Medicate or Not?: My 7 year old was... - CHADD's ADHD Pare...

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Medicate or Not?


My 7 year old was diagnosed with ADHD when she just turned 6 in first-grade. She was on 10mg focalin all year and we saw an improvement in her grades and handwriting right away. She was never a discipline issue at all... just focus and attention to detail.

This summer we removed her medication and she seemed normal, except for when she had to perform in instruction (like swim lessons) . For example, she looked lazy in the water and didn't improve her stroke the entire week. During her second round of lessons, I asked her to take her medication so that I could just see if there was even a difference. There was a huge difference in her stroke by the end of the week she was on meds. It could be that it was the medication, but it could be that it was just time for her to learn-- never quite sure.

She says she loses her emotions on her medication and isn't as social/friendly with it... but I do see improvement in her focus on the focalin. I don't like the medication dance of, "is this working/is it not?" " do we need to increase we hold?" "is this medication giving her anxiety etc.?" "should I try a different brand?"...It actually makes me crazy.

In your opinion, is slight improvement in academics/performance worth the medication stress? or, do I just let her be what she is going to be-- especially when behavior isn't a concern.

Anyone in a similar situation, where they were trying to make this decision?

4 Replies

Ah the million dollar question. Are the meds worth it?

The medication dance you speak of seems to be something most parents and kids have to go through. To find the correct dose and medicine is a treasure hunt.

If the gain does not seem worth it to you and your daughter, then it isn’t.

If she only slightly improves on medication, maybe she needs a different one. Bottom line for me and my son, is that how he feels is the priority. Adhd meds did not help him much at all. Anti anxiety meds do help him. It took 2 years to find the right thing. Keep asking questions. Listen to your instincts and your daughter, go from there. :-)

Hi there. You said there was a huge difference in her stroke so to me it sounds like the meds helped her focus just like her school work. ADHD medicine goes in/out of the body quickly so without the meds, the inability to focus will worsen without The meds if they are truly needed. You could also try giving her 1/2 of her pill (5 ml) to see if it helps her focus but keeps her less emotional. Did you ask your daughter if she felt it helped her focus? I realize she’s young but I was able to ask my son at this age and he was able to tell me. While none of us like to have our children on medicine if it helps them succeed we need to weigh the pros/cons.

in reply to Ldydy24

She can articulate the benefits and cons to me pretty well. She says the medication helps her “not get lost,” but she “feels like she has no emotions and is shy on it.” She basically says she likes the focus it gives her, but hates the side effects.

in reply to kondasa

I remember my son being the same way at first. As soon as the dose kicks in he is quiet and focused but as times goes his personality comes through. I personally would try giving her a 1/2 dose of her pill and see if that works. I often do this just to take the edge off and it gives my son just the boost he needs without over powering his personality,

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