ADHD And ODD

Updated on July 20, 2010
E.M. asks from Louisville, KY
27 answers

My 5 year old was recently diagnosed with ADHD and ODD. i didnt want to put her on medications because she is only 5. The doctor recommended a book for us to use and try and well we have been doing all this for 3 years and the anger is getting worse. she can be a really sweet child but she has fits of rage that scare me to death. she doesnt listen at all to any one like teachers mom dad grandparents. i love this child but some days i feel like shipping her off to boarding school. i guess my question is has any one done the non med route? did it work if so what did you do to help your child?

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G.B.

answers from Clarksville on

I did non meds with my oldest (now 18) he had the same type of violent issues you refered too. The docs advised very strict adherence to schedule and routine. Which did help some. But, after several years he finally had gotten so out of control that we had to medicate becuase the school system wouldn't even keep him in the Level II school anymore.

With one of my other sons, I was able to use coffee instead of meds and it worked well for him for several years until he had learned to manage it on his own.

gk

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S.T.

answers from Greenville on

I was recently diagnosed with Adult ADHD it is not something that you can just get as you are older it is something that I have had since I was little. I really wish it would have been as easily diagnosed as it is now. I wish I would have had medicine in school b/c it helps you focus so much. I am a mom of 4 and I would hate to have them on meds but if any of them are diagnosed with ADHD I will definitely medicate b/c I know how much it has helped me.

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K.S.

answers from Raleigh on

I had an adhd child, she felt so much better on meds. She doesn't want to act like this either, and can't control it. She knows she is disliked when she acts like that. See what the meds do, you can always take her off or change them. How about a special diet? My daughter is grown now, and I wish she was still on meds.

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A.W.

answers from Memphis on

I know that this is going to seem like a silly thing to recommend but my 10 year old son has ADHD tendencies. Not diagnosed by his doctor but his teacher this year has a son who is ADHD and she noticed many similarities. Two things that we have been trying lately have really helped him a lot. Each morning I give him a cup half full of milk and fill the rest with milk. The caffeine in the coffee has really had a calming effect. Enough so that his teacher told me that she notices when it starts to wear off. So we started packing half cokes in his lunch so that he can refuel then. Now Im not saying to fill your child full of caffeine but in small doses it has proven very effective for my son. Also I give him one half of a Melatonin pill (natural over the counter with the vitamins) each night just to help him get a better nights rest. I noticed a few months ago that he was waking up with very dark purple circles under his eyes and debated taking him for a sleep study. I have tried to sleep with him in the bed before on special days and he literally mauls me to death. He was always waking up with the pillows and blankets on the floor. Now he usually wakes up looking very much more rested and in a much better mood. Anyhow, I know that these are not huge ideas just wanted to put out there what has been working for us :) Good luck and God Bless!

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P.L.

answers from Louisville on

5 years old is very young to be diagnosing ADHD. It is also very young to be taking medication. There are therapies that are used with children that are used either with or without medication.

My first suggestion, though, if you haven't already done so, is to make sure that her diagnosis was made by a licensed psychologist with training and experience in treating children for these specific disorders. Pediatricians, social workers, and psychiatrists are not trained in diagnosis of psychological disorders.

Psychologists are not only trained in diagnosis and treatment, but usually are also knowledgeable about medications. Although psychologists can not yet prescribe medications, they usually work in conjunction with either the client's physician or psychiatrist, and often recommend medications.

If you've already gone this route, gotten testing, and are getting therapy, then I apologize for being redundant. But it is amazing how many social workers and/or pediatricians, however unqualified, give these diagnoses and prescribe medication that is unwarranted, while saying nothing about therapy/counseling.

That all being said, if you do have a bona fide comorbid diagnosis of ADHD and ODD in a 5 year old child, then I would get another opinion before medicating her.

But I also want to emphasize that ADHD and ODD are both difficult disorders to deal with. I have a friend who is going through the very same thing with her daughter, although her daughter is now a little older (but has always had these problems.) Her daughter started taking medication for her ADHD when she was in 3rd grade, I think. My friend is just now seeking therapy for a problem that started years ago and has had the chance to get much worse.

It's good that you're dealing with this sooner, rather than later. There are counseling and clinical psychologists that deal with these issues and I strongly encourage you to seek one out. Therapy is not only necessary for your daughter, but for the family, as well. Getting your daughter's anger and behavior under control means not only changing your daughter's thoughts and behaviors, but yours, your husbands, and siblings, if applicable. Parenting techniques are a part of this, too.

Good luck. The best advice I can give is for you not to go it alone. Get a good child psychologist trained and experienced in these areas, and make sure you're a "good fit."

Oh, and you also might consider nutritional therapy as well, particularly for the ADHD. Some of that hyperactivity can be controlled by diet. Also, an outlet for all that energy would help, as well as provide an outlet for her anger. My son had ADHD and I bought him a drum set, which was wonderful. It provided a good outlet for him and it didn't bother me at all.

Since having ODD is not conducive to team sports, you might try getting your daughter involved in something she can do on her own - playing an instrument, swimming, horseback riding, etc. Something physical.

Good luck! I'll say a prayer for you all.

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D.L.

answers from Greensboro on

Hi E.,
I have a boy who is 9 y/o and has Asburgers and ADHD. ODD also comes with the Asburgers. It took my husband and I a while to put our son on medication, so I understand your hesitancy. Let me share with you that it's the best thing we ever did. The meds for ADHD help a lot. You will see a different child. Until the hyper part is under control somewhat you can not work on any other behaviors because they can not focus. I've noticed a huge difference in my son. I am now trying to change his diet so that less artificial things in it.
I want to encourage you that there is hope there are lots of parents out there who deal with children with special needs. You are doing the right thing by getting help.

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A.G.

answers from Greensboro on

Hi E.,
You've gotten a lot of good info here. I'd like to speak specifically to the ODD part of what you're dealing with. My dau. (age 9 on Sat.) was diagnosed with ODD about a year ago. We should've gotten to that point a lot sooner (like at age 4), but she was my first child, and I kept thinking/hoping it was a phase that would pass. She hasn't been tested for ADD/ADHD, but we don't think she has that. There is no med for ODD. ODD must be addressed through behavior modification. I've been working with a therapist and we've been seeing some results, although recently she's regressed some. I work with the therapist. My dau. doesn't know about him. ODD children often do not do well when they are in therapy b/c they don't think they have a problem: everyone else (esp. Mom in my case) is the problem. The therapist helps me with parenting techniques and responses to her behavior. I would do the following:

*Find a good therapist who understands ODD and the ADHD/ODD combination. Ours is good, but he's very expensive and our insurance doesn't cover him. I would not work with a therapist who is going to recommend traditional parenting techniques like reward charts, consequences, etc. In my experience, these don't work with ODD. You must make a radical change in parenting styles. I'm sure you've tried all the traditional things and have found that they don't work, or you wouldn't be where you are.

*Read up on ODD if you haven't already. I would recommend the book The Explosive Child. I can't remember the author right now. Part of my daughter's problem was an attachment disorder. She has a negative attachment to me - she wants negative attention from me, so she's contrary and defiant to get that from me. Consider this as an issue.

*I am a member of two online groups. You may want to consider joining these or other groups. You as a mom need a place to vent and get support from people who understand. As you may have experienced, people who don't know what it's like to live with an ODD child sometimes blame the parent and insinuate or evey say things like: that kid's a brat, she's justs needs a good spanking, I'd show her who was boss, etc. These groups are a good place to get info and vent. You need to know you're not the only mom who has dreamed about sending their child to boarding school. www.dailystrength.org - search ODD, there's one for ADHD, too, but most on the ODD group have a child with both. I'm also on a group on Facebook called Moms of Children with ODD, or something like that.

I wish you the best. I'd be glad to talk more with you about it. Good luck, and be glad you're addressing this at age 5.

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D.B.

answers from Memphis on

Did they test for anything else like aspergers or food allergies?

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S.P.

answers from Lexington on

Hi. I am an Occupational Therapy Practioner and have worked with many children for these types of issues. I would recommend you find an OT clinic- depending on where you live- that specicializes in pediatrics. I can try and make recommendations depeding on your location. OT is a great way to approach these issues with the focus of developing coping skills, developmental milestones, and calming techinques, and so much more.

I practiced based on a Sensory Integration Approach. There is a wonderful book called The Out Of Synch Child that is made for parents. You may find some of the strategies to be helpul. There is so much more to this, but it would be a start for you to gain understanding of why she is having these behaviors.

Hope this helps!

S.

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M.M.

answers from Jacksonville on

ADHD and ODD are tough diagnoses. My son has both also and we did make it through his school years, it was really hard.
He was on medication for almost three years in 1,2 and 3rd grade. I finally took him off in 4th.
The key is be very consistent with your rules. Be tough. My son actually thanked my husband for being so tough on him as Navy bootcamp was "nothing like Dad".
At 5 we took all toys away from him except Lego's and books, he never asked for any of them back. Our leverage at 9 was his Gameboy.
When she gets older make sure your computer is password protected with something she can't figure out.
I have turned bedroom door handles around. I have learned the Time Out hold, sit behind her, cross her arms in front of her chest, hold her wrists, and sit with her on the floor. You may have to immobilize her legs with yours too.
The best thing we found at 14 was a very active church in VA. THey did ski trips and white water rafting and all sorts of youth events. He was very excited to be involved in the church. Here he quit going, hated every minute of it.
Be careful taking her to a therapist. I am not saying don't do it, but since we move so often and have had so many different ones, my son quickly became "couch trained" and knew how to hoodwink them. He is very manipulative. We even had a correctional psychologist for a while and he couldn't crack the boy.
Let her take things that interest her. Like dance and soccer and swimming, anything that gets her to get her energy out. T-ball/baseball is a team sport that requires taking turns, so it might be too frustrating for her.
My son did very well on the swim team, gymnastics as a child, and soccer.
Good luck.

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B.L.

answers from Jacksonville on

I applaud you for not automatically going the medication route. I am a huge fan of John Rosemond (parenting expert). He attributes many such diagnoses these days to the modern parenting practices and psychobabble that are shoved down our throats everywhere we turn, and it makes sense. He has some excellent books, and he says his clients/patients who came in with those diagnoses end up remarkably better (quickly) when the parents take his advice, and the teachers see a dramatic change as well. Raising a Nonviolent Child is an excellent book, and I think every parent today ought to read it. Also his Six Point Plan for Raising Happy Healthy Children sets up how best to raise children. I haven't read Parent Power yet, but it's on my list. Good luck to you! You can find his books on amazon, or his website rosemond.com.

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L.B.

answers from Greensboro on

There is most definately a non-medication solution to the problem of ADHD. Please take a thorough look at www.feingold.org. Feingold is a 30yr old non-profit organization whose purpose is to inform the public about petroleum-based artificial ingredients in our food supply. These harmful additives cause ADD, ADHD, OCD and many other emotional, behavioral and physical side effects. Feingold is a leading authority on this subject and has helped thousands of families over the years. They were a Godsend for us - our oldest daughter becomes very emotional and violent when she eats food dyes and preservatives. It may be overwhelming at first, but you quickly learn which foods are taboo, and there is still plenty of foods that are safe and good! Best wishes.

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R.D.

answers from Jackson on

You have gotten good responses and I aplaude you for trying to find an alternative to medicating first thing, although don't totally rule it out as a possibility if nothing else works. First, get rid of all you chemical cleaners, soaps, shampoos, laundry detergent, and so forth. There are many companies out there, but to give you three that are on the top of my head: Method, Shaklee, Seventh Generation. I like Method and Shaklee best. People believe that toxic cleaners cannot affect a person, but I totally disagree. Chemicals are tested on how they affect adults, not children. Have you ever had a chemical burn your eyes or give you a headache? Imagine what it does to children.

Now for the harder part...diet...I don't mean the slimming down kind. I mean the healthier, no preservatives and dye kind. I have a very close friend whose son was diagnosed with ADHD and before putting him on meds she bought this book on what to avoid in foods. After 2 weeks he completely turmed around. No more tantrums, crying spells, rages, so forth. The only time he has episodes is if he eats something at school (from a party or something) that contains preservatives he is suppose to avoid. His mom tells his teacher to let him have it so he is not excluded, but they are both prepared for a day or so of bad behavior. One thing to avoid is the red dye color found in a lot of children's snacks. There are also not processed foods to avoid like some types of grapes and stawberries (if that is a trigger). I cannot remember the name of the book, but if you need it please contact me. Hope this helps.

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K.D.

answers from Raleigh on

My stepdaughter was 13 1/2 yrs old when I met my husband. For the first 6-9 months I searched the internet and library for anything to help me understand how to deal with the defiance and attitude of this child. I came across a web site that described ODD and began to research and she was eventually diagnosed with this problem. Since I am not her natural mom and she no longer lives with us I was unable to incorporate the things that I learned about how to help these children, but two books that I found very helpful were "Try and Make Me" by Dr. Ray Levy and Bill O'Hanlon, and "10 Days to a Less Defiant Child" by Dr. Jeffrey Bernstein.

I wish that I had met my stepdaughter at a younger age and perhaps, even without the cooperation of her parents I could have made a difference. I strongly suggest that you seek guidance for yourself, since it already seems you are doing that for your child. However, the toll on you can be devastating. I don't know if there are any support groups out there or not. If not, perhaps you should think about starting one, ODD is a growing problem, and treating these children is tough. Not because they can't overcome, but because it is hard as a parent to be as tough as we really need to be with these children. And you do have to be tough, not mean, just committed to being strong and not giving in to the tantrum.

I wish you all the luck in the world. Sincerely, if you want to start a support group I would be willing to help you. While I can't alter my own situation, it would be comforting to share with others. Often I have felt so alone in the struggle to help my stepdaughter.

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A.J.

answers from Memphis on

It sounds like she's having control issues- and I understand not wanting to put her on drugs. I suggest therapy, a children's psychologist my help her understand why she feels so angry and what to do to redirect it instead of lashing out. Good luck!

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C.R.

answers from Knoxville on

E.,
About 15 years ago I worked at a daycare center and we had 2 brothers that were about 10 mos. apart. They had ADHD and the parents chose to not do meds. Instead they did dietary changes. I do not know much about but I do know if they had dairy product, milk, cheese even milk in a recipe or pudding thier behavior worsened. Sorry I could not be more help. I am sure that the library/bookstore has books with more info. I do remember that when the parents started the dietary changes we had to write down everything that they ate and drank for at least a week maybe longer. They did this to see if they could pinpoint trigger foods. Good Luck and God Bless

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T.G.

answers from Louisville on

dear E. Im a 52 yr old grandmother who has tried almost everything there is a program called total transformation that is very good you might try that and stick with it get some professional help now while she is young I have fought the medication thing also but mine is now 10yrs old and her anger is deviasting to say the least. She is a danger to me and herself do yourself a favor try TT. Then decide

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M.G.

answers from Jacksonville on

If medications do work for her, then try them. ADHD is a chemical imbalance in the brain. The medications fix it. My child failed 2 years of school and couldn't read. His 3rd year, he was still failing. We started him on Concerta, and the very next day, the teacher called me and said my son was completely changed. He was active and learning. He was completing his work and following instructions. She was amazed. Within a month, he caught up to his classmates in reading, being he now had the ability to focus long enough to learn it. And by the end of the school year, he was above grade level. Also before we started him on Concerta, he was having night terrors. Concerta made them go away, unless he missed a single dose, then they would return that night. As he grew, he needed a higher dose because his body was bigger. He has now been on Concerta for 4 years. He still cannot function without it. He feels horrible when he constantly gets into trouble when he is not on his medication or when it isn't as effective. He enjoys participating and being able to do his work and follow instructions. His self esteem was extremely low from bad experiences when he was not on the medications. I just wish that he had been diagnosed as early as your daughter was. The medications fix the imbalance in their brain, so I wouldn't write it off so quickly. They have come a long ways from when we were children. My son is still very happy and active, not a zombie as people may think. He still explores and is really creative. He is happier on the medications. The only problem is night when they wear off, it can be challenging. The school had him do his homework at school to help matters out. Also if they have a chance to explore in natural surroundings or to be active, that helps. My son is in baseball and gymnastics and loves to explore the beach and woods. Also, for him having pets really helps him. He is 100% responsible for his pets. He is 10 years old now. So, he is learning. As he matures, the medicines might not be needed as much. However I have ADD as well, and learned about it when we had him diagnosed. Medications are not working so well on me. So, it varies per individual, and with adults it is a little different.

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P.B.

answers from Raleigh on

Check out:
www.feingold.org

Also, look for a Homeopath or Naturopathic Dr.
They will better be able to support you without using Pharmacuiticals, they will likely be more compassionate & treat the "whole person" as apposed to trying to cover up symptoms. Especially in addressing the anger issue.

Just for behavior alone I found this book very helpful:
"How to behave so your pre-schooler will too" by Sal Severe

I wish you the best of luck & it sounds like you have a Dr. that supports your no meds decision - that is a blessing in itself!

hope this info is helpful.

P

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A.P.

answers from Charlotte on

I have heard others speak of their children screaming and running around like a wild animal, from using certain cleaning products in their homes, once they stopped using the aerosols, the child got better. My 12 year old is ADHD ( I don't know what ODD is)~but my son, does not eat well, for instance , he doesn't care for fruits or veggies much, but when something with sugar is around he loves it and if he gets too much (candy, sodas, etc.)~I can tell a big difference in the way he acts. He will be bouncing off the wall.
A.
health and wellness educator
stayin home and lovin it
Mentor with a Purpose
Mom with Peace

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K.D.

answers from Raleigh on

I recommend joining a yahoo group or two that support parents of ADHD & ODD kids. I searched for groups with ADHD ODD as the search parameters and found some that looked good. My son is highly functional autistic and I have found the yahoo group of reversingautism a lifesaver. Since ADHD and autism are on the same spectrum, just on opposite ends of it, and some autistic kids are ODD also - I would highly recommend this yahoo group to you also. Andrea manages this yahoo group and has helped many who had almost lost all hope of being helped.

I would also recommend switching (if you haven't already done so) to all natural cleaning products, detergents, and soaps. She could be reacting to them. I would run all her clothes through a double rinse cycle also and use all natural fabric softener, or none at all. flylady.com recommends microfiber cloths (she sells some nice ones) that you can just wet down to clean sinks, counters, and tubs and they work amazingly well without any cleaner. A vase or old crock full of water and old shampoo can hold your toilet brushes and are a great way to clean the toilet without cleaning products.

I would next recommend an all organic diet. Andrea recommends the book Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. Definitely avoid all food colorings, additives, hfcs. I know my son, for example, reacts badly to red food coloring and becomes hyper and very emotional if he eats it. He has since his was a toddler. I always said that he would be medicated if I hadn't figured out the red food coloring.

I sympathize and good luck!

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V.P.

answers from Charlotte on

Hi E.,
I work with many children who work have ADD or ADHD. The ODD label is more rare at this young age. What book was recommended to you by your physician? The book I recommend is not a cookbook on what to do but helps one to understand the different types of ADD. I often recommend to the parents I work with the book "Healing ADD the breakthrough program that allows you to see and heal the 6 types of ADD" by Daniel Amen, MD. Some of the children I see are on medications and others are not however with cognitive training directed at attention, memory and other building block skills we see dramatic changes in their behavior, attention, focus and other cognitive skills. Hope this helps.

V. Parker Ph.D.
Director, Learning Rx - Charlotte
www.learningrx.com/charlotte
[email protected]____.com
###-###-####

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R.A.

answers from Charlotte on

Wow! That's a delicate & difficult situation. One sets the example for the younger, and creates frustration for the parents.

I've known similar cases, and interviewed the Mother's for 4 such cases. All 4 were related to an Atlas misalignment. The Atlas bone protects the brain stem, which is the control center of the body. When a trauma, even at birth, dislodges the atlas or axis bone, the affected nerves create dis-ease in the system, resulting in various disorders. ADD, ADHD and Autism are some of these.

We documented these cases in our book, "what Time, tuesday?" and more are available at UpperCervicalAdvocates.com on the Links page.

Blessings! There is always HOPE!

R.

J.B.

answers from Memphis on

I want to join the others in encouraging you to exhaust the non medicated route first - it's refreshing to see a mom that is willing to do that.

I have not dealt with this personally - just a messenger of those that have that I trust. Becky L and Rachel D gave you some really good words because:

- One acquaintance that is a specicialist in ADD children says that 85% (!!!!) of the ADD children sent to him are just an undisciplined child. That is not to be critical of you...I have just lived long enough to see that parents don't have a clue about discipline these days - no one has taught them. Home Built Discipline by Dr. Raymond Moore (get it used on the web) is one of the best I have read. I think Dr. Keven Lemen would be another dependable source...and probably Dr. James Dobson.

- I have a bunch of testimonies of moms that have gotten the national brand toxins out of their homes (Tide, Downy, 409, Windex, etc.) and switched to non toxic household products and swear that is a necessary step - gives that little body less to fight. I have found Melaleuca products to be less expensive and better working than the ones already mentioned to you.

- Melaleuca also has an inexpensive grape seed extract antioxidant that crosses the brain barrier. I have lots of testimonies in my files of moms that used this harmless, natural supplement along with healthy children's vitamins (not store shelf ones) and noticed a huge difference. One of my friends had a school forcing her to put her child on Ritalin (sp?)...and she appealed to try the above for three weeks. The behavior change was so drastic - they backed off the med push.

It's not an easy road - but there are answers if you just hang in there and keep gathering your multitude of counselors.

Blessings for wisdom...
J. B.
www.joyboudreau.com

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S.Z.

answers from Pittsburgh on

mine is a 7yr old girl with adhd and odd. her behavior too is getting worse. What was the book you were refered to? I'm willing to almost do anything. She is hurting her sisters (14 & 4). Plus she is pulling knives on me. Sorry to tell you but I medicated my daughter. It helps a bit but I need something more so, I'm getting tested for everything under the sun. She is also in therapy.

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C.F.

answers from Louisville on

we have tried it both ways with and without medication I did not want him medicated and tried for 2 years then I realized that it was hurting him more with not being onmedication yes I could handle it ( barely) but what it was doing to him was even worse. So now we are on medication and around the time we find a combination that works one of them stop working he also has social disorder is bipolar and OCD so we have a large range we have to deal with on a daily bases. You can try to do it without medication but think of it this way imagine what it is the child is going through it is hard for you to deal somedays ( trust me I know) but trylooking at it from there shoes. could you imagine having emotions come and not understand WHY or how to deal with it. that is what made me finally decide to medicate. To ease HIS suffering a bit. Just thought I would share my 2 cents and how we deal with things and WHY.

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J.B.

answers from Louisville on

There are several things you can try before going the medication route. The first I would suggest sounds silly, but most frequently it works! Try examining the diet, and specifically try removing all dyes, extra sugars, dairy and wheat. Kids can have allergies to these foods and they can manifest behaviorally. Once you have been without these for awhile (7-10 days maybe?) you may see a difference. If you do, you can try adding these things back in one at a time until you find your culprit (check the net for similar resources relating to this, it is quite a known fact that, for example, a dairy allergy can be the cause of a serious behavioral issue. Food dyes are another common one.) Once you find your culprit, keep it out! Also, keep an eye on your cleaners and other items she is coming in contact with, there could be an allergy there. After this, try spending some quality time a few times a week with just her. Let her direct the play time and let it just be you and her if at ALL possible. You may see that once she has your attention she calms and settles. If you have eliminated environmental causes and you have tried behavioral interventions do not feel bad about consulting her pedi for medication. There are non-stimulant medications now that are better than years ago and a doc mediated medication intervention is much better than finding your own OTC solution through benadrl or caffeine. You could also try herbal solutions, check the net. I hope you find a solution that works for you!!

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