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dad_who_cooks
dad_who_cooks
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Dad to a 6-year old boy who has had ADHD, hyperactive type, for at least a year. Then this month developed anxiety (separation, also generalized?) and a tic. I feel like we've hit the tri-fecta on things-that-go-together. I am hoping to chat or hear about other families where kids have these three conditions. We are starting some sleep/exercise/diet structures and having a meeting with a psychologist for the anxiety this week. Thanks for existing, I thought I would lose my mind dealing with this.

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ADHD_DAD

Welcome! Hang in there. Good for you for getting on this at age 6!

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dad_who_cooks

thank you

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Pennywink

Welcome!

My son was diagnosed with ADHD and Tourette Syndrome at age 6 (currently 7.5). No official diagnosis of Anxiety, but he definitely has leanings that way (and so does his dad!) along with a touch of OCD.

Sleep is super important for my son - it's the only thing we've found that has as much of an impact as his medication. We haven't found much success with diet & exercise treatments (except maybe caffeine), though a cousin who grew up with TS did see tic improvement when involved in sports.

Let me know if you have any questions! :)

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dad_who_cooks

Sleep is super important. Before the diagnosis I would routinely leave family events with him because I knew that it would be awful if we kept him awake. Our other kids would tolerate changes to their sleep routine, but not this kid.

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Pennywink

Same with ours. My younger daughter is a bit more flexible, but my son.... you mess up his sleep schedule and you are paying for it for the next 3-7 days. Only now at age 7.5 does he sometimes sleep in (30 mins, tops.)

As for the tic, they are actually more common than people realize, especially in boys age 4-12. I would just keep notes of any you see, onset / duration. But much of the time they are transient & will go away on their own. Unless they are disruptive or socially isolating, its best just to ignore them completely.

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Reeeba1

I feel you. My eight-year-old has tics that come and go but the current ones are the worst. He rubs the corner of his eye and I think he’s going to cause a scar or something. Best thing I can say about the tics is we have found that if you ignore them they do go away within a month or two usually replaced by another. I agree with the other poster that sleep is hugely important and we also avoid sugar and found that aspartame was a huge trigger for my son. We avoid artificial sweeteners to for this reason. Good luck. You’ll get through it. If it makes you feel any better, and it did for me, my son‘s pediatrician has ADHD which started when he was a kid and he told us about the horrible tics he had as well. When he was little he used to open his mouth very wide and even tore the corners of his mouth. It is so reassuring having a pediatrician who is ADHD because he really gets us.

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dad_who_cooks

Thank you. It is just the 3rd week of this tic and he's had some better days since we got serious about keeping his schedule regular. The problem has been 90% my reaction to it. I have to say, I'm considering medicine for myself if it doesn't go away.

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Reeeba1

Xanax. For you, not him, if a doctor agrees of course. No shame in self preservation. It is So hard not to try to get them to stop. My sons eye tic is so bad right now. Both his teacher and taekwondo instructor today told me they HAVE to speak up or he will tear his eye. I don’t know what to do. May try a med change. good luck.

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Pennywink
Pennywink
in reply to Reeeba1

Yes - our pediatrician and our son’s teachers also all have kids with ADHD, so it’s been wonderful to have their compassion and insights.

Our son had a month of siren noises at age 6.5, but otherwise most of his tics fly under the radar. The lip licking is probably the worst, as his poor lips & mouth area get so chapped up.

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Reeeba1
Reeeba1
in reply to Pennywink

Tics are the worst. Right now my son has this tic where he rubs the corner of his eye. It’s all irritated and red and I am just waiting for pink eye since he touches it all day. He is covering his eye each time and it affects his vision and focus. We try to ignore but teachers don’t want to ignore it as he is literally injuring himself. Wish I had some management technique. . We may try new meds....

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Pennywink
Pennywink
in reply to Reeeba1

What meds is he currently taking?

Eight may be a little young for behavioral treatments for tics, but if he’s hurting himself I suppose it can’t hurt. Redirecting the tic is one method. I’m not sure what that would be for eye rubbing - I’ll have to think. Perhaps even just use a tissue while ticking - that way at least he won’t be contracting pink eye. Then there is also Habit Reversal Therapy, though they usually wait until teen years to start trying that.

Hopefully your doctor has some suggestions or can refer you to the appropriate specialist.

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Reeeba1
Reeeba1
in reply to Pennywink

Thanks. We have tried giving him other things to do with his hands but it just doesn’t work. He’s constantly going back-and-forth between the eye and whatever is in his hands. I even try things like holding his hands and snuggling him and he still pulls back. We even bought him a pair of non-prescription glasses but he just goes around them. He’s on Dyanavel xr

Right now, 12.5 mg just went up from 10 mg. But the tech pre-dated the dosage increase. Plus his focus is really off so we think maybe the medication is just not working anymore. I’m going to get him in with his doctor to see what’s next. Thank you.

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Reeeba1
Reeeba1
in reply to Pennywink

Sorry I see my typo above. Our pediatrician HIMSELF has ADHD beginning as a child. He manages it now as an adult.

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Cjkchamp

My son is ADHD combined with symptoms of anxiety and depression. He was also looking at a diagnosis of emotional dysregulation. He started broad spectrum micronutrients and the symptoms of anxiety, depression, and dysregulation subsided. They work for some people so I would highly encourage you to investigate them! There are two companies, Hardy Nutritionals and True Hope. Wishing you the best!

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Paperplane

My son is also 6, with ADHD combined type and anxiety (though no tics, as of yet). His anxiety also shows up as mostly separation-based for now, with lots of hand-holding to get him into school on a daily basis. Glad you found this site, and looking forward to hearing how the sleep/exercise/diet treatments go. We're doing therapy and (someday, likely) medication, but right now mostly just behavioral treatments. He was just diagnosed in June of this year and we moved into a better school system, so everything's a bit up in the air! I'm still trying to understand the ins and outs of each condition and how they interact.

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dad_who_cooks

thank you. We just started therapy and although we've had some good nights, tonight was an example of a night where I wonder why we aren't doing medicine right away. My wife would like to wait at least 2 months to see if the behavioral mods can turn the tide. I have my doubts since it seems like we're 100 miles from "normal" right now.

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Paperplane

Yeah, I have my wondering nights myself. It's such a hard call. So many people talk about how improved their children are on the proper dosage of medication (even if it was hard to get there initially), and that it was only the stigma and fear/ignorance that kept them from medicating sooner. That resonates with my own experiences (I've been on meds for depression for 10+ years, and went through a similar do-I/don't-I cycle in the beginning, and wish I had gone on them much sooner-- they were literally lifesaving). But when it's your kid, and they're so young... it's much harder to just push the button and hope for the best.

I would say... if your child's symptoms are destroying his quality of life, and your family's ability to function, then medication might be a necessity. There's a point where behavioral therapy can't take hold until they're calm and receptive enough to hear and process it. Frequently, that requires medication first. My son isn't quite at that crisis point yet, but I worry about him socially. We withhold medicine in hopes that he'll learn skills through therapy, but he's not going to "skill" his way out of impulsivity and hot-headedness, especially at this age. And then I wonder who I'm kidding-- like if he's "not ready" for medication now, why not, and when will he be? It's mostly a way for me to avoid my own fears about meds, than a truth about what he needs.

I honestly, at this stage, just don't know enough about what to do. But I'm not sure I'll ever be able to act with certainty. In any case, I understand what you both are going through.

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Pennywink

We definitely started medication with a degree of uncertainty - which can get worse if the medication trial period is long. I was a little more confidant than my husband, as I saw what a shockingly positive effect caffeine (an OTC stimulant) had on my son. Not that I recommend treating ADHD with coffee! lol.

What helped us was just to think of it as a trial. The nice thing about ADHD meds is you can stop them at anytime. We decided to give it a month, with the knowledge that we can stop at any time and that we wouldn't accept any medication that turned him into a zombie robot. We want him to be a little boy with his happy spark and still get into trouble like all children do. We were mostly looking for improving HIS quality of life, not ours - and if we didn't see it, we would drop it.

Our trial was actually a little longer (more like 2.5 months), as we started with non-stimulants in hopes that they would also tame his tics, and they take a few weeks to see if they are effective (not enough for us.) But our first stimulant we tried was a home run and we haven't regretted it since.

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Paperplane

Thank you-- that's a good way to think of it. I think I'll mention it to his doctor at the next appointment and see where we go from there.

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Deenice

My daughter was six when her ADHD & anxiety kicked into high gear. The anxiety got so bad she would throw up in the school parking lot at drop off, complete melt downs at school, kicking, throwing, screaming, verbal abuse toward teachers and peers, etc. The odd thing is I never had these behaviors at home. Not sure if I would call them tics but she had repetitive behaviors. We did discover she did well with something soft and soothing in her hand that she rubs on her lips and was allowed to have in class. After meetings with the school administration and putting an IEP in place she was able to visit with the counselor if she was having a hard time self-regulating. After also having some therapy sessions I learned it was also very important to control my own reactions to her behaviors, i.e. loving on her, holding her A LOT. Understanding they themselves do not know why, how or what is happening. The one thing that has and still does make a big difference with her anxiety is CBD oil. CBD oil was a game changer. Please know as he matures some of these behaviors will disappear. My daughter is 9 now and still struggles with focus and organization but can generally keep her emotions in check and she has never been on medication.

Hope this helps

Denise

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