Choice to not medicate

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by autumns78, Jan 20, 2012.

  1. autumns78

    autumns78 New Member

    Hello to everyone i'm new to this so please be kind lol, but basically i am interested in possibly chatting with others who have chose not to use medication i have 5 children and my second oldest has adhd and odd and we recently made the decision to not use the stimulants anymore and are using alternative forms of therapy but i have to say im exhausted and worn out this has been a rough year about a year ago i seperated from my childrens father and even though we are still friends i cant help but feel very alone sometimes and alot of times people say" well why don't u just put him back on the medications and make things easier on yourself" but for my son and I thats not something we want and he is happier being off the medications but he is very defiant and I love my son very much but it takes alot of energy to deal with behaviors and impulses and disrespect but anyways maybe there is someone out there who has done the no medications approach and could relate to what I am going thru and offer some advice if so it would be very much appreciated thanks and God Bless!
  2. buddy

    buddy New Member

    OH heck, if I could do it safely, my son would definately be on NO medications. Not an option for us as he would jump of the proverbial bridge not to mention he would have seizures, and probably be in a residential setting, but that is not your issue.

    I know several parents who do not choose to use medications. Some dont even do natural types of things like special diets, vitamins etc. The fact is medications dont work for everyone. And for some, the side effects are not worth the benefits. If it is working for you and for him then do what you feel is right.

    That said, I would just never say never. IF you come to a point where your child is being really punished for things he can't control, his self esteem and frustration levels are changed to a really negative degree, he is not able, even with good support, to learn in school... well then, I would just consider it. There are more options than stims now. So if you get to that place... just dont let him suffer because at one point in time it was the right decision to not medicate.

    One dad really sticks out in my mind. He said no to medications for three years. His wife was not as sure but they played it conservative. then they decided to do a trial (remember, you can try stims and stop them relatively easily so if it becomes a question again, that is an is not that you would be suck with it then forever)... Anyway, no one was thrilled, especially not their son. but after a month he came in and during the meeting dad started crying. He said he felt so guilty that he had allowed the suffering his son had gone through to continue because of his feelings about trying medications. In this kids case it was amazing. He now could learn coping skills, he could do his work, he could listen and accept help. It was crazy different. But for many it is not that clear cut. another mom who I actually worked with took her son off them. he was so skinny and couldn't eat that they had other complications. One crazy teacher I worked with ... a principal wannabe, told her tha tit was child abuse to stop the medications because now it was hard for her to teach him. I wanted to punch her in the nose. (and I am not a violent person at all) She had no business telling that mom that. She did not know the whole picture. she was not even a mother so didn't get that understanding of how we have to look at what will affect their whole life, their future.

    It is such a personal decision. Usually no clear right answer. My nephew loves how he feels off the medications, he says the other kids think he is funny (well, he is acting up in class and getting in trouble, sigh) But on the medications he gets work done and feels better about himself that way.

    My sister has just decided to send him to a new charter school. he had been in a similar one before but it had financial issues and closed. He has struggled since. Now they are going back and very hopeful He also has a 504 plan but the school is largely ignoring it.

    Do you feel that the school staff is willing to use positive approaches to help him with his challenges? If so then medications or no medications, go for it. Do they help him with his attention, does he get the kinds of motor activities he needs or accommodations like using a bouncy ball or soft disk chair pad that is like a ball so he can move and wiggle in an acceptable way when seated? Can he stand to work if he wants? YOu get the idea....

    Do you do any diet or vitamin options? Lots of folks here have discussed things they use with their kids. I hope they share with you.

    Welcome and take care. Sorry for the struggles but glad you found this board to help give you support.
  3. autumns78

    autumns78 New Member

    thank you so much for writting back your info was very helpful, as far as the school he is in a new school now because once I took him off the medications the school said they could not deal with him because he was being too defiant and disruptiive they felt and wanted him transfered to alternative school which I regretably did. So now really his anger has become the problem he hates being at this new school he feels so out of place its a partial hospialization program and he only gets one hour of education a day I did this at the advice of the counslers, I don't now I feel so confused he hates the school and just wants to go back to regular school in all honesty his adhd is pretty controlable without medications its his anger that is the real problem he really is so mad since being sent to this school he has become so defiant but his therapist thinks that where he is at right now is where he needs to be and all i know is that since starting this new school he has gotten worse with his defiance not better the school he is at is for kids that emotionaly disturbed and its almost as though he is living up to the exspectations of what being emotionally disturbed looks like. Its so hard I just don't know what is the right thing to do anymore.
  4. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Welcome aboard. Glad to have you join us. medications or No medications? I think almost all of us have worked through that issue. Personally I don't know anyone (but I do know they exist, lol) who decided to toss pills into their child with-o forethought and trepidation. How old is your child and how does he function in school and around others? Was he diagnosed by a Pediatrician or a specialist? Sorry but it's hard to respond with-o knowing a little bit about him. I also wonder if you have tried more than one medication.

    I have raised three ADHDers. In each case (two generations) I hoped to use diet, vitamins, loving support and home structure to avoid medications. Each of the three did end up taking stimulants. All of the three had side effects (headaches for one, stomach aches for another and rebound for the third) sigh! On the brighter side the two younger ones were able to function well once different medications were used.

    Absolutely it is a personal choice. For mine (none of whom were oppositional, by the way) they were easily identified by peers, teachers and other parents as too hyper for group activities. The concentration and self discipline needed was just not there and it was stressful for them trying their best and not having success. The middle one tested out in the "gifted" range but was floating thru school days using his intellect instead of focusing and learning.

    Sending supportive thoughts your way. I had three elementary age children when I got divorced decades ago and I remember how difficult it was for me and particularly for the children. Hugs DDD
  5. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    You and I must have been typing at the same time, lol. If he is enrolled in an alternative school perhaps he is older than what I assumed. That brings about more questions...sorry. Has he had these problems for many years? Has he had a neuro/psychological examination to clearly identify his issues? Many of us have found those exams really effective in identifying our difficult child's and getting the right help. Is he on moer than one medication? Sorry so many questions but it does help to get the full picture. For example I assumed he was young and ADHD was the primary problem. Now I realize I was wrong. This is a great place to get support from other parents. Glad you found us. DDD
  6. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Hello and welcome. I do understand the decision not to medicate. My son is not on any medication and I have a lot of hesitation about the side effects, as do many other people, of course. For me, it's a question of balance: do the advantages of medicating outweigh the disadvantages? In your case, your son feels better off the medications but is excluded from the school where he wants to be. This makes it a real dilemma with, for me, no clear-cut answer. I could well understand your choosing to give stimulants again because that would make a big difference to his quality of life.
    Is there ANY way the school can be persuaded to take your son back, perhaps on a trial basis, without medications? Would your son be willing to try such an experiment, knowing that he needs to be on his best behaviour? How old is he?
    Do keep coming here for support and advice because it is a great place for that.
  7. Bunny

    Bunny Guest

    I think that the decision to medicate or not to medicate is a very personal one, and one that each family has to decide for themselves. For us, medication has been a savior. difficult child was tearing our little family apart, not to mention what his behaviors were doing to my marriage. He's on medications and he's still a tough kid to parent, but it's a little easier. Even husband, who did not want our son put on medications all, has come to see that it really was the best decision for us.

    That being said, I have a sister in law who has a difficult child of her own. I think that he's on the spectrum and she believes that he has ADHD, but she refuses to get his evaluated because she's homeschooling him and says that even if he was "labelled" it would do her no good anyway because he's not in the school system. Now, let me say that my sister in law is the kind of mother who doesn't even like to give antibiotics when the kids are sick. She will if the doctor says that she has to, but other than that she really does't like to give them anything other than massive amounts of vitamins. medications are something that she would never consider for her son, and that is the choice that is right for her family.

    Basically, you have to be comfortable with the choices that you make for your son, and for the rest of your family. Don't let anyone talk you into something that you are not happy with. medications are a big decision. You have to weigh the pros with the cons and make a choice based on what is best for all of you.
  8. buddy

    buddy New Member

    How old is he?

    If he has emotional issues, sure this could be the right place...

    But my son (much different kid than yours and so not trying to compare that way..BUT....) would do terrible at this kind of school for the very reason you stated. He lives up to the worst of the worst.... for mine it would not be anger, but the imitating of behaviors... for his neurological issues a placement in an emotional and behavioral program would be disaster (and we have tried long term when young and he had to go to a hospital for short term medication care)

    I think for you a logical next step is to do a neuropsychologist evaluation. Get all the information that you can about what is driving the adhd.... Is it really adhd only or is it other issues, really if there are one or two even... like a motor issue or a processing issue... this could be huge!

    Is there any online schooling in your state? Would you consider that until you get this sorted out? It is not homeschooling in that you dont have to come up with the assignments, do the teaching etc... but he would do it at home. I think a multi state program is called k-12 or something like that... you click on your state to get the info for your particular state... there may be others here who can help with that..... or do a web search.
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Our neuropsychologist told us that stimulants don't work on very young kids anyway and my son got mean and aggressive on them. I don't blame you for being cautious. In retrospect, we would have done t he same. His first diagnosis was wrong anyway. So was his second! He is now eighteen and medication free and he does a lot better off medications. He has told me medications make him feel "funny" and he doesn't like them.

    School interventions and help in the community did the best to help him. I'm not sure that it's legal for the school to insist he be on medication. Did the medications REALLY helpl him? I would contact a lawyer to see if this is legal...I really don't think it is.

    My sister works as a teacher aide in a classroom for difficult kids. The teachers do not like having to work with the hardest children. They often do want a magic pill to make their job easier. However, there is no magic pill that will change your son completely. Do you know what an IEP is? Does he have one?

    I *really* dislike the label of Emotionally Disturbed and have questioned what it means with no satisfactory answer. in my opinion it usually means the child is just wired differently and has childhood disabilities that have not yet been diagnosed or addressed. It's like a dumping ground for the kids that teachers don't want to teach. Also in my opinion if your therapist thinks t hat your son's worsening behavior is ok and that the class is good for him, I'd be shopping around for a new therapist!

    Good luck, whatever you decide to do :) Keep us posted!
  10. autumns78

    autumns78 New Member

    Thanks to all who anserwed back and to anserw some of the questions that were asked my son is almost 13 and he was diagnosed when he was in first grade and he was given diagnoses by doctor and psychiatrist most of the problems we have been exsperiencing have been in the past year or so, really since he was taken off the medications but I also realize that after being on the medications for so long it is going to take awhile for some of this to work its self out really the ADHD is managable the problems we are exsperienceing now I believe are due to the seperation of his father and I and the change in schools , also to anserw another question that was asked about if i have thought about seeing if his school would be willing to let him come back I have thought about seeing if brandon can return back to school next school year he has been begging me to go back to regular school for months now. Another question asked was if we have tried different medications and yes four actually with no such luck. Can I please ask about the abbreviations that you guys are using? like difficult child
  11. buddy

    buddy New Member

    For my son stimulants have give him a chance at a normal family life. He started them at 4 and the day he started I got a call from school that for the first time ever he was not walking all around the room. He sat on a carpet and listened to a story for the first time in his life. So, again, it is totally individual and depends on what is going on in their little brains. If they are being labeled adhd but really just have symptoms that look like adhd and it is really Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) or auditory processing or motor issues... etc... then it could be that it is a misdiagnosis so naturally the medications wouldn't work. And for many there are mixtures of the above so medications can help but not be the total answer.

    For your son it may be that there is a mixture and since you acknowledge that the medications did help, it may be that he needs them to be able to work on these other issues. If he truly has a chemical issue in his brain it may be asking a lot to have him work on these other really difficult issues without his executive functioning, impulse control etc. being optimal. It makes total sense that his adhd is manageable at home but not at school. We can really make our kids' worlds fit to them... that is our job. There should certainly be reasonable accommodations at school too. So if he does not need the medications he can have a chance. Just looking at both sides which I certainly imagine you do daily.... it is such a hard and personal thing to work through.

    The ABBREVIATIONS ... if they are underlined, you can put your cursor on them and they will have a pop up definition. difficult child means gift from god, the way the board talks about our differently wired and/or challenging kids. There is also a list of commonly used abbreviations and I just know someone much smarter than I will know where it is, lol.
  12. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Welcome, Autumns78. You've asked the age-old question, the $6 million dollar question that every asks, to medicate, or not to medicate?
    I don't think a single person on this board would have chosen medication first. We all know that these medications are designed for adults, not children, and that our kids are a public testing grounds for the pharmaceutical industry.
    However, some, like myself, are and will be eternally grateful that such things exist and that they have allowed us to move forward with-our lives, however dysfunctional we may be. :)
  13. autumns78

    autumns78 New Member

    thanks to midwest mom and buddy for writting back and to anserw your questions, first as for did the medications work yes and no they worked in the sense that yes he could sit still and was not so hyper and could concentrate but his personality was so flat he wasnt his true self he was almost robotic in nature he couldn't eat, and he couldn't feel anything he was numb so then when the medications would wear off at the end of night he was an emotional mess and he hated being on the medications. As for the online school I have already looked into the k12 programs and for sure would try that if it wasn't for the ODD issues we are having I would be very worried that he would not comply with what he was supposed to do and get his work done getting him to even brush his teeth without an argument is an issue in our house I don't know there really is no easy anserw as to what is the right thing to do and as for the therapist believing that brandon should be at the school he is at she believes that brandon has ptsd which is a whole other story in its self. Brandons dad and I seperated about a year ago and brandon witnessed alot of fighting between his dad and I so she thinks brandon has ptsd because of the fighting he saw but I truley do not believe that is the case because we did argue alot but not to the extent that i think she believes it was and I just don't see the signs of PTSD in my son. and she also had just started working with Brandon when she made this decision on the PtSD
  14. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    I think you might do well to investigate - just investigate, no strings attached :) - giving magnesium, zinc and iron supplements to your son. There is a lot of info about it online. Some people report fantastic success with ADHD/ODD symptoms literally disappearing after a few weeks on these. And for others... there is doubtless little or no effect. But it's worth a try.
  15. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    As I was updating on your thread I realized that you may want to change a couple of things. Those of us who post usually do not identify exactly where we live nor do we use our children's names. Most often we use the State or section of the Country and we call our children difficult child's (Gifts from God which refers to our challenging children). Due to the openness of the Internet it is best to avoid specifics that "could" be accessed by people you would prefer not to share with. It really is wonderful to be able to share our deepest feelings and concerns with each other...but have the protection of anonymous posts.

    Your difficult child's age could be a factor in recent behaviors. The teens can be a challenge even for easy child's, and the increase in his aggression and social difficulties probably is magnified by his transition into manhood.
    Were all four medications ADHD medications? Hugs, DDD
  16. buddy

    buddy New Member

    OMGosh, have we mentioned the book many of us like yet??? Have you read The Explosive Child by Ross Greene? It is really cheap new or used on Amazon .com and I got it free shipping because I was willing to wait a few days.

    It really does help work thru those oppositional behaviors in a different way than just consequences.. ... rewards.... etc.

    That is why I can't do any home school type of thing either. I would try with home bound..... that is an actual teacher coming here, but beyond way.
  17. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    If you are able to, check into different diets. I have a friend who uses GAPS diet for her whole family, one of her kiddos is autistic, and it has helped with his behavior. check out the section on the board that deals with natural supplements and such, I cannot remember what it is called off the top of my head.
  18. zaftigmama

    zaftigmama New Member

    Agreew with this 100%, it's a horrible term (disturbed?!) and most parents I know (including myself) choose "OHI" (other health impaired) over ED. Anyway.

    I think the story Buddy tells is really useful and helps look at the child's side. I struggled with mental health issues for years--granted, that was a different time--but if I could have been formally diagnosis'd before I was 23, I would have welcomed something to make me calmer, less anxious, less obsessive. And because I take medication now, I tend to come at the issue from that perspective as well.
  19. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

  20. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I think medicating children is way different.

    Adults can articulate when medication is making them feel worse. From being in a psychiatric hospital three times and in a self-help support group for years, I would say t hat from the stories I hear medications help maybe 50% of the time, depending on what is given and whether or not the diagnosis is correct. It takes a long time to get the right medication too.

    My problem with kid medication is that the kids can not explain if they feel like a zombie or in a dream-like state or if they feel edgy or aggressive due to the medications. And many parents don't usually look to the medications as possibly the main reason a child has suddenly gone south, even if there has been a medication change.Combined with all the wrong diagnoses that our kids get, I think, in retrospect, it is very wise to go slow and research every single medication the doctor wants to prescribe. I would also question why any child needs more than two medications. That doesn't mean that no kids need more than two, but there are many psychiatrists who seem to try to medicate away every symptom...and that isn't possible. Now with enough medications, you CAN make a child into a sleep, spacy robot, but that isn't really helping the child. As an adult, I have had medications do this to me and it is a horrible feeling. The only thing that it does is make your caregivers have an easier time of it because you are unable to cause any disturbance.

    Our kids are being used as guinea pigs. Make so mistake about it. And so are adults. Psychiatry is not an exact science, therefore everything about it, from the diagnosis to the treatment, is just one professional's best guess at what is wrong and how to treat it. Yet no treatment is bad too.

    I prefer intervetions, when at all possible. JM worthless .02 again :)