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ADHD Parents Together
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teenager won't eat or sleep

My 15 year old son has been on adderall 20mg per day for the past 3 months. It has been super helpful in terms of his school day productivity. The side effects have been decreased appetite and difficulty getting to sleep. In the last few days he has barely touched food, has been complaining of no appetite the whole day. The only thing he wants to do is immerse himself in many hours of video gaming (where he is constantly stimulated and screams at the screen) and his ODD has become severe and abusive. Not sure if I should stop the medication, switch to a new one, or what else to do. There is so much tension between us as I try to enforce any rules, moderation or time-management. We are both getting to the end of our ropes. Any suggestions? Has anyone found something that works with a stubborn ADHD kid this age?

5 Replies

I'd like to tell you we found the magic pill, but I can't! I will tell you that you have to start managing this behavior ASAP, because it only gets worse. First of all, don't stop the medication - it helps with school work, but also with the impulse control issues that these boys have. Can he eat a big breakfast before his meds? It wears off after 8 hours (max) and then he should want dinner. About the video games: come up with a plan as to how much time he gets and here's the important thing: STICK TO IT!! NO MATTER WHAT!! If you decide he can play games after homework is finished for 1 hour and he refuses to stop, then you unplug the device and take it away. Find somewhere to lock it up. Remember - no discussion - our boys don't listen to us when we explain....they just hear "blah blah blah"! At the risk of sounding insensitive, it's like telling your dog what to do - short and sweet!


I have the same exact issue. My son is 13 and he takes 20 mgs of Methylphenidate (generic Ritalin). He has little to no appetite throughout the day. I try my best to feed him a really good breakfast. Eggs, milk, and a waffle w Nutella or peanut butter. And i also feed him late at night when the meds finally wear off. Like 9:30/10 pm.

Is I‎t possible that your son needs a slightly lower dose or a shorter acting drug in order to get his appetite back later in the day?

As far as the video games, I think my son uses I‎t as a crutch bc it’s easier than actually being social. I do have restrictions on my sons playing bc he gets too zoned into them and becomes aggressive or agitated when he plays too much. He isn’t happy about the moderation but I tell him it’s with time limits or he doesn’t get I‎t at all.

Sorry you’re having a tough time. The teen years are rough. Hang in there!


Same thing here, odd was off the charts. Hitting..me, etc. Mine ..almost 12, is taking lose dose Seroquel now about an hour before bed + melatonin. Vyvanse in am. Intensity of meltdowns have really decreased. They still happen though. I drove her butt to the police station the first time. The police let her visit a cell and played thier parts. Also use consequences.. Like chore jar, etc. No quick fix, but keep at it. Good luck


My 13 year old is also on Seroquel to help control anger. We also are on non-stimulant ADHD medication and it's done much better for his appetite. Stimulants were making him too angry.

I think all kids this age are obsessed with videogames, ADHD kids just get more obsessed. You just need to find a happy medium with it


Does he play games on Xbox? The Xbox has great parental controls. You can limit his game time as I had to do with my 13 year old boy.

I believe video games act as stimulants to them in that it is something they can maintain total focus on. Not healthy to sit in front of a screen all day, but, does give them a path to vent / relax perhaps???


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