ADHD and Medication... HELP!!!! — The Bump
School-Aged Children

ADHD and Medication... HELP!!!!

About a week ago I took my oldest son to a specialist to get tested for ADD or ADHD. Little background: He has been having an extremely difficult time this school year {1st grade}. He can't comprehend and loses focus. He tries really hard, but he says his brain isn't working. He even came home one time and said that all of the other students in class are smarter than him. He has been in "school" since he was 3. Speech therapy. He wasn't able to talk. [Thank God, he has graduated from Speech Therapy] Anyway, back to what I was saying. We have been working really hard trying to get him to focus. Well we asked the school to evaluate him for a learning disability. The results came back and said that he doesn't have one. But they did suggest that we take him to see a specialist to see if he has ADD or ADHD. Well I took him to the dr and they hooked him up to monitors and did the test. I got the results back and was devastated. He did in fact have ADHD. Not only ADHD but sever ADHD. They want to put him on the highest dose of Aderal. Sorry for the spelling. I don't know how to spell it. The highest dose? Really? I wanted to start bawling right away. I started asking myself what I did wrong. When I left the Dr's office, I realized they totally forgot to give me his prescription. When I got home I did extensive research on the medication. I read a lot of horrific side affects. I started doubting going back and getting the prescription. My son is only 6 and his brain is still growing. I'm stuck. I don't want him to get on the medication and suffer these side affects. So I decided to do herbal supplements. Cerbro calm is one of them. He takes 2 at night. I want to avoid the meds by all costs. But if these other ways don't work I will have to revert. We changed his diet to gluten free. Im trying to hold composure but I don't know if I am doing the right thing. Help me ladies. I'm scared for my son's future.
Marley Soledad
Esma: I'll turn him into a flea. A harmless little flea. Then Ill put that flea in a box. And put that box inside another box. Mail that box to myself. And when it arrives. ILL SMASH IT WITH A HAMMER. Its brilliant, brilliant, brilliant I tell you. Genius I say.
Or to save on postage. Ill poison him with this.

Re: ADHD and Medication... HELP!!!!

  • My DD was diagnosed last year and I was devastated as well.  It took me a long time to come to terms with it, but once I did, I realized not medicating her was like expecting her to see with poor eyesight without glasses.  

    We put her on Concerta this year and things in the classromm are SO MUCH better than last year.  She is able to sit in her seat, concentrate and get her work done without being distracted by everything else going on in the room.  Last year I was getting calls/emails from the teacher/guidance counselor almost daily -- this year, her teacher didn't even know she had ADHD until I told her in October.  DD also feels better about herself because she isn't the 'class clown' any longer.

    I know it's hard, good luck.

    SAHM to DD1 (7), DS (5) and DD2 (1)
  • If your child had awful allergies that were causing him to feel uncomfortable, miss out on important things that a 7 y/o should be doing, fall behind other kids his age, and -- on top of it all -- to feel bad about himself, you'd certainly take him to the doctor, right?

    And if that doctor said, "Wow, he's got pretty bad allergies.  I think that the max dose of Zyrtec is what it's going to take to help him," you'd probably shrug your shoulders and get the prescription, right?

    Why is this different just because it's ADHD?  It's medication that can potentially turn your son's whole world around and stop him from suffering!!

    You say you're scared for your son's future.  Well, his future is NOW.  The ADHD has been there all along.  You just know more about what makes him tick now.  The diagnosis doesn't change the reality of the situation; it just gives reality a name.

    I think a good plan (and a responsible doctor will already be thinking along these lines) is to find the minimum dose of the medication that will bring about the most relief for your son with the fewest side effects.  If you start with a small dose and get no relief but no side effects, it's obvious that you up the dose.  If you get side effects, but no relief, you change meds.  If you get relief AND side effects, you lower the dosage and see if you can get rid of the side effects.  And if -- which you hope -- you get relief without side effects, you've hit the jackpot and you change nothing!

    If you are uncomfortable going with a max dose right off the bat, get a second opinion about it, and see if you can find someone who will work to manage things with minimal meds.  Or mix meds and other therapies.

    It's just information about what makes your son tick.  Don't let it be more than what it is. 

    High School English teacher and mom of 2 kids:

    DD, born 9/06/00 -- 12th grade
    DS, born 8/25/04 -- 7th grade
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  • My 6yo DS was also diagnosed with ADHD earlier this year. They suggested Focalin for him. We started slow and have worked up to 5mg immediate release. We also use it in conjunction with Fish Oil. The reason we decided to medicate is because he is too immature to learn how to control his behavior. As he gets older, we will start to taper down on the meds.

     If you are not comfortable starting with such a high dose of Adderal, tell the dr or get a 2nd opinion. You do not have to medicate your child if you don't want to. You make the choice, not the dr. Trying diet changes and supplements is always the best first route. When/if that doesn't work, explore other ADHD treatments and medications. You are your son's best advocate.

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  • I agree with what everyone else already said.  Not medicating your son is hurting him in some many ways right now based on what you have said.

    Here is the story of my 6 1/2 year old DD.  She was born with a brain injury and watched by EI and her neurgolist from birth.  She got the all good and released from her neuro at 21 months old.  Never qualfied for services under EI as she always tested just below where she would have qualified.  She was always very, very active and was a very late talker (had maybe 2 words at age 2).  

    She turned 3 in June and that fall we took her for her Early Childhood screening at the 1st chance we could (all kids need this to start kindy and you can get it anytime after age 2).  Through Early Childhood she qualified for speech therapy.  At age 4 she started PreK at the school.  She had been in a center based daycare and preschool but this was very much a kindy prep program.  She struggled from day 1.  Everyone involved (us, teachers, therapists, etc) agreed that she was not ready to start kindy the next year and to have her repeat PreK.  She was behind both academically and socially.  That spring, when she turned 5, it was suggested by our pedi that we do a full behavioral eval with our medical clinics pediatric behavioral program.

    The eval took place in August when DD was 5 years and a few months.  It was 2 very intense days with a behavioral ped, a psychologist, a speech therapist and a someone else who did a more general academic eval. No surprise to anyone, she was diagnosed with ADHD and a speech disorder.  We upped her speech to 2x a week with the school program and 1x a week with a private therapist.  We worked with the psychologist to come up with some behavioral modifacations and we started her on medication. 

     She started the meds a few weeks into her second year in PreK and wow, huge difference.  She made friends, she started to learn and be able to participate and love school.  Her speech improved by leaps and bounds.  People that didn't know used to not understand a word she said and that greatly improved.

    DD is now 6 1/2, halfway through kindy and doing amazing.  She still gets speech 2x a week at school but we stopped the private therapy. She is just starting to read and is excelling in math.  It has changed her world.  She has friends now.  She is still learning some of the social things that her friends learned already and is a bit behind but that is part of her brain issue and the ADHD combined.  She is doing great and I know for a fact she would not be where she is without the medication.  I can see how she is when we don't have her medication and she would never make it through a day at school.

    We see her docs every 4 months and can call at anytime if needed which we have done when we felt her meds needed changing or we needed to talk through new issues.

    Please do not be afraid of medication - it can make a world of difference.  My 6 1/2 year old can tell the difference and the way she explains things to me is amazing.

    Jenni Mom to DD#1 - 6-16-06 DD#2 - 3-13-08 
  • Please, please, please get a second opinion.  No reputable doctor would instantly put a child on the highest dose of any medication.  Remember doctors are human - some are good, some are great, some are just okay and some have questionable morals (i.e. pharmaceuticals are a huge business).

    In the end your child may have ADHD, it may be severe and he may need medications... and that would be okay and you would figure out how best to help him.  But take it step-by-step, question your doctor, see a second and even third doctor, question other moms with children with ADHD, question his teachers, research the medications and side effects.  I believe medication is one of the benefits of the modern age but I also think too many people jump to the easy solution in some circumstances.  


  • Someone very close to me has severe adult ADHD.  He was not medicated as a child because his parents feared it would turn him into a zombie.  He went from being an advanced student to failing classes as he could not organize his time or materials.  He lost the desire to achieve.  He now struggles with meeting goals, motivation, maintaining focus, impulse control, etc.  He wishes his parents had taken the doctor's and teachers' advice to help him when it would have been so much more effective.  Your DS's future is happening right now. 

  • I would try all non- medication options first. I would recommend seeing a naturopath in your area. In addition to going gluten free, try removing casein, preservatives and artificial food colors from his diet as well.
  • I am not familiar with the particular herbal supplement you mentioned, but does it contain St. John's Wort? That is particularly helpful for kids with actual ADHD. And while I might get horrible flamed for saying this, THC also helps a lot. I am from California (now live in FLA) and I know plenty of parents who have used THC pills and drops instead of traditional medication to assist their children with focus and behavior. The side-effects are significantly fewer and less dangerous. My uncle owns and operates a dispensary and sells these pills. He tried them with my female cousin, who was having a really rough go of high school. Her behavior turned around immediately, and with encouragement and structure at home and school she was able graduate with her class.


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