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Hi I am new here. What are some ways to manage ADHD in my 8 yo without stimulant medication?

Tharris91 profile image
13 Replies

My 8Yo was recently diagnosed with ADHD. I requested that we be referred to a Psychologist but our appointment isn't until MAY!!! I didn't want to immediately opt in to giving her stimulant medication. So has anyone successfully managed ADHD and the struggle in class, if so how?

13 Replies
hrs9qa profile image
hrs9qa

Depending on the severity of the ADHD stimulants may be necessary. My son was 8 when diagnosed and is 16 now. What I have learned is the lack of focus is not intentional and completely out of his control. Before the medication, he had trouble with self esteem and didn't understand why other kids could finish their work but he couldn't. His medication helps him get things done so he feels successful both at home with chores and in school. I would suggest weighing all options before saying no to stimulants.

Blue_Mouse profile image
Blue_Mouse

I was also reluctant to use stimulants, and have found that guanfacine (a nonstimulant) works very well for my child to even out moods, reduce frustration, and allow greater control, all of which have a positive effect on self-esteem. I wish I'd tried meds earlier, because my child is happier now.

Ask your psychiatrist (psychologists can't usually prescribe) what other options are available.

If your child has problems falling asleep, ask about melatonin too. It has made a huge difference,

catherinehu77 profile image
catherinehu77 in reply to Blue_Mouse

Hi, May I know what brand is your guanfacine? Intuniv or Tenex? My doctor prescribed Tenex to me.

Blue_Mouse profile image
Blue_Mouse in reply to catherinehu77

It's the generic, which we get filled at Costco.

catherinehu77 profile image
catherinehu77 in reply to Blue_Mouse

Ours is Tenex(generic). I know there are two brands, Intuniv and Tenex. Tenex can be chewed with food. Intuniv must be eaten as a whole. Tenex seemed didn't work for us. I'm considering changing it to the other brand.

CoffeeandLove profile image
CoffeeandLove

You may also want to consider an occupational therapy evaluation to assess for/rule out any sensory processing difficulties, fine motor difficulties, ocular motor difficulties, etc. that are making symptoms more pronounced and/or more difficult for your child to regulate.

jenn21dw profile image
jenn21dw

We just tried Adderall - two different types/dosages with my 12 yr old son and they both made him extremely irritable and honestly didn't seem to help him focus much. I too cringed at the idea, (both his bio father and I have a history of addiction in the family, that was one of my main concerns) but I was desperate we had done everything including currently homeschooling.

I have spoken with someone in the hemp industry lately and am looking for a source of CBG and CBDa (different from regular CBD) to give a try. It's not too difficult to find as full spectrum (less than .3% thc) but I really want to try to find some with no THC.

If I can find or create one that is broad spectrum (no trace THC) I will be trying that out for him. CBG is known to promote a sense of well-being, calm, and focus while CBDa works with your serotonin receptors reducing anxiety, nausea, and inflammation. Most children with ADHD have some level of anxiety (stressing out quickly, inability to sometimes regulate emotional outbursts)

CBD has done great for me in terms of helping me to think more clearly and with my anxiety so I am really hoping that this will work out for us. Not really something I have tried yet but just another idea from a mom in a similar predicament.

Onthemove1971 profile image
Onthemove1971 in reply to jenn21dw

I am sorry to hear that your first attempt at medication didn't work well. That is not a normal reaction to stimulants. As many parents will tell you in the group, this is a journey and for many parents this part don't come easy ( although some parent find the right medication on the 1st trial). As you can imagine the human body is very complex and so is meditation. I encourage you to try a different meditation. The job of a stimulant is to stop the impulsive behaviors ( this may allow them to focus more). Non-stimulants are usually for helping with mood and focus.

Our son is 15 years old now and he and I have had conversations about trying different medications and he told me he does not remember this period of time of his life. He only know how stable he is on the proper dose, type and the correct timing of medication.

The good thing about stimulants is they are only on the body the amount of time their body metabolizes them and then they leave. We know exactly when our son's medication wears off becuase all the symptoms come back.

Good luck with finding what works best for your child.

MomofOne13 profile image
MomofOne13

After not finding a successful route with stimulant meds, we've moved to using Hardy Nutritionals Daily Essential Nutrients for our 10 year old son. It takes a bit of the edge off and improves his mood. Not sure it would be enough for a regular classroom, but we also enrolled him in a small private school that specializes in ADHD, dyslexia, mild spectrum etc. He can basically still get through the school day as they don't make a big deal of constantly repeating instructions and letting him sit/stand however he wants or keep up a constant low chatter...

Onthemove1971 profile image
Onthemove1971

The other tools that can help are thearpy, educational accommodations and parent education which changes the lens they see their child with. If you do consider medication I would strongly encourage a child's psychartist, they specialize in helping to treat children with medication.

A few other things that help, exercise daily, makinging sure their are no sleeping or other learning issues, finding their interests outside of school and support with peer relationships.

Best to you, we are always here for you

GoDukes profile image
GoDukes

I hate to say it, but we found nothing that helps with school attentiveness other than stimulants. We tried everything we could think of when our son was 7 to avoid stimulants. Dietary changes, mindfulness practices, non-stimulants. When we finally gave in, it was apparent why stimulants are prescribed. Now our son had side effects like loss of appetite and an increase in anxiety and irritability. This caused us to try different meds and dosages. We found that Foculin had the least amount of side effects for him. He still had anxiety issues though, and so we ended up adding an anti-anxiety med. This has been the best combination for him. We are a long way from the beginning when we didn't want to give him meds. I was afraid they would make him a different person but that didn't happen. What did happen was that his frustration levels dropped while his self esteem went up. It is still a work in progress but we wouldn't be here without the meds and now that he is 12, I think he understands that too. Good luck! We haven't had much luck with psychologists and psychiatrists so we had to do a lot of our own research and work with his pediatrician to try different things.

Onthemove1971 profile image
Onthemove1971 in reply to GoDukes

What a great outcome! Thanks for sharing the story about your son.

Mickeylang profile image
Mickeylang

Hello, my son (9y) currently has adhd and a few other things..and we have not yet managed meds..and so far it's been great. Since his diagnosis in Sept. The school and I have a plan in place that seems to be working great! At home, routine is very important and he always knows what's happening and when because when he doesn't, his adhd and anxiety can take right off! He is also in bed early because proper sleep is a must. One day short on sleep and hes a monster! We currently have him in a private school since prek and the smaller classrooms i truly think make a difference. He is side tracked so easily...and this cuts down on that. Our son is a very rough and tough boy. Outside a lot, likes to hunt with his dad, ride bikes, etc.. and He just made honor roll that's how well it's working!!! I hope this helps!!

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