Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by nvts, Aug 18, 2008.
Hi! Saw your first post before and wanted to say "hi" and welcome to the crowd!
Thanks for the welcome. I've been "lurking" for about a month now. This site has been such a comfort to me.
Things have always been a challenge with difficult child, but the past six months have really been trying for our family. To provide a little background for everyone, things really started to go downhill when my difficult child met a girl at a Christian sports camp last summer. She lives in Illinois, and we live in Kansas. She was 2 1/2 years younger than him. We did not know how young she was at the time. Long story, but in March, he stole my car to drive to Illinois to see her. Not knowing what else to do, and afraid he was on a severe downward spiral, we pressed charges, and he received diversion for deprivation of property.
After one week of diversion, he was going through a typical rage/argument and was told to go outside until he "cooled down". While outside, he threw a water bottle at the house and broke the window above our front door. He lost diversion and was give 9 months of probation, including 1 month of house arrest (which he completed about 2 weeks ago). Before his court date for probation, we had to take him to the detention center (parental right to house) because he was out of control. He stayed for two days until his probation court date.
For now, things are going a little better actually. As you all know, it's a day by day, hour by hour thing. But I can tell he is making some effort at least. School started last Friday - he is a senior in high school. We'll see how it goes. I'm learning/trying to detach - just lurking on this site has been so helpful for me in that regard. The hardest thing for me right now is knowing what to say when asked "So difficult child is a senior this year. What is he planning on doing? Where is he going to college?"
For those of you that have read this looonnng post, thanks for sticking with me. I'm glad I found you!
Welcome! I'm glad you decided to come out of "lurkdom."
Sorry for all the questions, but your answers will help us help you.
What kind of doctor diagnosed your difficult child? When was his last evlauation?
Is he in therapy?
I see there is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and depression in the family tree. Have mood issues been considered for difficult child?
How long has he been on Strattera? Is he better, worse or about the same since starting this medication?
How doee he do in school, both academically and with peers?
I'm glad you're here! I know you will find support and friendship as I have. Hugs, ML
You know, strattera and the other stims can sometimes help the ADHD and cause major issues in kids with mood disorders or on the spectrum. Could the stims be "enhancing" the ODD factors that are in place?
Our difficult child 1 was a MAJOR nasty lil bugger. After learning about the adverse effects, we insisted that we trial time off the stims. We switched to Abilify for mood stabilization and saw a total difference. Since he'd never been off all medications, we're currently trialing "no medications" and we're really happy with what's going on (let's be honest, he'll NEVER be a easy child - but this is as close as we've gotten!).
I'm so glad you decided to join in. Lurking is great for info. gathering, but joining in lets you just "spout off" when you need to!
Welcome! You'll have a good time!
In answer to your questions:
We've been to numerous doctors since he was about six years old. He had extensive testing at a hospital when he was 14. Results were ODD, ADHD, depression, possible bi-polar. About eighteen months ago, we had him tested again at the request of psychiatrist and psychologist. At that time he was on Effexor, Depakote, and Strattera. Results were similar although no bi-polar. The last time he was tested was about six weeks ago. It was not done in a hospital, but the testing was extensive. It totalled about seven hours, including interviews with us, my difficult child, reviewing all records, many, many tests for him to take. The results were ADHD, ODD, and possibly the beginning of CD (because of his age?) although he is not violent with people, animals, etc.
He is in therapy and has been for about 4 years. We changed therapists about two years ago. We are also in family therapy.
He has been on Strattera for about three years. Previously, he was on Adderall, but they changed his medication when he was tested at 14. I do think it helps him with his concentration, etc. He agrees. He has been off of Depakote and Effexor for about three months. I have not noticed a huge difference - if anything he may be better. He was not good about taking his medication consistently. It was always an argument. I was worried about his depression, but he seems to be doing well. With the last round of testing, it did not show clinical depression. They thought it may be more situational depression due to probation, etc.
Regarding school, he used to get all A's and B's until about 9th grade. Then he started going downhill slowly. He's very intelligent and can get straight A's if he wants to. He will try if he likes the class. If not, he will not do his homework or study. He is happy to just "get by". He can be flunking a class, then get an "A" on the final to get a passing grade for the quarter (very frustrating). He gets along OK with peers. He has some friends, but mostly acquaintances, not close friends. He has a job that he has had for two years. He's a hard worker and reliable while at work.
No drugs or alcohol that we know of. All of his UA's have come back clean. I hope that helps!
I hadn't thought about the Strattera causing an issue with his moods. We always thought it was helpful for his impulsiveness, but maybe it is playing a part in his anger?
When you talk about the spectrum, are you referring to autism/asperger's? The more I read on this site, the more I wonder about that. I did follow the link and take the test from one of the other posts, but I think he only scored moderately or moderately high in 1 or 2 of the categories.
Thanks again for the "welcomes". Until I found this site, I didn't think anyone understood...
Do you know if he uses recreational drugs? That's a major reason grades fall and behavior goes south in teens.
I would say it sounds like, even with all the testing, nobody is really sure what is wrong with him so he is getting the complete laundry list of diagnosis. There are no blood tests of definitive ways to test for these problems so the professionals just basically...guess.
I'd be leery of ADHD medications...they are often abused by teenagers, crushed and snorted alone or with other drugs. Welcome to the board.
Hi Sunshine, whew, that's a lot. You must be really stressed out.
It's great that he's trying, though.
You've gotten some great ideas.
Just wanted to lend my support.
I don't think he is using recreational drugs (although he's surprised me with many things in the past). Because of his legal issues, over the past 3 months, he has had 4 or 5 UA's and they have all been clean. We've done random drug tests in the past, and they have all been clean.
As far as his medication, he really has been somewhat non-compliant. One of the reasons we took him off of the Depakote and Effexor is because he was not taking it consistently. His dr could never get an accurate blood level for the Depakote. We are constantly reminding him about the Strattera. He always has EXTRA pills left over at the end of the month. We have a daily/weekly pill box as a reminder. We used to have the same issues with the Adderall.
We are at a loss. He will be 18 in October. He doesn't connect the consequences with his actions (or doesn't think they should apply to him), thinks rules are stupid and arbitrary, etc. This is not normal "teenager" stuff. It just gets more serious as he gets older. He's been a challenge all his life.
If he was always clueless and didn't "get" social norms maybe they all missed the boat and he is on the high end of the autism spectrum. Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) is very often called ADHD/ODD when professionals just don't know.
Other than that possibility (which lots of professionals tend to miss) I have no suggestions...at 18, he can, sadly, do what he wants. I thought of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) when you said he doesn't get cause and effect...hope it gets better.
Thank you all for your suggestions and support. I'm going to check with his dr about the Strattera issue. I'm also going to do some more research and ask some more questions about autism and aspergers. I wish I had found this site years ago...
welcome <<<HUGS>>> amazing how a girl can bring out the "best" in our difficult child's isn't it?
Yes. Thankfully, they broke up and have not had any contact with each other since April. Oh, the stress and drama wear me out!
I just wanted to add my welcome! Glad to see you on the board.
That sounds so familiar!
Our difficult child doesn't understand consequences unless we do something huge. Just telling him it's wrong doesn't cut the mustard. It has to be a major thing, like completely stripping his room, or taking away all electronic equipment, etc. He has to see or touch something to make it real to him.
Just wanted to add my welcome!
You know, it's funny (not in a ha ha way). Taking away all electronics really doesn't even do anything. We've stripped his room before also. He was shocked, but he's very good at playing the victim. He loves to tell people how mean his parents are without accepting responsibility for what he's done.
This last time he was tested, we were going through the results with the doctor. We didn't have the final report yet, but we were looking at scores from a specific evaluation. difficult child asked the doctor, "What does this score mean?" The doctor said, "Well, difficult child, it means you like to tell stories. You can be in a room with people for 5 minutes and they can leave thinking 'wow, that poor kid has some really mean parents'. But WE know that's not true. Your parents are just putting their foot down and not letting you manipulate them."
I think that was the first time someone other than my husband and I actually verbalized it. I had to cover my mouth to keep from smiling and jumping for joy.
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