Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Malika, Apr 17, 2016.

  1. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    I am coming to the conclusion, not for the first time, that ADHD medications are a complete minefield. When he was younger, my son tried all the stimulants - none worked, some made him worse (inducing psychotic rages, for example). Finally we tried Strattera which initially had very impressive result in terms of school and sporting activities but eventually he started raging when they wore off. To such an alarming degree that I stopped them. And then... you know how it is... you get to a point when you want to try anything that helps again and so about 18 months ago we had another try with Strattera (with a two month break last summer). The initial dramatic effect never reappeared but it seemed to make him a bit less hyperactive and a bit more concentrated. However, the side effects mounted up: itching red spots all over his body, accelerated, irregular heartbeat, nausea, decreased appetite, swollen and painful genitals. It all was too much and I was beginning to feel I was administering a daily poison. So I decided to stop about five days ago (after one day on half dosage). And, to my surprise, he has overall been much easier and much pleasanter in mood. The daily evening outburst/meltdown is not happening and I begin to realise - gosh, the medications must have been also making him constantly more on edge, moody and prone to outbursts...

    Has anyone else found that there is no ADHD medications that do not seem to cause increased aggression and "meanness", particularly when they wear off? I don't know where we go from here. J's concentration is now "shot" and he cannot/will not concentrate on school work at all since he has come off them.
  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Well... just my usual ramblings.

    Not all kids respond well to ADHD medications. Some do really well, some do well enough to be worth doing, others don't get any positive effect, or get too many side effects. There is no one-size-fits-all medication.

    I know that ADHD is the diagnosis you have been given. My experience is, its accuracy is always in question until they get older. You may be dealing with other things - in which case, ADHD medications won't work any way.

    The dyslexia definitely affects focus and concentration - it takes a lot more "brain power" to deal with the symbols of language... which leaves less for everything else.

    Other things to consider trying:
    1) Coffee or tea. Natural stimulants with a 1-2 hour window. We used strong black tea (with milk, of course) when one of mine was really young and we were going through the process of seeking an ADHD diagnosis. It definitely helped "some".
    2) Diet. Some kids can be helped by one of - or a combination of - special diets, such as gluten free, casein free (dairy free, essentially), dye free, sugar free (for some, honey is OK but "commercial sugar" is something they react to).
  3. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    There are coping mechanisms that J is now old enough to benefit from learning.

    A good tutor or counselor with experience in working with kids with ADHD might be able to help him with that.

    The behavior after the stims wear off has nothing to do with J's having ADHD. It's actually withdrawal of a sort. It's called a "comedown" or "crash". Basically, he is depressed, irritable, hungry, anxious, and feels physically exhausted. He also craves more of the drug to get rid of the bad feelings, butt isn't yet old enough to verbalize those feelings.

    THIS is why so many people abuse ADHD medications/stims. They are nothing but speed. Most of them are amphetamines: very similar to meth, only a bit weaker and shorter acting.

    Strattera is a SSNRI. It's an antidepressant that sucks as an AD, has a lot of physical side effects, and only around 40% of ADHDers see any benefit from it. Because it is a SSNRI, it has to be tapered off slowly to prevent unpleasant withdrawal sx.

    I'd suggest getting him into intensive interventions to teach him methods of coping with the way his brain is wired. Sounds like that would be a much better idea than the stims if J can manage it.
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  4. HMBgal

    HMBgal Active Member

    We can't do the stimulants with grandson because of the anxiety piece. Strattera was a bust for us, as well. As his anxiety lessens, the anger issues are so much better, except when he is tired. No, he doesn't focus as well in school, but the teaching techniques that this amazing teacher is using are helping as far as academic output is concerned. It does make it easier than he is an avid reader, but math causes meltdowns, even trying to do one problem that if he would just do it and not rage about it, would take him about 10 seconds. And we do try to stick to the "cleaner" foods with as few additives and sugars as possible. We all try to eat less processed foods as a family.
  5. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    HMBgal, I have a learning difficulty in math; diagnosed when I was in my 40s. I used to severely balk and try to find ways to get out of doing math work because I got to the point where I started feeling panicky if confronted with a arithmetic/math problem because if I couldn't pull the answer out of my *** using whatever arcane method it is that I use, I was doomed, since I never was able to learn the steps and processes for doing math the way people usually do.

    Oddly, I can apply algebra to a biology situation, but can't tell you how I worked out the problem. I can't really learn physics or advanced biology because of my disability in math. Put more accurately, I can learn and understand how and why it all works at a very high level, but I can't show someone else how it works. I just KNOW.

    I surprised myself the other day when I was presented with a story problem and was actually able to set up an algebraic equation to solve the problem.

    Sort of like, "WHOA! Where did THAT come from?"

    Get him tested. It's possible he needs some tutoring in math by a tutor who will teach him in the way he needs to learn.

    That said, I'm sure if Common Core had been around when I was a kid,, I'd have been sped for the impaired children as opposed to sped for the high IQ kids. I've been reading up the CC math and am totally lost.
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  6. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Gn. I don't think they offer interventions where they live.
    ADHD medications made a sonic mean and aggressive and he isn't even like that. Like IC said often the diagnosis changes with age, at least in N. America. Sonics diagnosis ended up being Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and often those with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are super sensitive to medications.

    He is a fine young man now who used interventions; medications. He had serious attention issies, but they have improved A LOT. Sims are badly abused in these parts.
  7. HMBgal

    HMBgal Active Member

    The common core math is incredibly weird and I can't understand why a simple two-column addition problem has to take a half page to do with all the grouping, etc. I, too, was an incredible math-a-phone all through my k-12 years, and somehow managed to get through a very tough set of college courses (Master's in Sports Medicine, so two years chemistry, cell biology, exercise physiology, physics, biomechanics, etc.) I had to get tutors, practice, seek out really good teachers, and I graduated Summa Cum Laude in both my Bachelor's and my Master's. But, I was in my 40s and had a lot better insights as to what would work for me than the average nine year old struggling in school.
  8. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    Congrats on the degree!

    I have ADD and can't take any of the medications. Trialed Ritalin before I was diagnosed with Bipolar. Flipped out with the first dose. 1st and last time I'll try a stimulant.

    Not counting using speed a couple of times in my teens and deciding I hated it.

    Well, I taught myself a very strange way of doing multiplication, including of large numbers, in my head (can only do this because I have the multiplication tables memorized). I can show my work with this method.

    My teachers all along would not accept my method of doing multiplication (and division, which is the same thing, only backwards) because it isn't "normal"

    That was something else that turned me off of math.
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  9. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Strattera was an "all right" medication for Miss KT, but turned Hubby into a puddle of goo. Hubby had previously been diagnosis'd as unipolar depressive, and it was a HORRIBLE month, even after I ramped up the dosage to the correct amount for his weight. He's currently on Ritalin.

    Miss KT was on Adderall after the Strattera, don't remember the dosage, it's been a while, but it worked well for her.
  10. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    I usually tend towards hypomania or mixed states as my "up" cycle. When I tried Straterra back in 03 I went fully manic for the 1st time since my early 20s.

    Took changing shrinks and getting properly medicated to break the mania (and lots of zyprexa-and 60lbs) at which point I crashed into a suicidal depression that lasted 6 mos.

    in my opinion, Strattera is NOT a good drug at all. Adderal can be very effective, but the abuse potential? OMG!
  11. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Thanks for your input. J hasn't seemed to have had withdrawal symptoms so far tbh - apart from continuing nose bleeds, which I think were another side effect. I am so wary about the medications now. If we could somehow learn to navigate his ADHD without them, I guess that would be ideal. I cannot believe how he has been eating - and good things, not the usual sugar he craves - since we stopped, as if his body is making up for months of starvation. I don't think there will be any reason to question the ADHD diagnosis, really. He seems like a text book case - at least in terms of symptoms and "lagging skills" associated with ADHD. He is not on the autistic spectrum and I think sometimes the ADHD medications just don't work for some children, for whatever reason. The big drawback is that without them he is hyper and unfocused and this is of course a big disadvantage in terms of things like schoolwork. Which is the least of J's worries - he just wants to play and have fun...
  12. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    One school district near where we are, used to have a small school just for super-challenging cases ("normal" IQ, lots of other challenges). Some of the things they found helped some kids:
    1) "standing" desks - where they could do paperwork standing up, sometimes even walking in place
    2) treadmill and exercise bike - for two reasons. One, you are more focused right after exercise, and some difficult tasks, like reading, can be done at the same time.
    3) "ball" seats - the ones that are based on a large exercise ball.

    It seems like having to focus on two things at once increases the total focus on both tasks.
  13. HMBgal

    HMBgal Active Member

    Malika, after watching grandson not gain weight or grow for over two years, picky eater, never hungry, tummy aches, etc., from every medication we had tried up until this point (Concerta, Adderall, Focalin, Strattera), when we took him off all those in July for a complete medication vacation, he has gained 25 pounds and grew so much! I can't keep him in pants that aren't too short. He loves my cooking, helps in the kitchen and watches cooking shows, eats a wide variety of healthy foods, even vegetables. It's crazy. He's now on guanfacine (generic Intuniv) and the small dose of Abilify. I know the Abilify increases appetite, but he's only been on that for a couple months, so the weight gain started before that. He feels good enough now to ride his bike all day and ride his skateboard. Removing him off screens/internet has helped that, too. He is forced to look for other things to do. He still has such trouble with friendships, but he seems to be getting a little better at understanding how they work. At school, unfortunately, the kids that have known him a long time and have witnessed many of his troubles in the past don't like to let him forget and taunt him on the regular. Little jerks.
  14. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    I am sorry about the "used to" - presumably, then, this enlightened-sounding school does not exist any more? Needless to say, there is nothing like this available here, in France or the UK.

    I recognise the pattern in myself... first I put J onto medications out of longing for something better than the silliness, hyperactivity, unrestrained impulses, etc... and then, after a time, take him off, longing for something better than the sense that his body is being poisoned and that he is wired up and "mean" particularly in the evenings... The devil and the deep blue sea. In some ways he is a nicer child on the medications - in that one can have more reasonable, focused conversations with him - and in other ways a nicer child off them. I dare say I will get to that point again where I am willing to try something new. It would be nice if it were something not out of a bottle that messes up his organism.
  15. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    I tried to incorporate the Common Core math into our schooling, with mixed results. I liked the emphasis on mental math, and at first it went well. However, they try to incorporate every single way someone could conceivably think of to do any math problem, no matter how complicated or irrational, that my daughter just got bogged down, frustrated, and irritated. And she is a math-person, and a very easy-going child. I had to go back to the traditional math, or loose her totally. I can only imagine how someone who dislikes/has a hard time with math would feel.
  16. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    One medication that really helped our son was Clonidine. It's actually a blood pressure medication but it really helped our son who couldn't take any stimulants due to his bipolar.
  17. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    This is insanity. And yes, they do it here too.
  18. HMBgal

    HMBgal Active Member

    Common core language arts I get, but the math is a hot mess.
  19. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    I dont know why progressive thinking countries like the UK and France have nothing for kids with problems...or wont even acknowledge that there ARE kids who need special help. Very sad for those struggling kids to be expected to learn and behave like "normal" children...when they are different. I really dont get it.

    Oh well (sigh).
  20. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Hello. I am not sure why you have that impression. The UK and France do, of course,recognise that there are children who need special help and various interventions are put in place for them, after a process of official assessments. These interventions leave a lot to be desired, in my view and that of lots of other people, but they are there. If you want a country that does not recognise or help in any way, you would have to go to "developing" countries such as Morocco.

    However, there is nothing as sophisticated and targeted as the kind of special school that Insane Cdn was talking about. Or if there is, I haven't found it.... despite years of searching. Canada is sometimes said to be the absolute best (sorry, USA) in terms of help for special needs.