com for ADHD and behaviour.