Adderall?? Need advice on this drug.

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Christal22, Dec 12, 2007.

  1. Christal22

    Christal22 New Member

    My son's physc wants to put him on Adderall as he feels he has signs of ADHD.

    Dad is againist it and thinks it is just a legalized form of speed. I have heard there are side effects. I am trying to do as much research as possible before making my decision next week.

    Son is almost 5. He is currently on Respirdol and has explosive anger issues which he often can not control.

    Any advice on the drug would be helpful.
  2. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Good Morning Chistal,

    Couple things about adderall. My son has been on it about four years now and it is a great medication for him. But, every child is different and every child metabolizes medications differently. The most common side effects include decreased appetite and increased aggitation.

    Word of caution - very often in children who have been diagnosis'd with bi-polar, stims are not effective and are many times counter productive. It can increase mania. It is important that the BiPolar (BP) is stabilized before adding stims. That has been the experience of many families on the board.

    What is it that makes the doctor feel your son is adhd? I see he's only five, has he been having trouble in school or daycare with impulse control, hyperactivity or focus (in my opinion, most little boys are hyper and unfocused when that young!!).

  3. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    I'm somewhat surprised that your husband is comfortable with Risperidol and not adderall? My son has been on ritalin and/or adderall since 5yrs old. He has been on risperidol or another antipsychotic since 11yrs old
    Stimulants used for ADHD do not give a high any more than morphine for a burn victim gives them a high. Recreational use is different than controlled treatment.

    There are side effects of every medication. Weighing if the pro's out weigh the con's is an educated consumer.

    If bipolar is in the picture, our experience on this site has been that stabilization with a mood stabilizer would be step one. Treating attention is after treating the mood fluctuations.
  4. Christal22

    Christal22 New Member

    Yes, he has been in trouble at school. He is agressive. Most of his troubles stem from anger control and agression.

    He does well with small groups with learning but not as well in a big classroom setting. He is very bright but has a hard time focusing on one thing. He can't not have a nap, if so he is up until midnight. He is very busy and has a hard time just sitting still. Usually for the age though.

    My biggest concerns are with the anger and agression.
  5. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Christal, Adderall will not treat anger and aggression. In fact, it can increase those symptoms. Adderall will treat the inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity associated with ADHD.

    How much Risperdal is your difficult child taking? Is it possible he needs an increase? Has the psychiatrist ever mentioned prescribing a mood stabilizer (for example, Depakote, Lithium, Lamictal, Tegretol and Trileptal)? If your difficult child has bipolar disorder, those are the medications I would want the psychiatrist to consider at this point.

    Hope things straighten out soon.
  6. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Wait, I would respectfully disagree with-that. It sounds like splitting syntactical hairs, but it really does make a difference.

    If your son truly has bipolar, then yes, stimulants can make him worse.

    However, our son is ADHD and is very aggressive and angry, and once his Adderal kicks in (which takes about 20 min.) he is calm and cheerful. It is truly like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

    Part of it (in our case is that our son probably also has) sensory integration issues and allergies, and cannot stand the aches, pains, stimulations, noises, whatever and has no idea how loud and mean he is. The Adderal smoothes the edges and he can communicate more clearly, using real words instead of hitting, throwing, kicking or screaming.

    How did they diagnosis your son's BPolar so young? Are you in agreement with-the diagnosis?
  7. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Terry makes a valid point -- it may depend on what is triggering the anger and aggression. If mood-related issues associated with bipolar disorder are causing the anger and aggression, then Adderall could make those symptoms worse. I'm reacting with my own experience with my son, who is in a partial hospitalization program for mood issues, and the very first medication removed was Focalin XR, which is an ADHD stimulant like Adderall.

    If, however, your son is like Terry's, then Adderall could help. An important take-home message is to have a clear understanding of your difficult child's issues and what is triggering them. Has your difficult child ever had a neuropyschological evaluation to explore the extent of his issues?
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    My own personal opinion is that if your child has out of control rages that need Risperdal, I wouldn't put him on Adderrall. It is speed, and can make mood disordered kids worse, even if they also have attentional difficulties. Adderrall was horrible for my child. He got aggressive on it and he's not like that.
    I disagree that stims, taken as prescribed, don't ever cause you to get high. I took one Ritalin tablet--just one--and I was flying. Then when I crashed, just on the one pill, it was brutal and I was sunk into a long depression. If a stimulant is given to the wrong kid, even if used as prescribed, it can be a bad thing.
  9. LynnG61

    LynnG61 New Member

    However, our son is ADHD and is very aggressive and angry, and once his Adderal kicks in (which takes about 20 min.) he is calm and cheerful. It is truly like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. (not sure how to do the quote thing!)

    That is my son, and the Residential Treatment Facility (RTF) has noticed this as well. Part of the problem they think is, he is quicker to act (impulsive), therefore quicker to anger without it. In turn he becomes aggressive to show his anger, as opposed to having his medication and able to perhaps control himself most occassions.

    Each child is different, good luck!
  10. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    MM, stims work the opposite way on kids. Christal has a 5-yr-old. It makes sense that if you took a Ritalin, you would be flying high. That's why teenagers sell them on the street. Scary stuff.
    Luckily, they get out of your system pretty quickly.
  11. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Actually, stimulants work the opposite way on ANY person -- child and adult alike -- who has ADHD. For those with ADHD, stimulants calm and increase attention rather than cause them to "fly high."
  12. misk

    misk New Member

    I think all these answers say something....

    My little guy is 6 and extremely aggressive/angry, but our psychiatric (who I think is wonderful) has stated in no uncertain terms that until the emotional stuff works through and the diagnosis is somewhat certain, medications are not on the table. She think we will get there, but also feels that over time (not a long time, we are talking Feb) she will have a better handle on whether it is ODD, ADHD (which I don't think it is) or some other personality disorder. Very difficult to tell in a 5 or 6 year old, and with conflicting medication reactions, the wait and see can be a pretty good approach.

    Is he angry and aggressive in an embarrassing way or truly a threat to safety at school. It is one thing to be difficult and another to be a safety issue for the other kids - those two extremes would suggest different solutions and wait periods.
  13. Janna

    Janna New Member

    I'm with whoever said they were surprised your husband would be ok with Risperdal, an ANTIPSYCHOTIC, over Adderall, a stimulant. That's a little confusing to me.

    I've had two kids trial this medication. The first was my son, Dylan, who has had massive mood issues in the past (was diagnosis'ed Bipolar for a while there, and still does have some mood swings) and this made him crazy/manic. Increased hyperactivity, etc.

    My youngest son is ADHD, Combined Type. He is inattentive and hyperactive. He was on a 5 mg dose, very, very low, and became increasingly aggressive and verbally nasty to children at school and here at home. My son is a very mild tempered child, and this isn't him. We switched him to Concerta, he's been on it 11 months, and it's been great.

    Like LDM said, every kid is different. I have alot of friends with kids on Adderall with great success. I'd say if you try it and see negatives, call the psychiatrist. But, can't hurt to try.

    FWIW, the Risperdal SHOULD be helping with some of the hyperactivity type stuff. It should calm your difficult child down. If it's not doing that, I'd look at THAT before I'd think about ADDING another drug to it. Just my .02.
  14. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Adderall made my difficult child's more aggressive and irritable -- but everyone's different with medications. My difficult child with the mood disorder does fine with stimulants now that he's on a mood stabilizer (Depakote), AND he needs far less stimulant to achieve the same benefit now that his mood issues are being addressed.

    So much of treating neuro-psychiatric issues can be trial and error with the medications. Often docs cannot know for sure what's going on with someone until they see how they respond to a medication that's intended to address a particular symptom.

    If you have a winter break from school coming up, that might be a good time to give the Adderall a trial. You'll know right away if it's going to work or not, because there is no build-up time required for the stimulants. It either works or it doesn't. Just be prepared for the possibility that the Adderall might make him worse in one way or another because of his BiPolar (BP) diagnosis.

    Good luck!
  15. ysne58

    ysne58 New Member

    My son was on adderal between the ages of 5 and 9. It worked but the risks of severe side affects were too great. Kids have died from this drug.

    At that age we switched him to strattera which is also very affective but is not a stimulent. If my son reaches the stage that he needs a stimulant during any specific day, I get him a Nountain Dew or something like that. The caffeine works just fine and is not as risky as the prescription stimulants.

    My son has never been on Risperdal. He did try Klonopin for one night, and the reaction made me decide never again.
  16. Sara PA

    Sara PA New Member

    Your husband is absolutely correct, Adderall is legalized speed. It is mixed amphetamine salts. Amphetamines = speed. But the question is "Will it help?"

    I never did speed but I know people who did. They did it because it helped them concentrate, helped them focus and made them sharper, helped them wake up or stay awake. And, I suppose, some used it as a "diet pill". I think there's a misunderstanding about why people take any stimulant. Coffee is a stimulant. Who drinks it to get "high"? No one.

    By the same token, a lot of people who use speed or other strong stimulants -- legally or illegally -- need another drug to take the edge off the daily withdrawal symptoms that occur when the stimulant wears off (often called "stimulant rebound"). Illegal users tend to use alcohol or pot, legal users tend to use antipsychotics and antihypertensives.
  17. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Adderall was the only stimulant that caused problems for our boys
    but it varies child to child. We have had remarkable results from Concerta and have used that for years. Good luck. DDD
  18. whateveryousay2007

    whateveryousay2007 New Member

    My son has been on adderall for 2 1/2 years and it does cause decreased appetite. He does get aggitated somewhat....but not nearly as bad as some of the other medications he's tried. Every child is different....but this one seems to work the best on my guy....
  19. Christal22

    Christal22 New Member

    Thank you to all that have replied. Im so confused.

    Logically, thinking about my child, I keep him on a sugar free diet and no caffeine diet. The reason being because it induces his hyperactivity and makes his behavior worse.

    After reading what you've all said I'm going to assume that if caffiene stimulats worse behavior, then giving him a stimulant might make this much worse.

    The pysch has not been able to pin point what causes his episodes.
    My personal assumption would be possible ODD and of course he has already been diagnosed with Bi-Polar. BiPolar (BP) is frequent on his husband side of family.

    It's just shocking to watch my sweet boy turn into a monster when he becomes frustrated or doesn't like an answer.
    You can tell that he can't control it. After the anger subsides he just cries and tells me he is so sorry. He truly doesn't understand why he is this way.

    Does anyone live in Dallas area that might be able to refer me to a nuero psychiatric? We have not gone that route yet.
  20. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Gosh, my son never felt sorry or cried afterward, except maybe when he was 2, because he was worn out!
    I don't know what to say, except that you do not have to decide every little thing this second.
    Give it some time.
    And got ahead a try a few things and expect that some things will fail and some will succeed. Of course, that's easier said than done, because you'll get your hopes up that "This" is the cure--whether it's behavior modification or a new medication--and then if it doesn't work, there's always that letdown.
    But then you move on to something else.
    That's why we're Warrior Moms. We keep on fighting for our kids.(And quite often, with them, LOL!)
    Take care.