She started out on Metadate, then Focalin. I told the doctor that while she was less hyper, she sure was nasty. We explored bipolar again, and agreed to try Abilify.

Does this build up, or fast act like a stimulant? I'm not quite sure I notice much of a difference in her behavior, but she has needed a nap each of the 3 days she has been on it. She has not napped since she was 3. Has anyone else experienced their kids being sleepy on Abilify?

We are breaking 5mg tablets in half (no easy feat) so she gets 2 1/2 mgs a day.


Active Member
I think it builds up pretty quickly, but not immediately. I think 1 to 2 weeks - not sure though. I know it can make one sleepy, although in my aberrant difficult child it made him an insomniac, so you never know. I would think changes in her behavior would take a bit to see.

Did you get one of those handy little pill cutters from the pharmacy? Boy they can save the day!

Mrs Smith

New Member
Don't know about abilify but another antipsychotic risperdal worked pretty much immediately (within an hour) for my son. I think it's even used prn for aggression. Sedation is a common side effect for this class of drug and most often goes away after a week or two. My son took it at night and the sedation was a benefit. Maybe change the timing if it's a problem?


trying to survive....
Abilify definately makes my difficult child tired. I saw benefits within a few days. Now I give him some in the morning and some in the evening, however I thought as first he took it only at night...

We've seen great benefits with it.


Here we go again!
We always gave Abilify in the evening at bedtime to avoid the sedation. difficult child 2 was not as groggy on it as he was with Risperdal.


New Member
Dylan just weaned off Abilify, but was on almost 16 months. Started at 5 mg., went up to 20 mg. (he's 130 pounds though).

This was a good drug for him, but yes, made him tired. We gave him his pill with supper, around 6 PM, and by 8:00 (which is normal bedtime anyway), he was zonked. No complaints from me, as I didn't have issues with him waking in the morning.

I'll tell ya, we did try this for Dylan, alone, back in 2003, and it really didn't do much. Yeah, it zonked him out, but that was all it did. In conjunction with the Lithium, it was much better.

How much does Tink weigh? 2.5 mg seems low, but she's only 6, so I dunno. We saw a result within 48-72 hours both times. Actually, the first night I gave it to him, it knocked him out cold. You may want to talk to the psychiatrist about giving it to her PM instead of AM, especially with school starting.

What is it you're looking for the medication to do? It didn't do anything for Dylan's rages or manic episodes, but it did (in conjunction with the Lithium) hold some of the hyperactivity and impulsivity at bay. Did nothing for attention or focus.

Oddly enough, although this is not an anxiety medication, it also helped some with his anxiety. psychiatrist couldn't figure that one out, although, Dylan's chemistry is whacked lol, so that's probably why it did that.

Hope you see some positive results.


Active Member
Missy started on 2 1/2 mg too. She's on 5mg now. I saw a result after the first day. We were told to give it to her in the evening's. If I give it to her at dinner, she's sleeping on the couch by 8, so we give it to her at bedtime. She's been napping almost everyday since, but she still napped a lot anyway (about once or twice a week).

The downside is that I thinks it's fizzled out. She was great the first couple of weeks, but the hypomanic stuff has returned and we've still had a few rages, but they don't appear to last as long.

You may want to give her the medications at night. If she needs a nap, let her nap. Certainly, it gives you a little break during the day, right?


Well-Known Member
I had a feeling it was normally a nighttime drug. I think that the others have shown that it is at least a possibility that it is better to give in the PM.
I wasn't told to give it to her at any specific time, so I was giving it to her in the morning. I am going to try evenings and see how that works.

We started her on this because the stims were not working. Her original diagnosis was ADHD/ODD/Sensory Integration Disorder (SID) but he was not ruling out bipolar. The first stimulant (Metadate) made her weepy, Focalin made her mean. We thought we'd explore the possibility that she is BiPolar (BP), and she seems to be responding positively to the Abilify so far.

Thank you all for your input and wisdom. This board is a Godsend.


New Member
Hi :smile:

My daughter is 6 and has recently started Abilify, also. She will have been on it 3 full weeks tomorrow. The first couple of days she slept a lot. She is still sleeping more than she used to (averaged 10 hours a night and now is getting 11-12). Our psychiatrist said very young and very old tend to get sleepy with it.

She was on 2mg at first then went to 4 mg last week. We noticed a difference right away, but of course, the first few days was because she was too sleepy to do anything but sleep or rest! lol After that, it was an amazing difference. We have had the best 3 weeks as a whole. Today was our worst day but compared to how it was before, it is not too awful, I guess. She's still 6 but she feels more peaceful and successful. She says she feels more normal like other kids now (that's so hard to hear her say, but it also makes us so happy for her). I know things always change, but as a whole, right now Abilify is really helping her. I hope you guys have success with it. Oh, we had started the doses in the morning, then shifted to night. Now we are doing one 2mg in the morning and one 2mg at night. Now that it is in her system good, she seems to do fine having it in the morning. She has fallen asleep in the car a few times, though, but other than that has not napped since the first week and a half.

Good luck :smile:


Well-Known Member
My difficult child was a zombie on Ritalin, cried and was angry on Concerta and HATED ME on Straterra.

Adderall - she is fine on. No bipolar, although that was my thought process at the time. So, if this Abilify is not a significant improvement, do not give up on stims completely.

Sara PA

New Member
The other name for the antipsychotics is "major tranquillizers". They work quickly, as someone said they are a PNR medication for out of control patients.
Thank you for your input, Sara. I was actually hoping that you would chime in. I've seen your posts, and you seem to be extremely knowledgeable about medications.