Decision to medicate …: Hi, I have an... - CHADD's ADHD Pare...

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Decision to medicate …

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Hi, I have an 11 year old who was diagnosed with severe adhd, anxiety, ocd and high functioning on the spectrum. We decided to medicate when he was first diagnosed at age 8 but stopped after one year. Because of his age, I feel like we were able to control his impulses a little bit more. That and because of his age, he didn’t stand out so much in comparison to his peers. Flash forward now, we are starting to see a big difference and he struggles with impulsive comments, lacks social awareness and can’t regulate his emotions. We had him reevaluated and his pediatrician and he said ultimately the decision is up to me to medicate. I told him why we decided to stop before. My son got really skinny and had sleep disturbances. At the time, we had someone else treating him and he made no suggestions to help. Our current pediatrician gave us a plan on what to do and what to expect. I just want what’s best for my son and all signs point to medication as far as treating his type of adhd. I guess I’m on here to hear if others feel the same and their success stories. It will put my husbands mind at ease with the choice to medicate again. The dr knows my son spends most of his time with me and he said he thinks the choice really should be mine. I was for it but my husband is giving me push back. Any help or support would be great!

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I totally understand where you are coming from. This is one of the hardest decisions to make. It's one of of those things where you feel dammed if you do and dammed if you don't. We offered medication to our son in grade 6 but it took us over a year to decide. He lost a dramatic amount of weight. He was 70 pounds in grade 8 and suffered amd is still suffering from significant body image issues. But off the meds he struggled socially and impulsive control was an issue. I feel like there is no right answer tbh. I know the doctors always say it's up to us but what a heavy emotional load to put on us parents. He took himself off of them in grade 9 and the gym became his fix. Has done wonders for his self esteem but we still really struggle with school amd emotional regulation at home. I feel you momma. What if he went on them during the week for school and took weekend breaks and Summer breaks from them? Just a thought.

Stimulant medication can be very helpful for kids who can’t sit still or cannot focus enough to do school work. Non stimulant medication is not reputed to be quite as helpful for those two areas but can still help and some—guanfacine or clonidine—can help a little with these areas but really shines with helping emotional regulation and executive functioning. Quite a few parents, including me, combine low doses of both. Some also try a med to address anxiet, which in some cases is what is driving irritability. A child psychiatrist or neurologist often has greater experience and knowledge than a pediatrician about medications. Some of the areas of concern you mention might also be addressed by a speech pathologist (social piece, ‘impulsive’ comments) or occupational therapist (emotional regulation). Our kids are always growing and changing and you are doing the right thing by your kiddo in reevaluating what might best work now at this stage.

It’s such a complex journey to go through, know that you’re not alone in your struggle with your son. We have medicated my almost 9 year old son for the past two years but had to pull him off last week due to side effects. He tried all stimulant medications over the course of the last 2 years, but the side effects (I can go in to a lot of detail on these) became too great. I can say that the immediate release version of a stimulant worked much better overall than extended release, because he was able to eat after 5-6 hours instead of 8-10, and it didn’t affect his sleep. We are going to meet with a pediatric psychiatrist when school is over to look at other medication options, such as non-stimulants. We do a lot of natural things as well, and my son thrives on physical activity. If he can get in outside time before/after school it does help him calm down and focus for a period of time after.

We medicate. It's taken a few meds and a few doses to get it right. Good luck!

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