HELP!! I am so confused.....

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by AmyH, Dec 29, 2008.

  1. AmyH

    AmyH New Member

    I have a 12 yo difficult child. I have been on here in the past. He has been on medications for ADHD since he was 7. Then when he was 10 in 4th grade we moved to a new town. After the move he became a bit sad so the psychiatrist put him on Prozac. He became more depressed on that. So I took him off.

    A few month went by and his teacher said he may need an increase in his medication he was on Ritalin 3x a day. So I told the psychiatrist what the teacher had observed and he immediately wanted to try a new adhd medication. Than began what I feel like has been a downward spiral. We went from Adderall to strattera to concerta to focalin and now we are on Mediate. Then he became more depressed and started developing anxiety during all of this so we were put on different antidepressants and anti anxiety medications till now we are on Zoloft.

    Then came mood swings, banging his head crying utter disregard for others feelings so we have gone from Resperidol, Geodon, and now are on Abilify.

    He has gone from being in the top 3% of his class in 3 and 4th grades to making F's and still reading at a 4th grade level in 6th grade. Like his mind has just stopped. His social ability has stopped also.

    I have been racking my brain, the diagnosis started rolling in Bipolar, Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), OD, then Aspergers. I keep thinking he was fine till we started this medication roller coaster.

    My thought, go back to the basics, Back to just ritalin and she where we are. I know my sweet kid is still in there, the one who cares and acts like he is almost 13, has friends and is social. I just have to pull him back out.

    I NEED HELP!!! Has anyone else experienced anything like this. Is it to far off to think of starting from the beginning?????

  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I would go back to NO medications at all, not even Ritalin. Then you can see how your son really is. Bet you don't even remember. I know how THAT goes. Zoloft, Prozac, Paxil, Celexa, and Lexapro and all antidepressants have a vile and rabid withdrawal syndrome that doctors don't tell us about. I found out by accident (I have been on Paxil for fifteen years). Has he been put on medications than pulled off quickly? Also, in my opinion, he's on too many medications. Zoloft 100 mgs? I flipped out on 50 mgs. and I'm an adult. Geodon? I wouldn't let any psychiatrist put my kid on the combinatinon that yours is on. JMO.
    Back to the original issues: I would NEVER let a teacher influence the medications I give my kids. They have NO clue about medications and some (not all) think the answer to everything is "more medications." Also, I question a psychiatrist who gave you "more medications" just because you wanted them. Didn't he evaluate your child at all?
    Unfortunately, unless he always had signs of Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), it doesn't just develop when he is 12. Did he have symptoms before? It COULD just be the crazy medications and the amount of them and a psychiatrist that isn't all that great. But...
    It could be a mental illness that is rearing it's ugly head now--it is common for that to pop out during the teen years. Is there anything on the family tree? Frankly, I'd dump the psychiatrist. He seems to have a one track mind and think "This child has ADHD" and just keeps putting him on medications that make him worse. If you can, I'd get him evaluated by a neuropsychologist.
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2008
  3. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Amy, I'm sorry things are so rough.

    What are the current medications and doses he is taking?
  4. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Similar scenario to my difficult child 2. He was in the 4th grade also when things started to fall apart. Was being treated for ADHD and aggression/impulse control issues, but doing very well up to that point on Concerta and Risperdal. Then things just sort of began to deteriorate.

    The Concerta acted like water. He was becoming more emotional. His handwriting went south as did many of his grades. His behavior made him the target for bullying, which continued (unfortunately) until the following year in 5th when he "happened" to bring a Swiss Army knife to school and made a threatening comment to another student.

    That incident got the ball rolling for private testing, school evaluation, and an IEP put in place, in addition to new medications being tried. We also learned that he likey had a temporary movement disorder (explained the handwriting issue) related to a bad reaction to an untreated strep infection -- which can also cause mood issues. His strep titers were off the charts -- so that was the smoking gun.

    Since kindergarten, he's been trialed roughly 17 different medications, most of which made things worse. The combo he's on now seems to be working the best. A few years ago, the psychiatrist suggested there was a possibility that what we were seeing was early bipolar, but that he couldn't diagnosis that at such a young age. Puberty would have to play out first. He still has the ADHD diagnosis, though that is a much smaller part of the picture, and now has a Mood Disorder-not otherwise specified (not otherwise specified) diagnosis. The more time goes on, the more it seems to fit.

    Last summer, we did try a complete medication wash. Starting from zero, so to speak. Because things were so out of control with his behavior and nothing seemed to be working. So you probably aren't wrong for thinking about trying this, but I would be suprised if you suddenly saw the same kid you saw before all this began. I think something happens in the brains of these kids at a certain developmental point and that's why we see a deterioration at around the age of 10 (for many, not all).

    Just understand that taking him off everything is going to mean you have to be prepared for things to get worse before they get better. Timing can be important, because you and the school have to be prepared for handling whatever comes down out of this. That's why we chose summer vacation to do it. It meant his peers didn't see him at his worst and he didn't have the added pressure of school to worry about. But sometimes you don't have that luxury, either.

    You should definitely consult with your psychiatrist and your family and decide what the best next step is. But going back to the beginning is definitely not a bad idea in this case.

  5. Rotsne

    Rotsne Banned

    I am no doctor but I would also advocate for no medication at all for while just to see what you get IF your doctor feels that it is OK.

    We have almost no ADHD kids on medication until age 7 because we have a concept that it is called wood kindergarten. Wikipedia has a page with references to study here (link). It seems that extreme outside activity can remove most of the symptoms by less severe cases.

    Now where you child are older you do have to remember one thing when you take him of medication (which you of course do working closely with your doctor): Daily exercise and you are the coach because you actually need to either walk with him for an hour or run slowly for 15-30 minutes first thing in the morning BEFORE classes.

    When my oldest child was 10 our teacher made us parents conduct an experiment together with several classes on schools across Denmark. We met half an hour before the bell rang and did run with our children for 15-20 minutes and ate breakfast before we parents left for work. Result: The children became more quiet and their performance increased despite if they had ADHD or not. Those who were sad and on the edge of being in need for medication against for medication against depression could do without.

    It seems that exercise seems to reorder the thoughts in general which of course helps those with ADHD which without medication suffers from total chaos of thoughts from time to time, but I have to point out that it is only less severe cases which can be dealt with replacing medication with exercise and that is the mission for you and your child. You have to find out how bad it is, before the right medication can be found for your child.

    I pray that you can reach the right solution for you child. It is going to be a tough time.
  6. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Gosh, I'd try for no medications and take him out of school for a few days. Isn't he on holiday break now, anyway?
    I agree with-both Gcv and MWM, in that you need to try no medications and start over, but that doesn't mean that your old son will miraculously show up again.
    I can't believe a dr would put your son on an antidepressant because he seemed a "little sad." There had to have been more going on there. Did you keep a journal? Anyway you can look up what else was going on at school?
    Has he had any psychoeducational testing done?
    Sorry for all the questions. It's just hard to figure out from this end.
    Good luck!
  7. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Good to hear form you, Amy. I've been wondering how you were getting on.

    Re the Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) diagnosis - while it doesn't develop at age 12, it's quite possible for the problem to have been Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) all along, just getting misdiagnosed. Getting it mistaken for BiPolar (BP) is not uncommon. Certainly it would explain a lot of the problems you describe, especially the anxiety and the social problems.

    I agree with taking him off all medications. I also agree with pulling him out of school while you do this, so YOU can get a picture of how he is at home, without the risk of possible violence being aggravated by social issues plus rebound from coming off the medications.

    If his problem is Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), but without the ADHD, then chances are the medications for ADHD won't work. Sadly, that is the case for a lot of Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) kids. We've been lucky in our family that ADHD medications DO work for our Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) kids. But not all, and we have had problems.

    Some kids will respond to some medications but not others. it's very variable. For example, our kids do well on dexamphetamine but not ritalin or Concerta. We recently tried difficult child 3 on Strattera, with ghastly results. We've found in the past that just about any antidepressants cause weird reactions from him. I'm much the same, maybe it's a hereditary sensitivity. But difficult child 1 has been taking Zoloft for nearly 10 years and it really helps him.

    If your child is Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), then trying to cope with the world is difficult, because it's unpredictable and doesn't seem to follow any rules he can understand. However, once he is in a routine and knows a bit better what to expect and how he can cope, then he will be managing at his best. Going off medications will confuse him, even if the medications aren't working too well. It is still a change that he can't apply any rules to, and he will find it frustrating, confusing and upsetting. Therefore if he is home, he will be safer and so will others. ADHD medications should wash out of his system fairly quickly.

    Take notes on what you observe and anything he says. Ask him how he feels. Explain to him that it's not his fault tat he feels confused, anxious and upset. It's because of his Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) and it's a matter of finding the best way for him to cope. There are many things that can be tried, every kid is different. When you ask him how he feels and how well he thinks he is able to focus, that is worth noting. We are doing this right now with difficult child 3, asking him to actually measure his ability to concentrate by doing some Maths and some computer gaming (Brain Training stuff) for fifteen minutes each day, then assessing how well he can perform.

    In this way you engage him in his own treatment choices and simply feeling that he has more control, can ease his anxiety.

    In the meantime, try to teach him deep slow breathing to calm his anxiety. I'm also looking around for a relaxation tape that I can put on the iPod, so difficult child 3 can practice relaxation more regularly. The deep breathing - he has to listen to his body and learn to feel his diaphragm. When he breathes in, he needs to have his hand on his waist so he can feel his chest moving out at that level. Then he breathes in for six seconds and breathes out for six seconds. Practising this every night for five minutes is good routine, to help ease anxiety. It's something you can do that's medication-free and cost-free. Obviously it's not the only treatment, it's just a fragment. But every little bit counts.

    I hope you can sort out the medication problems. If the ritalin was working, I'm surprised that Concerta wasn't. However, we had problems due to the dose not having been calculated right. Also as your child reaches puberty, they suddenly start chewing through the stimulants much faster, you would have probably had to tweak medications anyway. That's why we've been having such fun & games with medications this year - difficult child 3 hitting puberty plus growth spurts.

    Let us know how you get on.

  8. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member


    another vote for testing with no medications. Too bad you couldn't have started at the beginning of winter break. I would speak to his doctor to make sure that any medication he is on now doesn't need to be tapered because it could take over a month to get him off all medications if that is the case.

    I would also address the issue with school. I don't believe you want anything adding any anxiety or frustration on him while he is going through a medication wash. He may need to be at home with you for awhile and the cooperation of school getting you guys his assignments, etc. may be necessary.

    I say good luck and keep us posted.

  9. AmyH

    AmyH New Member

    As of now he is on Zoloft 100mg. Abilify 2 mg and Metadate 60mg.
  10. AmyH

    AmyH New Member

    After trying and trying we did get him tested last year. The school did not want to test him because his 3rd grade tests were awesome, but when they finally tested him he had test scores in thr 4th grade level at the end of 5th grade.

    I want to do a medication wash. He is always saying his stomach hurts, and he hates the medications anyway. Im sure most kids do.
  11. Jena

    Jena New Member


    I'm sorry to hear you are having such a rough time and difficult child is struggling like this. I also struggled with my difficult child for years, yet when we moved things came to a head with her similar to the things you were explaining. Things that other children can adapt to in time it's so much harder for our kids, our kids seem to thrive off familiarity.

    Anyhow, so i played the medication game as well as alot of us have. the roller coaster ride, different diagnosis's total confusion to the point where you could literally rip your hair out and bang your head into a wall.

    Abilify i have learned creates HUGE anxiety in my difficult child. So, we had to pull. Prozac made her hyper and the anti depressants were a joke. It took a long time to find the right fit. I think i'd talk to the doctor about weaning off the medications possibly cleaning him out, giving it time and starting again also. It can be so hard once diff side effects from diff medications hit and than your left wondering hmm is that my difficult child or is it the medication???

    Clarity will come in time, it took us so so many years and there is still confusion and side effects. I think i'm just handling it better, becuase I realize this is my life and difficult child's and i have to ride the coaster a little better lol.

    i wish you luck and keep us updated if you make changes. it can be so terribly hard at times, yet as you know you are soo not alone. We are all hear and there are some wonderful ppl here with whom have so much knowledge regarding diff medications and have said things to me that difficult child's pdco didn't even say lol.