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Newly diagnosed 8 year old. Contemplating meds

DavidWebb profile image
9 Replies

We have just gotten the diagnosis for our son having ADHD and have been given the option of meds. Our biggest concern is “losing” everything he has become. My question is, has anyone had this sort of problem with meds? Does your child just become quiet and to themselves? Or are they the same just a little more calm. The meds that our doctor is suggesting is Concerta.

Any input is greatly appreciated

thank you.

9 Replies
Onthemove1971 profile image

Thanks so much for joining us on the journey of parenting a child with ADHD. There are many messages that were previously posted that you can read them if you want.

Our son has taken medication since 2nd grade he is now starting 11th grade. There are lots of things that impact taking medication. The type of medication, the dose of the medication and the timing ( how long the medication last in their system-short diose or extended).

The only thing that medication does for our son is reduce the many symptoms of ADHD. In my opinion/experience he is a better person because the medication is like the brakes in the car. It stops him from being impulsive and helps him control himself and focus.

We have worked with a child psychiatrist because they know how best long term to support our son.

I have learned so much and feel supported by the wonderful parents, guardians and other important people in their child's life by being a part of this group.

We are always here to support you and your child.

WYMom profile image

My daughter hasn't lost any of what makes her, her since starting meds at 8. It has greatly improved her inattention though and she went from a C student to an A student. Nothing is perfect. Different meds have different impacts, but it's best for them to get their brain chemicals balanced.

Aloysia profile image

The key is to monitor your child closely while they take medication, especially until you find a medication/dosage that works for your child. If you find that your child is not themselves, or sad for no reason, or having too many side effects like stomach aches/headaches, then STOP that medication immediately. Then discuss switching to a new one with your Dr. It's easiest if you have a mental or written down checklist of things to ask your child each day. But space the questions out throughout the day so they're not overwhelmed. Things like:

- how was your focus/impulsivity today? Give me an example.

- how was your mood today? Mad, sad, happy, etc.

- stomach aches/headaches today?

- appetite/weight (sometimes it's obvious that they are eating less, sometimes you have to weigh them every week)

- anything else you want to tell me about?

Once you find a medication/dosage that works, you still have to check in with these same questions every 3 months or so. As kids grow, things change. The most common change is that the medication becomes less effective (due to the kid growing) and then you need to increase the dosage.

You want your child to become self-aware so that by the time they move out, they can handle this kind of medication evaluation themselves. So get them involved in figuring it out, explain why you are asking these questions, and why it's important for them to be honest with you about how they are feeling.

My kids are now 11 and 12. They are finally starting to be more self aware with their medication after much practice.

I wish you the best!!

Cjkchamp profile image

You're getting the standard statement, all kids are different...but the reality is it is true. There are many people who find medications beneficial. That was not our situation. Our son did have a personality change on guanfacine. He became very withdrawn and he slept all of the time. I will say his personality returned when he came off of the medication. Our son found success with broad spectrum micronutrients recommended by his psychiatrist. The two companies are True Hope and Hardy Nutritionals in case you want to research them. Wishing you the best.

Trying1978 profile image

What everyone else said.

Some ppl are "good responders" to meds right away. Ritalin immediately helped my son, with a bunch of lesser side effects, some of which went away, some of which didn't.

But the main reason, it seems, for prescribing at this age (He's 6.5 & just finished Kindergarten) is to help with or at school.

Ritalin didn't change any core of his personality but I was terrified of that, too. The meds gave us the space & patience to work on some basic CBT strategies with the help of a therapist that, in my mind, have probably helped as much if not more than the meds

But sometimes the right med or combo can take a while; I know it did for me!

I would suggest keeping a detailed diary; mine ended up at 55 pages & ran from February to June before I stopped. That way, I could track what I thought was good & bad related to the meds & also check myself, which really helped bc I might think something negative like, "He never ever eats now," only to go back & seen that he'd caught up on his food almost every day by dinner.

Hope that helps & hang in there! I really really didn't want to do meds so young but it has helped immensely... But that is only valid for us, not you, so it's not a universal truth 🤔

ELucas13 profile image

Medication tends to be the gold standard for treating ADHD, especially in the younger kids who aren't quite mature/developed enough to use therapy as a way to help. You will need to put aside your preconceived notions about ADHD and medication if you have them. I know I did! I kept thinking about the boys, because it was just boys when I was in elementary school in the 90s (diagnosing the quieter ADHD kids and the girls was severely overlooked) and how they were insane troublemakers and how when they didn't take their medication they were wild. Or the kid who took his medication and was a zombie and not at all the fun kid we remembered.

The good thing with stimulants, they are in and out quickly. If it isn't working, stop. No titrating. But getting the right dosage and the right medication can be tricky. Patience is key. You will find a lot of people on this forum with a lot of trial and error but once they found a match, it was a game changer. Kids change fast, as will their medication needs. You may even have to bounce between name brand meds and generic because for some reason, there is a difference with the ADHD meds in this. You may need to try a non-stimulant, which are not quite as effective as ADHD, but can be a solid option.

The most important thing is to get a doctor on board who knows ADHD and medication well. It doesn't have to be a psychiatrist, but that is typically your best bet. We see a nurse who is trained/licensed in specifically in psychiatric medications and she has been wonderful for us.

Don't let anyone who does not have an ADHD child tell you their opinions on ADHD or medication. That was something that was hard for me. Educate yourself as best as you can; I subscribe to the ADDitude magazine and they have boatloads of free information on everything you can imagine on their website, including webinars.

Having the diagnosis means that you can work with it. Good luck and know you are not alone with this ADHD! There are many of us out there figuring it out!

Lanego profile image

What everyone else has said and...our 10yo son didn't tolerate the stimulants and had a good response with Intuniv. He is more focused, calmer and less impulsive. On the downside he use to love playing basketball, tennis and football. Since the meds he never asks for us to play with him or play on his own like shooting baskets outside by himself. We have to push him more to be physically active.

BVBV profile image
BVBV in reply to Lanego

My son had to stop stimulants due to side effects, but he also has a strong drive for sports off meds, but not when he was medicated- it was like he had no interest, even in games. Does your son play any sports outside of the home while on Intuniv?

Lanego profile image
Lanego in reply to BVBV

No he doesn't. While he's very athletic he didn't seem to enjoy organized sports (soccer,bball,flag fball, swimming) even when he was unmedicated. Today after thinking about this post I asked if he wanted to throw the football around after school and he seemed excited about it. He says he's throwing the football around at recess. That inner motivation to play has decreased, but if he's asked or invited to play he seems willing to play. I doubt while on Intuniv he will want to try organized sports again unless we force him to. We told him that since he wasn't in an organized sport this fall that we would be hiking every Saturday morning. His provider said sometimes you just have to force the child to do physical activity.

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