73 answers

Adhd - Siler, KY

Hello everyone, I requested suggestions awhile back about ADHD medicines. My son has now decided that he does not want to take medicine anymore for his ADHD. He says he is happier without it. When I talked to his doctors about this they said we are the adults and he is a child. We have to make the right decisions for him and they are the professionals. All medicines have side affects and you have to way the needs to the side affects and if it is more benificial and is needed you have to take a risk. The doctor said I can give you a 5 page list of side affects for Tylenol from my medical journal, but we still take it because the chances are so slim. The same as surgery everyone is told they may die while under anesthedic but, we still do it because it is neccisary. I agree to an extent. He is 12 years old and he is old enough to say how meds make him feel. Should I go ahead with a second opinion and a fresh look at my son's condition? I took him off of the medicines for 1 week and we had parent teacher conferences the following Monday. THe first thing the teachers said was, he has been having trouble focusing, staying on task, and completing his work. I was already causeing problems for him and the teachers did not know I had taken him off of the medicine so they were not looking for problems they saw them without heads up. This is such a hard call. Any moms with ADHD children or medical background that can help? M.

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Wow! I am amazed at all of the repsonses I have recived. I really appreciate it. I know for a fact my son does have ADHD. He was very sevier as a pre-schooler. I have seen children with ADHD that can manage without medicine. As for as how it makes him feel, he gets his feelings hurt easy and cries and he is irritable. No signs of depression that I know of. For now I have gotten him to agree to thrash this out after school goes out. I will email more later. M.

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my son takes ritalin 4 his adhd. i hope we can chat and become friends. my son is 7. the school he goes to has seen a big improvement since he has been on his meds. love A.

Hi M., I also am a mother of a almost 11 year old daughter with ADHD. I have tried everything for her in the past(counseling, NO Sugar or dyes, Herbal remedies) and nothing has seemed to work. She also used to beg me not to take her meds. I now have her on Metadate CD. This med is like eyeglasses, she only has to take it when needed. I give it to her when she has school to help her focus, but other than that I rarely give it to her. At the beginning of every school year I send her to school for about the 1st 2 weeks to see how she does. Then go in and just talk to the teacher. So far she has still needed it for school and they can tell if I happen to forget a day. My daughter understands now that she needs it to keep on task at school only. Plus it makes her feel like she has some say in the situation by not having to take a pill everyday. I've also noticed that her appetite is much better now. When she used to be on the other meds. she hardly ate and her belly was messed up all the time. It used to break my heart. She is doing much better now. Everyday is a struggle with her but we are making it one day at a time. I wish you luck!! and hope this helps just a little. CHRIS

My brother has a severe form of ADHD called aspergers syndrome. He was put on every medication under the sun it seemed, and he was constantly druged up, (and hated it) untill he was taken to see an allergy speciallist. He has had a lot of sucess with changing his diet, there is a lot of information out there about the causes of certain food dyes and preservatives as well as wheat and processed sugar like high fructose corn syrup. Do some research and talk to an allergist. Good luck.

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get a second or even a third opinion. ADHD is too quickly diagnosed instead of looking for what may be causing the problem. My friend was going to take her son to a sleep study but before they did the study the doctor wanted to do some blood work. Turns out for years the child, now a teen, had low iron and this kept him from getting a good nights sleep which caused sleep deprivation, causing truoble in school, etc. I beg you, go get a couple more opinions. A. W

Hi M.,
I have a husband who has ADD (and they are in the process of evaluating my younger son for ADD). My husband has gone back on his medicine for ADD. I know several people grow out of it but he never did. I am very anti-meds myself, but you know, sometimes it is just necessary. However, the reason I wanted to respond to you was because my husband went off of his meds for the same reason, it made his personality different when he was on them and he didn't like how it made him feel. As the doctor said YOU are his mother and that means you have to do what is best for your child. That means listening to how he is feeling and involving him in solving the problems he is having. Sorry doc that came back and bit you. I fully agree that he may need meds, but let him be involved in figuring out which one he needs or how much he needs. He is the ONLY one that can tell you how the meds are working for him, so it just doesn't make sense to not listen to what he is telling you. Let him know that you understand how he is feeling and that he doesn't like the meds, but that without them he was in trouble at school and that isn't any fun either. Make a suggestion that he try different meds. I understand being wary of the side effects, but if you are involving your son it shouldn't be a big deal because he will tell you what is going on with the meds if he is experiencing side effects. I look at it this way. He is a child right now, but your job as his mom is to help him learn to be an adult. If you exclude him from this decision how is that helping him learn how to take care of himself as an adult when you are not there to do it for him anymore? There are tons of different meds, there are all natural ways... there is no meds and trying to do it yourself. Only you and your son can decide what is best for him. The doctor is a tool to help you, but he is not the decision maker for your family. Talk to a doctor who is willing to be your helper in this, and not try to just do what is easiest for him. I did have to put my older child on anxiety meds for about a year in first grade because he cried for weeks on end - almost nonstop - about having to go to school. He had loved kindergarten and I just didn't know what was going on. We took him to a doctor who put him on meds and we were so relieved that he wasn't so upset about school anymore, then we started noticing behavior problems he had never had before. When we told the doctor about it he told us it was "Superman Syndrome" that he was just exploring life without the restrictions of fear and that it would pass. Anyway to make a long story short, the behavior didn't pass after 2 months and the doctor continued to ignore us and refused to take him off the meds. We went and found a different doctor who changed his meds and he became my child again, the only difference was that the constant worry and crying was gone. My point is that doctor's don't always do what is best for you, find one who will. I wish you the best of luck.

He says it makes him happier when he isn't on the medicine.. how did he feel while on it, sad, suicidle, sleepy? There are medications other than just one for adhd. Insist on trying others before giving up, if you want to keep trying. If you decide to let him choose, there have got to be other alternatives to use as discipline while at school. Teachers are overwhelmed as it is, so they have to have something to do when bad behavior occurs. If he's having trouble focusing, finishing tasks, and completing work, that sounds more like add than adhd. Just a little something you might want to check out. ADHD is a hyper form, which he would be disrupting class if he has it. I've seen medicines work, and I've seen them have side-effects that hinders work performance in the classroom because of sleepiness, etc. It's your call. You ARE the parent, so don't be bullied by your son, OR the doctors. I wish I could help more, but this is what I know and some things I've faced. Praying for your situation!

Hi M., I also am a mother of a almost 11 year old daughter with ADHD. I have tried everything for her in the past(counseling, NO Sugar or dyes, Herbal remedies) and nothing has seemed to work. She also used to beg me not to take her meds. I now have her on Metadate CD. This med is like eyeglasses, she only has to take it when needed. I give it to her when she has school to help her focus, but other than that I rarely give it to her. At the beginning of every school year I send her to school for about the 1st 2 weeks to see how she does. Then go in and just talk to the teacher. So far she has still needed it for school and they can tell if I happen to forget a day. My daughter understands now that she needs it to keep on task at school only. Plus it makes her feel like she has some say in the situation by not having to take a pill everyday. I've also noticed that her appetite is much better now. When she used to be on the other meds. she hardly ate and her belly was messed up all the time. It used to break my heart. She is doing much better now. Everyday is a struggle with her but we are making it one day at a time. I wish you luck!! and hope this helps just a little. CHRIS

My son is only 7 years old, but we have been through the list of ADHD medications. His ADHD is just a symptom of a rare disease that he has, and as part of his disease, he has a tendency to adapt to new meds quickly, and they become ineffective. That being said, I still would not go without the meds. We fought medicating for a long time, but I have seen the difference that it makes for him in school, and he is still a very happy child. I think it is really just finding the right medication.

I would suggest working closely with your doctors to find the meds that work best for him, in keeping him focused, but don't change his personality. With our son being able to adapt so quickly, and us not knowing which would work for him to begin with, his neurologist turned it over to his pediatrician (who is closer and can monitor him more), and many times he will give us a prescription for a new med for 10 days. If we do not like the way he is reacting to it (some have given him nightmares, and others have kept him up all night) we discontinue it immediately. Otherwise, we give it the 10 days to see how well it helps with focusing and control. If it works well, we keep him on that for awhile. If it does not, then we try something else.

I have talked to people (including a nurse) who told me they don't give their children the meds when they are at home, but to me that would just mess with his system.

Hey, I rrsponded to the wrong person. However it is vital you get this bit of info from me. Medication ruined our lifes. My son never had any health problems and after they put him on concerta,he now has had ticks for two years. It is a side affect they dont tell ou about. Your son knows his body and you should listen to him. As for his doc I would tell him to fly. Research all the medication. Dont just give him what the doc says. I am telliung you medication was the worst decision we ever made. There are natiural things out there to control ADHD. It isnt worth his health. God bless you and him. Please listen to your child!!

I am a 4th grade teacher with 2 grown children. My mother is a retired registered nurse. We both are very cautious to have any children take chemical medications. I do not take Tylenol and very few other chemicals, especially since there are natural alternatives to these products which will not harm my body. Tylenol and asprin are very hard on your liver and stomach, I want mine to be healthy for my whole life. ADD meds. do have lots of side effects. You can do an Internet search and find all kinds of problems that may be associated with them. There are even tests that link future drug or alcohol use and infertility to ADD meds. Our infertility rate in the USA is over 10%. I am sure you know many couples who are taking fertility drugs or are unable to have children, studies show that many of them also regularly took prescription drugs as children.
There are so many other ways to control ADD and other childhood problems. You can try dietary changes, learning focus & study skills. As a teacher, I know that people with lots of energy are the ones who get things done when they are adults. Most teachers are slightly ADD themselves. Your child may need to learn how to take notes or other listening skills to help them stay focused. He needs to learn how to function without drugs. You don't want him to start to think he needs drugs in order to function in society. You might also see if he needs tutoring outside of school. Often places like Sylvan Learning centers help students learn study skills that help them stay focused and help them feel more comfortable in class.
I also see that it is harder for some children on meds. to retain what they learn. They may act as though they are drugged up- easy to keep their behavior in line, but they have a hard time learning. I have seen a few children who are able to concentrate better when on meds. but they are the exception not the rule. I usually refer my parents to a local health food store and have them follow the advice of a good doctor who believes in modifying your diet and other habits before prescribing drugs as a last resort. We really are unsure of the long term affects of most drugs. People in our country have health problems that were rare or unheard of 40 years ago or are not problems in other countries who don't use so many drugs.
Keep searching, you will find some answers that are better for your son. He is correct, you don't feel right when you are medicated. He will be healthier and better able to retain info. if he makes some changes now. You cannot just stop the meds. without changing something else. We often find that children who drink mostly water and drop sodas and caffeine quickly see a difference in how they are able to focus. Our brains are mostly water and need a constant supply of fluids to function correctly. Increasing fruits and veggies while decreasing fast foods and heavily processed foods are another big help- especially look out for MSG, artificial sweetners, and artificial colors. Exercise and fresh air- all of those things they tell us are good for us will help.

Hi M., I have a 10 yr. old boy and he has been on adderall for ADD since Kinder. He too says he is much happier without the medicine. We tried to switch him to concerta over Christmas and he was happier and had an appetite!!! He ended up developing a cough that we think was a reaction to the concerta (side effect). HE is still coughing even after ENT Dr. put on on allergy and asthma meds. Not sure if it was the concerta or not. My Husband and I know Jordan focuses more on the med. and we want him to do well in school. We do have a friend who took their son off in H.S. and he did fine. ADHD is a little different because you have the hyperactivity to deal with. It is hard enough for kids to sit still hour after hour and is more difficult for your son. This is a hard call. You don't want him getting into trouble. I feel he may not be quite old enough yet to be able to control himself in class. Maybe wait until he matures a few more yrs. How long has your son been on ADHD meds.? I worry about growth. My son is so small (his father was the same at this age so I',m not to worried yet), but I don't want the meds. to affect his growth. Any feedback on this I would love to hear? Don't know if I have helped you much, but I am an asst. teacher 4th grade and I see boys getting in trouble everyday for not being able to be still and quite.
D. W.

my son takes ritalin 4 his adhd. i hope we can chat and become friends. my son is 7. the school he goes to has seen a big improvement since he has been on his meds. love A.

Hello, My best friends has a few sons with ADHD. One is also by-poler She decided to call a classic homeopathic doctor and they were able to find a homeopathic remedy to help him. He is now been off 1/2 his meds. for 4 years and WHAT A DIFFERENCE! He does not scream his answers any more, he has lost weight and now weighs what he should, and he is happier and so is mom. If you want the name of the practitioner write me back privately. The Homeopathic took the case over the phone.


Hey M., I would like for you to take a look at my website and read about the Feed My Brain. The owner of the company that sells this product has a son that is ADD or ADHD and he has totally changed after being on this product. It is totally natural and has been clinically proven to help children and adults. He said he had spent over $12,000 or more in getting help for his son, Tommy. I would be happy to try and get a call together for you to speak with this gentleman about his son.

Please let me know what you think?? My website is www.acaiplus.com/25894.

I know that this is hard to go through because I have a son that is soon to be 39 years old and he is profoundly deaf.

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Have a wonderful and May God Bless you!

J. Dobbins

goodmorning M., I have a son who started out with adhd and progressed to bipolar. first may I ask what medicine is taking? the reason I asked is because when my son was 12 he did take resperidol to keep him focus and on task in school. later I found out that he was just being lazy. he told me that he no longer needed the medicine and like you I tried it his way. you are not creating a problem your descision was based on the person who's taking the medicine. research other medicines for the condition. keep in tune with your son. my son is now 19 and a NAVY GUY! GOOD LUCK!!!!!!!!!!

Hi, I am a mother of a 12 year old son with ADHD, he has been on CONCERTA now for 2 years. Only takes 1 in the morning, its last around 10 hours. Only 1 SIDE AFFECT, decreases his appetite for lunch, and thats it. As the tablet is taking most of its affect in the most important part of the day (school), its really not a problem he just eats a light snack at school. Our family life has completely turned around from constantly arguing with him and each other being so stressed out, to almost normality. He has tried ritolin and the side affects were just horrible. This tablet is my sons best friend, and most importantly he knows and feels that himself.

It has changed his school life completely, he can now concentrate, understand what the teacher is asking of him and complete work, he can be still and calm in class and has made friends so much more easily. CONCERTA has given my son he's life back with full self confidence and normal social living...He even has a girlfriend, and thats hugh for Tom-Boy...I hope this helps both you and your son. I feel for you guys, I know exactly how you're feeling and how the poor kid is feeling too..

Dear M.,

There is a safe, natural alternative to ADHD meds and it is called the Feingold program (www.Feingold.org). Your son should not have to take meds if he doesn't want to because the meds ARE very harmful - that's why they have so many side effects and why your son doesn't feel good taking them. I know ADHD is an extremely difficult problem, our family lived with it for ten years until we got on the Feingold program. Best of luck.

L. B.

Personally, I have all but ditched any sort of pharmaceutical, unless it is an antibiotic that is absolutely necessary. There are so many natural medicines that are available that are not as damaging to the body as ritalin, adderall, cylert, etc. My son is ADHD, and we stopped giving his medication to him about 12, and we have just continally reinforced the need for him to LEARN to focus and concentrate, or it's back on the meds (although I would never give him the prescription stuff again). He has done very well, even though there have been ups and downs. However, if you would like to try some natural alternatives, you can go to the health food store and speak with the owners. They are very knowledgeable about natural medicines, and should be able to recommend something. Valerian is made from the powdered root of the valerian plant. It is the natural substance that is the base for valium, but you can take it (if you can stand the taste) and it does not make you a zombie or anything like that. Also, passionflower is something that has a calming effect...here in the south they are called "maypops" but they do work. Also, Kava is another natural medication that is calming. I have all of the above on hand in my house, and take the Kava myself because I get so high strung and stressed out that I break out in hives. The upside of taking natural medications is that they do not have the methamphetamine effects on the body (increased heart rate, decreased appetite, nervous ticks). Any medical doctor will tell you that alternative medicine should be avoided at all costs because they are not regulated, and it leads to self-diagnosis and self-medication....blah blah blah. However, your son knows his body better than anyone else, and if he does not like the way the medication makes him feel, then you DO have other alternatives than prescription medications. Even things like chamomile tea, or catnip, lemon balm and skullcap will have a calming effect. All of these things are from plants and flowers. I am a firm believer that God put everything on this planet for us to take care of ouselves, regardless of any warnings from a licensed physician (who, by the way, doesn't make a profit if we are drying and grinding up maypops in our kitchen). Good luck; it is not easy being the parent of an ADHD child :)

I would give a lot of weight to what your son is telling you. If he says the meds are making him feel badly you should give this high consideration in your decision. However, you can also use this with your son... Remind him that with the meds, he focuses better in class and controls his behavior more effectively. Tell him that sonce he wants to make the grown up decision to go without the meds, he has to also take on the grown up responsibility of controlling his behavior. It is a trade off. At first, you are going to have to remind him a whole lot. Help him set up reminders for himself, like written schedules so he knows what to do each day. He needs to start to identify the feeling of losing focus and concentrate on drawing himself back to the task at hand. Checklists are also helpful.

Good luck. I know that not all kids are the same, but I had the ADHD experience with both my kids. I went to the school meetings and felt very pressured to medicate. Almost as though I was a neglectful or bad mother becuase meds weren't an option with me. My kids didn't want medications because they had seen it change their friends. My kids both work hard to stay in touch with how they are feeling and pull themselves back when they start to zone out. They use calendars, checklists and daily agendas to make sure they get things done. We all use sticky note reminders.

Please listen to your son. I am a teacher and I have seen students get depressed from the medication. Yes, they are calm and not a disruption to the class. But, I would rather have a child disrupt class than feel like (or actually) commit suicide. Doctors can tell you that there are many side effects to drugs. There are side effects to anything we put in our body. When we feed our babies too many carrots, they turn orange!!! But, as the mother, you are the best judge of your child. Please look at a different medication, an herbal remedy (I suggest going to Whole Foods in Green Hills), or another avenue. But, don't force him to take any medication that makes him feel in an altered state!!!

I also have a son who is 13 and has adhd. He always says he would like to come off the meds. I have tried in the past but have the same problems in school as you stated. We finally came to an agreement that he would take the meds until he was out of high school. I told him it was my responsibity to get him through school and then he could make his own decisions. He is ok with this and has not asked to come off in a while. It also makes our relationship better when he is on the meds because I do not have to constantly correct him. You might suggest not taking it during the summer. I also tried this but both he and I realized that his behavior was not good and it was effecting the whole family so he went back on it. I am hoping as he gets older he will continue to take it to help him succeed. If you ever need someone to talk to or compare notes please let me know. It really helps to be able to talk to someone who is in the same boat. PS I agree with your doctor.
God Bless,

My nephew also has ADHD and my sister said "I would hate for him to not be at his very best, or at worst fail a grade, and know that I could have done something to prevent that" He gets his meds because it allows him to be his very best.

If it were me I would have a second opinion or atleast try some other meds. They have so many out there these days that have different reactions to different people, but if it is bothering you son that much I would try something else. My son was on several different types for several years. Every time we tried something new it would work for about a month then it waas like his body became immune to it so we would try something different or raise the dosing. Well after raising it the last few times I started feeling uncomfortable with it and I had also went to 4 different doctors. I made the choice to take him completely off all meds and explained to the teachers he was not on anything and I refused to put him on anything else for the reason it didn't work anyways. That is just a tid bit of my story. I know the meds work well for some kids(I have seen it) but it just wasn't for mine. He also had the depressed like feeling when he was on his which is what also helped me come to the decision I did. hope this helps a bit. Jenn

my grandson is 8 yrs. old and without his meds. , he is the same way, doesn't consintrate,on his school work either, I'd say if he is having problems, talk to the dr. about what he has him on, maybe it is too strong for him.......Good Luck

Ultimately you'll have to be the one to just make the decision. I don't believe there are many Drs. out there that will tell you not to give him the meds. My own son has ADHD, but the extremely innattentive kind. I've struggled with the same issue as you for 4 years now. The neuro that he he's equates his medication as if it were glasses for being vision impaired. That is not really fair to say to a Mom, obviously we would do anything to help our children. The thing with my son (10) is that he still has just as hard a time focusing, staying on task and completing assignments without many many many (did I say many?) prompts, even when he takes his medication. So what's the point??? I plan on homeschooling him next year. He isn't a behavoir problem, so he just flies under the radar at school, and is now pretty behind. I haven't been giving him medication on the weekends for a long time now, but I usually work then so he's with my husband. My husband also says that he is a happier kid then, and more himself. My best wishes to you and your son. K.

Hi! Sorry to hear you are having trouble with the meds! Sounds like he needs to keep on the meds. You didn't say which medicines he is on. Might try another med. I understand why he doesn't want to take the medicine. He likes the high he is on when off the meds. Would be ok, if he could settle down and focus on his work at school and at home. I am raising a grandson that has adhd,bipolar, ocd and tourettes. These children are born to these diseases. Some outgrow some of them and others get worse. You should get with a doctor you really trust and believe in. Do what the doctor says and what you think is best for the child. He is a child you know. You wouldn't want to turn him loose with the checkbook and he is not mature enough to do what is best for him, only what feels good! You are the parent. Be his Mom, not his best friend. He will love you dearly for it. Being a Mom is a very hard thing to be, doing what is rite for the child, might not always be easy to do. You have to look at the bigger picture,40 or so years from now. He doesn't have the capeability to do that, you do! Good luck! Try Labonuer in Memphis,Tn. That's where I take my grandson to see a neuroligst. They have given us a light at the end of the tunnel! Doctors around here try hard, but are just not trained in the brain area as well.

Hi M.,

I understand your concern. We just want to help our children. I have an 8 year old son with ADHD and more recently he was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. I have had the same conversations with him about how he feels when on his meds. I can tell you, the same issues as you have arise. He says the meds make his stomach feel "weird". I, like you, let him go without the meds for a bit also....just to see what the results were. Teacher phone calls started coming in. I have tried different meds, and finally have one that works and doesn't give him any negative side effects...so far. oh, and some of the others were horrid side effects...so I think it is a matter of trying different ones until you find the right one. I also have had the push-back from others..."you don't need to medicate your child, it is a discipline that he needs", " i would NEVER give my child drugs"...etc. They don't live my son's life or mine. Since the meds he has been focused and is an A student, has been able to maintain relationships and IS a happier child (even though he says he's not!). We, as the parent, have a tough job. My feeling is that it is more beneficial to him to take it, then not. I truly understand where you are coming from. Feel free to email me if you like. Oh, by the way...single mom here with 2 sons, 8 and 6. Good luck!

I'm a mother of a 12 yr old w/ADHD. For months we tried everything from the award chart to behavior therapy before reluctantly medicating our son. The behavioral psychologist that treated him (along with the medical doctor and school staff) asked a very simple question: Wouldn't you give your son a coat if he was going out in the cold? Well, he needs a coat just like he needs the medicine. We didn't like it, but it kept him focused and curbed his emotional outbursts in school. But NEVER did we hide what was going on from the teacher. She appreciated being 'in the know' from the beginning. It's only fair to her since your son is in her care most of the day, don't you think? Taking him off like that AND not telling your son's teacher was setting him up for failure, including his class and his teacher. Please don't try that again without letting everyone involved know. The school staff will support you and thank you for taking an active role in his success.
I understand what you're saying about the side effects. Our son was on Adderall for years. It stunted his growth, curbed his appetite, made it hard for him to fall asleep at night and occasionally left him with feelings of depression and headaches when he took 'vacations' from it on weekends. It's hard to see them go through this stuff, but we are the parents, just like the doctor said. You have to decide what's best for him. His education and study habits will benefit or hinder him in the future. So the choice you make today can decide a lot. Better to put him on meds now and focus on coping skills that he can work with for the rest of his life than let him loose in a classroom where he and other students will constantly be distracted and have a frazzled teacher on your hands. We took our son off the meds during summers and just recently read the benefits of cod liver oil. Now he takes a softgel of c.l.o. in the morning and occasionally after school and it seems to be working almost as well as the meds. Don't forget that he's at that pre-teen age where behavior and feelings change from being little kids. So remember you're not alone and have our support. Just get him the help he needs. God bless!

I am the mother of a 13 year old boy with ADHD as well. We have yet again changed his medication because he is doing so poorly in school. We are now on the Daytrana patch, 15mg. So far... fingers crossed, my son likes this better than the pills. I didn't inform the teachers just so they would not be expecting anything, but I did check in with some of the teachers to see if they had noticed any changes. I haven't gotten a response from them yet, but it is only the first full week on the new stuff. My son seems to like the way it makes him feel and I don't see the withdrawals like I have on other med's. He even came home last Thursday and said he felt smarter... Intelligence has never been the issue, doing and turning in the homework and any assignments has... We have chosen to make our son stay on the med's. He doesn't have to ability to not get into trouble when he is off them and that is not fair to him. Hope this helps with your decision. Good luck and stay strong for him. S.

My brother has a severe form of ADHD called aspergers syndrome. He was put on every medication under the sun it seemed, and he was constantly druged up, (and hated it) untill he was taken to see an allergy speciallist. He has had a lot of sucess with changing his diet, there is a lot of information out there about the causes of certain food dyes and preservatives as well as wheat and processed sugar like high fructose corn syrup. Do some research and talk to an allergist. Good luck.

Hi M.,

I am not a Dr., but so many people are having wonderful results by using Shaklee products for children with ADHD. These are all natural food supplements. I recommend Meal Shakes, B Complex and Vita Lea. Please go to my website and learn more about the company and its integrity. The products are 100% guaranteed.

Dear M. C,
I think your son is on the right track, but needs a professional to help him recognize and alter the effects of his ADHD and while monitoring and supervising his gradual decreases in medications. Has he been evaluated by an occupational therapist? Occupational therapy gives consideration to what the needed life skills are, such as work [school] and play [leisure]. You may have to be very agressive with the school system to get an OT evaluation. You may have to take the responsibility upon yourself to get the eval. Your child's medical insurance may cover OT services. If I were you, I would check out what this "holistic" company can do for you and your son.


Heidi Clopton, OTR/L
Toll free: 1-877-372-2567
Centers of Development
Cookeville, Tennessee

Best of luck,
G. "in Woodbury"

hi M.
well i for one have the same thing going on i have 2 children that take a med. for ADHD and ADD i fought it for a year after teachers told me that both of my sons had it and finally i went and talked to a dr. trust me i didnt want to put them on the meds. my oldest is 12 and he says the same thing and a part of me wants to take him off of it and say ok no more but then i look at the fact that he cant focus and he does have a hard time understanding school work so i then have to set aside do i want him to stuggle and every one be stressed out or do i contiune with the meds. i am looking out for his future i dont want him to be 20 years old and still in high school you know what i mean because hes already failed once and if he stuggles then there would be taht chance he would fail again which would just keep putting him behind
the good news is i have heard that they will grow out of it so if i were you i would just give it a little bit more time at least get him to high school and then see how he does and who knows he might need it through school but after school be done with it i hope this helps

I am inclined to agree with the doctors as far as you being the parents and your son being the child. It seems obvious that he needs some sort of treatment, but there are various treatment courses out there. Have the doctors suggested any medications that may not cause your son to feel how he does on the one he has already tried? If not, I would definitly get a second opinion and try to find a solution that will help him focus with out giving him the "BLAHs". It is possible that your son is also testing your authority and just doesn't want to take any medicine, in which case, you may have to lay down the law and tell him he has take something to treat his condition. My daughter is also in a program through Centerstone that gives her focusing excersizes and techniques that help her deal with her ADD, so I would look into those programs also. I hope this helps. I know it can be frustrating to deal with, but don't give up. Find a doctor willing to work with you and try new things until you find the right combination that helps your son. And encourrage him also so that he knows this isn't just about school but a better chance for him enjoy everything that God has for him to experience.

I am no expert or anything, however I do have 4 young children and I just don't like the idea of the labels they give these kids and the medicines they want to put them on. If I were you I would get a second opinion. I think a lot of the problems our children have is their diet there is loads of sugar in everything which just adds to their already active behavior. My son and daughter is very active so I just put them in soccer and sports that will help them focus and get rid of some of that energy. I wish you the best!

It never hurts to get a second opinion. You just need to decide how much energy you are willing to invest in helping him to manage himself without the medications.

my son is adhd, on medication for 6 yrs. its hard when the child says he don't wanna take his medicine anymore cause my son does to. leave him on until you get his blood tested or a second oppinion.i only give my son the meds when he goes to school, not on tha wknds, but this medication have side affects & its additive, so mom, you can't jus stop it w/out a doctors knowledge,it may be harmful 2 him.

Dear M.,

Could you try changing his medication? Maybe a different one (like Strattera, not a stimulant, but can take up to 3 weeks to start working) might make him feel less sad, or more happy. I would try that route before fighting with him about the medication. Finding something that works and makes him feel comfortable in his skin is just as much a part of treating him as finding a medicine that helps him focus in school. The reason I say this is because I had a friend who had the same issue with his son as you have with yours; however, the son was in high school and college. Unmedicated, he was "the life of the party", Mr. Personality, etc. But his grades were awful. When he was medicated he did really well in school, but he didn't like not having his bubbly personality, so he quit the meds his high school senior year. His grades took a nosedive his senior year, so he couldn't get into the college he wanted to go to. Unfortunately, he couldn't make it through the college he did get into, even though it wasn't such a hard school. He had to drop out the first year. As an adult now he does struggle to be successful - he is still trying to be a golf pro - he likes outdoors and movement, not surprisingly.

Back then there weren't many choices in ADHD medication. My friend, his dad, really wishes they could have tried different ones to find something that his son could "live with".

Good luck with what you and your son decide.
All my best.

I am an adult w/ ADHD. I have just started on ritalin for the first time in the last 3 months. I do have side effects but they are not ones that create problems like the adhd does. ADHD causes me social problems, clutter, and no real goals as an adult(or should I say every goal, I want to do everything). If he has it as bad as I do please weight in how he will do as an adult. All the things I have to struggle with(things I dont like to do) really create depression in my life. When I take the pills they dont bother me much at all. I have been much less depressed and happier with my social skills with others. also, I seem to be much more approachable.

single mom adhd 44

Hi M., I have 4 children, 10 yrs, 9 yrs, 8 yrs, and 6 yrs. The 10 yr old and the 8 yr old both have ADHD. My ten yr old started meds when he was 6 and was on a few different types to see what worked for him. When he was 8 he came off his meds and his dr. did not have any problems with it. He has learned to handle his behavior and his focus very well. He did this by getting involved in sports. He gets re-evaluated every 6 months and his dr. says as long as he is doing well in school(which he has made Honor roll every reporting period) and is staying active in sports or other activities and not causing trouble he can stay off meds. As for my 8 yr old, she is entirely different sports or no sports, activities or not, she is a hand full. She absolutely can not control herself(YET). She has always had problems with her behavior and her attention span is that of a 2 yr old, so med is what we do for her. My childrens doctor has ALWAYS told me when it comes right done to it they are my children and I have to do what I feel is what is right for them. She gives me advise and tells me what meds are out, but in the end it is ultimately my decision as to what happens. My son doesn't want to take meds and as long as he keeps up making the right choices he won't have to, and my daughter doesn't like taking her meds but she says she feels better when she has a good day and I get the good notes then when she forgets to take her meds and has a bad day and I get a not so good note. I guess I am just trying to say that end the end it is a decision YOU and YOUR son has to make not his doctors. You are also the one meeting with his teachers. I can't tell you that what works for my children will work for all children with ADHD but I can tell you that you can always try it for more than a week (some meds take more than two weeks to work out of the system) and talk to your son and see of there are ANY activities he is interested in and then get him involved in them. Let him know that if he isn't taking his meds he needs to keep his attention on his tasks and earn postive grades in order to continue in his activities. Hope this helps.

Hi M.,

I have a grandson who is ADHD and I am with quite often, and have spent time with him in his classroom, and he is on concerta, and My grandson who is 10 doesn't like to take his med either, but if he doesn't he is not focus, and I have done some reading on this, and one parent, put their son in Marshal Arts, which helps them to focus, and we are looking into this possibility,
Another thought is take him off of it during the summer, and try giving him coffee,with hardly no sugar,
The caffeine will slow him down, it works the opposite on a child with ADHD, than it would with someone who does not have it.

I hope this helps.


There are a lot of natural ways to help a child that is adhd. I have a husband, daughter and son that are all adhd and my husband does well on the meds, my daughter went off of them at age 9 and I homeschooled her until college age. She is doing fine in college with a 3.5 gpa. My son needs the meds but won't take them. Now. I have heard of several good therapies. There are herbal therapies for adhd, ionic foot baths, reflexology and other alternative medicines. Don't give up, the ionic foot baths and reflexology may also help other health issues for your son. I would definitely try it. I am taking my daughter to someone because she is a vegetarian and is really anti drugs of all kind so i am hoping that this will be effective for her. This natural healing process also helps arthritis, chronic pain, allergies and other problems. I just heard about the foot baths, but I have used reflexology before and found it very good. Also studies have been done that provide adhd children with programs such as horseback riding, rock climbing or other forms of exercise that require all over muscle control and has found that the medication situation is not a cure-all because the substances do not last and the child does not gain control over his focusing because he depends on the meds and not on his own mind. So I feel there must be something to these alternative methods and if your child is not happy with his healthcare at this point, it would not hurt to look into other ideas while keeping the teachers happy for the next couple of weeks while you wean him off the drugs and onto another alternative. Blessings to you and your family.

My nephew and 2 of my nieces, ages 17, 16 and 15, have ADHD. All were diagnosed fairly young. They are all 3 on different meds and take them differently. My nephews meds have to be changed periodically because he develops a tolerance and they stop working for him. There are so many meds out there. If he cannot focus without them, talk to his doctor. Try another medicine. Consider the possibility of only using the medications when he is in school. Talk to his doctors though. He is old enough to have input, but not make the decision. If you son's doctor says "this is it and I am the doctor so you have to listen to me and I don't have to listen to you or him", then you need another doctor. The doctor should be your partner in your son's health care, not the dictator.
Good luck and I hope this helps.

Do you think that he doesn't want to take them because it's medicine. Will he take vitamins? I have information on some vitamins that contain no chemicals and work extremely well with ADHD children and adults alike. If you think I can help you can find my contact information at www.homeofficemamma.com. I would love to help you out. Good Luck.

I'm not a mom to an ADHD child, but I have been a teacher to many. I taught sixth grade and taught lots and lots of kids, mostly boys, with ADHD. Some were on meds, some were not, and some went back and forth. It really can cause a lot of problems in the classroom, but I can see not wanting to feel some of those side effects. I had one child last year that had little to no appetite b/c of his medication. If I were you, I'd get a second opinion. You have to take everything into account, school life, home life, the opinions of the doctors, and especially the opinion of your child.

I would definitely get a second opinion. The doctor sounds a little high-handed to me. A 12-yr-old can tell you how medication makes him feel. I think it's pretty obvious that he does need some type of medication to help him focus. I would try another one or maybe a reduced dose of the one he was already taken. There are so many different medications out there. Every child is different and you do have to "play" with the dose until you get the desired effect without the unwanted side effects. I would "make a deal" with your son. If he's willing to keep trying different medications, you'll listen to his feedback and try to come up with an acceptable solution for everyone. Good luck!

Hi M.,
There must be something about this med that makes your son not feel well. I'm sure he doesn't like being disruptive in class or unable to focus either. Why don't you see if your son is willing to try a different med and explore this with your doctor. There are many out there and surely one of them will work for him with minimal side effects. It is my understanding that ADHD may be outgrown in some kids at some point in later adolescence and maybe if your son can stay medicated for a couple more years, he can be successful in school and learn some good study habits so he will have these when he gets older and no longer needs or desires meds. When he gets closer to 15 to 16 he will understand how the meds help him or not. In the meantime, ADHD is a medical illness (with a behavioral component) if properly diagnosed and medical illnesses are treated with meds. If he had diabetes, you would not hesitate to treat him with insulin. Is your son being treated by a child psychiatrist? If not, I would pursue that route as that is their specialty. Good luck.

He was prescribed the medicine because he NEEDS it. My 5-year-old granddaughter has been on Ritalin for about 6 months now and is a different child when on it. Twelve years old is not grown - he still needs your guidance and love. You would be doing harm to take him off the medicine.

Morning M. C,
I can surely feel your pain as they (the school) told me in November that my daughter who is 7 had ADD... So I took her to our physician who "refused" to put her on medication until complete evaluations were done. With Jenna, I knew she could do the work, but she absolutely has trouble as you say with completing her work, & staying on task. I had a meeting with their (the school) S.A.T (Student Assistant Team) telling them of my Doctor's wishes, so we came up with a game plan. Now her teacher was not that thrilled with this as Jenna did have these problems. Here's what we did.... We started off by giving her a list of her work, & made it as a check list that she was responsible for herself of all of her daily work. She did it with flying colors. We then kept a tally of exactly "how many" times the teacher had to get her back on task, now these interventions were done for 10 day periods, again she nailed it. All this with no medication. I was not opposed to medication if that was what she needed, but Jenna is in a Discovery School so I have to volunteer 30 hours per year, so I spend a good amount of time there, so I see what is going on first hand. One option would be to change his medication if it makes him feel bad, as our Dr. did tell us that if in fact we did have to put her on meds we may have to try a few before we found the right one. I myself am a single Mama. I have a 20 year old son, & a 7 year old girl, whom I might add I thought was the menopause, as I got pregnant at 40, having her at 41!! But she is without a doubt the best thing that ever happened to me.... Don't get me wrong my son
is wonderful, but God sent me Jenna when my Mama was diagnosed with cancer, & when she died I was 6 months pregnant....
Life may not be the party we panned for but while we are here we may as well dance!!
I wish you all the best...

No i don't have medical background, However yes you are the adults and your son the child he is 12 I assume? all kids have touble focusing in class it's BORING and so yes he will struggle and as far as he said he was happier without it? Of course wihtout it he might not feel like he's on drugs. But look and see how many kids are useing an ADHD med its crazy any time a child is a little bit difficult the use that as a catch all, i am not saying for you not to make him take it and i am not saying to make him take it. Sit down and tell him if you want to be off of it then prove you can be give him a semester off of it to let him show you for sure if he needs it. But, let him know this up front.


I too have a 12 year old with ADHD. First off let me tell you this in case you get a lot of negative feedback. There are many times when medication is needed. People feel that medicating a child for ADHD is a bad thing. If your child was a diabetic would you not medicate him to keep his blood sugar levels regulated? Sure you would because you want what is best for your child. I was against meds initially, but it has helped my daughter tremendously. You are the parent and if it means that your child needs to be medicated then pray about it and do what you must for your child. My child has been on meds for about 2 years and initially I told her that she was taking a vitamin to help her stay focused and to this day I still call it a vitamin, but I later explained her diagnosis and how it helps her. Her school does not know that she is on meds because they are quick to label kids with ADHD, because they are truly ingnorant to the true diagnosis. I was tested and I too have it and I take meds sometimes. I am a graduate student studying Professional Counseling and the meds help me as well, becaue I too have it. Like the doctor (who is the profession) mentioned continue on the meds. Also please do your reseach like I did. Many people try many meds and they don't always work initialy, that is why there are multiple forms. Just encourage our son and help him when needed. Another thing, if he has it then either you or the father has it as well. THere are six million adults with ADHD that are undiagnosed.

A little about me. I am a 39 year old graduate student at Liberty University. I am a single mother of a 12 year old daughter.

While I agree that researching meds is absolutely in your best interest, and a 2nd opinion never hurts... I want to give you the analogy someone once gave me after we had THREE doctors from DIFFERENT practices to diag our son w/ ADHD and mood disorder....

Imagine the need for glasses... would you let him chose at that point that he feels better without them? The true need for ADHD meds or mood meds (in the case of our child) is very similar to that of eyeglasses, it provides clarity and focus.

Good luck.

I have two friends that were diagnosed ADHD. There are ways to manage ADHD without being on medication. They have both done the non-medication and the medication route. If he doesn't want to be on medication than there are things that you can do to be off the medication and manage the ADHD, I am not completely knowledgeable in this area, but I am sure you can find information on the web or from other ADHD people that go this route. I know that it includes regular exercise, and a diet that contributes to success (I believe staying away from simple sugars, etc). I think he is old enough that if you set up expectations and give him a choice you may be surprised by how he steps up to the plate, or he may willingly decide to do the medication. I think being well informed with all options and setting up a contract with him with the game plan and what is required and the consequence for not following through on his choice will be a good way to handle it, I can't imagine that getting into a power struggle with a teenager (or pre-teen) is ever a great way to handle the situation. Good Luck!

I am a mom of an ADHD son and can tell when he off meds. I don't know what meds your son is taking but we have switched to the Daytrana Patch and it has few side effects for him. I fought putting him on meds until I walked into his daycare when he was in Kindergarten on Christmas break and found him sitting on a carpet between 2 teachers while the other kids in his group sat up at the tables and played the game at the time. I realized then that his ADHD was making him an outsider and labeled as a bad kid. Most doctors worth anything will tell you that taking them off the meds can do more harm for them than good and as they get older they are more likely to turn to street drugs if they aren't on their regular meds. I hate giving him medicine but the alternative is worse for him. On the medicine he can do his school work, less likely to hurt himself and as a child he doesn't know how to control his emotions or his impulses. You might want to consult a phsychologist to see if they can help him with his emotions concerning the meds. Our children are intelligent in so many ways but they just have trouble controlling their impulses and staying focused... this is where the medication helps. I try to explain to my son that God made us all different and sometimes we have to have meds to help us and it is nothing to be ashamed of.

I am not a mom of a child with adhd or a medical person. However, I am a special education teacher with 11 years experience. There has never been a year when I did not have a student with adhd. I have had some students I could set my clock with when they needed their next dose.

The middle school that I work at just had parent teacher conferences last week. There is a student that we have been concerned about for the last two years. Mom made it to the conference. She is concerned about how he seems to be getting farther behind for the last 3 years. This student we all feel has trouble staying on focus, on task, and even in his desk for any period of time. One of the teachers asked if she had thought about the possibility that the student was adhd. She said the student had been diagnoised with it in elementary but had not been on meds for since 5th grade. This is the same amount of years that she says the student has been getting farther behind in class. This is not one of my students but they are in the room I collaborate with on a daily bases.

My youngest daughter is in college and her best friend there still takes adhd meds. She is 25. My daughter can always tell when she has run out of her medicine or chose not to take it to pull an all nighter studying.

I have a question. If you son had diabetes would we be having this discussion? I see it as no different. I have meniere's disease and have to watch my salt in take, my stress(I have trouble with that one), keep my allergies under control and take medication daily. I have even had surgery twice to help control it. After the first surgery I was able to go 9 years without meds, This time the doctor told me that if I would take the meds also. I would be able to go up to 15 years before I need surgery. You bet I am going to take my meds.

I hoped this has helped you make up you mind. My opinion help him stay focused in school and do the best he can. So he can be what ever he wants to be as an adult. It would be ashame if he can't do what he wanted because his GPA kept him out of the college with that program. Who know it might be something that being adhd would be an asset. Then he could do with out it!

Just one teacher's opinion.

you need to speak with my friend Andrea. her son was diagnosed with ADHD as well. she decided against medication and started giving him supplements. he has turned his grades around and is doing so much better. i will be happy to give you her telephone number. she lives in candler. god bless.


I understand exactly what you're going through. I have a daughter thats 12 and was diagnosed with ADHD in the 4th grade. The doctor put her on one med after another trying to find the perfect fit. They kept telling me we'll try another one. She was still struggling. So I made the call to take her off the meds when a teacher told me how to help her cope with this. I had to keep her on a very structured routine. We made lists of every step of her morning to prepare for school and hung them on the walls in her room. In the beginning I would follow-up with her but soon she was following through on her own. We made the same lists for the afternoon. When I knew her routine was going to be different one day, I spoke to her about it ahead of time and several times to give her the time to absorb the changes. The reason for this is the doctors who have done extensive studies on ADHD said that these kids are just as smart or even smarter than other kids but that their brain works differently. It adjusts to a sudden change slower and this can frustrate them and cause them to act out. We assume they are behaving badly and then we escalate the situation. If I sensed that my daughter was headed for an overload I spoke gently and quietly to her reassuring her that everything is fine we'll get things done. I can't tell you how many meltdowns we avoided and even the relief I saw in her face knowing that I was there for her. Another thing is at the beginning of each school year I went and spoke to her teachers about what I was working on and what they could expect. You would be surprised at how many teachers are familiar with ADHD and can actually help you if you give them the chance and let them know that you are there to support them and their efforts every step of the way. Then you aren't alone you have a team behind you. It helps let me tell you. The road with no medications isn't a picnic to be sure but I felt that if I could teach her when she was young how to get this condition under her control that it would make her stronger. I can see that in her now. She can still have the occasional meltdown but they are rare and we both know what we need to do. Her grades have leveled off from bad to B, A & some Cs. That is reassuring in itself. She also makes her own lists and works off them, at home and at school. There are times I sit her down and ask her if she wants to try the meds again and she says no. I can do this. The thing to keep in mind is that you know your child better than anyone. Do what you think is right. Some kids have it to the extreme and need the medications regardless of the risk, but there are those that just need support, guidance and a lot of patience.

Hello, I don't know that I will have any new advice just shared experiences. My son is 6 and we have been on this ADD road for about a year. I have been very disappointed in his pediatrician and the school system. What county school system is your child in?
I have been told really good things about a doctor at Vanderbilt that we have a made an appointment with. His name is Dr Steven Couch at the Child Development Center. The number is ###-###-####. We called mid-March and cannot get into to see him until May. I am very hopeful. We were told by his office staff that Dr Couch does not push medication (he will give it though) but rather behaviour modification techniques to help the child learn to control his focusing issues.
As far as the medications, I just recently took my son off his medication because he was losing so much weight, had picked his fingernails and skin on his fingers to the nub and just never laughed much anymore. It was breaking my heart. He also complained of "heart pain" one night and his "heart beating real fast." I can't seem to get his current pediatrician to act.
I guess what I am trying to say is you are not alone in your frustration and I know how difficult it is to make these judgement calls for you child.
Have you already tried several different medications? I have read over and over again how you have to try several meds before finding "just the right one."
Feel free to contact me at ____@____.com if you want to share more experiences about this.
D. f.

Hi M.,
I understand where your coming from. I have a 15 yr old son dx with PDD-NOS/ADHD. He has been on meds for quite a few years and about a year and a half ago he ask if he could stop his meds. I had the same concerns too and was pretty much told the same by his dr. I decided to give my son the chance to go med free BUT he had to work extra hard to stay focused and his grades couldn't drop. This may have seemed extreme but as of his last report card he is making A/B's. His teachers do say he needs to be redirected sometimes but they have seen an improvement. With that said all kids are different. I would suggest getting another opinion to ease your mind. Also encourage your son if he wants to go without meds he has to work really hard to stay focused. I'm not sure if this is much help but I wish you luck on whatever you decide. K.

I have been using a product that is helpful not only to me but to my 7 year old grandson who is ADD. The gentleman who started me on the product has a grown son that is adhd and he swears that it gave his son his life back and controls the adhd without medication.
You can contact him at ____@____.com
The product is full of nutrition and balances the chemicals in the body and brain.
I would not do without it. I was on 6 medications when I started using it and now with the doctor involved and helping, I am on zero medications. In fact, he wanted to know exactly what I was doing and told me not to stop.
Please contact Peter Greenlaw before you put your child back on the medication. I also have a 19 year old grandson that hated to take the medication and wouldn't take it during summer and at the last two years of high school, refused to take it because it didn't like the way it made him feel. He is doing okay without it.

Hi M.,
I am so sorry you are having to have such confusion over what the best course of support for your son. It seems that the doctors should be able to offer several options for those that want all the facts around helping a situation... but they don't because they are limited to their field of study, which isn't the only way... I had to listen to my son and my heart when I felt the way we were being directed wasn't healthy for him. We ended up finding a school where he was inspired and interested in what they were doing as opposed to a large classroom filled with children that were supposed to behave and sit all day long. I remember sitting with the "team" for our son's IEP at school and they told me he should be on ADHD meds, and that almost half the children there were on them (it was a public school in CT. I was shocked at the number of students and angry that this was happening. Our son thinks differently and needed a school that worked better for him. Good luck with your situation, if there were any advice I could give you, now that I am through that time in our lives and our son is graduating college with two degrees (I'm thrilled for him), it would be to take care of his self image as best you can, love him and listen to him and to your heart.
Warmly, B.

Hi my name is A. and I have ADHD. I was diagnosed in college with it but I had struggled and been tested majority of my younger years because I was struggling with school and could not focus. I was put on adderall and I absolutley love how it has made my attention span change and how much better i did in classes throughout the rest of college. I admit the side effects do take some getting used to but i know how your son feels. It is hard to admit that you can't focus and make good grades on your own. It does take a toll on realizing that a medication is the only way to focus and it is hard to swallow that you have to take a med just to live. I was 21 when I started taking it and I know that i struggled so much in high school and i had to study so much more than others because i did not have the concentrattion other kids did. Play with the medications not with the thought of not taking them at all. There are many out there to try and I believe that he will have better grades and feel better about himself after seeing that studying is easier and getting good grades are easier will be better off in the long run. Remember that college is expensive and scholarships are needed to help with the expense. He will get used to the thought of taking the meds and thank you later on for making him take them. Trust me in that! I wish that I had only be diagnosed earlier so that I did not stuggle so much in high school.

I know I am late responding but my husband has ADD and was never diagnosed until he was 31. He struggled with school and college and his life was so disorganized and he kept losing jobs and not advancing. He started medications and it helped him significantly-- he stated that he wished he had been on the medications when he was in school-- it could have made a huge difference in his career and his education. So... we are watching our children closely for this condition and will likely be in the same situation as you are someday. Just my 2 cents....


Our son will be 12 years old next week and he takes medicine daily also. He tells us that the medicine doesn't help and he could focus if he wanted to; however we know the medicine does help him focus in school. He has been on the A/B honor roll this whole year and that is amazing in itself. About a month ago, his teacher contacted us letting us know that he wasn't able to concentrate after lunch, he was wired and moved around constantly. We made a drs appt and we had to increase his dose - he has grown so much over the winter. He still don't think he needs the medicine and we hate to medicate him and spend the money on it; however it has proven to help him with school work and behavior. I suggest to continue with the medicine for now and just like us we hope and pray they will mature quickly so they can quit taking the medicine everyday.

Let me first say that medicating your child is ABSOLUTELY not irresponsible, ignoring his needs now can make his life much harder in the future. I am 32 and was recently diagnosed with Adult ADHD...this was after years of feeling out of place in normal situations; using drugs and alcohol to quiet my mind; inadvertently straining all of my relationships; suffering from pretty severe bouts of depression and anxiety; not meeting my "potential" because of lack of focus and organization, etc. (I could go on and on.) It took me almost 10 years to get through college and I struggled with grades in high school, although I have a high IQ, because I had a hard time finishing the things I started. I have been to several therapists for anxiety and depression and it wasn't until my current therapist (God love her!) noticed the underlying signs of ADHD, that I got the help I had been looking for since my youth. She said that because I was unusually bright, (please don't take this as me being cocky) I was probably good at compensating for my behavioral issues in public. Anyway, I did the testing, it came back positive for ADHD and they suggested I try Adderall. It has made a life altering difference at both work and home. I can get, at least, 3 times the amount of stuff done at work because I don't have that sense of dread that absorbed a lot of my life before. I don't get nearly as anxious about every day life (driving and getting lost or dealing with conflict without aggression) and I don't have nearly as many impulse control issues, which has improved my relationships with my family and friends. I am also on an anti-depressant (have been for about 7 years), but I hope that I will soon be able to start slowly decreasing my dosage until I can get off it completely. I saw that your son has bowel issues, which was common for me, as well, because the anxiety triggered my irritable bowl syndrome (IBS).
So, my advice, from a different perspective, is to keep him on the meds. Definitely get a second opinion from another psychologist or mental/behavioral specialist. Keep up with the therapy because medication alone will not fix the problem. Use that time to talk openly about why he doesn't want to take them. Is it the social stigma of being on medication? I really like the analogy involving the glasses and clarity of sight. My doctor said it this way, "If you had high blood pressure, wouldn't you take your medicine? What's the difference here? Part of your body doesn't work as well as it could with medicine, so you take it to correct the problem". Because I wasn't diagnosed when I was younger, I have a lot of bad habits that I acquired to deal with the lack of balance in my life. Trying to relearn a healthier way to deal with a lifetime of bad habits is much harder than learning how to deal with your personal obstacles and developing good coping skills the first time around. I hope this helps a little…

My nephew was on ADHD medicine and he said that it stunted his growth. When he went to live with his dad, he went off of it. His dad made him exercise every day and my mother sent him some kind of powder vitamin made for ADHD. She got it on the internet. He made better grades when he was living with his dad and he was off the meds.
I don't like giving the meds but you certainly don't want him to get behind in school either and from what I have heard my nephew say, it aggrevates him when he is figity and can't concentrate.
So ..... it is your call. Maybe get on the internet and read and see if you can find some vitamins just for that and then tell him if he doesn't take the meds he will have to exercise every day. See if that helps.
I feel for you. I would be in the same position you are in if it were me.
Good luck. I know you will make the right decision.

listen to your gut Mom! He needs the meds. He may find a different one works better for him! I worked in a pediatric office as an RN for the past 2 years. Don't take him off the meds, it will get worse. Look at TY Pennington! He has ADHD and you can tell on Extreme Makeover HOme addition when he is off his meds. You can also use him as a role model for your son!

visit: www.Shaklee.net/Focht

Hi M.,

It must be really tough when you are trying to do what you consider the best thing for your child. There are so many variables involved with ADHD, & nutrition is one major factor.

I have been using Shaklee food supplements & protein drinks for over 30 years. Since my family has had such great results from using Shaklee, I also educate others so that they too may have opportunity for a strong foundation for their minds & bodies.

Shaklee has been around for over 50 years & has been invited on Oprah's show several times this year. I will be glad to send you some information or testimonials in regards to ADHD & Shaklee nutrition, if you so desire. In the meantime, if you want to look at my website, you can navigate on it to see what Shaklee has to offer. Also below are some addt'l notes from others that you can glance at.

On my website take a look at Shaklee's Soy Protein, Vita Lea Multi-Vit, Optiflora, EPA, Cal/Magnesium, B complex, & GLA. Also look at the Vitalizer Strips... it already has most of these food supplements in it.

If you decide to go the nutritional route, just let me know if I can provide additional insight.

It can be done.

D. Focht

visit: www.Shaklee.net/Focht

I was the founder and president of an online support site for ADHD, ADHD.com for 5 years so I have learned alot about the symptoms and the various challenges that families face.
I have been using Shaklee products for nearly 4 years on my whole family, most of whom have ADHD. I can tell you that the products help a lot but you have to take a very aggressive approach that often includes a lot of diet, and sometimes lifestyle, changes to get beyond the need for medication.

In terms of other products, we had tried some other brands and really saw no reliable results. I think many products just don't have the level of nutrients needed to make a difference that can be seen or felt.

I'd say keep on a good nutritional path & look for some positive results Renee

I am a former certified personal trainer, I have studied nutrition and continue to make it part of my lifestyle. I am not a Shaklee rep, just a customer.
I can tell you that I absolutely love their products. They are of the highest quality and standards. Shaklee has been around for a very long time and is a company of high integrity and ethics.

They are on the leading edge of technology without sacrificing quality.



Robin was diagnosed with ADHD. After more than a year of doctors, learning labs, psychologists and specialists, we were given a prescription for Ritalin. I came home, sat down and prayed, "Dear God, am I doing the right thing for my child? Won't you help me help her?" As I stood over the garbage can ripping the Ritalin prescription into pieces, I felt a great sense of peace. The following week, Shaklee came up on two different occasions. At my office someone mentioned nutrition, learning disabilities and how Shaklee products seem to work best. Then, a friend said, "Hey, I had a patient tell me she has a child with ADHD and put the child on vitamins called Shaklee. Thought you should know...gotta run!" By this time I knew what God was telling me. I found a Shaklee distributor who helped me design a program for Robin including Meal Shake, Vita-Lea, B, Cal/Mag, GLA and Zinc. The results were unbelievable. The difference in Robin's behavior and learning abilities was amazing. To prove it was the vitamins, I decided to put it to the test. Robin's teacher gave the class their spelling words for the week on Monday, tested them on Friday, with a pre-test on Thursday. From Monday to Thursday, I gave Robin no supplements. It was a rough week. She was very irritable and hard to get along with. She cried over every little thing. When I picked her up from school she said she had a bad day and nobody liked her. I knew what was going on, but I had to complete my test. Robin's teacher sent notes home saying she had difficulty staying in her seat, squirmed a lot and frequently spoke out of turn. On Thursday, she took her spelling pre-test. Without vitamins in her system, this test showed she was dyslexic. She missed every spelling word and was unable to perform at her grade level! On Friday morning, she had vitamins and Meal Shake before she went to school. The Friday test was perfect. The difference was just astounding. Robin calls B Complex her spelling pill. In addition to learning problems Robin woke up two or three times each week crying with pain due to leg cramps. When I had them, my mother called them growing pains. After Robin started the vitamins, she had one bad night but none since. Parents and teachers: Unlike Ritalin and Cylert, vitamin therapy does not require your children's kidneys and liver be checked every six months. Do you really want to give those drugs to your children? Vitamin therapy works! ~Angie Easley
Another article:
Treatment Options

What are the treatments for ADHD?

The most common treatment for ADHD is the use of stimulant drugs. Whether or not drug therapy is recommended is often related to the severity of the symptoms. The use of methylphenidate, the most commonly prescribed drug for the management of ADHD, has increased 700 percent in the past five years.(1) Sometimes drugs called psychotropic medications may be prescribed. These are drugs that are most commonly used to treat psychiatric disorders. Using the standard tests that are associated with the diagnosis of ADHD, along with a thorough physical examination, your physician will be able to prescribe a medication that is most appropriate.

It seems that stimulant drugs may serve as a homeostat to stabilize arousal and thereby temper the spontaneous fluctuations that are characteristic of ADHD.(2, 3) Most parents report positive outcomes with the use of these drugs even though the side effects associated with them may cause concern. Some of the side effects include sleeplessness, lack of appetite, and increased thirst. Parents must monitor these side effects during early treatment with stimulant drugs in order to assure the best dosage for the child.

While conventional drug treatment is common, there is mounting evidence that many ADHD sufferers can achieve dramatic results with dietary, nutritional, and environmental interventions. Particularly among young children, non-pharmaceutical interventions provide a risk free alternative that can be explored as a first line of treatment. If drug therapy is chosen as the preferred treatment, then combining that therapy with solid nutrition and dietary supplementation can result in a more comprehensive program.

Nutritional Supplementation

Additional information (Precautions) is available by clicking on the underlined supplement.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Omega-6 Fatty Acids
It has been suggested that a lack of essential fatty acids is a possible cause of hyperactivity in children. It is more likely the result of varying biochemical influences. These children have a deficiency of essential fatty acids (EFAs) either because they cannot metabolize linoleic acid normally, cannot absorb EFAs effectively from the gut, or because their EFA requirements are higher than normal.

Some of the physical symptoms reported in ADHD are similar to symptoms observed in essential fatty acid (EFA) deficiency in animals and humans. Researchers report that a subgroup of patients expressing many symptoms similar to those seen in EFA deficiency had lower plasma levels of docosahexaenoic acid and arachidonic acid compared to those with fewer symptoms.(4, 5) Children with low levels of total omega-3 fatty acids exhibited significantly more behavioral problems, temper tantrums, and learning, health, and sleep problems than did those with high proportions of omega-3 fatty acids.(6)

Magnesium is one of the most commonly deficient nutrients in children with attention deficit and hyperactivity disorders.(7)

Magnesium supplementation has been found to reduce levels of hyperactivity when the children being studied were given 200mg each day over a six month period of time.(8) The chief sources of magnesium in the diet are fruits and vegetables.

N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC)
N-acetyl cysteine is a sulfur-containing amino acid that helps to remove toxins from the body.(9, 10) Some studies indicate that exposure to toxic metals such as mercury(11) and lead(12) result in declines in attention and memory, as well as many other negative effects. If patients with ADD/ADHD are found to have elevated levels of toxic metals, N-acetyl cysteine is an effective agent to utilize in a detoxification program.

Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus acidophilus
Studies report an association between ear infections in childhood and the development of hyperactivity.(13) Some practitioners believe that this is because the antibiotics affect the healthy bacteria in the intestines allowing toxins to enter the blood stream. The intestinal tract in a healthy person is populated with beneficial bacteria. Antibiotics can destroy a large percentage of the beneficial bacteria. If probiotics are not taken following a course of antibiotics, "bad" bacteria that are normally present in only small concentrations can compete equally with the few remaining friendly bacteria. If substantial amounts of pathological bacteria proliferate, it is quite possible the toxins excreted from their metabolism can enter the blood stream, causing hyperactivity, blood sugar anomalies, malabsorption of nutrients as well as other conditions.

Diet & Lifestyle

The effect of diet on children with hyperactivity disorder has been the subject of debate for over 30 years. During the 1960's, Dr. Benjamin Feingold, a California pediatrician, studied the effects of a low salicylate diet in the treatment of ADHD after observing an exacerbation of symptoms among hyperactive children when they ate salicylate-containing foods. Feingold’s observations led to a controlled clinical trial, which demonstrated that in addition to artificial colors and preservatives (which contain high amounts of salicylates), 90 percent of the ADHD children in the study had additional food intolerances.(24) The most common allergenic foods among children have been identified as cow’s milk, corn, wheat, soy, peanuts, and eggs. Additional "problem foods" have been identified. An experimental diet among preschool boys with sleep problems and hyperactive behavior demonstrated that after removal of artificial flavors and colors, dairy products, caffeine, MSG, and chocolate, over 50 percent of the children improved.(25) One study compared the treatment success of dietary restriction with methylphenidate and found that while 44 percent responded to the drug treatment, 24 percent had equal success with dietary modifications alone.(26)

Avoid/eliminate all sugar and simple carbohydrate and white flour/pasta foods.
Avoid/eliminate all foods containing artificial flavoring agents, coloring agents, and preservatives.
Identify and eliminate food and environmental allergies

Full Spectrum Light: Dr. John Ott reported doing time lapse photography of a hyperactive child in a Sarasota, Florida elementary school. Over the weekend, the standard cool white fluorescent lights in this classroom were changed from their original tubes to full spectrum fluorescent lights. Within a week after the new full spectrum lights had been installed, the films revealed a reduction in the amount of hyperactive behavior with the new full spectrum lighting.(27)
Biofeedback: Numerous trials support the use of biofeedback as a retraining tool for brain patterning.
visit: www.Shaklee.net/Focht

My oldest son is 21 and has add. Never feel bad or second guess yourself about getting a second opinion. Maybe your son needs a different med. My son couldn't take some due to the mood swings they caused. Good luck and i will keep you and your son in my prayers.
B. sanders

is it possible to put him a lower dosage of his meds. so it will still help focus and stay on task at school, but leave him feeling bogged down and sluggish. i've also heard that there are certain diet aterations you make to help with adhd symtoms...like cutting out refined sugars are and gluten. i'm really sure eexactly what else is involved, but it's probably worth researching. but the doc is right, you are the parent and he is the child and you have to make the decisions that you feel are best, and he must abide them.

I agree with many of the responses. My sister has ADHD, not diagnosed until she was 30 or so and she indicates the side effects can be hard to handle- especially as the meds wear off. She takes 1/2 dose of what they recommend and is able to function but not as many side effects. There is Vivanse which is a proform of Ritalin and is suppose to have less of the side effects because it breaks down slower and gives a longer lasting effect. There is nothing wrong with second opinions, research your area for a pediatric neurologists that has a lot of epxerience with ADHD, they may be able to get the meds better adjusted.
Good Luck!

My 32 year old son has a 7 year old boy with adhd. He wants to keep him off the medicine because he says he doesn't eat well on it. BUT off the medicine, the child can't be still, eats a lot, talks outloud during school, is wide open and don't mind. Put him back on it. He needs it to kinda control his brain activity.

Hello M.~

To be honest with you, I would listen to my child. It sounds like he is old enough to know that it makes him feel different. My 8 year old daughter is ADHD, and I have removed her from all meds because she acted like she was high/stoned on the meds...it didn't matter what brand or what dosage. Try all natural options...take him to a naturpath, they have all natural herbs and vitamins that will help him without all the side effects. My daughter started to take Vitamin B-12 Complex and it helps her concentration. She is doing great in school. She is still a kid, not a quiet robot. You don't have to listen to me, but I think a kid should be a kid and if your son realizes that it makes him act and feel different, then you should listen to him. Good luck.


your pediatrician sound horrible. i hate medicating children as a first step. there are so many things you can try other than meds. i question was posted a few weeks ago regarding natural treatments for adhd, and a lot of great answers were posted. you should look it up. i posted a response regarding diet changes that can really improve adhd and have no side affects, other than your son may miss a few of the foods he is used to. if he is unhappy on the meds, you should find another way to treat his adhd. if you want to know about the diet changes i know about, let me know, but look into the other post regarding natural adhd treatments.

Hi M.,

I have a son close in age to yours. He hasn't been diagnosed with ADHD, but ever since he was a toddler, I have noticed the effects of sugar on his behavior. Even today, a little candy can completely change his personality, the look in his eyes, and his behavior goes from well-behaved to - he literally can't control his body and actions. The stuff with artificial flavors and colors makes it even worse. so we avoid sugar, caffeine, processed foods (which is difficult in this society) and artificial additives as much as possible. I have always suspected there could be a link between diet and ADD. Now there is more evidence out there that ADHD can be treated by diet and natural supplements in many cases (but not all cases). I haven't researched it much myself, but it would be a good Google search to investigate. Here's a couple sites I just found, but I do NOT necessarily promote any certain book or supplement. I would just do some research...any MAYBE it could help your situation. I think there may be some books at Bare Essentials or Earth Fare you could check out. Good luck!!

You're right, he is a child but 12 is old enough to know how the meds are effecting him. There are most always alternative treatments available. Most everything can improve with diet and or natural suppplements. I am suggesting a NEW DOCTOR & New Start with his treatment. Try a search on the Internet Alternative treatments for ADHD. I know a friend of mine who's son had this, he was on the meds through most of his young childhood. Finally as he became a teen he complained about how the meds made him feel. They did seek another type of doctor who treated the symptoms without drugs. I can't remember the type of doctor. Her son is now 27 been off the meds since around 13.

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