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Vyvanse side effects/anyone had issues?

Please help. I'm a basket case right now. My son just turned 14 last week, diagnosed with inattention type ADHD a year ago. I was homeschooling him at the time, we didn't start meds. He returned to traditional school, we started Ritalin, it was a fail. It made him nervous and jittery. Failing school, worst grades ever. Missing assignments, unorganized, careless mistakes, unfinished assignments classic ADD. Well he started Vyvanse last week, took it two days, said he worked harder. Refused to take it Friday. Took it today. I pick him up from school he is sick! Headaches, stomach pain, said his heart was racing all day! This terrifies me--Im not giving it to him again. I've always been leery and fearful of these meds. He's failing school. I'm going to go back to homeschool I think. This is all so scary and upsetting. Please help!

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I am 45 and have ADHD. My two daughters ages 16 and 13 have it too. I have experience with these medications and can give you some answers. I am not a doctor though, so this is from my speaking with doctors, research and first hand experience as having ADHD.

Stimulant medication seems scary at first. I was afraid of an ADHD diagnosis initially because of it. Not getting diagnosed and treated caused my life to come apart and it wasn't until I got medication sorted out that I could start putting my life back together.

So you know, the frontal lobe of an someone with ADHD is physiologically different from a neurotypical brain. Our dopamine uptake is delayed and underdeveloped areas of the frontal lobe cause the other issues such as time blindness, emotional regulation failure, and other executive function breakdown.

Because of this, stimulant medications are actually very safe for ADHDers to take. ADHDers can take larger doses and do not experience addiction or typical withdrawal from them. I actually am prescribed to take double the recommended dosage of Adderal due to the severity of my ADHD and once I was medicated I could focus, my blood-pressure and anxiety went down and I was able to manage emotional overload way better than before. If I forget to take medication or go with out it, I do not experience any withdrawal other than a bit of fatigue due to the lower amount of dopamine my brain is getting because the dopamine receptors become use to the boosted state (which is really just a normal level, if you didn't have ADHD).

Ritalin is normally best for children who are not going through puberty, while Adderall is better for teens and adults. So, Ritalin didn't work for me or my girls. Vyvanse worked well for me, but my insurance didn't cover it. Vyvanse did have side effects when I came off it suddenly though and the therapist who put me on it didn't warn me about it. It can make you extremely lethargic and the potential for suicidal thoughts. I wouldn't take Vyvanse again for that reason unless it was going to be managed and monitored by a doctor and covered by insurance. It was very effective while I was on it.

Otherwise, stimulants should be increased in 10mg increments until the ADHDer feels slightly jittery (like drinking to much coffee) and then take it back down a notch. If at that level, they can concentrate and feel calmer, you know you got the meds right. Obviously do this with someone who is licensed prescribe and advise. The only side effect you will really notice is an upset stomach for about 2 weeks until you get used to it. Other than that, the stimulants are safe. They help bring our brain into focus and allow ADHDers to manage their other issues with proper coping tools.

As an ADHD mom, you need to get educated on this in order to help your son. After the meds, coping tools and self-esteem support are going to be very important. There is a lot of snake-oil solutions out there, so stay close to reputable medical solutions. Dr. Russell Barkley is one of the leading ADHD experts. Watch all of his videos and read his books to get a understanding of this disorder and then you should be armed with enough info to know what to do next.

If you have further questions or concerns, feel free to message me and I will try and help guide you the right way.


What can you take for stomach aches?


I found that the stomach aches are just bad for a few days and then they ease up and go away fully in 2 weeks. My kids had the same experience. It wasn't bad enough that we needed to find something for it. It was really more like having a light case of food poisoning or a bug that puts you in the bathroom for a couple of days but no other symptoms. Then after that its just slightly discomforting for the remaining two weeks.

I imagine something like Pepto or Imodium AD would help. The medication irritates your digestive tract when you are first getting used to it, so your body reacts like when you eat something bad by trying to flush it out. Aspirin or Ibuprofen would probably help with the stomach ache part.


Hi there! My 10 year old was on vyvanse for a few months. Our experience was awful! He would crash everyday after school, either crying uncontrollably or angry at everyone and everything. It just wasn’t him and made me second guess our decision to put him on meds. (Which was so hard to begin with). We started looking up information on it and found out it’s a typical side effect and the reason a lot of people go off of it. I work as an instructional aide in a school and have talked to many parents who also had bad experiences with vyvanse. If it’s not working don’t give up there are many other medications out there. Best thing is to get in contact with your doctor and relay all your sons side effects. Just because vyvanse doesn’t work, doesn’t mean another drug won’t. I know what a really hard decision it is to put them on meds, but just stay on top of it and keep on keepin on momma. We are all just trying to do the best we can!

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Thank you everyone. I was upset, because my son was fine Monday morning before school, he ate a hearty breakfast, I gave him that pill and when I picked him up from school, he was so sick! The complaint about his heart racing and him feeling weak had me terrified. I talked to the pediatrician on staff and she said it sounds like it may be something else, maybe the flu :(. Hes been sleeping, but did get up to take a hot shower, but he went back to bed immediately and he's been resting well since. I'm hopeful he will be better in the morning, but for the time being, I'm not giving him meds. They haven't helped at all, his grades are the worst they've been and I'm devastated. I've talked with the school about a 504 plan so I'm hopeful. If not, we're going back to homeschool. I'm so worried I'm not doing the best by him. I just want my happy boy back. Since being on the meds, he gets irritable. When the weekend comes and he's not on them, I have my healthy,happy boy. I'm planning to make an appointment with a psychiatrist before we move on with these meds. I want to make sure we have the right professionals following us. These side effects terrify me.


Was he diagnosed by a general practitioner or a psychiatrist? What are the primary ADHD symptoms he is showing? Sometimes Bi-polar disorder can be miss-diagnosed as ADHD. They can seem similar from the outside, but the main difference is ADHD triggers off of external stimulus while bi-polar is internal cycles that trigger when different chemical imbalances occur. Most general practitioners are not up to date on ADHD and other executive function disorders. Work your way through qualified psychiatrists until you get a proper diagnosis and then treat the condition.

If your son has ADHD, keep trying different medications until you find the right one. Sometimes a specific medication doesn't agree with an individual, so that could be all that occurred. The medications sound scary, but honestly they are the best option we have.

If you don't have ADHD, then you can not understand what is happening to him. ADHD is caused by underdeveloped frontal lobe and aside from difficulty focusing ADHD impacts all of our executive functions. This includes time awareness, organizational skills, task prioritizing, emotion inhibition, visualization, planning and how all of these interact. It is not a knowledge problem, it is a signal moving between the frontal lobe and limbic system and our learned knowledge. ADHDers are often very intelligent, loving and creativity but our minds are racing and unless something stimulates our interest, our dopamine doesn't spike like a normal brain and thus we can't focus on things that we find boring or routine or repetitive. This has nothing to do with discipline. The part of the human brain that manages all of these functions in us is either damaged or underdeveloped. We are literally missing little bits of our frontal lobe, which is why other disorders are found along side ADHD. Very often we have a second or third trait like anxiety, dyslexia, depression, Aspergers and other frontal lobe related social/learning disorders.

If left untreated, an ADHDer will likely drift through life seeking things that inspire them or stir their passions. If they are lucky, they succeed here. More often than not though we follow reckless impulses. ADHDers have double the chance of suicide, obesity, STDs or life threatening accidents. 50% of us drop out of school, those who don't struggle through higher education. We struggle to hold down jobs or be on time anywhere. We are more likely to have our families tear apart from the hardship we put on spouses and having kids with ADHD. If you want insight into life with an ADHD husband and two ADHD daughters, just speak to my wife.

This doesn't mean that ADHDers are doomed, but medication could have saved me from a number of these horrible things. Being diagnosed for 40 years did a lot of damage. Even though I dropped out of school at 16, I became self employed and built a business, but I made many mistakes and being untreated, was able to reach my goals. This caused my life to collapse and nearly cost me my marriage. This happens to 50% of adults with untreated ADHD. Your life just collapses in on its self and your self esteem goes into the toilet. You experience the five stages of grief with your self and spend the next 5 years rebuilding your synapse in your brain. I am currently in the middle of this process. I went from a activity business owner in my community to having my wife running everything while I put my shattered self-esteem and brain back together. I am at two years so far, and although I am much, much better. I still have not step into our business or gone outside my home except to walk in the park nearby. The over-stimulation from those places and people is to much for my mind to handle. I am literally learning to use my brain again. I got to experience mentally dying and grieving over my previous self. The first 6 months was days of trying to just think clearly and crying uncontrollably or going into panic attacks where I was sobbing on the floor. Through the whole thing I felt trapped in my head. You come out of it a raw nerve, unable to interact with your friends and family except for the people and places that are the most familiar and safe to you.

After that experience, medication was a welcomed lifesaver. Meds can;t do it all though, you need to understand what ADHD is, how it works and what coping tools will help. Meds make all of that 1000 times easier. Withholding medication from an ADHDer is the wrong move. Just make sure your son has ADHD and that you find the right meds if he does. Then learn the science behind the condition and how to manage it with simple coping tools. Otherwise, your son may have his life come apart like I did.

I recommend reading and watching Dr. Russell Barkley's books and videos.

Here, making it even easier. Watch all these videos:

Also, Jessica's channel here is well researched, very helpful and 100% accurate. She has adhd and she does not publish any BS like many of the alternative remedies do. Check her out: youtube.com/channel/UC-nPM1...

Another good source: Dr Hallowell. He has ADHD too:

It should be noted, ADHD is on a spectrum. Symptoms very between individuals. It all depends on where the weak synapse is in the frontal lobe. The more extreme the ADHD, the more severe the breaks in the brain's frontal lobe.

Let me know if there is anything I can do to help. You need to get educated on this. If your son has ADHD, its likely either you or his father has it as it genetic (though it can skip generations and degree of severity can vary, though families carry the same secondary traits). When you have a ADHD loved one, you need to become an ADHD expert. Stick to the most current medical studies and verified findings of the experts. Avoid anything that sounds to good to be true. Diet, sugar, video games, magnets etc.. none of those things treat ADHD. They affect ADHDers exactly like normal people. In fact, video games are helpful for ADHDers in that they provide feedback to stimulus, which allows them to focus on them and build whatever skills the game promotes. ADHDers are often drawn to video games and digital learning because the computer gives immediate feedback on their performance. This can be perceived as them being distracted, undisciplined or lazy ("why can't you focus on your homework like you do those dumb games!"). That isn't what is happening though. The ADHDer's brain drifts when an activity doesn't stimulate it, and video games engaged and feedback so quickly that it allows the ADHDer to focus when they play games or use digital learning tools.

Any rate, hope this helps. Let me know if you have questions. Sorry for so much info, but its critical to get help, understand this disorder and advocate for your son. He needs you 100% and you need to know the science behind this stuff.

Wishing you success and our love goes out to you.


What a beautiful reply. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I am going to share this with my husband, as he doesn't understand any of what's happening. A little history on my son. From K-5 he went to a small private school (60 kids total) and he excelled academically and socially. He was on A-B honor roll every year and he got schoolwide awards for great citizenship/behavior. He was bouncing with happiness and love. However,I'll never forget his 1st and second grade teacher telling me, "He's a wonderful boy, but I believe he has inattention challenges". She had previously been a child psychologist and she has ADHD herself. I respected her, because I knew she had his best interests at heart. However, my feelings were, "if ain't broke don't fix it". He had good grades and was doing fantastic. However, it stayed in the back of my mind what she told me. I had subsequent teachers in other grades tell me as well, encouraged me to get him tested. I refrained, because he was doing so well. We had financial difficulties (the housing bubble financial crisis) so we couldn't afford to send him to private any longer. In his 6th grade year, I sent him to a public school and it was bad. Not so much with ADHD, but a lot of bullying and the school system was a mess. After one semester, I pulled him out and I homeschooled him (using the state's online program) from 6th grade spring semester and all of 7th grade. He did very well, because he had no deadlines, etc. Well, for 8th grade, (this year) we both wanted him to return to traditional school to prepare for high school. So this year he enrolled in a rigorous charter school and it's been a disaster! He currently is failing all his core classes because of missed assignments, etc. I work hard to keep him on track and everything falls apart when he's at school! I had him diagnosed with ADHD with his pediatrician, but I know it's not enough. We need a psychiatrist in on this. That once happy boy has become irritable and socially anxious. He loves gaming on his PS4 and it's the only thing I see that brings him joy, so I don't want to take it away from him, but my husband not understanding ADHD thinks is the root of all the problems. While he's gotten into some bad habits with it, staying up late, Etc., I don't want to take it away from him, but I would like to put some more controls on it, a healthy balance of gaming. I'm just so heartbroken, because since he turned about 13, that's when the moodiness and the unhappiness started. I believe some of it is puberty and the other is dealing with ADHD. Methylphenidate didn't work for us and I was hoping is Vyvanse would be the answer, but seeing him so sick like this has really had me unnerved. I've always wanted him to have a full cardiac check before starting these meds. He's my only child and I worry so much about his life and his future. I'm devastated how things are going for him now and I only want the best for him. My plan today is to make an appointment with that psychiatrist. I'm sorry this was so long, but again thank you so much for your reply. I can't wait to share with my husband.

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Your son has ADHD - if he had diabetes, would you deny him medications? I am fairly sure that your son would have had problems in a regular classroom - it was the small size and being home-schooled that made it easier. Teens have all kinds of issues and teens with ADHD are worse. Staying up late, gaming, etc are part of most teens' lives. Find a medication that works and be open to having to change both the dose and the medication. Expect some side effects, but those are minimal compared to the problems that come from not using medications. My son did the best on Adderall once he was a teen, but we switched to Vyvanse later and he takes that now. Yes, he does "crash" coming off it, but not as severe as others. These meds can be different for everyone, just like meds for hypertension or diabetes. You and your son have to decide what works for him.


Thanks for your input, I truly appreciate it. What do you mean he crashes when he comes off of it? I'm worried that I did something wrong. He started the medicine Wednesday of last week. He took it Wednesday and Thursday of last week, but refused to take it Friday. We started back up yesterday and like I stated after I picked him up he was so sick. He said his heart was racing all day, stomach ache, headache. I don't want him experiencing side effects like that. Especially the heart thing, that scares me.


Stimulant meds often cause irritability, especially in the beginning. Vyvanse is a time-release med, but many people experience feelings of a "let-down" when the stimulant wears off. My son reports that sometimes this bothers him, but much less so now. A racing heart can also be a side effect, along with an upset stomach. Be sure your son eats enough - no appetite is sometimes an issue, and that can cause stomach aches. All of these side effects will fade as time goes by and your son adjusts. Although these meds should be taken daily, it doesn't matter if he skips a day because the meds leave his system after about 8 hours. We did not do "drug holidays" on the weekends because our son was so much better at everything when he was taking his Vyvanse and also because we wanted to impress upon him the importance of the medication. He now realizes that his life is a lot easier on ADHD drugs and takes it daily. My advice is to find a good website and read up on the stimulants, but don't let all the info scare you. All drugs have some sort of side effects, but not everyone experiences all of them.

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I hope you and your family can gain some peace and harmony. Here are some other things that should be helpful to know:

1) ADHDers often have a displaced circadian rhythm. This comes with the time blindness. I for example cannot feel the passing of time. 10 mins or 10 hours all kinda feels the same. I mean, I notice it getting lighter or darker, but if I am engaged in what I am doing, time just whips by, while if I am not, time passing is torturous. ADHDers often have faulty hind and foresight too, so we don't remember the passage of time, Finally, if we are not being stimulated in some manner, we seek out stimulation. This means its easy for an ADHDer to get caught up doing something fun or interest before bed, then because of the lack of time sense, we don't realize how little time we have or how staying up will affect us the next day. The with the out of sync circadian rhythm, most ADHDers stay up late and sleep in. Night time is calmer too, there is less outside stimulation and random noise, all of which our brain can't shut out. So day time can be very taxing and overwhelming for some ADHDers. All of this means, an ADHDer is going to seek activity to do, just before bed time and then stay up into the wee hours of the night easily when things are most clam and soothing for them. What's worse, poor sleep leads to worse ADHD symptoms. Good sleep is an ADHDer's friend. The best way to manage this is to create anchor habits that become routines for the ADHDer before bed that wind them down with something they enjoy and soothes them. Then the first activities in the morning are routines that they are excited to do first, something that gets them up and going. It could be as simple he gets out of bed for his favorite breakfast on the days its hard to get him to school, then once he is ready to go, he can play video games for the remaining time until the alarm that you set goes off. This is one example of ways to use rewards and sequencing of activities to help an ADHDer organize and get going.

2) The lack of hind/foresight also means we don't easily learn from watching or listening like normal people do, we have to do it hands on and make mistakes over and over again. This is because the ADHD mind is easily distracted and our internal visualization is poor. We often need to speak outside of our heads unfiltered in order to encode ideas and remember information. Draw, motioning with our hands or laying out physical objects to diagram or show what we are learning or trying to convey can often help us learn too. This can be a challenge with school too. Certain subjects that are complicated or very detailed oriented (like high level math, English and history courses) can become very hard to pay attention in class. You will miss details due to drifting then get lost again and drift more. Jessica's ADHD channel on youtube has some good suggestions on study and note taking that can help make note taking fun and work with the ADHD unique issues.

3) Another thing that can help great is breaking down tasks into small bite size pieces and then help him keep his to do lists organized and managed. There is a system called GTD (Getting Things Done). It is originally by David Allen, and its used for people staying organized in a data-overloaded world. The basic principles are all over the internet. Just search GTD organization or something similar. The basic idea is writing notes down to keep your head empty, collect those notes in one place daily, and then process them to make your today lists of things to get done. A ADHDer should keep the list down to top 3 - 5 next steps they need to do and try not to work on more than one project at a time.

4) You should look up the pomodoro technique. The idea here is you use a count down timer that is visual. It is broken up into 3 25 min work segments with 5 min breaks , and then the last 25 min segment has a 25 min break. The countdown clock should remain in the peripheral vision of the ADHDer as they work. This provides a sense of time passing and for many ADHDers can give just enough tension that they focus on their work better and stay productive, but don't get overloaded by negative pressure.

5) White noise or biarual beats can help distract ADHDers from their thoughts and provide focus too. White noise can help them sleep at night better too as it interrupts the racing thoughts and stimulus seeking that can keep us awake.

6) Another thing, the PS4 can be used as a motivator. Give him a list of tasks to do when he gets home that is helpful, some thing he enjoys helping the family out doing or feels good about himself like homework, then when he completes the list each day he can just do whatever he likes afterwards until bed time. That way he can just do his homework and chores and then decompress on his PS4 or whatever for the rest of the night. He needs this to reset his brain and then this will help him motivate to get those items done to get to playing. Just be constructive and clearly communicate so he pays attention to details. Check his work, and provide constructive feedback.

7) You can also stimulate focus by having him work at the table with you. This is called body doubling. The presence of another person helps an ADHDer have mindfulness of their actions and it can keep him from drifting.

8) ADHDers also have a sort of super power. With a little practice, he can take a video or audio book and put on headphones. Then put the video in his peripheral and play the audio or visual media at double speed. While doing this he can take notes, and if he doesn't nee to take notes, he can play a video game that doesn't require reading or puzzle solving, but is instead just twitch type reflex skills. What this does is the video game distracts the part of is brain that is drifting, and then the faster playing audio forces his drifting mind to focus on the audio to not miss anything. It works well when needing to read a book or take in lessons from a lecture. Just be careful that he is taking notes when he needs too. But this is a good way to absorb audio lessons because it barely feels like work, but it actually allows him to take it in even easier and twice as fast. If x2 speed is to much, he can start at 1.25 or 1.5 and work up. I devoured a ton of audio books and online courses this way. You can get text to voice readers for websites too. This often helped me learn about ADHD quickly in fact.

9) Another thing that is important in regards to ADHD. The low dopamine can seem like he is depressed and as he learns about his ADHD, he could get frustrated with himself. Self-esteem is really important as is using positive reinforcement and avoiding traditional negative disciplinary actions. If he is making mistakes, he knows it and is likely being hard on himself inside. He needs you to be encouraging, and help see the good things he does. You got to be the wind beneath his wings when he isn't able to be for himself. Long term punishments and rewards also don;t work well. ADHDers have trouble retaining long term awareness of things, so grounding him for a week is not going to do anything other than hit his self esteem as he won't retain why he is grounded. Life is going to be hard enough on him, he doesn't need more negative reinforcement. This was hard for me to learn as a father, but taking away my daughters art supplies and video games, grounding her and taking away important rewards only made things worse for her. It caused her to go into negative feedback loops that didn't do anything to teach her a lesson. Because of the way an ADHD brain works, you can use prizes, charts, points, small gifts and treats, fun days out with family or friends and not spoil and ADHDer. They do not build up any greed or manipulation from it. The rewards just help them focus on the thing in front of them, giving them that extra push to study for a test or help with chores for the day. You want to use more carrot than stick. And when you use stick, make sure it is directly related to the lesson and not just seen as vengeful or cruel. Taking away an ADHDers thing they decompress with (like the PS4 or my daughter's art supplies) is taking away the tool they use to reset and clear their brain of stress since it is so hard for them to do it themselves.

I think you can see some of this stuff. This is why you are not so keen on taken away his PS4 for example. Your mother's intuition on how your child works is in the right ball park. As you learn the science behind all this and observe and communicate with him, he will make more and more sense and you will be able to help him more and more.

Another important thing to note, ADHDers are stimulus seeking. Our brain needs dopamine that our biology has shorted it. This means ADHDers easily can over eat or eat poorly, they tend to have riskier sex, seek out danger and thrill-seeking, are more likely to explore drugs and alcohol. Some even can get into criminal behavior depending on circumstances. This behavior is a form of self-medicating and its important to be mindful of it. Medication actually lowers the odds of these things getting out of hand. Though it seems counter-intuitive, but a medicated ADHDer reduces their chances of seeking illegal drugs by something like 90%. Its also important to encourage them to eat health foods they enjoy so they get dopamine from those instead of junk food, make sure that they are educated about safe-sex options and practices and it is comfortable for them to talk to you about it. This could keep them from being a teen parent or getting an STD. Make sure there isn't judgment or shame around them needing "alone time" either. The birds and the bees is challenging enough for adults, let alone teens trying to figure all of that out. It becomes even more complicated for ADHDers, so don't push them to date to early. Let them feel safe asking you questions and content to stay single until they can mature further.

As for the thrillseeking, if this is happening, help them do it safely by finding the right sport or other outdoor activity that doesn't put them at risk if they aren't paying attention or get overloaded. Anything where they can slip and fall, or are using tools or weapon, or moving at fast speeds can all be lethal for an ADHDer unless they are shown to be very mindful and hyper-focused when doing that activity.

Something else to know, ADHDers are typically about 30% behind emotionally to their peers. So, a 16 year old ADHDer learning to drive is like you are teaching a 12 year old. Not a good idea. If they road rage, or impulsively speed or recklessly rush somewhere, who knows what could happen.

Side-note, did your son do this screening? I would suggest both you and your husband do this screening too. If you feel comfortable sharing your results, I can likely provide insight into your situation and if your dealing with ADHD.


Again, let me know if there is anything you need more help with.

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Your post is so informative and very encouraging. Certain days are really good with our 8 year old son recently diagnosed with ADHD -c and others are just really bad especially in the evenings when my husband gets home. Our son is taking focalin, so we are still trying to figure the right dose for him. Homework is the cause of most fights and back talking which messes our evenings. I am reading about five books to try and understand as much but i want someone to help my husband get the hang of the situation and maintain the relationship he has with our son which is starting to suffer from all the fights.

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First, you guys can do this. Just use love, have tons of patience and educate yourself about ADHD and executive functions. You are not going to be able to approach this with normal methods of teaching or discipline. ADHD brains work differently. The executive functions failure and dopamine uptake issues are the main thing to understand. Also, keep in mind, this is not a knowledge problem. Your child is intelligent and creative. They are just developing slower than other kids in their frontal lobe.

Something else that should be heavily underscored. Because ADHDers lack emotional inhibition and visualization we tend to speak very bluntly, our emotions come out at high levels (speaking loudly, yelling or crying unexpectedly, sudden anger or sadness or joy) and then we say everything we are thinking because it is very difficult to internalize our thoughts and feelings. These are executive functions failing. So, instead of challenging your child or discipline them when this occurs, soothe them, help them practice mindfulness and teach them why this is happening, why they are getting upset and why their brain is different. Then teach them how to see it and then help them learn to manage it. ADHD kids shouldn't be punished for this behavior and you are not bad parents. What is happening, is when they get yelled at or disciplined, this forces them to have to do something that isn't engaging them so they get cut off from dopamine and that 10 minutes of time out feels endless because they can't feel time.

Another thing, negative discipline with "normal" kids works by removing a privilege, telling the child clearly why the privilege is removed and then a duration for that punishment based on the consequences and parenting style of the parent. Time outs and grounding are similar. The nuero-typical child learns through these punishments that they don't enjoy loosing those privileges and they correct their behavior. This isn't what happens with ADHD kids.

With an ADHD kid, the punishment makes them depressed and feel bad about themselves. This is made worse by the low dopamine and lack of emotional inhibition. All of the sudden, the feeling of being unloved is turned all the way to the maximum in a split second. This then causes some manner of outburst or overreaction based on their other ADHD spectrum they are in, so it varies, but all ADHDers are going to overreact to some degree. If they also have Opposition Defiant Disorder (like myself and my kids) then they will trigger their fight reflex and either yell, argue or even break things or punch holes in walls and doors.

It should be noted, O.D.D. is your amygdala triggering your fight/flight. It is the lizard brain trying to protect you from danger and happens before you even realize it. Humans have developed brakes on their fight/flight through evolution, this facilitates us talking out conflict instead of just attacking each other. ADHDers with this disability do not have those breaks. The good news about O.D.D. is that you can through Cognitive Behavior Therapy train your fight/flight to not react with violence or yelling. Also, the degree of violence is based on the environment of the child. So a kid with O.D.D. in an abusive home will reflect that abuse. My mother, her brother and her Father have ADHD. Her and her siblings have always thought their dad was bi-polar (which has the same external symptoms as ADHD, the difference is the triggering stimulus and brain chemistry. ADHD is primarily low dopamine making motivation near impossible unless you are over-stimulated and then you react to outside stimulus. Bi-polar disorder is internal stimulus and routine imbalances in brain chemistry. Stimulants help ADHDers by boosting dopamine, they do not help bi-polar disorder as far as I understand. This is one of the reasons ADHD should be confirmed that it is not bi-polar or medication won't help and could make things worse.

My tangent aside, ADHDers who are negatively disciplined will only suffer emotional distress and it tears down their self-esteem. They do not learn from it, because their brain cannot hold the association of the misbehavior (which they may have done unintentionally due to their disorder, like talking back or yelling or saying they would do something then forgetting to do it). All punishment does is make them feel worse. You are better off using mistakes as moments to learn together, teach them as you teach yourself. Love them and let them know you both can do this together and it will be OK. Then figure out what caused the task or behavior to occur (was the chore not laid out clearly, was it to long for them to remain concentrated, do they need supplies or instructions laid out clearer? Was the behavior due to something else? Is there an underlying stress or fear they have? Is something in school or with a friend bothering them? Are they acting out because they don't know how to ask for help or express their feelings? ADHD kids face a lot of bullying as other kids notice some of their differences, my daughters have both had struggles with their friends. Sometimes your kids may have social struggles that they can't quite figure out how to talk about. You need to help soothe their emotions and find these things out instead of punishing them, but without overloading them.

Another thing that should be noted, ADHDers have these weaker executive functions. One form of survival skill that can help them is close family members and friends letting them "hi-jack" their own executive function. I do this with both my wife and a close friend of mine. I will let them know I need to sound board or plan off them, then they just let me talk and empty out my cup or externalize whatever I am having trouble fleshing out. This helps me work through issues and get a clear plan of action. Usually, I just need them their to talk and often I reach the solution without them even saying any thing. Just the act of talking it out loud makes my brain untangle it. Be OK doing this for your child if they need it.

So, the real question is how do you teach skills or discipline an ADHDer? You need to start small with things broken into baby steps. You can even involve them in this process. Teach them to make itemized lists that are the right level of detail for them. Give them chores in batches and make room for breaks and decompression time. ADHDers need to reset more often than other people their age. We do not have long attention and focus unless we are in a state of hyper focus, and then that can be you doing something for 3 days straight without sleep. Good when its productive, bad when its not. Be mindful of the days that an ADHDer can't bring it together. Your child's brain is growing. Their frontal lobe is changing until they are in their mid 30s-ish. This means what worked yesterday may not work today. Sometimes you have to adjust meds and coping tools. ADHDers also can get used to a coping tool and need to change it up too. They won't always do this on their own, they may need help from someone who they can trust and work with on their tools.

Focus on small rewards and giving back privileges same day. Let's say your kid had some chores to do and was playing video games instead. Having them pause them game (don't just shut it off), then get them to commune with you and explain you know its their ADHD, that they were distracted, and its not their fault. Ask them to repeat what you want them to do. Simplify and visually describe all they need to do and how good at it you think they will be. If that doesn't work, do it with them and have them take it over. Our split the chores between you and them and make it a race or other contest. If you are using a reward chart or point system, offer extra points or change up the chores to make it easier for them to get started. Even re-framing the chores on how helpful them doing it for you is. This whole time reassure them they can get right back to their game once the chore/homework or whatever is done. That waiting game will act as a motivator too. Also, if they are playing online and can't pause and the what they are doing is only a couple of minutes, let them finish and then get off the game.

The bottom line, your child is not misbehaving on purpose. They can't control a lot of this behavior, they might be struggling with this their whole life. Something like 40% of ADHDers do not grow out of it. Hopefully your child does, but if they don't, they need to learn how to manage it and they need to believe in themselves. Self-esteem is the first key to that.

Another thing, try to make learning fun. Figure out ways to come at homework and chores to make it a game and make sure to acknowledge their accomplishments.

Some good things I want to point out about ADHD btw.

1) I had to re-learn my brain and figure out how to manually do what my executive functions would normally do. Doing this has actually made me better at "driving my brain" better than many non-ADHDers. I can feel and see brain functions in myself and other people often. It has added sort of a extra level of information and observation to my surroundings that was never there before. Very interesting observing my ADHD and when things work and don't from this perspective.

2) My brain is much more active and creative than most people. I might not have the focus or ability to take in hard data like many people. Concentration is difficult unless there is a crisis. But my brain make connections and plays with puzzles and information in ways that very few people I know do. Our minds jump around through association and find ideas and inspiration in things. If your ADHDer can apply this to a talent they might be able to make a career out of it.

3) ADHDers are very independent and do things their own way. We tend to work outside the rules as regulation and delay frustrates us. This is bad if the ADHDer rebels to much, but if allowed to occur where there is flexibility, the ADHDer can become resourceful and do some amazing things. They may need someone helping them stay grounded, but don't hold them back. If they are excited about something, let them go for it and just help them mind the details. ADHDers often excel at working for themselves or becoming entrepreneurs. if they enjoy nature, maybe starting a landscaping business is a good idea. If they enjoy music, let them start that band and push their talent to the extreme. Help them figure out how to monetize their music, book gigs, sell music online and market themselves. Maybe starting a youtube channel and doing vlogs could work for them. Now days their are many young people making living wages by putting together various forms of social media and content channels just to showcase their artwork, their stories, comedy, or even playing video games. This type of business model is new and has a very large frontier ahead of it. It has no set template, but both smart and hard work, creative revenue streams and persistence usually pays off. With the help of someone with good organization and financial skills, an ADHDer could make this a very viable career path now days. Just make sure you help them to identify goals and research what obstacles they need to over come. Find people doing the same things and dissect how they are doing it. Then construct a similar model for them.

BTW, I have been self employed since I was 20 years old. I am 45 now. I dropped out of school at 16 and then got my GED so I could still go to college. I tried college, but wasn't able to stay focused on it and instead started my own business. As a business owner, I hired employees to handle the tasks that I couldn't do. I have had ups and downs, and then my ADHD really derailed me two years ago and most of my obstacles I can see are due to not learning how to deal with it sooner. In the middle of ADHD collapse I felt like my wife needed my help with our business but I couldn't overcome the anxiety (this was from the ADHD breakdown - its getting better and should eventually go away once my synapses are rebuilt) that going to public places was causing. So instead I taught myself how to generate money online, then built three different revenue models and all of them worked. Each time I have rebuilt them and learned from mistakes and then built them better. Sometimes my ADHD has gotten in the way, but more often than not coping tools and unique parts of my ADHD have actually helped me see things or come at things that most people wouldn't.

I didn't chose to be born with ADHD. Honestly life would be easier without it. I do wish it was treated sooner than having a time bomb go off in the middle of my life. With that said, I have enjoyed my life, have a very strong marriage and best friend in my wife and our daughters are amazing young adults who we are enjoying raising. ADHD is very challenging. There have been points in the last two years that felt like we would not survive it. I have had to use police on five different occasions to stop my daughter from harming herself or us do to O.D.D. overload, but we continue to love, find solutions and take things one day at a time. Ultimately what matters most is that they are happy and healthy. ADHD affects their brain development and causes misfiring and disruption that they can't always control. They can learn coping tools, medication makes things much easier to manage. You find the right meds and your child will have little to no side effects and only have better control over their ADHD.

Also, work with the school counselor to adjust their classes. Work your way through coaches and psychiatrists until you find one who understands ADHD as executive function disorder. Medication is technically a choice, but without it I would not be able to concentrate on anything overly complex or mundane. With meds and an adjusted ADHD friendly schedule I could have completed school and I would have gotten the degrees I wanted. The business mistakes I have made that were costly at the time would have not occurred or been less severe. The conflicts and arguments my O.D.D. caused at times wouldn't have happened. Heck, I had a competitor even that surfaced for a few years due to my ADHD being unaware of some issues I hadn't addressed. They are gone now, but my ADHD actually caused a threat to our business to come into being. So, proper treatment and ongoing management is important. Its natural for us to want a magic pill or a less scary answer. Medication scared me too. But now that I've been using it, I would not go back.

Something that might be reassuring. Medication is very safe for ADHDers. Our brain chemistry doesn't become addicted to them. We can take higher than normal doses and do not experience any euphoria or cravings for them. Stimulant medication actually decreases stress and anxiety and make us less hyper. It shouldn't make our heartbeat increased or irregular either. Of course, the medications are serious and should be managed by a doctor but don't be afraid of trying them out. If you do experience any of the major symptoms, chances are you do not have ADHD.

There is a lesser known symptom that occurs in men, but it is difficult to find online. This is sexual in nature but could be mistaken for something like prostate cancer, so I feel it should be known. Basically, stimulants can cause the brain to send signals to your prostate making it think you are having sex. There is not any sexual feeling or stimulation of any kind from this, but the prostate is still producing seminal fluid. Then when you use the bathroom (usually no.2) you will have this sudden seminal release from your urethra, even though your flaccid and not even thinking about sex. Needless to say, this really freaked me out the first time it happened. For me it happened for a couple of weeks. My doctor didn't know anything about it and she wanted to run tests (since my dad had cancer), but the ADHD specialist I was seeing explained it all, saying it was fairly common side effect. It does go away. Every now (like twice in a year) and then it just happens and I don't know why. It doesn't seem to have any correlation to sexual activity or when I take my medication. It is just an unusual side-effect that shows how the various centers of the brain are connected.

Anyrate, looks like I am writing a tell all book about ADHD at this point. I am just trying to be thorough and fully transparent so anyone seeking help can get it. I had to do a lot of trial and error to get to this point. My general practitioner says I know way more than her at this point. Mental health has a long way to go still. The experts know a lot more, but ADHD is widely misunderstood by the majority of society and many of the medial professionals. That is why it is so hard to find clear answers.

Good luck, my heart goes out to all of you. We will get through this together and by educating ourselves. There is hope!


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Thank you so much for this very honest, encouraging and realistic view of ADHD. My husband and I are totally from a very different culture. I especially growing up had never known, heard or experienced anything called mental disabilities, learning disabilities and all. I can honestly say that if in my community or school a child was different they were an outcast and considered a taboo. They were no names or medical terms used to discribe what that child was experiencing or why they were different. I have been in denial and made excuses but finally have come to terms with what’s happening. Now that I am here. I want to learn as much, do all I can to make sure that our son gets every opportunity to achieve and reach his full potential. At times I just want to sleep through everything and never wake up but, we are going to do it as a team and I am taking the team leader job! Thank you very much I hope to never want to sleep and not wake up.

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Make sure to do a screening for both you and your husband. That link I posted in the previous message links to a PDF that most doctors use. You can fill it out at home to get an idea. It is good to know if either of you have it as ADHD is most often inherited. It can occur from toxins in the mother's system when pregnant and brain injuries can cause it too. ADHD is the second most inherited trait next to height though. It runs in families. What is interesting about it, is most ADHDers have one or more comorbidity traits (like anxiety, dyslexia, etc). These comorbid traits are inherited too. This means the ADHD types are not so much inattentive or hyperactive (like they previously thought), but ADHD+the comorbid traits. So ADHD+ODD runs in my family while ADHD+anxiety might run in another family. Parents who do not show the ADHD might still have the comorbid trait and they show the genetic indicators in their brain. Dr. Russell Barkley discusses this in his video. I think it is in this one:


Just finished watching. Thank you again. I am going to find more of such

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Excellent! Let me know if you need any help. :)


I definitely will need your take on all the different aspects of ADHD. I feel like I am at just the tip of the iceberg.


Hi is there a way I can get you in touch with my husband. He needs to hear from you. I want to help him get a long better with our son and understand that medicine alone is not a miracle pill that is going to fix everything especially our interactions with our son.


Hi is there a way I can get you in touch with my husband? He needs to communicate or hear from you. I want to help him get a long better with our son and understand that our son has nothing against him plus but also know that medicine is not a miracle pill that is going to fix everything especially our interactions with our son.


My son (13 yrs old) was recently put on Vyvanse after years on Concerta. He began to have problems with Concerta that made him not take it. We visited the doctor and she put him on Vyvanse. OMG! It has been wonderful for him. His grades are better, has no side effects, and he is happier. The best part is I don't have to fight him to take it everyday. Every kid is different. Keep trying until you find something that works for him.

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Hello Christina. What dosage of Vyvanse did they put your son on? We started at 10 which was a not enough. Went to 20, still not helping. Our doctor then switched her to Ritalin, horrible!!!! Then we tried addaral again not for her. We went back to vyvanse and did 40 and boom awesome! If they don’t get the right dosage it’s just as bad as not getting any medication at all. She has learned to work around the meds. Eat a lot of breakfast take the pill then at night as it wears off 2 dinners. Think total calories for the day instead of each meal. Good luck, don’t give up. The medication is important for their brain structure. Lmk if you have anymore guestions.

P.s. my daughter does not take it everyday. Example: vacation she doesn’t need to focus on homework so she takes a break.


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It could be the meds, but the symptoms you describe of headache, stomach pains, racing heart and feeling sick can all be signs of high anxiety as well. I know, I've seen a lot with my 16 yr old! Anxiety can feel even so intense, especially in a panic attack, that the person may feel like they're dying. So it might be the med brand, or it might be too low of a dose to be effective which results in low performance which causes the high anxiety (meaning, helping the ADHD with help the secondary result of anxiety).

I would recommend you

- Of course meet your child's prescriber.

- Learn a lot more anxiety and panic attacks (as the school work intensifies in high school, so will the performance anxiety).

- Find a mental health professional for your child to meet with on a weekly basis...and that YOU/partner can meet with alone at other times.

- Keep in mind that he's most likely still establishing a friend group at his new school and if he's like many other ADHD kids then this will take a while so this would be a very stressful time for any 14 year old. Consider doing something special for him and a friend like tickets to something, a trip somewhere, etc. The enticing extra may cross an acquaintance into the friend zone and make a big difference. With

- Also keep in mind that his self esteem, his forming view of himself within this world as be grows into his teen years, is very important. It's more important than a normally-developing teen's esteem because our ADHD kids are often failing not thriving, are often hearing criticism not praise, and are often ignored by their peers (or worse, made a target). Have empathy for what he must be going through 5 days/week at school! My child was a trooper at holding herself together through the school day pretending all was well and normal, but falling apart once she came home. It's exhausting! Then all the dang homework will end up filling the rest of their home time...and they still may fail their classes! Find something he's interested in and support it. He needs to find something he can thrive at, be proud of, be able to say to others that he can do well. There needs to be a balance and he cannot have an ingrained view of himself a perpetual failure for the sake of his future.

My child also takes Vyvance as it now comes in a chewable pill and she cannot swallow pills. She has pretty limited options for meds. She also takes Prozac for the anxiety. I know it sounds like a lot for a teen, and it took a while for me to wrap my own mind around it, but denying any meds would make the situation worse. The only thing that would ease all for her would be 1:1 schooling at her own pace and taking on personal responsibilities at her own pace rather than based on her age. She'll get there eventually I'm sure, but will her self esteem be intact?

My advice for you would be to show him a solid, confident attitude to his troubles...and let out your worries with a mental health counselor, support group, or similar. He's unsteady and needs you to be his rock, his foundation, until he can build his own. That may be another decade from now so hang in there!

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My son is on Vyvanse, he’s almost 9 years old. It’s been about a year since he’s started. I was very very hesitant. These effects you have mentioned , I see as well, but not to the extreme. Occasional headache, that Tylenol or Advil takes right away. And the stomach aches do come n go. It also takes his appetite away. Since he’s Been on it, he doesn’t sleep as much either. I have noticed however that these side effects seem to lessen once the body gets used to this new element that it’s receiving. He also does say he has heart racing occasionally. I tell him to make sure he lets me know of anything different he feels. How i deal with it & help him to is to sit down and take a minute to relax when he feels these effects. I sit there with him, and I also try to distract him to take his mind off it. It seems these side effects come and go pretty fast. I was worried that these may cause me to take him off but I gave it time, and I see it’s doing ok. He’s almost a straight A student now, whereas before he couldn’t complete an assignment, nor sit n his seat for more then 2 min and he still wiggled. I do not give it to him on the weekends at all. Hope this helps!

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Also,’I can’t say the Vyvanse is the magic pill that turned my son into an A student. I put forth a lot of efforts, encouraging him, helping him with his hw& projects, school communication and openness, and therapy!

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My son is nine years old has been that he knows a couple months ago ADHD the doctor recommended no medication something simple as tea and coffee which Which she explained to me whenCaffeine will make a normal brain Very alert it does the opposite for a child with ADHD it slows the brain down and it has been working for my son he is “focus even a special-needs class he was taken in school you know longer need it because the teacher said he is doing so well so think about it give him the green tea maybe with a lemon It taste a lot better and sweetened with a little honey I give my son two bottles to take to school every day and a cup at home The coffee I was given him also but he got tired of it so I start making different cake and muffin and Add instant coffee and sometimes I have one in the morning before school which is working really well everything is all natural and he is going great no medication I truly do not believe in medication especially if your child is very sensitive it’s like being high every day which are lots of Kids Will end up having very aggressive Behavior

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Coffee can work to an extent, but it has other side effects and the amount of coffee needed can do even more damage than stimulants. Something else to keep in mind too, ADHD is on a spectrum. Degree of severity may require stimulants. All medically verified studies of stimulant medication on ADHD shows that it is not harmful for children or adults to use long term and that 90% of ADHDers gain normalization of their dopamine and serotonin while medicated. In 75% of ADHDers it can grant nearly normal functioning of their brain. I have severe ADHD and tried the coffee method, it was irregular, made me pee all day and gave me headaches if I didn't keep it up. It wasn't able to make my mind quiet down either. Nothing I have ever done has worked as well as stimulants. Stimulants were like getting glasses for my brain and brought everything into focus. Night and day difference. Please speak to doctors with experience with ADHDers or read/watch materials from those experts. Most general doctors do not understand how stimulants affect ADHDers, and spreading fear and misinformation about medication only hurts the main thing that helps us the most.


You are right in my sons case it is very Mild so the Green tea and coffee is working very well


Its good his case is mild. He may grow out of his ADHD too. Sometimes ADHD like symptoms occur just from frontal lobe development as their brain occasional grows at a slower rate to the child's peers. Its when that development starts to lag further or they do not lose the symptoms by their 30-40s that you are dealing with long term executive function disorders. The medications are essential for those of us in those cases.


You are right in my sons case it is very Mild so the Green tea and coffee is working very well

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Hang in there. Having a child with ADHD is extremely difficult as you find others don't understand and you hit a wide range of emotions. My 1st child started off with Focalin XR. He immediately was experiencing double vision, and the school counselor stated he was suicidal on it for his 1st day of the medication at the age of 6. The school required me to take him to the police station for that to do a police report...scary, embarrassing, sad, disappointing, and etc. He was then switched to Vyvanse and started experiencing vocal tics. He got in trouble in school for the vocal tics, which he couldn't help. Then my child was switched to another medication which works, but does not alleviate ALL the symptoms of ADHD. My point is that it make take a little trial and error to find the right medication. Also, it is hard to educate teachers on ADHD because their egos get insulted as they believe they are the experts on it. Sometimes I feel so defeated dealing with it, but everyday is the opportunity for a good day, and the bad day will pass.

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Medication is absolutely necessary for treating the dopamine/concentration issues with ADHD. It also helps make the emotionally swinginess of ADHD easier to handle. What medication doesn't help with is underdeveloped or failing executive functions. These are things like time-awareness, visualization, organization, prioritizing, hind/foresight. These are all aspects of self-management that ADHD affects. Each of us are affected on a spectrum based on how underdeveloped those areas of the brain are. All of these have tons of coping tools. Different tools work differently and better for some than others. Its all individually based. You need to experiment and try different tricks and tools. Some of the top ones are:

1) Pomodore technique (for motivation)

2) GTD (Getting Things Done) (for organization)

3) Sienfeld Method (for habit building)

4) White-noise or ambient sounds (for calming and clearing the mind)

5) Isolating yourself with a task or project (for concentration and motivation)

6) Body doubling (working with someone else in the room or in a public space, like a coffee shop) so you feel the social pressure to produce (for productivity). Doing chores and physical busy work is best done with a friend or family member so you can chat while doing it. Quiet work is better in situations where you cannot talk but are forced to focus on your work.

There is much more and some creativity can help here.

Understanding the medical science behind all this is crucial to tackling ADHD.

Dr. Russell Barkley is one of the leading experts on ADHD. Here are the two most accessible videos he has for ADHDers and their families needing help.

Watch this video:

When you are ready for a more info:

His book on raising kids with ADHD: audible.com/pd/Self-Develop...

Let me know if there is anything else I can do to help.

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Hello- I'm a middle aged woman who has ADHD. I've been on prescription Vyvance for a year. It has in the big picture been a blessing for me. I was easy to anger and over chatty as well as a list of other issues before taking Vyvance. In my opinion it requires a lot of good healthy food and plenty of water to work best. I've noticed that eating a solid meal in the morning is the best way to take this medicine for me. Before taking the medicine I eat a meal with protein and plenty water. If I don't do that this medicine feels like it makes my blood sugar go crazy. Even missing lunch after that breakfast can make me feel like that. I'm not talking about sugar pops and milk in the morning, I'm talking a breakfast burrito with beans and eggs and two pints of water. If I don't continue the self care with quality food throughout the day it feels terrible to be on Vyvance. When all my chemistry is correct and I take the pill it feels amazing to be able to focus and not be snappy. Vyvance has helped me to be more in tune with myself and available to the world around me. Another positive for Vyvance it doesn't make me crash and get moody like Adderal. ADHD is still a struggle for me in many ways, but the Vyvance feels like it gives me a chance to clearly address the challenges that I face daily. I wish you and your son all the best in finding what helps.


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