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ADHD Parents Together
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7yr old on Focalin but something has to change

My youngest boy struggles tremendously with his ADHD and the effects it has on him. He has taken guanfacine and tenex in the past. The guanfacine had no effect on him and the tenex made him an emotional mess! We have had him on Focalin XR during the day and Focalin in the evening. He has been taking this medication for 4mos but the behaviors have not improved. He is fine for me at home but at school, every hour is touch and go. There is never a specific trigger-anything can send him into “meltdown” mode. He goes into a state of pure rage and frustration that only I have the ability to snap him out of. He gets out in the “quiet room” quite often when his behaviors get beyond what the teachers can control. He throws chairs, desks, screams at his teachers, and works himself into such a panic/anxiety attack that he hyperventilates. He has an IEP and has even been taken out of the general education classroom and placed in a behavioral classroom with 4 other kids. He sees a counselor and a psychiatrist. I am unable to work due to the high volume of calls I receive on a sometimes hourly basis. Nobody in the world “gets” my son and I’m tired of explaining his behaviors but hate the looks I get from other parents like I should just beat his butt and the disease will magically disappear! I’m just a mom at her wits end looking for help...

5 Replies

I am sad to read your experience. HUGS for you and your son. I wonder if the dosage is right? When my daughter's dosage was not high enough, her symptoms were worse. She would rage and be out of control. Is this the right medication for him? Have you had him genetically tested (it is a simple mouth swab test) that tells you what medications would be most beneficial based on how he metabolizes the medication. Our insurance covered it. It sounds to me that a visit to your prescribing doctor is needed. Please know that I feel your broken heart and you are on the right path - do not give up!

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So the guanfacine and tenex are the same meds but he was on different dosages and he also tried concerta at different dosages. We have changed the dosage on his Focalin but didn’t notice a change. I hate messing around with all these meds and what longlasting effects it could be having on him. I have not looked into the generic testing but will now that you’ve mentioned it. We see his prescribing doctor tomorrow thankfully! Hoping for positive results but it has been a very long 2.5yrs


Sometimes ADHD medication alone will not control Behavior. There are mood stabilizers that sometimes help with the anger. Ask your doctor about that


Hey Mama...don't give up! I give my son 20mg of Focalin at about 8am and then the school nurse gives him 10mg at about 1pm to get him through the day. We were given guafacine to give him once he comes home from his after school program but it doesn't seem to do anything to help. Yesterday, we met another couple that has the exact same child as ours and they give their son Melatonin gummies. I found some at CVS that were 3mg. OMG!!! It completely changed how he acted last night and he's even being really good today too! Just saying...try the Melatonin gummies! My son is 8 so we give him 3-5mg. If yours is a teen and bigger, go for the 10mg ones! I hope this helps....

One more thing. We tried to change his meds from Focalin to an Adderall derivative and it failed miserably. He took them for 3 days and in that time, he was ANGRY at everything. Kicking teachers, throwing furniture...it was insane! So do a little research and be observant if you change his meds. Good Luck Mama!


Big hugs! I’m so sorry. I know this is SO hard. We have been through the wringer trying to find the right medication. Stimulant meds caused rage and defiance issues in our son. He is now on a non stimulant medication which helps smooth out the ups and downs and helps him eat and sleep well. He wakes up in the morning, gets up and gets ready, he’s like a completely different kid from last year. If he has trouble focusing at school and getting his work done we will add in a short acting stimulant to help him but so far we haven’t needed to do that. Every child is different. Stay in touch with your doctor and keep at it. You’re doing all of the right things. Try your best to ignore other people and keep on keeping on! You’ve got this!


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