Single mom with-8 year old with- ADHD on Ritalin. aggressive, defiant, out of control Help!

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by CindyPoPZ, May 1, 2011.

  1. CindyPoPZ

    CindyPoPZ New Member

    I am at my wits end with my son. He has been on methylphenidate for about a year and a half now for adhd and it apparently makes a big difference at school. At home is another story. By the time he gets home his medications are wearing off and it is a nightmare. He'll kick walls, throw things, scream at the top of his lungs, threaten to destroy the house, raise his hands to me in a threatening manner, say he hates life and he wouldn't care if something bad happened to me. If I ask him to do something he'll say he's not doing that until I be nice or until I do something for him, he refuses to clean his room, It's a fight to get him in the shower. It's impossible. I don't know what to do anymore. I don't know if maybe the ritalin may be cause the increase in aggression (it seems to get worse with does increase) or if he's just getting worse as he gets older. It's just me, his dad isn't really in the picture so there's no break and the stress is eating me alive. Any suggestions would be great.
  2. Jena

    Jena New Member


    welcome.......... sorry you had to find us, yet welcome :)

    sooo you said he's better in school with the ritalin?? than that would mean the aggression isnt' due to the medications if he isnt' displaying that at school at all. than you said he gets more aggressive with each dose increase?? i'm confused sorry........

    being a single parent is soo hard especially with kids like ours, i know i did it for a long time. it's def. an adventure!

    if you had to compare his behavior between now and before he went on the medications would you say his behavior is improved at all, or decreased and gotten worse in other areas?? also is he in some type of pyschotherapy at all? i think using the medication without the kids getting the tools to learn to cope with what they have doesnt' bring as much of a lasting effect. plus it'll give him somewhere to vent and another person on your side. plus you can have monthly meetings wtih the therapist and talk about things to do at home to help you. thats' what i used to do.

    as far as home, id' make a strict routine..... i've come to learn that really helps alot. give him rewards when you catch him doing good things, yet dont' react to the bad unless like you said he's raising his hand to you. as long as he's not hurting himself or anyone else or breaking anything ride it out. if you can.

    not easy i know............

    welcome again............. by the way what does the dr say about the aggression at home? did he suggest cutting dosage maybe half in a.m. half in afternoon?
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    WElcome to the board. If you give us a better history on your son, we can probably be of more help. What was he like as an infant and toddler? Any delays? Can he relate to his same age peers? Have friends? Who diagnosed him? Any psychiatric problems or substance abuse on either side of his genetic family tree?

    I know that my son got mean and aggressive on ALL stimulants. I didn't like the rebound affect either. Whether or not the stimulants made him focus better in school, I did not want to risk his mental health (or anyone else's (cough) mine). I do think it could be medications (JMO). Has your son ever had a neuropsychologist evaluation?
  4. CindyPoPZ

    CindyPoPZ New Member

    Sorry for the confusion. First he was on 5mg twice a day, then his dose was increased to 10mg twice a day and I noticed increased aggression when his medications were wearing off at night. To remedy this his doctor suggested giving an evening dose of 5mg. This did nothing to help the situation except he was able to focus on homework a little better. So she recommended an increase to 10 mg in the evening. so 10 mg 3 times a day. This has been about two weeks now and he his aggression when coming off the medications and before he takes them is off the charts. he's calmer but still very defiant and oppositional when on them, just not violently aggressive. As far as history goes, There are mental health issues on my mothers side of the family and anger issues on his fathers side. He had no developmental delays but he is socially awkward. He has inappropriate behavior and doesn't seem to take cue's such as when someone is really annoyed or angry and wants him to stop touching them or get out of their personal space.
  5. CindyPoPZ

    CindyPoPZ New Member

    Thanks for the welcome by the way :) He was diagnosed by his pediatrician and he tends to get along with older kids better. He doesn't have many friends outside of school.
  6. buddy

    buddy New Member

    The social issue is interesting and just a question as to whether he may be very high functioning Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) or often have rages and are diagnosed with adhd in the earlier years because the social issues are not so great or just seems they get along with older people better. Was he an early reader? Often kids with Aspergers seem to be very advanced for their age early on. anyway, that may be totally off base but why you really caught my attention (even though you posted months ago) My son has been on Ritalin for a long time. When he uses the short acting kind he has a withdrawl symptom of his aggression getting worse. We have to dose t 3.5 hours to avoid this. Switching to Concerta leveled out the issue. (if he wakes early it is twice daily and if he wakes later then after concerta he gets a dose or ritalin in the evening because he needs it for a brain injury but the symptoms are adhd-like) Nothing is perfect but we did stop he withdrawl issues. Other options to keep smoother blood levels are patches and different formulations of long acting ritalin. My son also definately has an increase in anxiety on Ritalin but it is not a choice to be off it as he is totally unsafe. He has anxiety no matter what but it just is heightened by the ritalin. Curious how he is doing now???
  7. Chaosuncontained

    Chaosuncontained New Member

    First of all, welcome! I haven't been here long myself but have never felt so relieved to find people who KNEW what I was talking about--and knew it wasn't MY fault. The advice, experience and support here is "off the chain" LOL

    Secondly, your son sounds a LOT like mine. Carson (9) can NOT take stimulants. He's been on Ritalin, Adderall, Daytrana, Concerta, Metadate and Focalin (2 days). They all seem to help for a bit then the aggression takes over. He recently attacked his 6 year old brother and his 10 year old sister had to hit him with a hairbrush to get him off of his little brother. Some kids just can't take stimulants. Carson is on Intuniv and doing ehhh...ok.

    Carson said "I hate my life" or "I wish I was dead" or "I am the King of Idiots" OFTEN. He has VERY low self esteem.

    And Carson has a hard time knowing when he is "getting on other's nerves". He tries to hug people (peers) and it makes them uncomfortable. Then again he wasn't very social either. He really only has one friend and that is his younger stepbrother who he only sees about 10 days per month.

    Carson was diagnosed as ADHD at age 4. We suffered through medicine change after medicine change for four years. With no real results. While under the carfe of a Pediatric Psychatrist--who SUCKED. Now we just see a plain ole MD who only sees kids with "special issues". I love him. So does Carson.

    In the last year Carson was dignosed with a Mood Disorder/Depression and Severe Generalized Anxiety Disorder. As well as the ADHD. I am now questioning the ADHD diagnosis. Carson is getting some testing done through my counties Special Education people. This is to see if he qualifies for IEP.
    13 days ago Carson started taking an anti depressant. AMAZING results. Amazing, really.

    If I was you I would see about maybe getting a second opinion. Ask about testing. Ours is free through the county. Even if Carson doesnt qualify for the IEP--the testing is free. And I can still use those tests results and take them to any therapist, doctor... whoever we may need to see. I am excited for the testing to see if they think there is more going on. Carson has never had this testing done before. I wish I had done it years ago.

    I would love to hear even more about your son. I will be looking for your updates!
  8. pepperidge

    pepperidge New Member

    we had this issue with my oldest. The medications were definitely helpful but we did have some aggression issues.
    If he could go on a longer acting dose that might help (liike Concerta?) We find it wears off gradually. The worst are the short acting doses of Ritalin, they wear off so quickly that I think the rebound is worse.
    Has he tried Adderall?
    What we did for awhile was to give a dinner time small dose of Risperdal. That worked well, and my son didn't have a huge spike in appetite because the Adderall pretty much counteracted the Risperdal impact on appetite.
  9. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Welcome, CindyPoP.
    It sounds like there is a rebound effect when the medications wear off. We got to the point where our difficult child had to be hospitalized and they started him on Clonidine, in addition to the stimulant. (Although we never used Ritalin.) It was like a miracle. I would try something else at night that will not only calm him, but help him sleep.
    Also, keep an eye out for triggers, such as whether he's hungry when he gets home from school, whether he takes off his clothes (my son immediately takes off his clothes and strips to his boxers when he gets home, then wraps himself in a heavy comforter).
    I have to agree with-Buddy. Between the social issues and focus, I see some Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) there. I would make an appointment for neuropsychologist testing.
    I know what you mean about the rages. Really. It gets better when they can use words but it still wears you out.