Looking for information and advice on ADHD and ADHD meds

My eight year old daughter was recently diagnosed with ADHD and my ex-wife thinks it’s best to put her on medication. We’ve been to both a psychologist and a psychiatrist about my daughter. One of them says medication is the only way to go, other options do not really help, the other says there are other ways to help before trying medication.

My ex has been pushing for drugs for quite some time now, so much so that when we went to the psychiatrist the other day she said we were there to find out about drugs for our daughter.

I’m on the fence as to whether or not I think she needs drugs or would benefit more from other types of treatments first. She is having some troubles in school, but when she’s with me I don’t see a whole lot of problems. Obviously I want the best for my daughter, I have just been finding and getting conflicting information on drugs, especially the side effects.

Since I know the dope is big on cites and the like I’d like to find some good studies on medications and their effects, and also other types of treatments in either place of meds or as a supplement to them. Plus any personal stories on dealing with ADHD.

Do you know exactly what her problems are in a school? How are her grades?

I have struggled with this with my daughter for years. Her grades are fine so I let it go, then she starts getting in trouble at school again for talking. Then I start looking into medication and she starts to get better.

Does your daughter have asthma and/ or eczema? My daughter has all three and there is a high correlation between the three diseases.
Is she on any other medication?

Asthma medication can make kids act like they have ADHD.

After learning all the side effects I just don’t want her on medication unless we have no other choice. It impedes growth. Most kids end up one of the smallest in their classes.

I would try to do behavioral management with the psychologist first.

Well some here might think this is a bunch of woo. But a desperate mom will try anything. I have done a ton of research and the one thing that helps ADHD, asthma and eczema is fermented cod liver oil. My daughter has taken it for two months and her talking in school is way down, she concentrates better and she seems more mature.
She spent a few days at my moms and I forgot to give it to her and my mom could see her back sliding into being more ADHD.

We have no idea what the long term effects of these drugs really are. I wonder if your ex is just tired and wants an easy answer. Is she with her the majority of the time? Does your ex get time to herself?

Also I don’t know for sure but I think in some cases if one parent wants a child medicated it’s hard for the other one to stop it.

Hope this helps

No, I don’t know exactly what her problems are in school, she does talk and interrupt kids, but how much I don’t really know. Her grades are fine, she is on grade or better in most things. She reads well and does math well.

No, she doesn’t have any other problems. To the best of my knowledge she is on no other medications.

This is part of what worries me, she’s already a bit on the small side, under the 50% in height.

That’s who we spoke to yesterday, he told me that behavioral management is not as good as medication. I asked about physical activity, yoga, being outdoors, all of which I have read can be good for managing it don’t help.

I’d like to skip the woo, but if there is evidence then I would look in to it.

Her and her husband have four kids between 6 and 10. I don’t know anything about what kind of time they have to themselves. I am afraid she is looking for an easy answer. She herself is pro drugs and has asked to be put on them herself. I’m not anti drug in any way, but I want to make sure it’s the right thing to do.

My humble opinion is she doesn’t need medication. She’s a child. She’s going to talk. If she’s a grade ahead of everyone she’s probably bored!!!
I went through this last year with my daughter who was eight. I finally realized teachers aren’t allowed to manage their own class rooms anymore in the US. My daughter needs consequences, not just having to change her card to a different color.
If she’s talking too much have her desk moved away from other kids for a while.
But again teachers have so much on their plates and often have too many kids in one class so they send home noted every day that your kid is talking. When I was a kid teachers were in charge but now so many teachers are afraid of parents saying they are abusing their child they won’t do anything!

Don’t medicate this kid. She doesn’t need it. She’s just being herself. I talked to the school counselor and the principal and they were able to come up with some solutions that helped.
But between a new teacher, growing up some and cod liver oil she’s going much better this year.
Don’t medicate a kid just because she talks. She’s not hurting others and she’s learning.

My stepson has ADHD and he’s on medication. When he doesn’t take it, he’s out of control. He’s 14 but acts like a 5 year old, has no judgement, jumps around, has broken glass windows, won’t stop wrestling with his brother, they end up hurting each other and once tore the thermostat off the wall. He’s like a wild animal.
He makes bizarre noises and talks really loud, he’s aggressive and won’t listen to us.
He has always been small, he barely eats. He gained weight this year because he only takes it when he has to. I can’t imagine what it’s doing to his hormones too. So far he doesn’t seem to be very far into puberty. But if he doesn’t take it he can’t function in school.
That’s the kind of child who needs medication. It’s a highly subjective area. For every psychologist who says behavior measures don’t work you will find one who will. Many specialize in it.

Edward, obviously you have insight into your daughter’s situation we do not have. I admit, however, that it would be nice to know precisely what the problem is, because if her grades are good, I don’t exactly know why she needs help.

My daughter has ADD (there’s really not much of the H) but her grades were clearly, obviously out of whack with her ability. Medication improved her performance (and enjoyment) of school pretty much overnight. We were a bit skeptical but the fact is she was not doing well at school. If your daughter is doing fine in school, then why is there such a push for treatment of a problem that isn’t impairing her “job”? Perhaps you could tell us more.

Also if you really feel strongly about it could you offer to take her more often or to deal with homework and teachers more? I don’t know your situation but if it will keep ex from drugging her it might be worth it.

I just looked at her report card, and it’s a bit difficult to understand. They use I’s and P’s, which means In progress and meets grade level. I can not see, because it’s a scan, what her reading is like, but it also seems to be on grade level.

I really don’t know what her problem is, I will wind out more next week when I meet with the school counselor. I know she has one friend who can be an instigator and knows how to make it look like she’s not doing anything wrong and blaming my daughter.

She does have some problems, I’ve seen them myself, I’m just not sure how far out of the norm they are and how much she will grow in to them and be more ‘normal’. She doesn’t always know what a joke is, she does blurt out answers sometimes, though yesterday in the doctor’s office she raised her hand to ask something, waited about 30 seconds and then blurted out her question.

I’m not sure how bored she is, but she is a lot like me, and while I liked school, there were times when I had problems because it was boring. When I was about the same age they started testing me and such and I thought there was something wrong with me and quit doing a lot of work. It took me years to get over it. I’m afraid someone will say the wrong thing at the wrong time and she’ll give up.

I do wish I could be with her more, she’s 30 minutes away. If it’s suggested that more help with homework then I may try and get out there more.

My son, who is 8 , was diagnosed with ADHD, last June. His school work was on or above grade level, but we were seeing increasing impulsivity issues. He was not making good choices, and, as was mentioned above, his friends quickly found it was pretty easy to stick blame with him - often because he clearly was impulsive and made poor choices. A bad cycle.

We did end up medicating him. His behavior was impacting his social situation and it was getting worse. We’re working with his school and counselors, and the goal is to get him off. It will clearly take time and some maturity. It has been hard to adjust to how much of a life long process this will be.

One book that has been tremendously helpful to us as we learn about all of this is: “Parenting Children with ADHD” by Vincent Monastra. If you are interested in a general resource, I would highly recommend it.

I would also just mention that your daughter’s behavior may be different around you than her mother. The psychologist who diagnosed our son mentioned that mothers often see the behavioral aspects sooner than fathers, for a variety of reasons, difference in the care giving relationship, time spent, possibly other factors. I know my husband needed a written diagnosis and several books of research material before he was convinced.

To get back to your original question, medication was life changing in a very good way for us. If you are not comfortable with the recommendations you are getting, do some research (the book I mentioned and many others) and get a second medical opinion.

Also, she’s entitled to a 504 plan at her school. Meaning a specific written plan that accommodates her situation (so no one says the wrong thing and she gives up). The book covers how to go about getting that done and what should be covered.

Hope I didn’t throw too much in there. Halfway through all of this myself. PM if I can answer any questions.

How often do you see her now? Quite honestly a half an hour isn’t that far but I guess it depends on your situation and what else you have going on in your life.

I see her once every other week during the week and every other weekend along with her sister. Half an hour isn’t too bad, but I’m not sure how much my ex will let me see her. It was hard enough to get the one day a week.

This is the kind of positive thing I was looking for. It kind of sounds like my daughter. I just don’t know how much it affects her making good choices. Around me she usually does, but I can see that maybe in school she’s not making the best choices.

Could you explain what “not making good choices” means? I mean, it’s such a generic statement as to be meaningless.

I was diagnosed with ADD, not ADHD, when I was 9, and I chose not to take medication for it until college because I did fine in school anyway. The only negative side effect I was told of at that time was that it could stunt your growth. I would definitely try the other methods suggested by her psychologist first, as I don’t see how it could possibly hurt. That being said I am very happy with the effects of my medication, definitely a huge positive impact.

My brother was diagnosed with ADHD when he was in kindergarten/first grade, about 1981 or so. They tried him on medication, but my mom felt it made him like a zombie. Rather than try a different medication, she took him off meds altogether. He continued to have problems all through school, mainly behavior issues.

I was diagnosed with ADD when I was in my early 30s. I’d had symptoms for awhile - being unable to self-motivate, acting impulsively, becoming easily irritated, and having a difficult time concentrating. It was never caught when I was a child because my grades were fine. It has made my adult life a bit challenging.

I was on Ritalin for a few years with acceptable results. Now they are going to change me to a non-stimulant medication. Stimulant meds like Ritalin have several side effects, including raising blood pressure. Ritalin can also increase anxiety.

Is it possible your daughter has ADD rather than ADHD? They are slightly different disorders.

Medication can help. Therapy can also help. They work best together. The meds can help your daughter focus enough to be able to benefit from the therapy.

Good luck to you and your family!

My son, who just turned 9, is in third grade. He was diagnosed with ADHD last spring, and we started giving him medication over the summer.

Eight months ago, he could barely finish the Cat in the Hat (and had the grades to match). Now he’s two-thirds of the way through* Prisoner of Azkaban. * His grades are way up, his disciplinary problems are way down, and it takes him 30 minutes to finish his homework instead of three hours. I’d say the drugs are working.

These days, the disorder is called ADHD, and it can be classified differently. Girls tend to have non-hyperactive, inattentive type.

I believe that the recent surge in “ADHD” is because many schools have eliminated recess. Schools also get extra money for having kids on IEPs, which is one reason why so many of them so aggressively push for kids to be evaluated, and some of the criteria are insane; the most common insane criteria is requiring evaluation for all kids who do not live full-time with both biological parents, regardless of why. :dubious: I thought the days of assuming that kids with divorced parents were automatically bad news were long gone. It’s also not “because teachers can’t discipline” (i.e. beat) children any more.

This, coupled with some parents using an ADHD diagnosis in kids as young as 1 to get SSI benefits (bipolar disorder too) makes things so much harder for people who really do have this condition.

BTW, ADD/ADHD is NOT necessarily about violence or antisocial behavior. A child may be violent, but it’s not because of ADHD. It DOES NOT make kids burn down the house, act out sexually, kill pets, etc. even though some think it does.

And to Amorali, it sounds like your stepson has a lot more things wrong with him than just ADHD. :frowning:

In other words, you don’t live with her. Honestly, your ex-wife is going to have a better handle on it than you do. Have you ever had her for long periods of time (other than when you were married - and when you were, did you co-parent)? Maybe she’s acting out because of the conflict between you and her mother?

I hope you can see where I’m coming from with this.

Thank you for the correction. I actually remembered that what used to be called ADD is now ADHD-PI (Predominantly Inattentive) after I posted. Unfortunately I didn’t come back to edit my post.

Don’t want the wrong information out there! :smiley:

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.