Parents of ragers


Old Hand
Just wanted to put this out there for some of you. If you have a difficult child that rages and your not quite sure where or why the rages happen, underlying cause, I may have something for you to try.

My youngest difficult child has a corn allergy. That means that literally anything that is corn or it's derivative of corn reacts on him. My oldest difficult child/easy child also had this same allergy but it was not as sensitive and she grew out of it by 11 years old.

I first discovered it with oldest by accident. I was watching foods and reactions on her years ago and found red good dye caused her to get super hyper (more then her ADHD). Then some how (I forget now) I found that anytime she ate ketchup she would get really mean and aggressive and go into these rages, especially when told no to something. Come bed time it was really hard to get her to settle to sleep. She could rage and become violent and let me tell you when she would rage and we'd have to restrain her, sometimes we'd have several adults holding her and she could still get loose, it was that bad! The adrenaline rush was incredible.

I took her to an allergist who did not believe in food allergies causing behavior effects. That is until the second visit when I allowed difficult child/easy child to eat a simple lollipop twenty minutes before the visit. Right on cue she reacted to it and acted out at the office. There I was, and the dr, restraining her on the floor at the office! She actually believed me at the point and gave her (no pun intended) food for thought and she actually ended up researching it for future reference. She did a skin prick test on difficult child/easy child and sure enough a corn allergy showed up! Unfortunately there is no cure or fix for this. It's not like you can use an epipen like other allergic reactions. More on this in a minute.

As for youngest difficult child, he is so severely sensitive to it that he can't even tolerate things that say less then 2% of any of the ingredient (derivatives even). Let me just post a link here so you can see just how many other names corn products can show under: .

Now let me get back to more on this allergy. Like I say, they can rage and their defiance goes up a 1,000 percent. Getting the to sleep at night is almost impossible as it seems to be the worst then. The reaction can happen anywhere from 20 minutes to up to 72 hours later (in his case the only place he seems to be able to hold it together is in school) and it depends on how much he ingests as well. The more he takes in, the longer it lasts and the worse it is.

Some tell tale signs are the same as for other allergies, and I recommend a book by Doris J Rapp "Is This Your Child", which are: back circles under the eyes (like they didn't get enough sleep), rubbing of the nose like it itches, dilated pupils and red ears (inflammed on the outside). I think there were some others but these are big enough not to be missed.

What we have found over the years to semi help, and it all depends on timing of getting it in them, was that benedryl can sometimes help (if not to much of the food was taken in or you can maintain it in the system), sometimes you can give alka seltzer (on the smallest scale) as it's something about the citric acid (I think?) that reacts against it, or in addition to the benedryl now as he's aged, we have been able to add Resperidal instant melts 5mg (they have higher doses but he can't take them as it gives him migraines) in combination with the benedryl at bedtime so he is able to sleep but only when he's really ingested a large quantity.

If you read the list of ingredients you will see it's darn near impossible to not eat something that has something in it. We are in lock down in our house because of middle difficult child's eating disorder/stealing/hoarding problem mostly but also because youngest will also try to take food he shouldn't eat (though he knows better). He will also get food from other kids at school. He's 13, he's like most teens and wants to just be like everyone else. I suppose if he got analytic shock he might do this but since he doesn't, he eats what he shouldn't.

I hope this helps someone else with rages they see in their kids and that it might be due to food allergy. If I help just one person it's a good thing. I can't tell you how frustrating it was years ago before I learned what I know now, though it's still frustrating. At least now I know there is a reason when he gets so violently raging and 1,000% worse with defiance then just thinking his mental health was something it wasn't.

hearts and roses

Mind Reader
Holy cow! My difficult child's rage attacks were awful. Guess what her FAVORITE food was that she all the time? Corn!!! Omg, I'm going to ask our allergist to test her at the next visit. Interesting.


Well-Known Member
Hmmmm. Interesting. I look at my raging grandson (we think he's cool for awhile, then BAM, he got suspended again on Friday for going agro on his aide and has been on the hairy edge for days). He looks pale, bright red spots on his cheeks, bright red ears, and has asthma more or less all of the time these days. We don't know if it's the Concerta (doesn't eat well now, tummy kind of hurts all of the time, etc.). All of the symptoms are such moving targets and one specialist will see one thing that's on their radar, and another will poo-poo it because it's doesn't fit their particular paradigm. He's been to the doctor for general check-ups and there is nothing glaringly out of the ordinary--they blame it on the Concerta.

I sit and look at him, he's frowning and worried-looking, even while he's playing on his DS or any other preferred activity, and wonder where our happy little guy went. He seems to have no joy. He acts like a sullen teenager and he's only 5 and 1/2 years old. I keep wondering how much worse it will get as he grows; it's disheartening. He used to play outside, ride his bike, on his he sits and seems tired all of the time. I think school is wearing him out, but the food allergy may be another piece of the puzzle to investigate.

Trying to get a referral from an HMO (we can't even get an Occupational Therapist (OT) evaluation) is going to be difficult, I'm thinking, but worth advocating for.


Old Hand
Yes, this could be food allergy as well. It can bring on asthma, or produce asthma like symptoms as well. It can swing the other direction and make them sullen and fatiuged too. I learned a lot reading the book about allergies in general. There was once a special on I think ABC about food allergies creating behavior issues and they showed a kid bouncing off the walls, jumping on a couch, etc. They really need to show it again. Hasn't anyone seen the latest outrage of corn syrup? Then you hear "it's natural" NO! It's not, it's a processed product from a natural.


Well-Known Member
I've got that book. It's very interesting.
My son wasn't *quite* that bad, but we still try to keep wheat and milk and red dye out of his diet. The medications he's on help a lot, and we have told him a gazillion times that he can probably go off of them if he can restrain his eating.
That should happen, oh, in about 2035 ...