in need of support

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by lost soul, Feb 4, 2012.

  1. lost soul

    lost soul New Member

    I am new to here and to ADD parenting. My 18 year old son was diagnosed with ADD a few weeks prior to starting college. To make this short, we are still changeing and adjusting his medications. He has had, and still does have, sleeping issues. He is difficult to awaken. He misses classes and appointments. He has failed all of his classes first semester. He wants to stay in college and try to make it work. His father and i are divorced, and he doesn't really support or help with the ADD. My son and I seem to butt heads alot lately, and when I try and talk to him and help him, he tells me I am intruding. I don't want to sit back and let him fail out, but yet I want to respect his personal space. I am overwhelmed and at a lose for direction. I feel very alone in my battle and frustrated. I need some advice and wisdom from people who understand what we are going through.
  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Hi, and welcome.
    Who did the diagnosis of ADD?
    What other things were considered as part of the evaluation?

    1) there are other things that "look like" ADD/ADHD, and
    2) there are many other things that often go along with ADD/ADHD.

    Has he ever had a sleep study done? That would be a medical/physical thing, not psychiatrist... but sleep problems can really mess things up.
  3. lost soul

    lost soul New Member

    A psychologist did the evaluation, testing, and diagnosing. The medications help, according to my son. They just don't seem to do enough. He was diagnosed with mono(by positive blood test) almost 1 year before the ADD diagnosis. He seems to have never come out of the sleepiness from mono. We have questioned depression. Never had a sleep study. Part of the problem is my son doesn't see that his sleep is a real problem. He thinks he has it all under control. Failing all classes is not having it under control. Being 18 has complicated how much I can get involved with his medical treatments and tests due to HIPPA and FERPA at school. When I make doctor appointments he goes but complains the whole time and tells the doctor he is fine, I just over react.
  4. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    He can sign consent forms to allow his doctors and teachers to talk with you. You may want to make it a must, like a condition of living at home. You can also talk to the doctor/teacher but they cannot talk to you. This means you can email or fax notes to them before appts, esp if sending one wth difficult child doesn't work. At the doctor's office you can actually still go in with him. Just like you can take someone in with you.

    THe doctor needs a comprehensive look at all the info. I don't know what the medications are, but it sounds like they are not at the right dosage or are not the right medications. If at all possible, a neuropsychologist can do a full evaluation to figure out exactly what you are looking at. It involves 6-12 hours of testing broken into several appts and at age 18 insurance may or may not cover it. You would have to ask the ins co.

    How did he do in high school? Does he have a job? Is there a possible sub abuse problem? I am NOT pointing fingers, just asking because sometimes the parents are the last to know. What makes you think that it is adhd now and he didn't have it in high school or middle or elem school? Has he had a recent mono test? Does he have a lot of aches and pains? Chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia are diseases that can cause some of what you see and also have some other symptoms. Fibro for sure often starts after a virus or disease like mono, chicken pox, etc.... I think CFS follows the same pattern.

    My concern is that adhd is often more of a wiring problem in the brain and not something that would onset in adulthood this way. So if he didn't have it as a child, you may be looking at something else. That does not mean stimulant medications or strattera (non-stimulant adhd medication) are not going to help, just that it may be different than adhd and have other aspects. Boys his age frequently are not good at communicating. Heck, I have to send a list with my husband or fax it ahead or else he tells the doctor he has no clue why he is there and he is way older than 18. My dad does the same thing and so does my 20yo. Sometimes we insist on a doctor appointment but sometimes we figure if they won't tell someone what is going on then they deserve to feel yucky. But they are functioning and your son is not.

    A sleep study is something that he needs to have done. It can pinpoint a LOT of problems, and can help find a solution. I don't know what sort of arrangement you have with your son as far as paying the bills, living at home, etc... I do know that with my children they know that if they are living iwth us then they get to sign the paperwork so that I can speak to the doctors and teachers I am paying for. NOT to pry or micromanage them (though sometimes we disagree on what that is, of course) but so that I can help make sure that they communicate the problems and information to the dr that the dr needs to help them. Also so that I can be sure that they understand their medications and other medical directions.

    Be aware that it is common for teens to sleep a lot more than adults. At 18 he is still a teen and his body and brain are still growing. He also may have some very bad sleep habits/hygeine and this can make a huge difference. You can google sleep hygeine to find out what is and isn't recommended.

    Welcome, and I hope some of this was helpful.
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I'm wondering how he was up until college. Since he got into college, his grades must have been ok even with ADD. It does not sound as if he is a tremendous behavior problem. Am I correct or wrong? Does he live at college and, if so, are you sure he isn't failing because he isn't going or isn't trying or is partying too much?

    If he was able to get the grades in high school, what do you feel has changed. Could it possibly be emotional, like being upset or rebellious because of the divorce? Could he maybe be dabbling in recreational drugs (nothing says no-motivation like pot).

    I think it is fairly typical teen to not sleep that much. They all need to sleep, but I'd say a good portion would rather stay awake and at his age it is pretty hard for you to enforce a bedtime. In fact, at his age, it is pretty much up to him to decide he will cooperate with treatment unless, like Susie suggested, you can get him to sign a consent form saying that you can share in his treatment.

    Basically, can you tell us more about your son so we can perhaps give more informed and better suggestions? Thanks! And welcome to the board, although I'm sorry you felt the need to find us.

    PS--I had mono at seventeen and I was exhausted for over a year afterward. Mono is NOT fun and it can take a long time to recover from all of it's effects.
  6. lost soul

    lost soul New Member

    Thank you for the advice. He has always had certain issues that his grade school teachers suggested we look into ADD. The psychologist I took him to for night terrors discouraged me from testing him, saying he was just immature and would grow out of it. He used to be on the honor roll in grade school and middle school, and did well in highschool. He started getting concerned his senior year that college was going to be a problem due to his "getting off task"(that's how he describes it). Saying no matter what he did or what he tried, concentrating on the teacher was hard for him.

    He has always been difficult to wake up. We thought he would grow out of that, but no luck there. He uses multiple alarm clocks, but that doesn't always work. He is honest with me and our doctor that he has used pot. He knows I do not approve of that and I tell him it counteracts the medications. The doctor drug tested him just to rule that out for his sleep problem and weight loss. Adderall was changed to Vvynase. Still increasing the doses. Have only increased once, going to ask for another increase.

    The more I try to keep involved and keep tabs on him, the more angry he gets with me and the further he pushes away from me. Trying to walk the fine line between being a good concerned involved parent and the over bearing smothering hovering parent. He has signed papers at the college for me to keep informed and I try to attend doctor visits when I'm not working. I am also the one that contacts the office for and fills scripts.
  7. soapbox

    soapbox Member

    Sometimes... problems don't catch up to you until later.
    I was that way... my ADHD didn't "bite" me until I was married with kids and life just got too complex. Just saying, its possible to get well into highschool before the coping mechanisms run out.

    The sleep thing... can be medical/physical, but it can also be multiple layers of other forms of "tired" - emotional, mental, auditory, neuromotor, some combination of stuff. Things that can be totally draining.

    He may or may not be open to this suggestion - but, because of a strong link between ADD/ADHD and this family of disorders, it would be a good thing to check out: Auditory Processing Disorders. In particular, there are some lesser-known ones that do not affect language processing, but which make classroom survival very difficult - and college more so, given that classes are frequently larger. One of these is "auditory figure ground" - where the person has difficulty filtering out background noise. The mental effort it takes to try to maintain focus is absolutely massive, and in many cases cannot be maintained. A Speech Language Pathologist would normally do the initial screening, and often recommends full testing by a specialist in auditory processing disorders (specialized audiologist).

    IF this is the case... he will be able to get accommodations and interventions, but there may not be "funding"... you will have to research that part. Usually, the first layer of help is a personal fm system - mic from teacher, to student's ear, to make "listening" more effective - there are variations on this. This disorder does NOT have any medication options.
  8. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Hi there, I didn't read through all of the responses so sorry if this is a copy cat question...

    Did this attitude/mood change happen with the new medication? My son needs a stimulant...can't function without it but it definitely does add a layer of crabbiness to him. I hope if it is medications as it hits a normal level he will get used to it. I just think how little it takes for me to have my mood overtaken.... (pms for example)

    At his age, his frontal lobes are really still developing. I was told that what helps when kids are young may not anymore as they get older as the medications become more stimulating rather than calming/attention helping. Hope the new medication works better than the stimulant.

    I was looking it up and found someone asked the question about it and the reply on the drug site was:

  9. lost soul

    lost soul New Member

    I am very thankful for finding this site and all the help I've recieved. Knowing we are not alone in this battle has helped me alot.

    When he was on Adderall, I could tell a mood difference when he did and did not take his medications. He would not take it when he woke up if he had an early morning soccer game because of the palpitations it caused. So we hope Vvanyse is more sport friendly. But if he can't pass his classes there will be no more soccer either.

    I plan to talk to him about sleep studies being done. Thank you for all your help and words of wisdom.
  10. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Just adding my glad you found us. Teen years and "transitional" years are often so difficult because, as you said, they "know" they are legal adults. Most of them also "know" that they are greatly loved and need parental support for a bit longer. Problem is, lol, getting them to admit it.

    Has he displayed any changes in habits, behaviors or friends this year? Sometimes there is subtle evidence of social trauma that is masked by excessive sleeping and disengagement from academic work.
    Since they are "guys" they internalize. Have you heard any indication that he may have had personal issues once at college? Hugs DDD
  11. rejectedmom

    rejectedmom New Member

    You say your son is a soccer player, is it possible he hit his head just before the symptoms started? Concentration can be harder after a head injury. Even a mild concussion that one might not be aware of can cause problems with noise tolerance, mood, and attention. Often mild head injuries cannot be verified medically ie: as per CAT or MRI or even EEG. My daughter has been suffering for over a year from a "moderate" concussion. My brother, who was a genius and on full scholorship to MIT, coud not concentrate after a car accident in which he sruck his forehead on the rear view mirror. He ended up flunking out of school. You might want to consider a much lighter course load for your son next semester (maybe drop a course or two this semester also) at least untill you get the attending problem under control.
  12. exhausted

    exhausted Active Member

    Hello and welcome. I'm sorry that you are struggling so much. College is expensive and it sure is not a good thing that he has failed. It is good that he wants to try again. My question is, at what point do you look at other options; maybe go part time, tech. school, or get him a 504 plan and support through student services?" Are you sure that the pot smoking has ended and that there isn't other drug use such as alchohol or even depression contributing to his failure? It is very common for these kids to self-medicate in order to feel better. Perhaps he developed an addiction before he finially was medicated?? Not saying that is the case-just keep your eyes open. even if he was drug tested, alchohol wont show up and some drugs are short lived in the sytem. His crankiness could be related to sleep, medication and even depression. It is pretty common for kids with ADD to have depression as a comorbid diagnosis. Boys often manifest depression through anger and crakiness. Our boy did.
    Our son was often cranky on medications. He was shut down verbally as well-very quiet. Mine started them at age 5 and was off by age 16. He decided to manage his ADHD other ways-biofeedback, playing drums atc. He also knew that sitting in a classroom would not work for him. He certified in auto-mechanics. Though he is a very smart kid with a high I.Q. college wasn't it. He barely held it together through high school, he did have a high GPA, but we had to be so vigilant and he did have a 504 plan. At 24, he is starting to think he may be ready for college. They often develop much slower than other kids.

    Our boy and girl suffered from night terrors. I had sleep walking and terrors when I was sick as a kid. We do not know what caused them. We had all the tests and nothing showed for either kid. Our peditrician said it was common and that kids often grow out of it. I have read some things in the present that suggest they may be a sign of neurologic issues that can't be detected with "tests". There is thought that these kids may end up with later diagnosis.

    As for the mono- epstine bar virus can cause cronic fatique syndrome. I don't know much about this, I have just heard this. Wonder if that is causing issues?

    Hang in there and keep us posted.
  13. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Welcome, Lost Soul.
    You've gotten some great responses and ideas here ... everything from a soccer head injury to emotional trauma to sleep evaluation, to drug abuse to a very late diagnosis. I honestly don't know what else to do but offer hugs and tell you to stay with-us and work your way through this one day at a time.:consoling:
  14. lost soul

    lost soul New Member

    My difficult child has agreed to go to doctor again and I am taking off work to also attend. I don't think he wants to admit he is not doing well in college. He always has an excuse for why his grades are poor. I have encouraged him to let his proffesors know about his diagnosis and see if they have any suggestions on helping him succeed. He doesn't want anyone to pity him or give him special treatment. So he and I go round and round with the discussion. I keep hoping the difficult child's eyes will open and he will see the whole picture.
  15. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Just a side-note, but... most colleges have a department - various names - designed to provide student academic support. THEY are set up to be the go-between for students and teachers, to help with accommodations, etc. At the college level, it is less likely to get help finding out what you need, but there is support once you know.
  16. lost soul

    lost soul New Member

    An update on difficult child. We sat down and had a talk last weekend. We both ended up in tears. I feel terrible for pushing him to that point, but maybe that is what needed done. We seem to be on ok terms even with the emotional talk. We both heard things about each other that we probably didn't want to hear, but again may help in the long run. He does not like where he is going to college, he plans to apply to a college near home. He wants to make the college aware of his ADD from the start. He wants to live at home (with same every other week arrangement as he has always had between his dad and I) and either attend closer college or if unable to get in, then he'll get a job. We hope to be able to do a better job getting him on track if he is home and more available for appts and tests. I have warned him that while staying at this house he will obey rules and it will be more like when he was in highschool. No late nights(others in house get up early), or staying at friends on school nights. He will have chores. If he disrupts the household or does not follow rules, he can get a dorm room. I feel like a nasty mom, but I feel like he needs boundaries. Doctor appointment this monday with him. I hope we start making progress.
  17. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Reading your last post I'm not sue if you and your difficult child had a quiet soul searching conversation that brought you both to tears or if you had a verbal slug fest which brought out tears and accusations. Yikes! Either way evidently you both had a chance to share and it sounds like the end results were positive. Hope the appointment. goes well. Hugs DDD
  18. exhausted

    exhausted Active Member

    Thanks for the update. Sounds like you have some stuff worked out. Better for him to be upfront about the ADD and go to student services. That is why they are there. They can get him help anywhere from a notetaker, to a labtop, etc.

    Glad you set boundaries. Be prepared to follow through. He will probably test the waters. I encourage you to examine you expectations of him as well. I have had to do this with both my kids. While they were both brighter than normal, they both had issues-son ADHD and daughter with PTSD (and what ever else). What we wanted and what they can actually do on their own timeline have been 2 different things. I have had to grieve the loss of the children I though I had and except the children I do have.

    You boy may be just fine once are stable for him but I just wanted give you a heads up..
  19. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Well, it sounds like you've made some progress.
    Sorry you came to tears, but as you said, those things happen and sometimes it can clear the air. The more you talk, the less emotional it will become. I would tell him that, too. :)
    Also, when he says you're intruding, tell him that it it your house and your rules, and the more he can prove how well he is doing, the less you will intrude and the more privileges he will earn.
    I am so glad you two are going to the dr. I hope that your difficult child can make some progress. I also hope that the dr asks questions like, "Does the fast pace of the instructor cause you to shut down and not listen? Do you think the buzzing of the flourescent lights might be bugging you? Is the room too cold or too hot? Does test taking make you overly anxious?" Because your difficult child could have sensory issues, anxiety issues, all sorts of things.
    Put in the context of a dr's ofc, it would be viewed as more of a medical situation than a personal flaw, Know what I mean??
    Because that's really what it is. I mean, if he needed glasses, it wouldn't be that big of a deal, so this is just one way to get these pesky irritations out of the way to make learning easier.
    At least, let's hope so. ;)
  20. My gut says test him for EBV, since he has had mono. There is a lot of natural anti-viral support you can do for recovering from mono. I had it and it was pretty horrible, and started a depression for me at age 18, back in the day when nobody did anything. Also, depression can act like ADD, which I think was mentioned in this thread already.

    He sounds a lot like my oldest daughter, in some ways, and with her, we have to look at what is underneath the bottom layers. She too, will tell docs I am overreacting, will complain about something, and when I bring it up to a doctor, will deny it as if I am making it up. She wants to seem perfect to others. She is a high achiever who also took an attentional turn for the worse in senior year, after a depressive episode. Parents'divorced = rocking of a kid's world, no matter what age, even if they don't recognize it themselves.

    After reading all of the posts, I am assuming that he is living away in a dorm right now?