My daughter, “Moon Unit”, is nearly 17 and has ADHD-like behaviors. Some testing shows she doesn’t truly have ADHD (something called the TOVA or Test Of Variable Attention), but another opinion offered was that the TOVA doesn’t make allowances for intelligence and someone as bright as my kid is (not just bragging, we’ve had her tested) should be be getting different scores.
I don’t recall the entire discussion - the TOVA and follow-on opinion was done when she was in 3rd grade - but just offering that up as background for our situation.
Moon Unit does have a strong emotional / psychological component, which can manifest as ADHD-like. And in fact any kid who is undergoing testing for ADHD should have a workup to rule out other things that can cause similar symptoms. This would include other medications (e.g. the asthma meds another poster mentioned, though if your kid is on enough of those to be wired, chances are his/her management is not optimal - the “wired” effect should wear off after a day or so), sleep apnea / poor sleep, anxiety, etc.
We discussed options with the licensed clinical social worker who’s worked with her since she was young, and with a psychiatrist. The LCSW suggested that a stimulant-based ADHD med might not be the best choice for her, given her emotional component, and suggested we try Strattera which has an anti-anxiety component. She’s also on Buspar for anxiety (we were not about to go down the benzo route for that). Both helped a little. We did try her on a low dose of Adderall when she was in 5th grade and in a gifted-and-talented center and unsurprisingly it made her much more explosive, emotionally. While it DID seem to help her focus, a little, the increased blowups made it an unacceptable tradeoff.
Moving her back to our neighborhood school - where she lucked into a teacher who recognized that this is a bright, funny kid who has some issues (as opposed to the G&T center where they just saw a Kid With Major Problems - “have you ever had her intelligence tested?” which was jaw-dropping - we pointed to the report that they had in their files the whole time) was a huge help.
Now, the attention thing is an ongoing issue. She’s at the highest dose of the Strattera and still has a lot of trouble focusing, and her emotional issues aren’t ideal either. She has a lot of trouble doing and turning in her homework, and has had a really rough year in the one class related to what she wants to do when she grows up, and is feeling really defeated.
She forgets to do things around the house and will quite literally walk out in the middle of doing something (like the dishes or whatever) to bounce around the house.
So, her attention issues are a significant ongoing concern. She’s a scarily bright kid (per all the testing) but she is not performing as well as she should be able to. She pulls As and Bs in all her classes (except her Art class) without doing much at all - if she applied herself she’d be pulling As in Honors / AP classes. She can’t keep up with basic personal care stuff or household chores.
Edward the Head: It sounds to me like you may not see your daughter at all ranges of her behavior, given how little time you have with her. While I don’t know the dynamics of the parenting arrangement, and I do admit there are some parents (and doctors) who are all about pushing the drugs, it’s certainly possible that the medication is appropriate (equally possible that medication is NOT appropriate - I simply don’t know).
In my daughter’s case, the ADHD (or ADHD mimic) is very clearly impacting her life. You mention that your daughter is having some troubles at school (which would be my first worry). Does she feel like she needs help?
I had not heard about the ADHD medications impeding growth, that’s news to me. Moon Unit has only briefly been on the stimulant-based meds anyway so it hasn’t been an issue; she’s average height which is reasonable as I’m tall for a woman and my husband is short for a man. I have heard that they cause reduced appetite, which wouldn’t be a huge issue for my kid but a friend whose child is a real beanpole was very justifiably worried. The child has grown up to a reasonable height, but is still incredibly slender.