Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by carlyt, Mar 20, 2008.

  1. carlyt

    carlyt New Member

    Hi! I'm new to this forum. I have two daughters ages 10 and 8. My youngest was diagnosed with ADD a couple months ago and has been taking concerta for it. She has made remarkable improvements in school and seems to be adjusting well to the medication. If anyone here has or has had a child on concerta, what was your experience like? I know that many have had stunted growth and weight loss, but are there other things that I should look for? Also, for those of you who have older children, do/can children out grow ADD/ADHD or out grow the need for medications? I have alot more questions, but this will be a good start. =]
  2. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Welcome to our site, Carlyt. Since your kids are 10 and 8 I'm going to move this to the General forum where more parents who have used Concerta will see it.
  3. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hi Carly and welcome to the site!

    My son was on concerta for a couple years and the side effects we saw were decreased appetite, sleeplessness, bad breath (assumably caused by the lack of eating), and some increased aggitation. However, the positive changes in his focus, hyper level, and impulsivity far outweighed the negative side effects.

    Every child is different in regards to "growing out of" their adhd. It also depends on the severity of their case. There are different "levels" of adhd.

    Normally, once you have adhd you always have adhd. Having said that though, many kids do mature out a little of the hyperacticity once they begin or go through puberty. Some kids, especially those with milder cases, are able to self modulate their symtoms without medications when they are post high school.

    It's difficult to give you cut and dry answers because everyone, and every child, is unique.

    Glad you're here.

  4. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Concerta is long-acting ritalin, and only recently available for us in Australia. difficult child 1 was diagnosed ADHD when he was 6 and put on ritalin. It helped a lot, but after a few years of dosing through the day we noticed rebound setting in as each dose was wearing off. His behaviours would get worse for a short while, worse than unmedicated.

    He was changed to dex, another stimulant, still short-acting but at last no rebound.

    Then we were told we could get dex privately compounded into a long-acting form. As we were having trouble at the time with schools refusing to give medication to kids during the school day, we grabbed the chance. By this time we had easy child 2/difficult child 2 and difficult child 3 also on dex.

    Long-acting - it meant the overall dose was reduced a little. It also meant behaviours were evened out, it was much better.

    Now difficult child 3 has been changed over to Concerta. We've noticed his behaviour seems more manic in the evenings, he seems to be louder and has less control as it wears off. It could be a dosage issue, I will talk to his specialist about it next appointment.

    The other two were offered the switch to Concerta - it IS cheaper. But as adults, they chose to not change just yet.

    As adults, they still need the medications. difficult child 1 does manage better these days but without medications is not as capable of handling stress or confrontation. He can't concentrate as well. easy child 2/difficult child 2 without medications is just scatterbrained. Our evenings are wild, I can tell you that!

    Weight - the kids are all underweight for their height and age. When difficult child 1 was put on risperdal for a time, he gained a lot of weight. But it came off when he stopped the risperdal.

    They are a light build but not seriously underweight. They have muscle, they are capable of physical work.

    As she got older, easy child 2/difficult child 2 dropped her dosage. The boys have not; they need it far more. difficult child 3 is on a very high dosage.

    W were originally told difficult child 1 would not need stims for long; he would grow out of it. We were also told he could (and should) take a break from stims, for at least two weeks of a year and maybe on weekends. We found it not to be the case - it confused him to skip medications on the weekend because suddenly he wasn't coping in so many ways. For the first couple of years we tried giving him a break for a week or so and soon stopped. It was a disaster.

    difficult child 3 really benefits from the medications - he was non-verbal when he started, only speaking in single words. A week later he was using complete sentences.

    difficult child 3's best friend is a few years younger but with the same double diagnosis. His mother kept him off all medications because she had (idiot) friends who told her that stims are bad, only irresponsible parents "drug their kids into submission". She finally tried Concerta though, after her son was increasingly in trouble at school. At first she only dosed him sporadically, which meant that some days he coped and others he could not. He was teary, confused and increasingly aggressive.

    Then she finally dosed him regularly on a higher dose of Concerta (as the doctor ordered) and he came home from school saying, "Why have I never noticed all this before? This is great - I can learn so much!"
    He loves to learn, he's enjoying school, he's absorbing information at every turn and seeking out more.
    She won't take him off stims at all now. I pity the 'friend' who NOW tries to bully her out of it!

    The weight problems - two main factors here from my experience.

    1) They aren't as hungry, it's an appetite suppressant of sorts. So you need to coax more, you need to remind them to eat; and

    2) They suddenly discover that the world is a fascinating place. This distracts them from eating, so you need to nag a bit and again, remind them to eat.

    I coped with this by keeping a fridge full of healthy food in the form of snacks. The sort of food I would be feeding them for a meal anyway, such as fruit salad, vegetable chunks, cooked meat, boiled eggs, sandwiches. I would let them read or watch TV as I put food in front of them and while absorbed in whatever they were engrossed in, they would often eat more than they realised. Also, they would come home from school hungry (often not having eaten their lunch - Aussie kids take a packed lunch to school) and I would make them eat their lunch first, then feed them anything else healthy that I had. The kids also knew they could raid the fridge and eat whatever I had set out for them there, on special plates.

    And if they ate like pigs when they came home from school and then collapsed with exhaustion before meal time, I didn't need to worry about their food intake because they'd already had the equivalent of the evening meal, when THEY were ready to eat it.
    Trying to make these kids eat when they're tired is futile and painful. If they were getting tired and irritable before husband got home for our family meal, I would put the kids to bed for the night.
    And feed first, before bathtime. You can always bath a sleepy kid, or skip the bath and go straight to bed. But you can't feed a kid who can't keep his eyes open.

    Our difficult children have to work so hard mentally to stay on the job, that they often do tire faster, especially when younger. As they got older it became easier for them to go back to eating meals with the family again.

    I hope this helps.

  5. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    Hi Carly, just popping in to offer my welcome to the board as well.

    Would you mind making yourself a signature? It helps us remember who we are talking to. Click "User CP" at the top of the page, then go to "signatures".

    Glad you found us. Sorry you had to!
  6. carlyt

    carlyt New Member

    Thanks so much to everyone who has replied or will reply. Saydee has only been on concerta for 2 months and so far so good. I was very hesitant in her taking medications for fear that it may become a krutch in the future. I would hate for her to think she can't get through the day without a pill.

    Saydee has always been very quiet and well behaved, so for her first 4 years of school(pre-k thru 1st) none of her teachers thought anything was wrong. They chalked it up to immaturity and I kept waiting for her to 'grow up'.

    I was also wondering... what is the connection between family history of mental disorder and ADD/ADHD? The are mental disorders in both, mine and my husbands families.

    And.... are ADD and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) connected? I have always had many Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) tendencies myself and have noticed those in Saydee, too.
  7. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Genetics are the largest factor in mental illness.

    Quite simply put, there is a greater disposition to have additional issues, such as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), depression, etc., when you have adhd. Obviously just because you have adhd doesn't mean you will automatically have other disorders or that if you have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) you have to have adhd, but the footprint is there.