Overwhelmed by ODD and AD/HD in difficult child

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by odd&adhd-family, Aug 3, 2010.

  1. I have been trying the recommended behavior modification at home for my GFG7. He has AD/HD (hyperactive type) along with ODD-Oppositional Defiant Disorder. I feel like my house is a battle zone lately. One minute my difficult child is absolutely WONDERFUL & SWEET. A minute later he can be explosive, angry, throwing things, tearing up his most prized possessions, and throws hour long tantrums :mad:. I feel like I have to walk on eggshells around him and I cannot control him. I can't handle the ODD on my own anymore. So I'm trying therapy with a specialist p-dr next week. My husband who is also AD/HD - ODD doesn't understand why I feel so depressed, helpless, and defeated (he's the stepfather but very much like my son).

    I have been reading all about AD/HD and ODD to try and help my difficult child the best I can. Now I see what my son deals with and I now when I discipline I am also FEELING the pain he is experiencing. I didn't even want to get out of bed yesterday after an 1.5 hour long battle the night before, no sleep the next morning. Feeling so depressed-defeated. :sad-very:
  2. WearyWoman

    WearyWoman Guest

    Hi there,

    You posted a response to my thread about similar problems. I first want to reach out to you to let you know you're not alone - obviously, given all of the wonderful folks in the same boat on this forum. I wish I had all the answers. I don't. But, having been on this road a while, I will share some things I've learned that I wish I had known sooner:

    • ODD is typically only a description of behaviors, not a diagnosis itself. It often results from overlapping disorders, including ADHD, autism, and mood disorders.
    • A child with ADHD and ODD symptoms who also fails to understand social situations and relationships may have a form of autism.
    • Autism includes a spectrum of disorders, ranging from mild to severe. Children with speech/language, behavioral, and social difficulties should be formally evaluated for autism disorders.
    • Children on the autism spectrum may experience severe rages and tantrums.
    • Children with these challenges often have difficulty self regulating their behaviors and moods. Traditional parenting usually fails.
    • The Explosive Child book is very helpful.
    • An evaluation by a neuropsychologist or multi-disciplinary team is crucial.
    • An IEP with the school system is a lifesaver.
    • Medications that help with underlying ADHD, mood disorders, etc., may be beneficial for ODD behaviors as well.
    I hope this is helpful to you. We knew our son had symptoms of ADHD/ODD when he was very young, as well as a speech disorder. However, we didn't learn that he had Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) - not otherwise specified (a type of autism spectrum disorder) until he was 6. The autism spectrum disorder has opened the doors toward understanding the root of his behavior problems, and he's now receiving therapy for it. It is helping, but we're still struggling with his severe ADHD and uncooperative behaviors.

    Our pediatrician recommended trying Intuniv, as she's seen great success with some kids who have ADHD/ODD problems. She said many have been able to discontinue their stimulants and just take Intuniv. It's a blood pressure medication that has mood stabilizing effects in children. It's not a controlled substance, like the stimulants and doesn't have the negative side effects of stimulants. We're cautiously optimistic, as it takes a month or so to titrate the dosage properly.

    Once you fully understand the causes of your son's behavior problems, you'll be able to address his needs. If you haven't had an evaluation done, seek out a qualified professional. Also consider whether your son may have any symptoms of autism spectrum disorders, such as sensory sensitivity, stereotyped interests, difficulties making friends/understanding social situations, anxiety about social situations, speech problems, etc. Our son is not obviously autistic to many people, so that caused a delay in diagnosis. After getting an evaluation, you can investigate medication and therapy options, as well as an IEP with the school system. Try to get your hubby on board, as consistency is very important.

    Remember that your child has a disability and that his behaviors are not just normal childhood naughtiness. You'll find a lot of support here.
  3. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Just adding in my welcome-glad you found us!
  4. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Welcome Odd, so sorry it's so bad in your household.
    WW presented some great ideas. I hope they are useful to you.
    Interesting that your husband is also ADHD.
    I know what you mean when you observe that your son is tearing up his most prized possessions. My son has done that. I've asked him numerous times why he did it and he said he didn't know, just that he was really mad. He couldn't help it.
    It is a very out-of-control, helpless feeling. I have contributed to it by yelling at my son, when I should have been helping him calm down. But it's like it's contagious--hearing those screams and that foul language, having things hurled at me just makes me want to fight back. I have learned not to spank and yell--at least, I don't yell as much ;) and it makes a big difference.
    I would try restricting your son's diet--cut out dyes and additives. Make lots of homemade foods (just what you want to do when you're low on energy, right? Not!) He will be curious and want to eat the batter, and probably say it's awful no matter what you make, but trust me, he won't starve.

    In the meantime, the most important thing I can suggest is to learn to detach. It has taken me yrs, literally. The sad part is, it isn't a steady decrease--it's like healing from surgery or something. I now have many more good days in regard to detachment, but still backslide on occasion. When you say you can feel what your child feels, that is a good thing, because you must be able to understand b4 you can help. But if understanding is so empathetic that you spend the next day in bed, you're going too far.
    It's a learning curve. Don't put so many demands on yourself.

    Try to stand back and watch what happens just b4 your son explodes. Does he react to the word "No" ? What about transitions--when you call him for dinner, when he has to go from a video game to answer the door, when you give him a chore and want it done now, or when he has to get dressed or take a shower. Activities that the rest of us do naturally are not natural for these kids. It is very hard for them to change tasks. See if there is a pattern. Just watching him will help you detach, because you will be expecting him to explode, and almost hoping you will, so you can see what immediately preceded it, and that will make you feel more empowered.
    I hope that makes sense.
    Also, write down everything he eats. He may have serious allergies or sensitivities. Sometimes the reaction is immediate and sometimes the next day. Sometimes it's an accumulation of the same foods--say, he's eaten chocolate 3 days in a row, and kaboom! He explodes. Just keep an eye on things like that.
  5. barneysmom

    barneysmom Member

    Hello and welcome.

    Could you sleep in, or do you have to get up for work and get your DS off to school? Get some rest and see if you can find some times to put all that stuff out of your mind, even if for an hour or so -- an hour of freedom from the pain can go a long way.

    You already got some great ideas from the others. Good luck and keep posting.
  6. It has been a long day and it is so good to have support on this end. After I posted earlier, my difficult child got in trouble for hitting two different kids at camp today, 2nd offense. Usually they suspend for that on the 2nd offense, but luckily he had just received "camper of the day" yesterday. This disorder is so up and down - it's all fine one minute, overwhelming the next. I thank each of you for your advice and welcoming. I am so glad I found this place, too.

    I hadn't even thought about the posibility of autism. I didn't ever think it seemed to fit him, but I'm sure again all cases are different. I will inquire further now. He does have a lisp and has speech therapy. Maybe there's more to all this.

    We also do have an IEP in place at school already. He was diagnosed in kindergarden, which was a very bad year for us all. 1st grade went absolutely wonderful, and I have to attribute a lot to his teacher who made a huge effort on his behalf to help him do his best. I fear that with a new school year and new teacher coming up, we could potentially have issues again. I am going to devise a plan to approach the teacher up front with the situation and hope for the best.

    It's very difficult on one hand to talk to my husband about my concerns because he is also AD/HD ODD. I can't express my fears about my child for the fear of offending him in the process. However, it is also a enormous asset to have him because he has a HUGE insight into my son's mind - being that they both have the condition. He so often tells me exactly what my son is thinking/doing and he's spot on.

    I do work, but took that time off yesterday to handle the issues at home. I also suffer from depression and anxiety myself, so i kind of hit bottom yesterday. I have found some great advice from you all here and found that I'm not alone. This is exactly what I needed. Thanks!
  7. :( My difficult child got in trouble AGAIN for hitting and pinning down a kid at day camp. 2nd time this week alone, and it's only WED! My only saving grace for him not getting kicked out of the day camp program is that I wrote a note to the counselors this morning explaining my son's condition and some methods to help him do better there. They said it worked great, until he got angry at another kid who took his ball. Then he lost control.

    I am so thankful to the counselors for being so understanding. They are really showing they care. Working with them and making sure we are all on board together has made a huge difference with the outcome. I will be sure to take this approach in all future structured settings in advance to enlist others' help.

    That, however, does not undo the fact that he just got in trouble for hitting there just yesterday and now again today. I am thinking medications may be a good option after all. Any thoughts on ADHD with ODD medications?