Yesterday my 8 yr old son was diagnosed, over a 3 year period, with ADHD and also ODD. At the moment i'm having the medication arguement with myself and would love to hear from you all regarding your own experiences.
Hi & welcome. We've all been in your position when it comes to using medications for our children. It's an extremely hard decision.
For my children to function we've had to use medications, along with therapies & other interventions. (It took a long time of riding the medication merry go round to find the right fit for my difficult children)
My thought on this is whatever it takes for your child to achieve his highest level of functionality.
Whatever your decision, I hope you can find peace with it.
I had some very strange experiences regarding medication. I'll pass them along and you can take everyone's experiences/advice and decide how you feel in your gut. I trust "mom gut."
My son was adopted. We got him at two. He had two huge wrong diagnoses before the right one. His first diagnoses was ADHD/ODD and he was put on every stimulant except Dexedrine because, by then, we were no longer open to stimulants. He did not do well on any of them. In fact, in his case, he got aggressive and mean, which wasn't like him. This doesn't mean all kids get that way, but he did. So we moved on to a Child Psychiatrist who said he had early onset bipolar. He was put on heavy duty bipolar medications--in all, he took Lithium, Depakote, Trileptal, Risperdal, Zyprexa, Seroquel, and Topomax. He had hideous side effects to Risperdal, Zyprexa, Depakote and Trileptal. I kept questioning this diagnosis because he didn't rage, but was told "not all bipolar kids rage." Um, right. Anyways, finally we went to a conference for parents with bipolar kids, and I got so many "Are you sure he has bipolar? He seems autistic to me..." that we sought out a neuropsychologist for a fresh evaluation. THis man spent twelve hours diagnosing, observing, and testing my son and he finally said that, as close as he can come (nobody can guarantee the right diagnosis) our son had Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified (a high functioning form of autism, which is hard to catch if the child isn't tested the right way. It is also often misdiagnosed as ADHD/ODD and bipolar because the kids are "quirky.") We took him off medications and put him into school and community interventions. He has NEVER been better and it's been now almost four years. Not one rage. Very compliant, now that we understand how to talk to him--he perceives things in a different way, but is doing great. For us, we feel we rushed into medications and were too quick to believe professionals who diagnosed our son on the basis of our information plus an hour of observation and no testing. I wouldn't do it again. I'd get second and third opinions before using medications. The right medications, if needed, can be a Godsend. I have bipolar and my medications saved my life. The wrong medications (say, if I had been given Adderrall) can make mood disorders, which mimic ADHD/ODD, even worse. Kids on the high end of autism dont' always need medications.Only 50% of autistic spectrum kids need medications. Interventions help the most. Having gone through all this, I'd personally, if I had to do it agin, be much slower to medicate AND to accept a diagnosis as "it." There are so many mistakes in diagnosing and my son was just pumped with medications. It would have been one thing if he'd needed them, but he didn't. He is still quite overweight because of some of the medications. He hasn't lost all the weight he gained from some. If a child is a rager, in my humble opinion, I would refrain from even trying stimulants. None of this is a medical opinion. It's what we went through and my own two cents. I hope you come to a peaceful decision in your heart. Take care :smile:
There are many, many successful ways to help our children. Medication can be necessary but it typically does not have to be the first line of defense,nor does it have to always be taken for long periods. A comprehensive plan of therapuetic, behavioral, family, educational and recreational interventions can be put into place first.
In cases where the children have suffered from long-term and horrific abuse and neglect, there is a higher likliehood that they will need drugs, in addition to therapeutic interventions.
If they are functioning pretty well with interventions in place and therapy, I would say there is not need for medications. If they are having great difficulties with other help in place, then it might be time to think of medications. medications are a trial and error solution. Everyone reacts differently to the same one. It might take several stimulant trials to find the best one and the best dose. Sometimes kids are diagnosed with ADD/ODD as a first diagnoses, and there are often times other things that could be wrong in addition to and besides that diagnoses. These kids often will not do well on any stimuant, and sometimes do even worse then without medications. The right medications for the diagnoses will usually be helpful.
It is a tough decision to make when thinking about medicating our children. We decided several years ago to put my daughter, who was diagnosis'ed with ODD and depression, on an a/d. I knew the risks of an a/d but I knew there were risks with her continuing her life the way it was going, too. The medicine did seem to help at first but we kept needing to increase it. At the end, we were considering adding an antipsychotic medication as well. Then, unrelated to her ODD, we discovered she had some food allergies. When we removed those foods from her diet, we have been able to wean her off the a/d. I wish I had discovered this food problem before I put her on the medication because I think it would not have been necessary.
However, we are facing the same medicine decision with easy child. She has been diagnosis'ed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and we've exhausted the food allergy treatment. We are looking into other natural treatments but it looks like she will need medications in order to do the treatment she needs to deal with the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
I do believe there is something with brain chemistry that causes the problems many of our children have. Sometimes, medicine is necessary to help them have the most successful life they can. I look at the level of impairment and the risks/cost that has and compare it to the risk of the medicine.
I, too was hesitant to medicate. However, the quality of life for my difficult child was poor. His reactions were too extreme and so many little things set him off. We trialied medication and it have been positive. I don't know if he will always need it, but things are so much better now.
My difficult child, now 20, was diagnosed with adhd in the 6th grade. I remember having the same arguement with myself and then chose to medicate him. It did help him through school and was a miracle for awhile, but over the years it took many doseage and medication changes and all of them seemed to eventually make him depressed.
It usually takes awhile to find out which will work for your child. What works for one doesn't always work well for another.
I would like to thank u all warmly for your replies :smile: Can I ask tho....as a newbie lol...that u long haul your abbreviations? E.g difficult children, Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified. Thanks x
difficult child = Gift from God (the child who brought you here)
Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified = Pervasive Developmental Disorder - Not Otherwise Specified (a form of Autism)
People often compare mental illness to diabetes (not sure why) and you can also compare the treatment plan for our kids to the treatment plan for a diabetic. Both require a multi-faceted plan. A careful look at which tools are needed is the first step.
Both diagnoses require a nutritional consult and a decision whether diet is contributing to the disorder. Then an exercise plan is implemented to assist the body. Now if the person's pancreas has completely shut down (for diabetic) or a person's brain is in major dysfunction, then medication is used right away. In any case, it is important to ferret out what may be an obstacle to health. All of these areas need to be addressed.
our son had Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified (a high functioning form of autism, which is hard to catch if the child isn't tested the right way.
What are the names of the tests? Having just seen a neuropsychologist, I'm curious to know what else is out there. Right now I'm working on an appointment with-a speech specialist... Aside from difficult child's occasional lack of imagination in conversation, he often shouts and sounds angry and has no idea that's what he sounds like. Then everyone shouts back, and it all escalates. Of course, half the time he is angry! :crazy: I don't mind going to these appts, it's just that I'd rather do a whole day of testing and get it all overwith.
Crazyhorse, we were dead set against medications for our difficult child. My husband is a chiropractor and it's very against his philosophy. We tried diet, sports, counseling, herbs, neurofeedback... it got to the point where A) I realized that difficult child wouldn't be able to stick to a diet or any exercise regimen with-his mind going every which way, so we had to put the cart b4 the horse, so to speak, and B) I couldn't stand it any more and something serious needed to be done. I was ready to walk.
The child psychiatric and pediatrician were only reluctant to medicate because they thought that husband was against it, so it was an interesting couple of appts. watching the conversational dances while they tried to figure out where husband was coming from! They didn't want to offend him. :crazy: :grin:
We were unbelievably lucky. We tried 15 mg of Adderal and within 20 min-1/2 hr it kicked in. difficult child, who was normally on the ceiling, climbing, breaking things, very, very destrutive, loud and wild, sat down at the table and had a conversation with-my easy child for the first time in 9 yrs!