Does it always come to medications?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by paisleysea, Oct 23, 2010.

  1. paisleysea

    paisleysea Guest

    Wondering if a diagnosis like ODD and ADHD usually comes down to medicating the child. I mean, I know it's always the parents choice what to do but is it generally accepted that medications help? I've been down the special needs road already with my younger son and have seen the way that doctors and therapists rely on medical interventions when the cause remains unclear. Just curious if that's the road I'm going to be heading down with my older son.
  2. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Personally, I agreed to medications only because I had tried everything else, with little success. It wasn't an easy decision, but I believe it was the right one. It may not be the right one for your child; only you can make that decision.
  3. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    There's no medication that can 'fix' ODD. But depending on whether some factors such as anxiety or depression are involved, you can medicate for those.

    As for ADHD - again, it's a matter of choice. Perhaps also a matter of degree. In our case, the ADHD was severe in the boys. difficult child 3 didn't seem so bad, but that's because difficult child 1 was so severe with his ADHD. We copped a lot of flak when we started difficult child 3 on ADHD medications when he was 3 years old, but it was almost miraculous in its benefits. Temple Grandin calls it the "Wow" factor. If you try a new medication and immediately notice a massive benefit, like Wow!" then clearly it's a good choice. But if you don't notice much change, if any, then yo need to consider if it's really serving any purpose.

    There will always be those who will be critical. At a school function (end of year luncheon for parents who volunteered) I was sitting with some friends and a couple of other women I'd never met. One of these women turned to me (she didn't know me except as a friend of her friend) and asked me, "So how do you feel about those parents who drug their children into submission?"
    I could have ducked it and made some non-committal reply, but I am basically an honest person. Plus I found her overly confrontational style of questioning to be offensive. I didn't take offence though, but I did stand up for my decisions. I replied, "If you mean, 'How do I feel about the use of medication in children with a carefully assessed diagnosis of ADHD, then it is a matter of parental choice. In our case, we chose to medicate and I was so delighted by the immediate and large benefits, that I stand by my choices retrospectively."
    She went on to discuss her own (obviously negative) views, including her statement that she herself has ADD and self-medicates with caffeine. I said that in my opinion caffeine is a blunt instrument, compared to the much more carefully researched pharmacological stimulants which of course themselves are not perfect; but they are the best options we have. Besides, my boys react fairly badly to caffeine, we had to exclude it from the house.

    It was a moderately warm discussion, but still polite. We parted on friendly terms, agreeing to differ. But I also was remembering what I had heard about her - a family member of hers was selling one of those herbal supplements of the "it cures everything" variety, that costs a fortune and probably does nothing useful. That family member had once buttonholed me about the medicating of my kids, and did the hard sell on me. Her comments were a preamble to another hard sell which thankfully I had prevented.

    You are the parent. You get to choose what you want to do. What we found, was that medications for ADHD did help our kids (except easy child) deal with what COULD be helped, so they had less left over to try and compensate for. Once they coped better, they felt less stressed and in a positive feedback loop, they began to do even better. But some people choose not to medicate, so the child learns to adapt to what they have anyway. Is it better, or not? I can't tell you. All I can tell you, is if given the chance over again to medicate, I would do it in a heartbeat. Sooner, if possible.

    Some medications were disastrous for us. Rebound on some stimulants can be a problem. Strattera (only tried on difficult child 3) was a shocker - difficult child 3 became physically violent with racing, uncontrolled thoughts almost to a psychotic level, within three days. We stopped the medications and waited while he sweated it out. We now have a system that works (with all three younger ones, although only difficult child 3 is still at home, the others are married) and we won't rock the boat. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

    I hope this helps.

  4. Jena

    Jena New Member

    Hi and welcome

    as for me same thing i tried everything else and nothing worked and she needed help, so into the medication game we went. it all depends on you, your child, the severity of the symptoms and giving the child quality of life. sometimes that can be done with-therapy and diff. interventions. Yet alot of times medications are used also just to lower the childs' behaviors somewhat so that therapy can be beneficial. alot of times when therapy is brought in if the childs' behaviors are too severe, whatever they may be therapy is a waste. so if you get those medications in there and lower the child down just a little bit, than bring in diff interventions........ see my point??

    either way i wish you luck never an easy decision
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I think doctors hand out drugs way too fast, especially when they "suspect" ADHD (I'd guess that at least half the time it's the wrong diagnosis). If a child is hurting himself or others or destroying property, I would think that's severe enough for medication as nobody can live that way, especially the child. However, no diagnosis is written in stone because we have no blood tests. My son's middle elementary school psychiatrist, who has a good reputation, wrongly diagnosed him with bipolar and put him on three years of strong medications with soooooooooo many side effects. Turns out he is on the autism spectrum and has no mood problems. Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) can look like mental illness, but it isn't. Once he was taken off all medication he started doing much better, especially in school.

    Now my daughter always had LDs but I didn't want to put her on medication as she has no behavior problems. Last year she went into detail on how hard it was for her to concentrate and on how hard that made school for her. Reluctantly, we tried Concerta. Her grades leaped and she is doing really side effects at all. So I think it all depends. Sometimes the medications make kids better, often they make them even worse. It's a crapshoot.

    I think it all depends on the circumstances.
  6. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I agree. That's why I emphasised the need to have the diagnosis carefully assessed.

    Nobody should feel pressured either way in this. Parental rights and parental instincts are valuable and should be respected.

  7. PatriotsGirl

    PatriotsGirl Guest

    Because of my experience the only medication I am willing to use is antidepressants. Stimulants did great for my kids' grades but there have been consequences that I do not feel is worth it. My difficult child went on to using meth (not to scare you, but stimulants are addictive and she got addicted to that "speedy" feeling). I have noticed with my son taking it, that his grades are better, for sure. But he was starting to show anger and irritation and that is SO not like my son. So, I stopped giving him the stimulants and I am seeing the happy little boy again. We will see how school goes but I think I am going to try a whole lot of other things to help his schoolwork before I resort to stimulants again.
    I have found that difficult child's ODD is MUCH better if her depression is being treated. Depression is definitely not just sadness. The depression my difficult child (and myself) have is agitated depression. Meaning we are irritable and agitated all the time. I believe that is the case for many ODD kids, too. We both take prozac (not sure if she is taking hers, but I am definitely taking mine) and it really takes the edge off. I can't help but smile. It has really helped me a lot, which in turn affects how I treat others.
    Anyhow, just my two cents from my experiences.
  8. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    I think we're all pretty much in agreement on medications around here. If medication is warranted, needed and beneficial....we're for it. Carefully monitored of course, especially in the wee ones. I suppose, for me anyway, it's like anything else. Sometimes chronic conditions can be treated in other ways, sometimes you need medications. Some people have found that special diets and vitamins work and others have had great results from various medications. It really just depends on the child, the diagnosis, the history, the doctor and of course the pros and cons.

    Marg talked about the "wow" factory.....I've seen that myself. My husband and I adopted our son out of foster him when he was 9, adopted when he was 10. When he came to us, he was already on medications. He was our first and so far, only child so we went with the flow so to speak to give us time to educate ourselves and talk to the doctor(s) involved. After a year though, he had to be hospitalized at a psychiatric hospital and while he was there he medications were changed in a major way. Of the three he was on at the time, only one stayed (his ADHD medication) and two others were added. (2/3 of his medications were totally wrong for his diagnosis) The doctor told me that I probably wouldn't see a difference until a month or two down the road. Instead I saw a HUGE difference within 2 weeks. As a first time parent pretty much tossed blindly into the world of difficult child's (long story but state case workers didn't feel the need to tell us everything) we pretty much learned on the fly. We did, over the years, do tweaks here and there and as difficult child got older, we would attempt to lessen his medications and with the ADHD medication, try to eliminate it. I learned very quickly though at the time.....take away his ADHD medication and he turned into what really resembled Tigger on crack. LOL O...M....G.....that child almost literally bounced off the walls!!! We were fortunate in that we had a really great psychiatrist who would discuss things with us and a lot of times, leave the decision(s) up to us. Now, difficult child is 20 and no longer takes anything for his ADHD. He still has it of course but I think between his other medications and just physically maturing, he's covered enough. Granted, he's out of school and doesn't work so maybe we don't notice the need so much if it's still there but he is tons better NOW without it than even 5 years ago.

    So Kind of wrote more than I planned! LOL Basically, find a doctor IN THE RIGHT FIELD that you trust, discuss, research and go with your gut. If you find that something else works....great. But don't be leery of medications just because we parents "medicate our kids into submission". You would give you child insulin if he/she was diabetic and needed it wouldn't you? THis is really no different although it can be a teeeeensy bit more complicated.

    Oh and welcome to the board!
  9. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    Most of us here think that ODD is a symptom and not a disorder by itself. If you can find and treat the cause of it, it can improve. Sometimes medications help.

    We put my older daughter on medications when she was not able to control herself without them. Eventually, we discovered that if she gave up gluten and casein, she didn't need the medications any more. The food allergies were the true cause of her agitation and the medications, when they worked, were suppressing the symptoms.

    My other daughter is taking medications now for her Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and to help her sleep because she desparately needs some help in those areas. In the past, she was diagnosed with mood disorder-not otherwise specified, Intermittent Explosive Disorder, and on the path to getting a bipolar diagnosis. She has other medical problems and in working on those, all of those mood disorder symptoms have gone away, even before we added the Lexapro and Remeron.

    In my experience, mainstream doctors treat symptoms. It is possible to find doctors who will look for the cause, but the cause is not always easy to find and maybe can't even be fixed if it is found. Symptom relief is sometimes necessary.
  10. Bunny

    Bunny Guest

    We just started medications doe our son this summer, but we had done everything that we could do before we went down that road. You have no idea what a tough decision it was me to medicate him, but so far it has been the right choice. He takes medications for anxiety, which have helped to cut down the frequency and severity and his screaming fits. He is much easier to talk to about problems when he is calm and is much more able to see that there are other solutions to a problem, not just the one that he has in his mind already.

    In the end, medicating a child is very personal choice and one that you have to mke with competent medical professionals on your side to guide to choosing the right thing to do for your child and your family.

  11. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    We've been through a few medications now, but I had my kid allergy-checked before starting her on any since some food allergies can show up behavior issues.
  12. Jena

    Jena New Member

    i think even if it's a pyschological issue purely emotional, environemental etc. you still may have to use medications to get the kid calm in order to work thru their junk "baggage" whatever" it may be. and ODD yea i agree with-that as well.

    My 17 easy child was dxd with it. i laughed. she panicked. long story short she was out of control for a handful of mos. i mean drove me nuts literally, ran away cops being called, you name it she did it. Guess what lied beneath it all fact husband and i weren't married yet and she was lacking stability in the home front and a long long seeded jealousy for her difficult child sister. Which happens alot in our homes with-our other kids who have to not be the center of it all yet sit on the sidelines at times.

    she's still nasty at times and yes can be a handful yet now i know and watch and can see her behaviors being linked to what's going on at home mostly with-difficult child.
  13. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    Just to clarify my earlier post. I called it a food allergy, but technically, my daughter is not really allergic to gluten and casien. It would not show up if I took her to be allergy tested. Allergy testing tests for a specific antibody response which my daughter does not have. She did show a different antibody response on a different test, but the test is not one most doctors would do.

    The best way to find out is to eliminate a suspicious food and see what happens. Then re-introduce and see what happens. In our case, I could never bring myself to deliberately re-introduce because the difference was so dramatic. My daughter has done her own trials though and the results are clear.
  14. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Yay, I'm watching my daugher, but she is very level-headed and doesn't have an addictive personality so we're still doing it. It hasn't made her angry or speedy or anything like that. She doesn't even remember to take it on the weekends or holidays, just when her dad gives them to her before school (or she'd forget altogether).

    My oldest daughter took meth, but she was never on any medication. She started to self-medicate at 12 with pot and moved on to scarier stuff. Fortunately, she quit. But if your kid has a bad reaction to stimulants, I'd remove them. They are very much a street drug and don't let anyone say otherwise. My personal opinion is that an ADHD/ODD combination usually turns out to be a mood disorder or autistic spectrum disorder and neither respond well to be careful.

    Again, this is my own opinion...I don't think food allergies cause SEVERE behavior problems. But it can't hurt to try. Anything is worth never know.
  15. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    My daughter did not act out in school, except for one time when she said she wanted to kill herself. A kid and a teacher told me about this. She had said it at home a lot, though.

    At home, she knocked over chairs, screamed and cried in her room for long periods of time, hit, even bit once (at age 9 or 10), refused to do anything we asked, consequences led to further problems, basically totally out of control.

    I know other kids are even worse, but she was pretty severe in my opinion.

    Now, 4 1/2 years into this diet, she is fine with no medications or therapy. Like a normal teen, I think.

    Sure, she complains about doing her chores, but she does do them.

    Back then, no way. Chores were the least of our worries. She was diagnosis'ed with ODD and Depression. A second opinion gave her the Intermittent Explosive Disorder diagnosis. She took Lexapro which helped for a while but we needed to keep increasing it. We were about to add Seroquel to control her violence when we put her on this diet instead.
  16. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    I keep thinking of more horrific stories about her back in the difficult child days. I had the number to the phospital taped to my cabinet in case I needed it in an emergency, per her psychiatrist's suggestion.

    It was bad.

    I realize it sounds too good to be true. I probably wouldn't believe it myself if I hadn't lived through it.
  17. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    medications are not always a good choice. Personally I think that some more testing should be done before medications are given. years ago no one got adhd medications until an EEG was done. EEGs test for seizures and many psychiatric medicines can lower the seizure threshold, esp stimulants. One mother who isn't here much anymore tried every psychiatric drug (just about) on her son and then learned that ALL of his symptoms were due to a seizure disorder. Many of the medications made things far worse and he developed side effects that lasted a lot longer than the medications stayed in his system. She is the one who I first heard advocate for the EEG to be done before medications started. I was NOT popular with my daughter's teacher (4th grade), or with one psychiatrist and his nurse practitioner because I would NOT give my daughter any medications until the neuro gave her an EEG. The teacher (and my mother) both thought my daughter had inattentive ADHD because she never seemed to be concentrating. The neuro found that she has Absence Epilepsy - seizures that are not noticeable but her brain turns off for a few seconds at a time. She had these seizures more than once a minute before we found medicine to help her. Even then it was hard to find the right medication because the side effects are hard to handle. We are now waiting for an appointment with a new neurologist because her current medication is making her sick to her stomach. She won't stop taking it because she doesn't want to go back to what she calls "short days", meaning that before this medication she didn't realize how long each day was because she was literally missing about half of the day due to seizures.

    For a problem like this, medications are not optional. But many problems are not as clear cut as this one. Many problems may or may not be treated with medications. For most it is a lot harder to treat them with-o medications, and those treatments are ones the patient has to be able and completely willing to work VERY hard to overcome the problems. Some kids are able to do this. Some are not. Some find these treatments and ways to help themselves to be so hard for so little effort that they prefer medications.

    For MY child, who has Aspergers and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and his ADHD is a SYMPTOM of the Aspergers, medications were our ONLY option at first. He REFUSED to do ANY work on his behavior at times, and he has such a deep depression that he cannot overcome it with-o medications. He also fights deep feelings of being unworthy of anything - and I blame this directly and fully on his teachers in grades 1 and 2 - they actively and purposely destroyed his self esteem to the point that at age 7 he tried to kill himself - and his attempts would have worked if we had not stopped them. This is NOT the norm, but is what he endured. It took us over a year of homeschooling so that we could go to the Children's Hospital for various therapies 4 days a week to help him learn how to handle the depression and his Aspergers/Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)/ADHD symptoms. We homeschooled because I learned what those *itches who taught him were doing (among the NICEST thing they did was taking away his recess if he missed a typo on a letter his teacher wrote to send home. HE lost recess if he didn't correct all of HER MISTAKES!). It took medications to handle his anger - he was not able to be left alone with his little sister long enough for me to go to the bathroom - I had to take her with me or she had bruises when I came out.

    medications really helped with that. he had a LOT to work through, and he was SO YOUNG that he just couldn't do it, no matter how adult he sounded when he spoke.

    Now he is an adult, is NOT a difficult child, has graduated both high school and a machinist training program, and is in college. He is an awesome big brother and has repaired his relationship with his siblings, and is a wonderful son who has repaired his relationship with husband and I. He is still on medications, though he is old enough to make that choice for himself. It takes 3 antidepressants to deal with his problems - 2 are for other things but also help the depression.

    The medications choice depends on what the problems are, and if other solutions are available AND something the child can actually understand. One problem that cannot be addressed by medications but is common in many people with problems like our kids is sensory integration disorder. It is when the brain doesn't handle sensory input well. People with Sensory Integration Disorder (SID) seek certain types of sensory input and avoid others. The treatment for this is brushing therapy, usually combined with gentle joint compressions. It MUST be taught by an Occupational Therapist (OT) before it is tried, otherwise you can create BIG problems, but done properly it has been showed to "rewire" how the brain handles sensory input - it creates new pathways in the brain, literally! It is usually enjoyed by the child, though there are some who don't like it. I urge parents to make sure that they get an evaluation by a PRIVATE Occupational Therapist (OT) for this if their child has any problems at all. Schools have OTs, but they focus only on how education is impacted by sensory problems, not how the rest of their lives are impacted. Private OTs also get no pressure to get certain results - school OTs can be pressured if the school does not have accommodations available.
  18. OTE

    OTE Active Member

    Have to agree with the others. There are kids for whom medications are the only way. My position is to eliminate everything else first. In addition to what everyone else said, I'd do more evaluations, which means that you collect more data on his foods, behaviors, moods, etc, etc. Then take that data to other professionals. In particular, you said ADD and ODD. That is often the fist diagnosis before bipolar. So I'd get my hands on the book the Bipolar Child and read through it. I also wouldn't put mine on medications without at least 2 child psychiatrists saying that's the only way. ADHD medications have come a long way but note that early use of stims can have a negative long term impact on bipolar kids.
  19. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    Medications of the nature many of our difficult children are prescribed are highly controversial in the medical/psychiatric communities & sometimes here.

    I have to choose (given the tweedles diagnosis's/issues) to give these medication's to my children. This decision was not made lightly nor was it made before we attempted many other things, i.e, therapy, hospitalization, cognitive behavioral therapy, etc, etc, etc.

    I chose to give my children medications that would allow them to live to their highest level of functionality. It would be no different if kt or wm had epilepsy, diabetes, asthma or cancer. The tweedles needed treatment & medications were part of their treatment.

    Your difficult child may not need medications ~ thank God if that is the case. Don't close the door at a viable treatment option if it's warranted.
  20. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    If it is a biochemical illness, the right medication is vital.

    The problem is finding out what is really the problem/illness.