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Recommendations on Medication vs CBT vs Educational Therapy

lostp0 profile image
14 Replies

Our eleven year old was recently diagnosed with ADHD. For those parents who had been through CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy), Educational Therapy, and medication options, how effective are they? Do you eventually resolve to medication anyway?

Do you recommend going through CBT and Educational Therapy, or skip ahead to medication?

We are getting pretty frustrated getting him to do things he needs to do but not necessary interested in doing, or things he appears to like to do, but not willing to, or is unable to put in the necessary effort to accomplish. He is very bright, but stubborn, and with all the baggages of all of the classic traits of an ADHD kid holding him back.

It's a tug of war everyday on the will powers, and we are losing, and getting pretty frustrated. Any recommendations on the course of actions from parents who had gone through the choices and are observing positive changes will be super helpful and very much appreciated!

14 Replies
Onthemove1971 profile image

We have been through it all, we are successful with medication, educational plan and thearpy.

Medication always the symptoms to be reduced and then therapies can be useful.

FYI- it takes a while to figure out best type, dose and timing for medication. I also recommend speaking to a Psycharist to manage the medication. When he is older he can decide if he needs medication.

If you have a chance you can look through old posts to help with the issues you might be struggling with like: lying, refusing to do things, academic struggles.

Best of luck and welcome to the group.

lostp0 profile image
lostp0 in reply to Onthemove1971

How effective was the therapy by itself? Was it the cognitive behavior therapy with a psychologist, or education therapy with a licensed therapist or both? Would you recommend doing therapies first, or both therapies and medication in combination in parallel? Thanks.

Onthemove1971 profile image
Onthemove1971 in reply to lostp0

Great questions.

What worked the best for us was starting both thearpy together with medication. We also needed a 504 plan to decrease the stress of school.

We continue thearpy (I find being in thearpy with him holds him accountable ) and our son is 16 years old. We have a psychologist and a psychiatrist, to handle his medication.

By the he had not needed any other type of thearpy becuase medication, thearpy and thrle educational plan have worked for us.

We decided to start medication right away and saw the medication work within hours ( a short action stimulant)

Let me know if I answered your questions or if you have more I am more than happy to answer more.

lostp0 profile image
lostp0 in reply to Onthemove1971

That's pretty amazing the medication worked within hours! Do you mind sharing the type of medication that worked for your son, how well it worked, and if you've noticed any side effects?

One of the problems we have is our kid often say things that are bitter/hurtful when he was asked to do things he needs to do but doesn't want to perform. Other parents have reported similar behavior. This is supposedly a neurological / biochemical issue.

Did you have similar problem with your son? If so, was the medical helpful in his behavior as well? Is the therapy primary to provide support for his emotions, or both emotional and behavioral?

Onthemove1971 profile image
Onthemove1971 in reply to lostp0

From what I know all short acting stimulants work that way. They stop from being impulsive( which can be the hateful talking),. It allows themto think before they speak.

Understand, metabolism impacts how the body process medication, meaning how long the medication works for. There are also stimulants that are long acting. So if your child does well you can ask for the same medication in extended release 6 -8 hours, again depending on it stays in his body.

Our son takes Generic for Ritilin (Methylphenidate).

The only side effects he had was it made him not feel as hungry. But that didn't last long, he can now eat a horse.

Also front what I understand, medication really helps about 60% of behavior, the rest is behavior modification and parenting adjustment.

Just so you know this adjustment is only as long as the medication is in their system. Once the medication is metabolism they are back to their old self until they take the next dose.

Medication doesn't work for every child and their body is complex and it takes a trial to get what works.

Yes, to help them learn to deal with emotions, learn techniques to deal with having impulsive behavior and hateful remarks.

If he gives it a try and it doesn't work you will know it's not for him and the medication is out or his system. Then you move on.

Best of luck!

lostp0 profile image
lostp0 in reply to Onthemove1971

It really helps a great deal to have some sort of blue print to follow. Thank you so much for sharing !

Onthemove1971 profile image
Onthemove1971 in reply to lostp0

I know this journey is overwhelming, I have been there, if you have any more questions feel free to ask us anything. We are always for you.

Big hugs, thanks for joining us.

Onthemove1971 profile image

I do have one question, could you describe educational thearpy?

Do you mean have a school psychologist help give thearpy to your child at school

Or were thinking about OT(occupational thearpist, behaviorist, etc?

Just wondering so we can be helpful in answering your question.

lostp0 profile image
lostp0 in reply to Onthemove1971

My understanding about educational therapy from the psychologist who performed the evaluation is that it's primary about executive functions, with an emphasis on education - time management, organizational skills, etc.

Onthemove1971 profile image
Onthemove1971 in reply to lostp0

Sounds great..

Never heard of that.

Pattimum profile image

Definitely would recommend a medication plus the therapies. Once he’s on medication he will be able to take in much more from the therapies, strategies etc.

He’s old enough that he might have self awareness and he will be able to tell you how he feels on meds so give him a chance to choose a medication that works best for him. If your gut feeling tells you that something is probably wrong with the medication (it doesn’t agree with him) then change it. I noticed that parents’ gut feeling is most of the time right. What psychiatrist says is not always right . Also remember -you know your child best because you are with them every day.

Lanego profile image

Our son was diagnosed when he was 6 years old, we tried sticker charts, positive reinforcement, had an IEP at school and therapy for us. Ultimately we decided on medication when he was 10. He didn't tolerate stimulants so his pediatrician had us see a psychiatrist because he was concerned that anxiety could be playing a role in his behaivior.I was skeptical about the anxiety concern, but he was started on Zoloft for anxiety, and then Intuniv a few months later for ADHD. Our house is much calmer, he is able to focus on school work. Behavior at school was never a problem so that hasn't changed but his academic performance has improved. He is also in CBT and it seems like he is able to absorb that information better now that he is on meds.

Smfdaisy profile image

My daughter is ten and was diagnosed about six months ago. I’ve been doing a lot of learning since then! One thing to know is that it may take a combination of medications and you’ll probably have to change to find what works best for your son. It’s so important to work with a psychiatrist who specializes in ADHD. My daughter is now on Prozac, Guanfacine (a non-stimulant) and Focalin (a stimulant). The doses of all are relatively low, but everything is so much better. She’s also in individual CBT therapy and we do family therapy together. Soon she will start working with an OT. It takes awhile to get everything up and running— and then I’ve learned from this group that needs change over time and medications/therapies need adjusting. I’m new at this, too, but you seem to be asking all the right questions!

ELucas13 profile image

With ADHD it's not either I do this or I do this. It's more like, I do everything! Medication, therapy, coaching, interventions. These will all work together to give you your best result. It is quite an art, but once you figure it out, it's life changing and worth the effort.

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