Thinking of putting my 7yr on ADHD med's ...any advice?

My son has a very hard time focusing in school & is starting to get below grade level. I'm contemplating whether or not to medicate him. This is so heavy on my heart. I'm so stressed over this especially because my husband is so against this. Can some of you guys share your experience on starting medication & do you feel it was the best choice or do you regret it?

Thank you!!

34 Replies

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  • I am going through the same think with my 7 yo daughter. I have always been against medicating children until my youngest reached school age. That all changed and it is ripping my heart out at the thought of medicating her. We have tried 3 different ones and they were terrible. I'm am at a loss as to what to do now. She's quickly falling behind and our family is running out of patience.

  • I feel your pain, I wished I had answers for you. May God bless ya'll.

  • Genetic testing - a mouth swab process - will generate a list of medications that are best suited for your child. This helps to avoid trail and error processes. HUGS and I wish you ALL THE BEST!

  • Can u have this done at the pediatricians office?

  • I live in NC. Some pediatrician's offices offer it and some do not. If your pediatrician's office does not you can ask them to help you locate a specialist that does and get a referral. I wish you the best of luck!

  • Medication might help your son, or it might cause side effects or not help. But remember, it's OK to try for a little while and then quit if it doesn't seem to be helping. It's not permanent, like a tattoo!

    May I ask why your husband is opposed?

    Of course, whether your child takes medicine or not, it's important to use non-drug interventions, too. Does your child have any special accommodations in school? Have you talked to a counselor about ways to help him cope with the condition? This sort of thing really can help.

  • Thank you for your words! The school has not done any accommodation, in fact the schools psychologist is who has brought this up to my attention I probably starting him up on medication. I asked if he wood qualify for any other resources and they stated that he would but the psychologist would have to do an assessment on him and he feels as if my son wouldn't give him 100%. The next option would be a special ed class that's what I was told he has no Behavior problem it's pretty much his attention that's causing him to now Mark below level on reading and language arts. I walked out of today's meeting feeling very pressured and pretty much realizing that medication is the only thing that they were offering as far as a suggestion.

  • Usually a school district will not assess for ADHD. They will assess for learning disorders. You might ask them directly what they can assess for. If they don't assess for ADHD, I would definitely start with a psychologist to get an accurate assessment. That is critical because it could be a learning disorder or it could be a mood disorder. You need to know for sure. After you get a diagnosis, you can advocate better for your son. School districts are different when it comes to 504s and IEPs: some work well with you and some push hard NOT to setup and IEP because it takes resources.

    Many teachers are very good and well aware of the struggles ADHD presents. You could start with your teacher to discuss options to help your son. If you get resistance, push for the 504 or IEP (depends on the severity of his disorder as to which you need). Having an accurate diagnosis from a psychologist will help tremendously.

    ~Tara

  • My suggestion is to take the formal diagnosis from your personal psychologist to the school and request a formal evaluation for an IEP. If the ADHD is affecting his educational needs then they have to respond.

  • He has an IEP fir specch in place already. I'm new to this all but I felt very pressured on the fact that med's is the ONLY resourse.

  • You can always request a re-evaluation of that IEP piece.

  • I see the struggle I too have and still going through all this.. my son is now 10yr and has been on medication since he was 6 yr it's seems medication is not helping him much . he has fallen behind in school he is in 4 th grade and is reading writing as a 2nd grader .. I too had a the ARD meeting.. he has accomodartions at school pulled out for special reading writing class speech therapy and occupational therapy its not helping much and they've told me he might need a special program where he can get one on one help.. it's a hard decision to make its heart breaking hard to accept but I only want the best for my son and his happiness.. do it all for kid god bless ❤️

  • I am not sure where you live but try to find a Linda Mood Bell Center, hopefully it is part of your resources because it is expensive to Do privately. My 8 year old has greatly, and I mean greatly benefited from the Linda mood Bell Center.

  • I too am very frustrated with the school systems inability to provide actual help and almost blames us for our children needing additional assistance I am so sorry you're going through the same thing

  • My husband opposes my doctors appointment with my son. I'm going crazy and helpless! How did you convince him?

  • That is definitely a tough one. Is he willing to learn anything about ADHD? Or is he just refusing to hear anything? If he will learn on his own so that he can decide for himself, check out this video:

    Russell Barkley is one of the world's leading authorities on ADHD. It's a bit long but it will definitely explain this disorder.

    Perhaps your husband would be more willing to go with you to a psychologist. A good pediatrician will not try to diagnose ADHD (and definitely will not prescribe meds without a proper diagnosis!!) . Depending on the age of your son, there are tests he will take along with feedback from you and your husband as well as teachers at school. All of this information together is used by the psychologist to accurately diagnose. (It isn't always ADHD. It could be a learning disorder or other mood disorder. I have seen children who were misdiagnosed.) Good luck. I'll say a prayer for you all!

  • Thanks

  • People tend to be so polarizing on the medication issue. We just started our son on medication -- he is 10 and his issue is inattention as well, not behavior. Before we started we consulted his pediatrician and psychologist and they agreed he would be a good candidate for medication. My father-in-law is a retired pediatrician. He endorsed giving medication a try as well. He pointed out some of these medications have been on the market for more than 70 years. They are well tested and safe. There can be side effects, but you can always stop if they are severe for your child. The medication my son is taking runs through his system within 12 hours -- that's faster than some vitamins. I know plenty of parents who give their kids allergy medication on a daily basis and that also stays in the system longer. We don't expect our kids to suffer through allergies, so I'm not sure why people are so reluctant to try something which can help their children and make their lives and the whole family's life better. I have no solutions on how to convince your husband -- maybe a call from the doctor? Maybe some research printed out for him on the long history of these drugs? I wish you luck.

  • Hi Cygar! My son is also 10 and his issue is also inattention and not behavior. Would you mind telling me medication your son is trying? I have been one of those people who was very against medicating his ADHD, but my husband made the same arguments you made and we are going to start medication this weekend. My doc prescribed Adderal XR at 5mg to start, and I have this personal negative reaction to Adderal, for no real good reason. But it would do my mama heart good to hear from someone in a very similar situation. Thank you :)

  • We just started on Metadate, which is another name for Ritalin. We just started this week so I don't want to read to much into it, but it seems like his concentration and focus is much better. He gets his homework done without asking and when we work on problems together it does seem easier for him. We have also noticed other things like he is more conversational and talkative which is great because before he did not share information about school. The only two side effects I have noticed is that he sometimes has problems falling asleep (never an issue with him before) and his appetite has decreased. Since he is already thin, I do worry about that a little. But we plan to keep him on it for two weeks and then we meet with the psychiatrist to access. So far I am really happy with it though -- it has made a big difference. What I also like is that kids have been taking ritalin for decades so there is a lot of data on it. And I also like that is metabolizes through the system so quickly -- usually within 12 hours. He is on the lowest dose, so if the sleeping issues continue we may have to look into even less. But so far, we are all much happier. I can report back to you in a few weeks and let you know more. Good luck! accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatf...

  • So true. People definitely have strong opinions about medication, and that's totally fine. However, as parents, so often we come across people who are long on opinion and short on facts. I completely agree with your post Cygar!

  • Ah, pressure from the school is another issue. Medication might or might not be best for your child, but that's a decision to be made between him, you, and the doctor, and NOT based on the convenience of the school.

    Sounds like it's time to be the squeaky wheel. Ask for that evaluation to be scheduled, and then press for a meeting to make a 504 plan or IEP to help your child achieve. In the meanwhile, you may be able to talk to the teacher about simple things like moving him toward the front of the room.

  • Hi! I'm sorry to hear you are struggling. My husband and I went through the same thing with our son when he was 6. Looking back, I would not hesitate at all to utilize medication. If your child had diabetes you would medicate. If it is necessary, it's necessary. I watched my son's self-esteem get destroyed between age 5 and 6 because we didn't know for certain it was ADHD. My little guy finally decided he was "just a bad boy." THAT ripped my heart out. When we started medication it wasn't easy as we did end up having to switch. But, when you find one that works, it will be sooo helpful for him. You will still need to learn how to manage his emotions and behaviors because as they say "the skill is not in the pill!" Good luck!

    ~Tara

    P.S. there is a lot of research that shows stimulants are a protective factor against later substance use and ADHD kids are at greater risk for that!

  • I forgot to say that I would find a psychiatrist from the very beginning to help with meds. It may take a while to get into one but it will be worth it. Anxiety, depression, and other issues can sometimes go along with ADHD. A psychiatrist can help with that as well and knows better than a regular MD what is good for the mind. It is their specialty!

  • When we share our stories please remember that each child is different which means different supports WILL HELP. For a year and a half we tried diets, supplements, Brain Balance and other non-drug options. When we did see small windows of progress they quickly became ineffective with the next growth spurt. This is how we are supporting our daughter with her ADHD and sensory characteristics - she is on supplements from an integrative doctor, she drinks almond milk (cow's milk makes her moody) she is on both a low dose of a non-stimulant and a low dose of a stimulant, we have a structured routine with reward system from a therapist and she does exercises everyday to help her continue the development of reflexes that are under developed, at most she gets 20 mins of screen time a day and exercises to support her overall well-being. Our diverse strategy is currently helping her to experience herself as more balanced which allows her to build confidence and self-esteem in her ability to become more and more independent. These are things I suggest you consider: genetic testing if you want to try medication. The testing will give you specific recommended medications that will suit your child best (this reduces the old fashioned trial and error method), read on line or I would be happy to talk with you about the diet route. With regards to your husband, I wonder if he has experienced some of the same characteristics as your child? Sometimes if there is a parent that has related symptoms and they have never received support then they are less open to try supportive options. I will say that thinking of my daughter in these terms helped me to become open to meds: if she could not walk we would get her a wheelchair, if she could not see we would get her glasses, if she had diabetes or another common medical condition we would medicate or do what was needed to support her health - I personally think the reason I was and many others are not open to ADHD is because we have been wrongly taught these behaviors and challenges are ALWAYS choices and defiance which needs "punishment" to correct - these are actually medical symptoms of a body's inability to self-manage. I wish you and your family all the best! Please inbox me if I can be a listening ear or a supportive voice.

  • Thank you!

  • I agree with Tara. Dr. Russell Barkley has many videos out on ADHD. This one might help to dispel some of the fear associated with the use of medications.

    . I would also recommend to watch the video on 30 Things parents should know. It is long but broken down into small sections.

  • Our son underwent a comprehensive psychoeducational evaluation. Below are some of the recommendations the psychologist suggested for our son -- he has ADHD inattentive expression (not hyperactivity or impulsiveness). I know each child is different, but these seem pretty general to me and I think could help a lot of kids in a similar situation so I'd thought I'd share them.

    Classroom recommendations:

    Preferential seating near the instructor (and seating away from friends/peers if needed)

    Frequent check-ins to make sure that he understands task directions

    Encouragement to double check his work since he often makes a careless mistakes

    Discreet redirection when his attention starts to wander

    Assistance breaking down long-term assignments into parts

    Ability to take breaks

    Both oral and visual presentation of material when possible to help reinforce retention

    Multiple activities during class periods to reduce the amount of time that he has to stay engaged with one task

    High frequency of hands-on activities when feasible

    Use of a fidget cube in class

    On exams and tests:

    Extra time on tests

    Distraction reduced testing environment

    Use of a computer for short answer and essay questions

    Extra assistance with reading questions and getting started on answering them

    Additional breaks

  • Thank you for sharing! All my sons IEP team came up with was the suggestion of starting him on Med's! ..pretty sad.

  • That's terrible! Medicine is just one piece of the puzzle. Hang in there!

  • We started my daughter and son (both who have ADHD) on Biphentin when they were in Grade 3. They were both 8 years old. What was really helpful in determining how the medication was working was due to how committed the teacher was in partnering with us on the medication trial. We were lucky. We knew she would be spending the majority of the day with them and could really comment on whether it was helping, side effects, appetite and more. For the 3 week trial, she filled out a daily checklist monitoring many things. I just came across this article and really great download "ADHD Monitoring System" which could help truly monitor how it's all going with your child. (https://www.additudemag.com/slideshows/medication-monitoring-system-for-children-with-adhd/?utm_source=eletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=treatment_october_2017&utm_content=101217&utm_source=ADDitude+Master+List&utm_campaign=2876d2946f-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_10_11&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_d9446392d6-2876d2946f-288634241&mc_cid=2876d2946f&mc_eid=2451e5875c). My husband was also very anti-medication but we decided to give it a try as my children's self esteem was disappearing and was school was such a struggle. In the end, the trial went well and my children say their "concentration pill" really helps them focus and eliminates the "noise". Finally, a really great book (which is short, written in simple terms and to the point) that helped my husband feel more comfortable with how we help the kids and what are the ramifications if we don't is a book written by Dr. Kenny Handelman titled " Attention Difference Disorder: How to Turn Your ADHD Child Or Teen's Differences Into Strengths in 7 Simple Steps". He is a Canadian psychiatrist who also has ADHD...amazing doctor. I hope all this helps and good luck with everything. Please let me know if you have questions.

  • Thank you very much for sharing. I will look into that book you suggested. God bless!

  • Our son was just diagnosed today although we have thought about this for several years. The pediatrician explained about the meds today. I do not think most parents want to medicate their children, us included, but our son's doctor explained that if he is falling behind and struggling there are serious effects on his self esteem and confidence as well. Fortunately for us, our son is doing well in school despite having ADHD. He also explained that the best results come from utilizing a behavioral psychologist for the parents, medication and structure all together. Just using one or the other is less effective. He also said that medication has been shown to help 90% of children who take it.

    Best wishes.

  • It was a gut wrenching decision to medicate our 8 yr old son. When we saw him suffer in school and the teacher had to spend the majority of her time trying to redirect our son to stay on task, stay in his seat, etc we knew that we had to explore medication. Along with “tools and suggestions” we acquired through therapy the medication has helped our son greatly. He is still behind in reading but in the other areas of social and academics he is succeeding. His teacher this year explained to another student asking why our son takes medicine “his medicine is a vitamin his body needs”. My son understands that he needs the medicine along his tools to get through the school day.

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