Add / Adhd Help! - Sarasota,FL

Updated on October 31, 2010
M.P. asks from Sarasota, FL
14 answers

I need some information.. My boyfriend's ex just told him that their son (14) is going to start taking Concerta 30mg for ADD/ADHD
He took this drug a few yrs ago and he was taken off- the drug made him I guess goofy or something to that effect. I am SOOO Against Medication and i do not think he has ADD / AdHD.. He is a great kid but has trouble focusing in school. When he's at the house- he is always well behaved and on task- If someone has ADD arent they having the focusing/hyperactivity issues all day or is it during certain activities.. isnt 30mg of starting Any drug too much?? Isnt there anything ELSE that can be done without medicating a child??

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So What Happened?

I am asking for advice because I dont know.. there are many articles against and for medications.. and please dont compare it to chemotherapy- my mother did chemo for her cancer and it had terrible side effects. Be gentle and not judgemental. I am trying to inform myself because he does come over and i also have kids and i want to be informed. Thank you for your help.

More Answers



answers from New York on

It's wonderful that you are son involved in your boyfriend's family. The more caring adults the better... but this isn't really up to you!

Honestly, if he's 14 and bombing out in school, then he needs to try something. You can ask to see the doctor's report and suggest that he be evaluated by a psychologist if that hasn't already been done.

It is actually a misconception that ADHD kids are "poorly behaved and always off-task". If something is interesting to them, they can focus for extended periods of time (like video games, movies, sports). If an activity is highly cognitive or not of high interest, they cannot remain on-task. ADHD is probably the most inaccurate name in recent history (this coming from the man who coined the term) b/c in actuality, people with ADHD attend to EVERYTHING and cannot just focus on what is relevant. They are easily distracted and tangential.

Concerta is a relatively safe medication and 30 mg (depending on his weight) is appropriate for a child his age. Medications are traditionally prescribed if the condition is significantly impacting the child's daily life. It should not be applied without behavioral therapy and should be regularly monitored by a physician (bloodwork).

Don't rule it out b/c you are against it. Unless this is your area of study, then you really only know what you can read about the condition... it is far more complicated than implied on the internet or in parenting magazines.

I posed this question last week to a similar query, but cannot take credit for it. This was a question posed at a psychiatric conference I attended several years ago... "If we were talking about a child with diabetes would you deny the use of insulin? Yes, you would modify his diet and his exercise, but you you would not hesitate to supplement with a chemical.". This is no different.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Barbara on

Just reading a little of your history it sounds like you are very involved in your boyfriend's kid's lives. What came to my mind is that the parents of the boy should figure it out themselves without your involvement. If your boyfriend wants to run it by you...great but it's the parents decision.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Erie on

I was totally against medicating my now 16yo son for many years. We tried everything else, diets, changing the environment, sports...nothing worked until he was evaluated for ADD and put on Strattera. He's a polite, well mannered boy, with an inability to focus. He would get straight As on tests, but couldn't finish his homework or pay attention in class or even during assemblies. I have bi-polar type 2, and I liken his meds to what I take to stabilize my moods, they are needed for us to reach our fullest potentials. Trust that his parents are looking out for his best interests and stay out of it unless asked for your opinion.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I understand your reluctance to use the drugs but the reality is, he's not your son and you are not going to get a vote in this situation. The difference between ADD and ADHD is the hyperactivity piece - so he may not exhibit any signs of hyperactivity in your house and still have a problem. You can't judge the strength of a medication by the number of milligrams - it's different for every drug! So a 500 mg Tylenol is not necessarily 50 times stronger than a 10 mg antidepressant - far from it.

There are nutritional supplements that provide things like DHA, a fatty acid found in breast milk that is key to brain function. It's great for focus - my company makes one that is used by children but also by adults with ADD, dementia, etc. or who are recovering from strokes. It certainly doesn't hurt anyone who doesn't have ADD - if it's all food and not chemicals or drugs. If you want to learn more and discuss it with your boyfriend, I'd be glad to help you. But I reiterate that, as much as you may care for this child, you are not involved in the decision, and it sounds like the boy's mother has already made the decision and had him evaluated.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

Being "against medication" for ADHD is like saying you're "against chemotherapy" for cancer. Would you deny a child the treatment option that works best for a medical condition? It's silly. (ETA: Sorry, didn't mean to offend with the example, but my message is that you can't go into medical conditions with preconceived notions about treatment. Please read on ... I'm offering a ton of information about how to become informed, as you say you want to be.) You need to connect with others dealing with ADHD first-hand, talk to the doctors who are experts in the condition (ask if you can come along to one of his appts. with the psychiatrist) and read reliable sources of information before forming any opinion about medication. We've found that medication connects the dots in our son's brain in the same way glasses correct my poor vision. It's been life-changing in such a positive way for our son. Our son also does behavioral therapy, but it simply doesn't work without the medication in his system.

Kids with ADHD can very well stay on task with things that interest them. Our son has ADHD-combined type and can focus on video games or Legos intently for hours. It's called hyperfocusing. Again, I urge you to read up about ADHD from reputable sources. Start with ADDitude magazine -- Also look at the website for CHADD (support group for those affected by ADHD) --

The prescribed dosage is very small in your boyfriend's son's case. Our son is seven and takes 54 mg. of Concerta. It all depends on the severity of the condition as to what's an appropriate dosage. With ADHD-inattentive type (the type you're describing), he may do just fine on 30 mg. Doctors also like to start small and work their way up with dosages until they find what's precisely right. It may be that Concerta isn't the right medication for him, but there are tons of other ones to explore if there are any unacceptable side effects. Our son has no side effects from Concerta. He has the same personality and spunk, but his energy and behavior is entirely normal.

Best of luck! I hope this dosage of Concerta works well for him. I know first-hand how transforming medication can be.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

ADHD kids can still be well behaved and polite, they just have to process much more stimuli than the average person to maintain their focus. In a stress free environment, staying on task is easier.

There are ways that kids can train themselves to control ADHD, perhaps by 14 your bonus son has mostly mastered this. Have you seen him in a situation where he is required to sit still, bored out of his mind for an hour or two at a time? At your house, does he always have a snack in his hand?

My son is 8 and his ADHD is mostly metabolic so I'm treating it with food. I've heard of people who had great luck with nutrient supplements and acupuncture but for my kiddo, keeping him on a low glycemic and high calorie healthy diet eating 6 to 8 times a day works better than any of the medication we tried. Does his school have a rule that there is no eating in the halls? Not all do, he could stash some nutrigrain bars or a protein drink in his backpack and eat on the way to his next class.

Also, the mg dosage is drug specific. There are several ADHD meds that you need at least 125mg to produce any effects. Is he asking for the meds or his mom? If he feels he needs it to make it through his high school classes then he is probably right.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Miami on

Yes, there is plenty you can do! First read Disconnected Kids by Dr. Robert Melillo. If you like that approach/theory then contact our office through my e-mail.
Thanks and good luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Ni M., I hear you. EDUCATION NOT MEDICATION. I have a wonderful report on how you can help WITHOUT drugs. If you email me at [email protected] and put "ADHD report please" in the subject line, I will send you a copy. (if anyone else wants it I will send it out to you as well)

I work with families like yours. My passion is to help families get on track. I focus on nutrition and behaviour.

Let thy food be they medicine and thy medicine be thy food. I can help you with that.

Family Success Coach

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Miami on

There's plenty of things that can help resolve ADHD by addressing the roots of the behaviors - ADHD is a pattern of behaviors that has a variety of causal factors. Bringing the nervous system into balance by reducing stress and stopping overstimulation can help. Diet and nutrition can play a role, drugs are a facade that just temporarily hides the symptoms and in the long run aggravates things. If a child doesn't focus well in school someone should investigate why - perhaps the classes are boring or too noisy or a child is agitated by peers, or the style of teaching doesn't match the student's natural learning style. Giving a somewhat meaningless diagnosis of ADD/ADHD and doling out drugs is not a solution, it's a copout by ignorant or self-serving adults. I can send you a list of books and articles on natural and holistic approaches to ADD/ADHD if you like.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Fort Myers on

My child in ADD so I can't speak for ADHD children. I was SO against medication for my child, we tried special diets and other things to try and help him with his issue before EVER trying the first drug. The only side effect we have had is he has a bad temper as the drug is wearing off.
As for your question, First of all - I don't see why they are putting him on the drug at 14 years old - he should be mature enough to adapt to his surroundings and knowing that he is ADD/ADHD. We have our 8 year old on it just because he is not yet mature enough to know enough.
Some kids can be VERY well behaved but when it comes to certain things (especially school work) the ADD/ADHD child may have trouble focusing. I know with my son he is very smart and well behaved but in the classroom if there is something else there to distract him (a shoelace, someone talking in another room, a pencil that can be played with...) it will bother him so badly that he will focus on that rather than the teacher teaching, reading, etc...
I believe the dr bases the mg on weight - so for a 14 y/o 30 mg sounds about right.
Yes there are other things to be done, unfortunately it takes ALOT of hard work and patience and that is hard to find in most teachers these days.
Good luck to your friend.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Orlando on

I give my son nutritional supplements - feel free to message me privately for the information.



answers from Miami on


I have to 2 boys, they are both ADHD. One is 8, he is doing Neurofeedback for his ADHD and my other son is 5, he ended up putting him on medication. I know that sounds a little young, however in some cases it is necessary. I look for alternatives in every possible case before looking at medications. And I have found the neurofeedback to work great with my 8 year old, because his big problem is focus.

This might be something you or she look into.

Good luck.



answers from Miami on

Hi, my name is M. A. I hear your concern. I am a Licensed mental health counselor. In order for a child to be diagnosed ADHD there are certain criteria that needs to be met and you are right the symptoms must be present most of the day. In regards to the dose. I am not a doctor but considering he is already 14 years old that seems to be fine. However, if you are seeking alternative treatment. Please give me a call and I can explain in details about it. ###-###-####.



answers from Tampa on

I've heard of other children only taking meds during school hours. We are really against medications too, especially narcotics. The only suggestion that comes to mind is something called "focus factor"...its all natural and heard they sell it at Walmart. Good luck :0)

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