55 answers

Needing Pros & Cons on "Adderall"

We have been having long term "focus" issues with my now 11 year old son and have exhausted all other avenues to try and help him. Last year he was tested for ADHD and it came back negative, however, this school year the daydreaming and lack of focus during school has increased. We have adjusted his diet from less processed sugars and have focused on higher protein and although it has generally improved his health it really hasn't done much for the attention issues. Up until now, we have been opposed to medications for all the reasons many parents have. A trusted colleague has gone through the same issues with his son and they finally decided to try Adderall. He tells me it has changed his son's life for the positive. He is able to do his homework, his grade's have vastly improved and most importantly his son is happier. I have done internet research, but I want to hear the good, bad & ugly from a parents perspective. Thanks for your input!

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E-mail my sister in law, Susan, she will give you an insiders experience with a son in a similar situation. ____@____.com

My son was on Adderall since kindergarten, the only side affect I saw in him was increase in appitite. This year we are trying Vyvance, it is supposed to help them through the day and into the night so they can do thier homework as easily. So far every things seems to be a whole lot better. There is a web sight on vyvance adhd.emedtv.com/vyvanse/vyvance.html this will help answer some questions. My son is fixin to be 12 next month and an A/B student and his conduct is so much better. Simply both are good medicines because they are time release, which means it won't affect the kidney like the other drugs do.

I, too, have not been ready to put my son on "chemical" drugs for ADHD. Instead we have him on Attend by VAXA. It is a homeopathic alternative. It has been wonderful. Not an overnight fix. It takes a few weeks to get into their system. He is now able to sit in class and do his work. We are still working on impulsiveness, but otherwise he is doing so much better.

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I have 2 boys, both on medication. My 8 year old has been diagnosed with ADHD and is on Focalin and my 14 yr old has been diagnosed with ADD and is taking Adderall. I can tell you the medications have been a God send. We too really did not want to go the medication route but I was completely out of options. I had tried everything. The best indication that they work though is that both boys willing take their meds everyday because they can see (feel) the difference it makes for them while at school and while doing homework. In fact my youngest wasn't reading until he started the medication and he now calls it his "sit down medicine". It helps him to be able to sit down in his chair at school. After the older started his meds, he says that it makes all the difference in the classroom. He can concentrate on what is being taught instead of daydreaming. His grades and self confidence are better than ever.

We have 2 ADD/Dyslexic children (10 &7). We too were very skeptical about putting our daughter on meds. We went through the psychologist thing with the “testing” and counseling. My children are taking adderalll XR, there are both pros and cons (as for anything). The week we put our daughter on the meds she came home and said she like the medication because she could listen to the teacher and remember what she was supposed to do (she was in 2nd grade). Our daughter does show side effects, eating is the big one. Her appetite is really suppressed, but the doctors really watch her and notate her weight every month. After a long period of being on the meds she does have some problems falling asleep (but in all fairness she had the problems before, it is an ADD symptom). What I LOVE about this medication is we do not give it to them on the weekends unless it is imperative they really concentrate; also we do not give it in the summer unless they really need it. This medicine starts working 30 min after you give it to them, so it does not have to be disbursed everyday to stay in their system. If you have any other questions please feel free to contact me. I too have to live with ADD and I know how hard it is for these kiddos. There is just one question you need to ask yourself….if you had an illness or imbalance that medication would help you feel better wouldn’t you take it? ADD is an imbalance and the medication helps straighten it out. GOOD LUCK!

You think he just might be bored and uninterested in what he is learning. Do you do his homework with him? Have you asked him about it? Maybe get some therapy first.

My daughter is 8 will be 9 shortly. I had some of the same problems with her, had teacher after teacher telling me to put her on meds. My daughter saw three different Dr. plus her pedi and all said the same thing she just needed redirection. It was bad for a while,nearly two years, I got phone calls form the school everyday, I thought they had me on speed dail. Even had to go to the school to pull her out form under the princpals desk. She was making staight F's in all her classes. So at my wit's end over the Christmas holidays I put her on this vitiam called "Focus Fator", that seem to help, and I put her in Karate classes, within a month the teacher where asking me what I did to her and I told them. The Focus Fator help her focus on what she was doing and the Karate classes gave her some much needed redirection and an outlet to release some of her built of energy. She is now a staight A student with out having to put on meds. Hope this helps.

Focus Fator you can find at your local GNC or Walgreens. Believe me it helped my phone no longer rings form the school unless one of my children are in the nurses office.

Sorry, I don't believe in medicating children. I always try like you diets and vitiams first. So far, my children are med free.

I am not sure if this will help you any or not since my son is only going to be 4. He was on the adderall xr, and the "regular" adderall for almost 2 years. First ALL of the ADHD meds can cause a loss of appitite, which would result in a decrease of weight. Anyway, the good thing about adderall is that it is not one you HAVE to take everyday, like if you just wanted to give him something during the week while he was in school, but not on weekends or holiday breaks then this is one of them that you can do that, it only stays in your system for that one day. The Adderall XR is a extended relief pill that "is supposed" to last 8 hours, the "regular" Adderall is a fast relief pill. It worked great for my son he was so much calmer and acctually able to sit down and color, or read a book, or even just play with his toys, my son did loose a pound or two in the beginning until he got used to it, then he gained it back, he didnt loose any weight the rest of the time, but he didnt gain any either. My son was changed to metidate, which didnt work, he is now taking Vyvanse, this is a new one from what i understand and is supposed to be just like the Adderall XR, just little different on what they put inside, but this one "is supposed" to last 12 hours instead of the 8 with Adderall. I hope this helps you any, it does take a while sometimes to find the right pill or comb. for them. Good Luck.

I don't know anything about Adderall, but I am opposed to medicating children to change their personality. I am afraid that there comes a time when you must stop taking it and they will go through the same issues, so I believe it only postpones the problem until the parents and teachers no longer have to deal with it. One question I would have for you is, how much tv, video games, and/or computer time is your son engaging in each day? It helps my children tremendously when they do not use tv, video games or computer time for more than 30 minutes a day combined. These forms of technology train the brain to be constantly interrupted and force a short attention span. It also helps them to be creative in finding something else to do.

Sounds like you had him tested for adhd but did they test for other things as well? Seizure disorders etc... If you haven't already seen a psychiatrist I would recommend that first and perhaps he would recommend adderall. My very bright daughter takes adderall and would not do well in school without it. Food for thought........

I've been told that sometimes kids that are gifted have the same issues as kids with ADHD. Ask the school that your child is in to see if they test for gifted and talented children because if this is the case your child may be bored because not being challenged enough mentally.

My son was on Adderall since kindergarten, the only side affect I saw in him was increase in appitite. This year we are trying Vyvance, it is supposed to help them through the day and into the night so they can do thier homework as easily. So far every things seems to be a whole lot better. There is a web sight on vyvance adhd.emedtv.com/vyvanse/vyvance.html this will help answer some questions. My son is fixin to be 12 next month and an A/B student and his conduct is so much better. Simply both are good medicines because they are time release, which means it won't affect the kidney like the other drugs do.

This is coming from a nurse's perspective, although I too have dealt with this issue. You know.. Adderall is a touchy subject. I will say, I was an ADD baby too,and my parents chose not to medicate me. I didn't start Adderall until high school because my grades were dropping pretty badly. Just do alot of research before you decide to go the drug route, and make sure that his ADD is bad enough to use drugs because his brain is still developing and those drugs directly act on his central nervous system. There are still no long term studies on stimulants in adults, let alone children, so we don't know exactly how they will affect us long term. I will also say that when I started taking Adderall as a teen and adult, it did make me happier because I was more efficient in my school work. I have since stopped using it because of its unknown effects on the brain and heart. I did start having cardiac issues when I was only 21 years old on Adderall. So my own personal view is.. let kids be who they are, even if it's an inconvenience to the teacher, and don't mess with drugs until you absolutely have to. Sometimes kids grow out of this on their own, especially boys. I personally would not give my kids amphetamines until they were older and absolutely had to be on it. Hope this helps you make your decision!

As a teacher I have seen it change the families life for the best. Some kids need it...! I would try it for 2 weeks and schedule a meeting with the teacher after the trial period. I think that your son will be happier. Listen to the teachers, they know more than you can imagine and their hearts are in the right place!

My son has been on Adderall for about 2yrs now. The only con that I have noticed is that it is a huge appetite suppressent so you have to make sure that your child is eating. My son has extreme ADHD and I to was hesitant to put him on medication, but when it got to a point where there was no other choice it made a huge difference. He is now 7yrs old and even with the medicine he has been able to learn when he is getting to rowdy. The great thing about Adderall is that it is only in the system for 12hrs. My son only takes his medicine when he has to go to school or when he is going to an overstimulating event. This plus has allowed us to work with him on the weekend at controling his rowdiness and learning focus techniques.

E-mail my sister in law, Susan, she will give you an insiders experience with a son in a similar situation. ____@____.com

I have 2 children on ADD/ADHD medication. My son was 3 when he was evaluated and diagnosed with ADHD at Texas Childrens. I too didn't want to give him any form of medicine. I tried all form of diet and homeopathic alternatives and NONE of them worked, he was off the charts. We were kicked out of daycares and I had a very bleak view of his future and couldn't imagine him going to school. I can tell you what works for 1 child may not for the other, it requires vigilence from you, teachers, relatives and your doctor. We've been through several and what works best for both of my children in different doses is the Daytrana patch. My daughter has ADD, she started 3rd grade with C's and D's and it took her 3 hours to do 30 min. of homework everynight. After 1 month on this transdermal patch she has all A's and her self esteem is healthy. My son has also been successful in kindergarten this year and I never thought that would happen. I like the patch because it doesn't effect their appetite as much as the others and you can take it off when you don't need it anymore. We've tried Adderall and Focalin with my son and we had good success with the Focalin as well but when your 5, taking a pill isn't always easy. I also knew a 17yr. old boy taking it and he also like it better than Adderall, it has a gradual release. Sorry I'm long-winded but I believe this issue has gotten out-of-hand with misinformation.

Hi Dawn,
Our five year old son is on Adderall, and I can tell you it has changed his life 200%, I was very upset at our visit with the peditrician to talk about what types of medicine we should put him on, just the thought of him being so young and on the medication. His peditrician was very kind, and even shared a personal story on her family regarding the same issues, her husband did not want to put their son on medication but after struggling for so long he finally decided to put him on medicine in the 3rd grade. I just thought the worst about putting our son on medication, but I had to remember that he was really struggling and I talked to him and he told me that he could not control his behavior. He will be on it a year this May. The only thing that I felt was a problem is the fact that it takes him longer to go to bed at night. Prior he would be asleep 7p to 7:30p, but now he goes to bed much later, sometimes will fall asleep by 8:30p to 9p. My husband and I attended a seminar at our church from a third party regarding children that have different challenges, for lack of a better word, and one the things we did learn was that Vitamin C counters the Addrell, sure enough I had bought some natural vitamins at the Vitamin Shoppe, and thinking that because they were natural with no types of preservatives, it would be okay, it was not. The teacher e-mailed both days that I gave him the vitamins and said that he was have a very difficult time and if something had changed with his medication, I stopped giving him the vitamins and he went back to normal with the Adderall. We did have to play with the dosage and he is currently on 20mg. I believe that 25mg is the highest you can go. He does not drink orange juice either, however I did speak to his peditrician about the vitamins and brought them to her to read and she said to give it to him at night and it has worked out fine. The important thing is that our son is still the same but just very focused and not jumping everywhere. I was concerned that he was going to become a zombie, but on the contrary. I hope this information helps!

Sincerly,
H.

I would really like to see the responses to your request if you should get any. My oldest son is 14 and we have had him tested for dislexia,add and more. We had his eyes tested,had his ears tested.He has even taken the special edd test at school and did not pass.We have had him in private schools and now for the 1st time he is at public school and the only thing the counselor could do to appease our nagging was to put him in a math plus class. He is an excellent athlete but due to his distractions and absent - mindedness he makes low grades (due to forgetting to hand in assignments or losing his homework)and therefore is not allowed to participate in any sports events at school. My big concern is that he starts high school next year and we would hate him to get lost in a big new world of teenagers and highschool pressure.

Hi,

I too, resisted "drugs" for my daughter and finally gave in when the teasing became too much for her because she couldn't concentrate was getting in trouble for not doing her work. She went from failing to the A/B honor roll in 1 semester. Do it for your son. You and he BOTH will be glad.

My first instinct would to NOT look at this kind of medication especially if ADHD has been ruled out. There are so many more issues that could be going on. Is he bored with school and not being challenged? Is he depressed? Is he dyslexic? There is also some problems with multiple chemical sensitivity. Many people don't realize that some people are more sensitive to chemicals in products being used around the house or school these days. Many diseases and learning disabilities are now being linked to some of these chemicals. There are a ton of things to look at before using, what I call, dangerous medications like Adderall.

I do have a son who has been diagnosed with ADD but I don't medicate him. I got rid of the dangerous chemicals in the products in my house (I shop with www.melaleuca.com), and watch my son's diet and put him on really good vitamins and supplements with a 95% or better absorption rate. It really made a difference. He is loving school and getting great grades.

Good luck,
J.
www.livetotalwellness.com

My 9 year old son has a diagnosis of ADHD along with Autism Spectrum issues. We began Adderall (time release) several months ago and the difference at school has been amazing! Unfortunately the "rebound" effects in the late afternoon and evenings (all directed at me) were nearly unbearable! The doctor now has him taking a very small dose (not time released) in the late afternoon (5:00). It helps us get through homework and family time without all of the anger and confrontation. There are definitely pros and cons to this medication, but at this point, my concern is to help make school a good experience for my son and his concentration levels, focus, etc...have greatly improved. I've always known how intelligent my son is, and having his grades reflect that gives his confidence a big boost and he is a much happier little guy!

I have 3 ADHD children, 1 also bipolar/asbergers. We have been through all kinds of meds, always as the last resort. As one of the doctors who tested my daughter said, if you have tried everything else, then it is time. Why keep your child miserable if this will truly help? And believe me I tried & did everything else, but each one needed that extra help. If you your blood pressure was too high you wouldn't think twice about taking medication. I think its a tougher to do because this my child, my heart & soul, not just me.
Different ADHD meds work differently on different people. That makes sense since our chemical make up is individual. Thus the med you friend uses on their child, may not be effective with your child. It takes about 2 weeks to see if it is working. Also, if you choose to do use meds, check in with the teachers. Is he focused more, is able to complete assignments?
As far as Adderall itself, it is a stimulent, my bipolar child can't have that. My other son was on it but had some weight gain issues with it. When the reports came out that it was affecting some childrens heart function, I choose to switch meds. My daughter has used Metadate time released and that has worked very well. Stratterra worked better for my son when he reached Jr High, hormones started kicking in. Sometimes as they mature the effectiveness of that drug changes. It is alot of monitoring, but not difficult and definitely worth it. There are others that are non-stimulant but may have a drowsiness side effect. Talk to your Pediatrician, or a Psychiatrist (no your child is not crazy but this dr is specialized in brain function, chemical & "emotional"). This way if you choose to use medication, you can get what is best for your child. After being through quite a bit with medications & drs, parents see more of the effects of medication than a doctor. Your monitoring is the most valuable information on how effective this treatment is for YOUR child.

The most important thing to rememeber about any medication is to educate yourself, and take you out of the equation on what is best for your son. My husband has 3 older kids and his only son was diagnosed at 9 with inatentive ADHD. He did not have the physical hyperactivity issues, but definately had the mental health issues associated with it. Long story short - he tried ritalin, and several others until we finally got it right (not one works for everyone) and he finally ended up on Adderal XR which was time released - talk about a 180 turn for the better. He graduated with his class and went from failing to A's & B's. His self esteem incresed and he became the young man we always knew he could. On a different note - my youngest is 7 - and I struglled with putting her on medication for much the same reasons. I wanted one of my kids to be 'normal' (whatever that means) and no matter how much I hated treating her with medication - I had to take me out of the equation when I heard her tell her doctor she wanted to fit in at school but couldn't because she always forgot what she was supposed to be doing and wanted to do better at home and not make me and her dad mad anymore. It broke my heart. She was on Focalin XR but started to metabolize it very quickly, they tried to change her to vyvance which is one of the newer ones on the market but she had an allerigc reaction to it so she went back on the Focalin. That quit working shortly there after and her doctor changed her to Concerta. There are several options available for this situation... the most important thing to know is DO NOT QUIT MAKING HIM TAKE IN ON THE WEEKENDS. It starts the cycle all over again and for every step forward he takes, he his body has to recharge for 3 more days if he doesn't take the meds on the weekends... any doctor that says it's ok to 'take a break' is a quack. It's like telling an insulin diabetic it's ok not to take a shot over the weekend... The body of an ADHD person is very different than one that does not have this issues... the other important thing is to make sure he eats a really good breakfast before he takes his meds, as it will affect his appetite throughout the day... and then when it wears off at night - katy bar the door on the fridge... if you want to talk more I would be happy to chat any time via email or other method. Personal email is ____@____.com
Steffanie

If I could have one wish -- after 10 years as an advocate in the ADHD community -- it would be that physicians STOP looking to Adderall as the first choice for ADHD.

While Adderall has helped many people -- and, in fact, will be the superior choice for some individuals -- its higher side effect profile makes it an unwise first choice in my experience. In fact, plenty of people call it "Madderall" because it can exacerbate anxiety and irritability and, at the higher doses, even push people into manic-like behaviors.

Moreover, in some people, it has the effect of working well for 6-8 weeks -- sometimes giving super-human focus, which the person likes -- the person hits the wall of fatigue, irritability, etc. By that time, no one is connecting the side effects to the Adderall, because they came on so gradually. And then, especially if it's a child, the behavior gets labeled as "oppositional" or something else equally unhelpful. I've heard of children suffering this side effect being sent to anger-management therapy!

Moreover, Adderall is more likely to create the "buzz" that appeals to some who are looking for visceral proof that the medication is working (instead of rating scales, objective data, etc.) -- and, furthermore, creates likelihood of addiction in those who are prone to it.

After years of hearing the "bad side effects" stories, it's gotten to where I can judge how well a physician is informed by one factor: he or she chooses Adderall first. Some will disagree; but perhaps they haven't heard the hundreds of first-hand stories that I have. (Many physicians don't even think to ask; they don't realize this is an effect.)

The newer formulations of medications are the way to go, from all that I've read of the published research, lectures I've attended, and from hundreds of personal anecdotes. The medications in the two classes of stimulants (methylphenidate and amphetamine salts) are roughly the same as in Ritalin and Adderall, but the delivery systems make all the difference. The medication is delivered more slowly and evenly -- and for longer duration -- and thus you don't have the jagged ups, downs, and rebounds as with the older medications.

So, if it were my child, I would do a trial with ANYTHING but Adderall, resorting to that medication only as a last resort. And I would first try Concerta, Vyvanse, or Daytrana. If you want to try a short-acting medication as a trial, you could try Focalin (which is a type of methylphenidate).

And of course I would also look at food sensitivities, eliminating the usual suspects of dairy, wheat, corn, peanut butter, etc. Changing diet won't help every child or adult with ADHD, but it can minimize the dosage of medication required and mitigate side effects.

For excellent info on ADHD medication+ topics, check out Dr. Charles Parker's blog: http://www.corepsychblog.com

I hope this helps.

G. Pera, author
Is It You, Me, or Adult A.D.D.?

I would not suggest Adderall....it seems to be to much of a downer. We tried Concerta and really liked it. One thing I have figured out, every child is different and will react different to each mediicine. You might have to do a trial and error!

Been there. My first question is "is your son being challenged in school or is he too overwhelmed"? If he's been tested and was negative, you might need to change his educational situation. My son was in a GT program, but showed much more signs of ADHD and had lower grades when he wasn't being challenged enough and was bored. Eventually he did test positive so we started with Adderall. It lasted for 6 weeks, when he began to get physically violent (side effect for some). We switched to another for a year or so, until he started having a rapid heart-rate. He's now been on Concerta and will go through a med re-eval soon. Please remember, meds are not the end. You need to use behavior modification and strong organization to get through ADHD!
L.

Have your son tested for TAG(talented and gifted) that was my sons problem and the other son is TAG also but is ADD not ADHD and was put on Adderall and it was a nightmare!!! He hide in his closet and under his bed and was just not himself. Neither one of my boys take meds and the oldest is ADHD i have found that it is not as much the sugar and the dyes in his food STAY AWAY FROM RED When he does he is much calmer

Dawn,

My name is R. Anne, I am a chiroprator and nutrition specialist. ADD and ADHD can most always be addressed with proper nutrition. I commend you for changing your sons diet. Symptoms like his arise due to nutritional deficiencies. Posibly from not getting the right stuff or just being unable to absorb the proper nutrients you provided. If you would like to hear more how I may help your son deminish his symptoms and get the proper nutrition for all his other needs please let me know. A natrual approach is much better than using a drug and posibly causing unwanted life changing side effects.

Sincerely,

Dr. R. Anne Mulligan

My son was diagnosed with ADHD and Asperger Syndrome (high functioning Autism) when he was in Kindergarten. We were concerned about putting him on medication but the Dr. who diagnosed him told us that having both the ADHD and Autism he was going to have a lot of hurdles in his way and if we could diminish one of them with medications it would probably be a good thing becuase he was still going to have so many things to strive against.

We put him in Addreall and it changed our lives. He was on Addedrall for a few years and it made such a difference. It didn't change him completely, but it did give him a BREAK. He still had to make the right choices, but it helped him to calm down enough to be ABLE to make the choice where before it was just beyond his control. He was on Adderall for a few years until his system eventually got too accustomed to it and we had to switch to something else. He is now 9, in the third grade and on the Distinguished Honor Roll. We still have struggles with many things but the medication has really helped him. The medication he is on, now is becoming uneffective again so it's time once more to partner with his doctor to make another change. He has been on Metadate CD for awhile and it worked well for us for a long time. My son can't swallow a pill so we have been limited to medications that can be sprinkled onto applesauce or yogurt.

If you do begin to medicate, know what the side effects are and watch for them. I usually send a note to his teachers to let them know any time we are making a change in meds- in this way they can be a bit more understanding during the transiton and if they see a real change or concern or improvement they will let me know.

My 7 year old daughter is in 1st grade and she too could not focus on schoolwork and was diagnosed ADHD last year during Kindergarten. I was opposed to putting her on meds, however, when 1st grade started and I found that she was behind most of the other kids, especially in reading, I decided to try Adderall XR 10 mg. The first week she seemed a little sluggish and the doctor convinced me to keep her on it for a month before making any decision to take her off. I am glad that I did because now she is happy at school and her teacher always tells me what a joy she is. She is now an A student and her reading level has gone from a 4 to 12. So, I have been very happy with my decision to use the Adderall.

My 9 1/2 year old daughter (in 3rd grade) just went on Adderal XR this spring. I suspected ADHD since her preschool days...the inability to sit still for any length of time, incessant talking, hyperactivity (like doing vaults over the back of the couch, etc!!) In kinder and first grade, she was written up constantly in school for talking too much, not staying in her seat, and disrupting the class. She was sent to the Vice-Principal's office several times in kinder and first for inappropriate playground behavior (rough play, tripping other kids on the playground, etc.) I would discuss it each year with her pediatrician, who felt the school system expected too much from these kids, that it was normal for a child to need to move around, etc. In second grade, I made a by name request for an experienced teacher at her school, who I knew personally. So, my daughter's 2nd grade year ws wonderful, because the teacher knew how to redirect her and channel her energies. However, once 3rd grade began, the nightmare started again. She got in trouble the 2nd week of school, for requesting to go to the bathroom, then going up and down the hallways at school knocking on other classroom doors! She had to miss recess and go to study hall to complete classroom assignments, that she couldn't finish in class. Third grade is the beginning of the TAKS testing, and I knew the teacher was just not going to "hold her hand" as our wonderful 2nd grade teacher had done. I finally begged our pediatrician for an ADHD med. She referred us to a private psychologist, who specializes in school age issues...(luckily he was a preferred provider on our health insurance). Our ped wanted to first rule out any other issues. After all the assessments were complete, my daughter was diagnosed with ADHD and Oppositional Defiant Disorder.(The ADHD contributed to the hyperactivity issues, and the attention issues of not completing her work...the Oppositional Defiance contributes to her not following the teacher's directions, or stopping a certain behavior once warned to do so.) The psychologist recommended Adderal XR. The pediatrician started her off at 5mg daily, then increased to 10mg after a week, and finally 15 mg. IT HAS BEEN A GOD SEND!

I can see an immediate difference, just 5 minutes after taking the medication! It is fast acting, and lasts approximately 9 - 10 hours. My child.......who used to complain for 45 minutes about not wanting to do 20 minutes of homework (and I would get so frustrated because I would want to just scream..."in the time you have whined and complained, you could have finished it already!!!")...this same child NOW COMES HOME FROM SCHOOL, SITS DOWN IMMEDIATELY AND COMPLETES HER HOMEWORK!!!! Adderal XR has completely changed my child's life. Her grade averages have raised by at least 5 points in math, science and social studies (she has always been good in reading and language arts), she doesn't get any more behavior folder marks, and she comes home a much happier child.

As I said, the Adderal XR lasts approximately 10 hours...I give it to her as she is leaving for school. It lasts through the school day, and allows her to complete her homework, which she does immediately after school. By 5pm, it begins to wear off. By that time, we are preparing for dinner, and swimming practice (she is on the year round swim team). So she then can use her hyperactivty constructively, in the pool! By evening she is ready for bed, her homework already done and a good exercise workout at swim practice.

There are side effects of the medication, however, that you should be aware of. Some parents report a decreased appetite, so make sure your child gets a good breakfast each morning before taking the RX. It can also interfere with sleep, which is why it's good to give it early in the morning, so the effects wear off before bedtime. I really haven't noticed these side effects bothering my daughter.

To sum it up...I used to dread picking my child up from school...I just dreaded 3pm...I never knew what her mood would be. Did she get in trouble at school? Did she have an argument with a classmate? Did she get a folder mark? Now, 3pm is the highlight of my day. Every day is now a "good day" for her. AND I OWE IT ALL TO ADDERAL XR.

Hi Dawn,

I know what you are going though. I went through the same thing with my son who is soon be 17. My son went through the daydreaming, not finishing his work, and even mood swings. I wtook him to our family doctor and asked if there was anything that could be done, like medication or a change in diet. His response was we can put him on medicine that he doesn't need or we can let puberty take it coarse. He informed me that puberty effect everyone differently and that as parents just like the child we have to adjust just like they do. So I went home and thought about what puberty was like for me and the things I went through. Then I told my son him and I were going out to dinner to talk and that what ever was on his mind I would listen and try my best to help him with. As we talk I found out that he was having a hard time adjusting to the changes his body was going through. That sometimes he felt different from the other kids in school. That even though he tried to stay focused his mind would wander to what he was gunna do when he got home. So we came up with a plan of action for him that he wrote and signed. he wrote:
Even thought I know that I am changing daily not just physically, but mentally. I plan to focus on school work. If I can not focus on school work and my grades fall and do no improve I loose TV time for a month. I plan to work on my moodiness, by remember what I say or do my effect others. If I feel I am going to say or do something that my offend someone I will right my feelings down and talk with my parents. If I do offend someone I will write them a letter to apologizes for my actions. I am young and have a lot to learn and much growing to do. I know that my parents are here for me and will listen when I need to talk. Just remember I am still growing and GOD isn't finished with me.

This still hangs on his bedroom wall. As he has grown older he has focused more in school and the mood swings are not as many. As a parent I believe if the child doesn't need the medication then don't put hom on it. Work with the child to come up with a plan of action that is best for him. Talk with him about what is going on with him. Children want to know that they can be listened to and have the chance to make decisions for themselves. Speak with you doctor and trust you heart to what is best for your child.

These meds work differently for different kids so what workd on one child may not work on the other. I too went through the pangs of opposing the meds but gave in and I am thankful that I did. I am more of a natural person and I use no chemicals in my home but this was a choice between a good future for my son and the risks of Adderall. He was on Adderall and it worked great for him at a young age. This is a mild med, jsut stay away from the prozac....not good at all. Good luck to you and your family.

Hi Dawn: I have an 11 year old son too. He is ADD with many focusing issues. I did have him on Adderall K - 2nd grade. Took him off b/c of low appetite and also his personality was just flat. I have been using a natural product called Ambertose for about a year. It seems to help. I actually have a doctor's appointment today to get him reevaluated. I'll let you know what happens. Other options are Stratera (sp?), we tried Concerta - he wouldn't swallow the pill, Ritlin - was on that for about a year - this did not have the side effects that he experienced with Adderall.

I am married to a wonderful husband and I work fulltime and have three boys 13, 11 and 9.

I understand fully your concerns.

Dawn,

I completly understand what you are going through. I to have tried changing diet and using herbal remedies. Nothing worked. I was told by one of my daughters psychologist that you can also try giving them coffee. I know what you are thinking, He will be bouncing off the walls. Not true. I have tried many medications with my daughter. Keep in mind that every child is affected differently, so any advise you receive may not all be true for your son. Adderall RX has the best action we have taken. Everything else caused many upset tummy aches, which later we found was do to anxiety issues. The good thing is also you can choose not to give it to him during weekends and summer vacation. The only bad thing, but not real noticable by my daughter is lose of appetite and weight. Even know they have not diagnosed your son with ADHD, maybe he is actually just ADD. This is my daughters case. Make sure the psychiatrist actually uses feed back from the teachers witnessing his actions during school. AS you do get something keep in contact with the teachers to see that it is actually helping. That is the hardest thing knowing if it works, because their big part of the day is spent at school. Good Luck and I hope this helps.

Wow, what an amazing response. I would like to suggest you test for food allergies along with all the other suggestions (omega 3's are great). I used to always think of allergy symptoms manifesting similarly to hayfever. After working with various students in my class, and consulting with professionals, I learned that reactions are internal and may not have an external manifestation. Some foods can act almost like an opiate for those who are allergic. Pay close attention to things like wheat, dairy, and gluten. Good luck in your search--I will say, I wouldn't medicate unless you have a positive diagnosis. If you medicate without the need, it would be like giving insulin to a non-diabetic, chemo to a non-cancer patient. Above all, pay close attention to your "gut instinct." We tend to not pay enough attention to this, and we moms really do "know".
T.

I'm the mother of a now 22 yr. old son. From junior high on he has seemed to have trouble focusing and when he was a sophomore in high school we tried adderall and then eventually strattera. On the adderall he became severely thin and lost most of his appetite. He was diagnosed as having ADD by a psychiatrist who is considered an expert in his field, but my son did not care for him or his diagnosis. Eventually my son went off the medicine when he went to college. He never has done well in any classes unless he saw a purpose for them or he was interested in them. If I had it to do over, I would try to take him to a counselor that I have heard a good things about in The Woodlands Family Institute--Joe Wise. If you go to the Institute's website, you can go to the staff's bio's. Joe Wise has had experience with ADD patients. Instead of working with meds, I think I would try to adjust my son's behavior and help him cope through other means. If a person is hyperactive, I would suggest medication, otherwise, I would suggest behavior coaching--learning to focus, making lists, etc. After experiencing my son's situation, I think that ADD patients need to learn how to cope with their condition in a nonmedical way and then take medication if it seems to help. Good luck. P.

I am a Mother with ADD who has a son with ADD. We are both taking Adderall XR and the changes have been monumental. Growing up with ADD, without medication, I remember the struggles and self esteem issues. Of course I found a way to adjust but those issues followed me and made me a very angry and unhappy person, until I turned 35, got tested and on medication. The change has been HUGE!!

When the doc diagnosed my son at 7 I knew I did not want him to grow up feeling like I did, very doubtful of myself and angry at everything. He had already begun showing the self doubt and serious reactive outbursts. He was, and still is, wildy creative and is very outgoing. The medicine merely gave him a chance to focus when he needs to. He feels more in control and calmer but not like a zombie(his words). His school work has improved and he has been able to discipline himself better when situations arise instead of reacting negatively.

Adderall is not the answer for everyone though. We tried Concerta first and it did nothing for him. Adderall was our next try and he started on a very low dose before increasing to the 15mgs. he now takes every morning.

I know no one wants to put their child on medication but my doctor explained it like this....Imagine not being able to see clearly. You go to an eye doctor and he gives you glasses and suddenly you can see everything! That is kind of what the right medication can do for someone with ADD(I know from experience). It makes life easier but doesn't leave you feeling "drugged" or less than what you fully are. Before we tried medication we tried everything from dietary changes(Feingold diet, less sugar, etc) and had little to no real results. We still restrict his amount of yellow and red food dye as we found those only "ramp up" worrisome behavior but Adderall XR has been our biggest help.

My advice to you is to seek out a Neurologist/Psychiatrist and have a consultation. These are doctors who specialize in brain function, just as an optimoligist specializes in eyes. Our doc did a TOVA test and EEG and asked a million questions before perscribing a very low dose to start and gradually increasing to the right amount.

Good luck and don't let anyone "bully" you into meds. You know your child better than anyone and you know what is best for him. Just go with your heart.

I don't know anything about Adderall but my son is taking Straterra. It was a hard decision to put him on medication but he really needed something to help him focus in school. Before we decided to do anything we had him test with a psycologist and then a psycharist once we knew that was what we needed to do. We choose straterra because it is not a controlled substance like Adderall or or other medications out there. He has responded very well to it and is now making A's and B's in class. Hope this helps your options and decision. Mother of 9 year old son.

Hi Dawn, we had issues with my now almost 9yr old when he was in 1st grade. We would get letters home "everyday" from his teacher about him not being focused and completing his work. We had him evaluated by his doctor and he diagnosed him as in the low side. He wasn't hyper just not focused and would wonder off during class and daydream throughout the day. Well so we okayed the Aderall to see if it helped but we were really against it but the doc said to try it and see if it helped.
Well it definitely help him focus better and his work was better understood and written. But although it was helping him a sense he also used it as an excuse and his 1st grade teacher was always asking him if he was taking his medicine. When he would do something he wasn't supposed to in school his teacher would ask why he did it and he would say because he forgot to take his medicine(and I did forget to give it to him that day)but this led us to wonder if he was really having difficulty or was he just being lazy. So after having problems with the teacher asking him on a daily basis we decided to stop the medicine and see if there were any changes. Well we explained to our son that we weren't going to give it to him anymore and gave him our expectations of him. He did just as well as if he were on them. We still got daily letters from the teacher so we came to the conclusion that it was just the teacher making it difficult for him and she expected way too much out of her 1st grade class. He started out in vanguard classes in kinder and still is in vanguard. It was just the teacher all along. I spoke with other parents and it was the same story so needless to say in my situation my son did focus more but it really wasn't neccessary for him. We put him in football and baseball to teach him self-discipline. This helps alot as far as keeping him focused in school and keeping the ants out of his pants if you know what I mean. If you're really against it I would just try different stategies with him. Sports are a great way to run that lost energy and tire them out. My son doesn't want to miss a day of practice so he does well in school. Your son is older but I'm sure there is a way to work through it without the aderall. Just a note: his doctor said that these days doctors are quick to diagnose adhd and lots of times thats not even the problem. But good luck and I hope things work out for your son. I hope my situation helped more than confused you.

I don't know anything about adderall, however your sons symptoms sound similar to my own in childhood. It turns out I suffered from depression ( a lack of seratonin )since early childhood. You might ask for a referal to someone experienced in diagnosing childhood depression, it is hard to spot.

Hi Dawn,

Have you considered vision therapy?

Edward Fong, OD
4427 Highway 6 # L
Sugar Land, TX 77478
###-###-####

I know hoe you feel. My son who is now 14 was misdiagnosed with ADD/ADHD for 6 years. He was put on every pill they had out there and a combination of them too. We tried diests, and vitamins and blah, blah, blah,Then when we became five we had a fmaily member who is in the medical field suggest Asperger's Syndrome. It is High Functioning Autism. He was text book Asperger's. Now he is unfortunetly taking meds, but he has been on the honor roll for the last two years and we have had no touble. Let me know if this helped or if you want to talk more.

K. Haynes
The MOM Team
Moms Helping Others Work From Home
____@____.com
www.mykidsaremyeverything.com

I would urge you to continue looking into other methods. I had a close family member that started taking adderall in middle school and because he didn't learn behavioral skills to cope with his ADD, he couldn't manage without the Adderall later in High school when he made the choice not to take it anymore. It really made his life difficult and is just now adjusting over ten years later. My mother also has ADD very badly and has become addicted to Adderall. It would only ever be my very last resort. It is becoming a quick fix to many parents problems and some doctors are giving it out to children like candy. Try everything else you can before you go this route.

Who tested him? Asking because in middle school everyone said my son was just being a boy; now in his Sophomore yr of high school; I finally took him and had my own testing done at a psychologists office-Iy was 8 hours of testing and worth every single penny. He was severe ADD; we have since had to hire a lawyer and fight the school district to get him special education classification because 504 did not work-school did not care. He is a Jr and finally had the best report card we have seen in years. He is on Ritalin and holding down a job too! Don't trust what a school person tells you-get your own comprehensive testing done! My insurance paid 80% of it!

Hi Dawn,
Do you live in San Antonio? If so, you might try getting an appointment with the Pain and Stress Clinic of San Antonio. They treat children and adults with natural therapies, and can help wean patients off their meds at the same time. I am a wellness consultant, and am a certified detoxification therapist. I work at Cost Plus Nutrition 3 to 4 days a week. I do consultations from home, or at the homes of my clients.
Taking your son off of sugars is a step in the right direction, but you may need to keep him off of all additives. There are so many chemicals in our environment.
Do not consume foods or drinks that say "sugar free" or "diet", as those usually contain Aspartame, which is neurotoxic, and there are a lot of complaints about "Splenda" also known as sucralose. Check all labels. Your best bet is to eat organically grown foods, and beef, poultry, and pork that is raised without hormones and antibiotics. Some children are affected by beef, oddly enough. Also wheat that contains gluten can affect your child. ADD, ADHD, and hyperactivity like symptoms are commonly caused by foods, even ones that are healthy. IgG-mediated food allergies are delayed immune reactions to foods which can occur anywhere from a few hours to a few days after exposure to the reactive foods. In some cases, overgrowth of Candida albicans can be the cause of "focus" issues. Ask your doctor to have you son tested for IgG food allergies and yeast overgrowth. Also, you might also ask you doctor to have an Anti-Gliadin Antibody Assay done. Gliadin is a sub-protein found in gluten grains, and a diet without milk products and gluten containing grains can help. Some children, as well as adults, are affected by chemicals in their environment. New carpeting, furniture and the like, have chemicals that release toxins into the home/office environment. Cleaning products for the home/office/school can also interfere with thought processes. There are a number of things to consider, as you can see. I hope you can get to the bottom of your childs problem so that he does not have to be medicated. Prescription drugs either poison enzymes in the body, or block receptors, neither of which are good for the human body over time. Good luck.

I'm wondering if your son is bored. We had an experience such as this and the child was bored and needed more challenges in school and ended up being put in a higher grade. Usually those treated with Adderall are overactive children and can't stay still for a secondk constantly moving, jiggling and a real pain in the neck (I know had a grandson that was true ADHD). So maybe check and possibly he is in a class and needs more stimulation with more challenging school work.

You may try Concerta. My son was on Adderall and within 2 weeks he dropped 14 lbs. He is already a skinny boy so that didn't help. He has now been on Concerta for about 4 years and it has helped alot.

Hi, I am a teacher as well as the wife of an adult diagnosed ADD husband. I hear your frustration, but please do a google search on ADD and brain development. I am a huge fan of adderall when it is appropriate; my husband takes it, but it can change the brain structure of children. Many of these children would have grown out of the condition on there own if not for the fact that their brains had been altered. I hear and understand your frustration, but please keep reasearching alternatives. Omega-3 is another great tool for helping with focus. He may also need study skills. I taught study skills at Sylvan years ago and it was a wonder how much better kids did once they knew what they were suppose to do. Nobody teaches kids how to take notes or study for a test. Adderall is a drug for a neurological disorder that contains speed (and your son doesn't have this disorder). People taking it do go through withdrawl if they miss doses. It is a controlled substance that requires a new hand written perscription every 30 days. Please keep searching for the right fit for your son. Speed/adderall will help your son focus now, but it will not teach him how to focus and may make it even harder in the future and dependant on mind altering drugs he didn't need in the fist place.

I, too, have not been ready to put my son on "chemical" drugs for ADHD. Instead we have him on Attend by VAXA. It is a homeopathic alternative. It has been wonderful. Not an overnight fix. It takes a few weeks to get into their system. He is now able to sit in class and do his work. We are still working on impulsiveness, but otherwise he is doing so much better.

If he tested negative for ADHD why would you consider medication? Have you asked your son what he thinks the issue is? Maybe he is just a dreamer, maybe he is not challenged enough in school and is simply bored. His lack of focus could be alot of things that doping him up won't fix.

He is so young to be trying those kinds of drugs on him. I would check into all natural alternatives if I were you. My son takes fish oil gel caps, that improve his concentration and focus, as well as calm him down. Look up some info on these types of things on the internet, and weigh the options before you put him on something like that.

D. Mattern-Muck
The MOM Team
Raising your income and your rugrats at the same time!
www.formyrugrats.com

My son was the PERFECT baby... slept all night, wasn't ever fussy, had a great appetite, hit all milestones, etc. The summer he turned 3, it all changed... he was aggressive, didn't want to listen, never slept, had an attitude of a hormonal teenage girl, it was a mess to say the least! We tried redirection, counseling, taking things away, positive reinforcements, books, tapes, play therapy... you name it, we tried it. I even took parenting classes, I thought, "he's 3, maybe it's me?" He started headstart that fall and it was so-so. He enjoyed riding the bus and playing w/ the other kids, but he'd always been fine w/ other kids... it was adults that he had a problem with. Then he did pre-school when he was 4, I started getting the calls home. Followed my kindergarten and more calls. First grade was a complete mess. He couldn't finish timed test, he was ALWAYS out of his seat, constant write-ups, etc. I was told it was "like he had a motor attached to him" -- he'd get frustrated doing homework, would go to bed @ 8pm and still be awake @ midnight. Finally I'd had it, we had the ADHD screening done, and just 2 weeks ago, @ 7 years, 3 months, we started him on meds - Adderall XR. He's a hefty boy lol, 4'2 and 83lbs, and we started @ 10mg. IMMEDIATELY everyone saw results... his teachers were asking me what happened, his aunt couldn't believe she could actually take him to the store w/ her, he actually focused on his soccer game instead of running around or playing in the goalie net. It has been nothing short of amazing. After the first week we went up to 15mg. His doctor wants to get him to 20mg, but we are having success so I'm not pushing it. They told me the main side effects would be lack of appetite/weight loss, being emotional and/or maybe aggressive @ first, and possibly some insomnia. So far, we've been lucky. He's skipped a few meals, stayed up late a few nights (which really wasn't anything new), and did have a few crying spells but NOTHING compared to what life was like 3 weeks ago. Basically, I don't want to force any parent into medicating... I know how it is to not want to do that, I put it off for 4 years myself, but the JOY of having your child back, it's almost like a miracle. Not all meds work for every child and it may take awhile to get the right med/right dosage, but I have nothing but praise thus far for Adderall XR.

Ok I don't know if you've heard this part of it so here goes. This may help him focus and things may look positive at first but later it may truly become a much bigger problem. When I was in high school kids sold adderall to other kids as an upper obviously. It is after all prescription speed by the way. I had a friend who took it for a while and passed out one day at school when she had tried to stop taking it. If you think pot is the gateway drug, just imagine what doors this could open up later in life. I'm sorry if this sounds harsh or scary but I thought I'd let you know.

My son was diagnosed with ADHD about 4 years ago. He's now 10 and he's doing very well. The first prescription we put him on was Adderal. Although it did work, at 3pm everyday he would cry and cry and cry. For no reason. I called the Dr. 3 times about this. My doctor told me 3 times to put him on anti-depressant--I refused each time-- I started searching for a new pedi-- and found one I loved. He immediately switched him on Ritalin, and we've been on it since. My son responds well to Ritalin. I think that each child will respond differently to each prescription. You should think positively about Adderal and keep a positive outlook on it.. But if it doesn't work, know there are other options out there to try if need be.

My brother was on Adderall when he was about that age. He hated it. He lost his appetite, felt different from the other kids (he had to take it at school everyday at lunch and some kids made fun of him), and said it made him spacey. He eventually started hiding the pills everyday so my mom thought he was taking them....BIG waist of money, those pills are expensive and we didn't have insurance at the time. I would sit down and talk with your son. See how he feels about being on medication. I'm sure it is different for everyone, but that was our experience with it....Good luck on deciding what to do!

I do not have a child that has been on medication for ADHD, but have nieces and a nephew that take medications. I can honestly say that there is both good and bad related to it. The good part is -- is that they can focus and do the work they need to do in school, thus having better grades and a higher self esteem. The bad parts related to some is that it decreases their appetite. For one it wasn't a bad thing, but for my niece it was. She is very slim to the point of be malnurished, but with help from the doctor was able to overcome some of that. I think the point that I am trying to make is this..... There is good and bad in all things that your child may have to take as far as medications are concerned. But it is up to you to determine whether the side effects are worse than the situation already is. I can also comment from a teachers point of view, because I am a teachers aide that works with special needs kids. Some of these children do rely on medication. When a child does not take their medication there is a noticable difference in their learning capabilities, so much so that it is a distraction to the rest of the class. My advice to you is to talk to your doctor and figure out what may be best for your child. I know it may seem scary, but the best way to find out if something will work is to try....

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