Does Your Child with ADHD Have These Behaviors???

Updated on December 19, 2010
J.P. asks from Pasadena, MD
25 answers

I would just like to know if anyone has a child with ADHD that has these same behaviors?.....My son is 5 and he has been diagnosed so far with ADHD and the doctor thinks there might be other things going on with the ADHD (co-morbidity..."other disorders"). He can't be fully tested until he is 6 years old. He can be the sweetest kid in the world and then at the "drop of a hat" he switches to a really bad mood where he threatens me and tries to hurt his younger sister (4) if she comes near him. It used to be much worse before he started on Adderall...he used to throw my dining room chairs, slam doors, scream, and go into an uncontrollable fit....several times a day. Now, he just seems to be in a bad mood most of the day and very argumentative. It's so hard because at times he can be so thoughtful, kind, and sweet you would never guess that he would ever have this other "side" to him. I just love him so much and I don't want him to go through life in this miserable mood....I have talked to several psychologist and none of them will test him until he is 6. I would really like to know what the co-morbidities are so that we can get him the help that he needs while he is still young....does anyone have a child that fits these same temperaments and if so what was your child diagnosed with??

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A.C.

answers from Washington DC on

Hi-

My son is 6 and half years old now. Over the past few years, his temperament has been so bad that it's been hard to go out. He is in 1st grade at school and he's on a behavior contract, but that doesn't help a whole lot. He is a sweet loving boy who is extremely bright and has so much to offer-with strict disciplining by making him stay in his room the rest of the nite and missing dinner a few times, he's learned that his behavior is not acceptable. Let me know if I can help more.

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S.M.

answers from Norfolk on

Sorry, J., But those are not normal behaviors for kids with ADHD. You might want to have him looked at for Manic-depression. My cousin was diagnosed with it when she was 7 and had symptoms of it for a couple years atleast. I had ADHD as a child, well, I still do, and I never acted like that. Aggression is not common with ADHD. Frustration is but not to be that agressive. Try putting him in karate or Ju Jitsu. IT work wonders on kids with ADHD and help get out the frustration in a constructive atmosphere. It will also teach self discipline and control to help them better understand focus. Good Luck

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L.O.

answers from Washington DC on

My step daughter is like that. She has OCD and Depression. She is never happy. Likes to argue a lot. She always seems to get her way even if she messes it up for everyone in the process. She throws herself down on the ground and screams and cries until the blood vessels in her eyes pop. Please do NOT feed into this, it will get worse. My step daughter is very determined to get her way and will stop at nothing to get it. Be firm and reward good behavior. Do not talk back to him and put him in time out and enforce it no matter how long it takes. He might have to live by a different set of rules than your other children for a while until he learns how to control his actions. Also look at the things that are going on around him he might be acting things out by things he sees in movies, tv, others kids in the neighborhood. When children are up rooted from the normal routine they find ways to deal with what they feel inside. Most of the time when they feel a certain way the behavior or action doesn't always match that feeling.
Thanks and good luck.
L.

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L.E.

answers from Richmond on

hI J.
My name is L., my son name is Andrey, he is 14 i was told he had ADHD at the age of 2, and I been dealing with it sence then, his temper has come out so bad now his bed room walls has holes in it, when he get angrey he hits it the child has so much anger built up i don't know what to do. I want to take him some where but he refuse to go. now that i am getting married I pray that my husban to be can talk to him they have a good relationship and they do talk so i hope it will help him alot to get some of that anger out because all he has had was me all his life.now with a man in his life may be it will make a difference i pray. but do takeing your child to counceling help? please let me know

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E.A.

answers from Washington DC on

J.-
My son is 6, in March of last year, I took him to see a psychologist that saw a large pediatric population. He spoke with me with my son and then my husband separately. He tested him at that first visit. It's just a paper questionnaire for the parent and then one for the teacher. He told me too that ADHD is hereditary, turns out after talking with my husband he diagnosed him as well. My son started out on Adderall XR, but within 2 months he'd lost almost 5 pounds (side effect of the med). Watch out for decreased appetite. The med worked well for leveling out the outbursts but we couldn't deal with losing the weight. It's taken us over a year to finally find a med that works well and we've switched MDs as well. He still has moments of difiance, but is much better. And at school, he's above grade level for math and reading (we've also been blessed to have a teacher who grew up with an ADHD little brother-so she knows how to work with him). I guess my point is to try a different med, the great thing about this class of drug is that you see nearly immediate response. I'm an RN and really struggled with even having him diagnosed, much less taking these drugs, but I had to help him get control and the medicine gives him just enough time to think things through before he acts out. Please feel free to email me back privately if you'd like. Hang in there, trust your gut, and don't give up.

D.S.

answers from Allentown on

Hi J.,

Co-Morbidity means another condition along with ADHD, such as depression, bi-polar disorder, etc.

There is a Neuropsychologist that does work with children like this in Maryland. Her name is Dr. Laurie Dietzel.

Write her and give her this information and ask her if there is someone around where you live who can help you help your child.

Her e-mail address is: [email protected]____.com

Hope this helps. D.

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T.C.

answers from Washington DC on

You are going to get a bunch of responses--medicate! don't medicate! test him now! no, wait until later!--so I will just tell you what I found THE most useful piece of advice when I started down this road with my daughter (now 11). That is: get a complete neuropsych workup by a reputable and objective third party (Kennedy Krieger in Baltimore, Children's in DC are both good places to go) and do this FIRST. If you take your child to a specialist of some sort, he/she is likely to diagnose your child accordingly (i.e., a psychiatrist who specializes in bipolar children is likely to find out your son is---guess what?--bipolar). The test results should give you some indication of the next step. I cannot emphasize this enough, because the more confusing the issue the more people are certain they know the answer. I know it's frustrating and that you long to get started on fixing this today, not tomorrow, but there are times when it is really best to hang in there and get some truly expert guidance. Both Children's and Kennedy Kreiger book months in advance so call today and get in the queue; you'll probably get a questionnaire by mail to fill out while you're waiting for your appointment, and that will be a good opportunity to observe your little guy more closely.....I will also tell you that temper tantrums, and really outrageous amazingly violent temper tantrums, are a very common occurrence in kids with ADD/ADHD. It's not necessarily a sign of bipolar disorder; it's often just a sign of the fact that they have a neurological disorder and they are children with bigger than normal problems with impulse control. Also, the flip side of ADD is a kind of hyper-focus (your little guy may be a complete video game geek someday), and so when these kids get upset it can be really really tough to take their minds off what is upsetting them. Set limits, protect your daughter, set the wheels in motion for the neuropsych evaluation, and hang in there.

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W.T.

answers from Norfolk on

Hi my name is W.. I have a 5 year old with ADHD as well. She is on Strattera because the stimulant drugs made her mean towards everyone. So we found out that she can't take any of the drugs for ADHD that are stimulants. She is also like your son. She can be very good one minute and the next she is out of control. She yells at me and also is mean to her 2 year old sister. So I know how you feel. It's very hard to control her at times. But I have her in to see a phychologist and she just now wants her tested for other problems. So we don't know yet what else she has but they should find something out after this test I hope. Her doctor just kept telling me that she had ADHD and a mood disorder. Well I am like you I want to know what else is going on. It's really hard on the family dealing with this kind of thing. I also love my daughter. I just need to know why she acts like this. ADHD can come with several other disorders. You can find them all out if you research them online. I have googled ADHD and found out alot of stuff. She was diagnosed with ADHD when she was 3. So ever since then she has been a handful. Almost everything is a battle with her. She screams and cries if she doesn't want to do something. She will throw things, hit her 2 yr. old sister, and will say mean things to us. I am married and I have a 15 yr. old daughter, 5 yr. old daughter, and the 2 yr. old daughter. But she goes for that testing on Tuesday. So I will let you know what happens. But you might want to tell his doctor what he is doing and see what he or she says about switching his medicine to something else. You might want to try a non-stimulant drug for him. They have so many now that are non-stimulant. So try talking to his doctor and see what they say. Let me know what goes on and I will let you know how it goes on Tuesday. It's nice to see that I am not the only one with this problem. Thanks, W.

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B.T.

answers from Allentown on

I honestly thought U were talking about my child..except for the fact that I havent seen a Dr. that would even tell me if he has ADHD...where can I take my child for treatment...Psycologists want him to sit and talk but for him thats not an option...he cant sit still and he has behaviorial problems

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S.A.

answers from Washington DC on

Hi J.,

I do not mean to insult your intelligence. Have you tried nutrition modification?
There are some great nutritionists and Naturopaths that deal with ADD/ADHD without synthetic medication.

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A.D.

answers from Washington DC on

Hi J.! Your story sounds soooo like an old coworker of mine. Her son was about 5-6 years old at the time and he would have these very violent outbursts. He tried to stab his older brother, would threaten to hurt himself and others. When he wasn't having these violent outbursts, he was also the sweetest most thoughtful little boy ever. He had been diagnosed with ADHD and the doctors suspected bi-polar. I do know when all of this first started, prior to the diagnosis, doctors and social workers actually put him in a juvenile mental institution for observation. I do know that since he has been put on medication he has had a complete turn around. I know that my coworker had some very hard times but things did get better. I wish you and your family luck and stay strong.

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E.J.

answers from Washington DC on

Try switching the meds. My son became very aggressive while taking Adderall. When we had him switched to Metadate CD and he's back to his old self again. Make sure your son sees a behaviorist and also look into joining a social skills group. The meds just slow your child down enough to think about what he's doing before he does it, it doesn't teach him how to deal with this feelings of interact with others.

Good luck!

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T.C.

answers from Eau Claire on

Wow...I have a grandson with almost the same story. Just the sweetest little kid ever. Then, out of the blue....he will lash out at his little brothers..and get REALLY angry....I mean, he will go nuts if I try to to put him in his room, for a time out after displaying this "other side."
He has also been diagnosed with ADHD. His doctor has him on Concerta. I was wondering if it was this medicine...I don't remember him doing that prior to him starting this med.
So, although I don't have an answer....just wanted to let you know you aren't alone. We are trying to figure this out also. My email address is: [email protected]____.com, if you want to talk..I know it is hard. Maybe we can brainstorm. T.

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J.W.

answers from Washington DC on

Hi J., I have a daughter with ADD and severe depression. She too is terribly moody and has a horrible temper at the drop of a hat. I think it must be very frustrating for these kids. She is on concerta for her ADD and Paxil for her depression and it REALLY helps. if we miss one day it is amazing the difference. It is very scary and sometimes upsetting to "medicate" your kids, (esp. at this young age) but I would suggest taking him to a psychiatrist and checking out the depression thing. It does sound to me though that these behaviors that you described are more from the ADHD. So I would check with your pediatrician to make sure that he is taking the proper dose for that. Good luck and if you need any names of psychiatrists let me know. ~J.

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K.B.

answers from Washington DC on

J., WOW, are you sure you are not describing my son????? I have a eight year old who has been on Adderall for almost a year. He still has his mood swings, if something does not go his way watch out, he hates everyone. Last night he asked to find a different family to live with. I thought maybe it was because he was my last child and I babied him. But there is something more, unfortunately his dad thinks he just needs to toughen up. Have you tried monitoring his diet? Write down what he eats. Try to limit the processed foods give him natural foods. Watch the sugar, that usually sends my son into a tailspin. If he is a picky eater try to get the less sugar variety. Find out what he really likes. I hope this helps some. Let me know what the doctors say, I would continue to press to get him tested as soon as possible.

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E.D.

answers from Lynchburg on

My great grandson is ADHD since his meds have been changed to Focalin his meltdowns(as we call them) have decreased short lived if they occur he also gets Melatonin around 4:30 p.m. check with his dr. grammy

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E.D.

answers from Richmond on

J.,

I agree with what the others have posted. That doesn't sound like ADHD. My husband has that and he doesn't act like that. Also, find a child psychologist. I very much agree that they will be able to help her son. My daughter is 3 1/2 and when she was 2 was diagnosed with PDD-NOS with Autism. Also, the food modification does work. I did gluten free foods for a little while and noticed such a difference in my husband, it was unbelievable. My daughter, however, had no effect. Also, wikipedia.org has a list of disorders and their traits if you need it. It was how I realized that my daughter was autistic. Hope this helps and don't worry, if your son needs something that he's not getting, there is plenty of help out there for him and you.

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K.F.

answers from Washington DC on

My daughter is now 12 she was diagnosed with ADHD at 5. She had some major tantrums when little but was never very violent. I recommend you read all you can and try to get the latest information. Check out CHADD's website they have great online resources. I would read everything from childhood bipolar to adhd. The docs will throw all kinds of information at you and it is best to be prepared for each visit. I still read all I can and keep up to date on information. If they wont test him why is he on Adderall? they cant treat him right if the dont know all that is wrong. Is he in school? His he seeing a psychiatrist? If not get one and make sure you like the doc and your son is comfortable with the doctor. If the doc gets down on the floor and plays with your son - you have a good doc. One hint is if the doctor wont listen to you find a new one ASAP. You know your son and what is best for him - follow your gut instinct. There are several other "things" that can go along with ADHD and I am trying to remember the name of the book that was my bible when she was younger. If bipolar runs in at least one of your sides of the family read up on it. make sure you read childhood bipolar though. they tried to tell me my daughter had bipolar but there is none on either side of her family. I read two 300 page books before I told the doc he was wrong and found another because he wanted to put her on meds for bipolar. I will try to locate the book and find some of the websites that I review. If you want respond back to my posting and maybe we can exchange email addresses.

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M.A.

answers from Washington DC on

Hi J.!
The ADHD thing sucks for everyone. I have twin nieces & one was diagnosed with ADHD. One major thing I know is when they start to come down off the medicine, she would get severely upset (sometimes mean & sometimes cry like there's no tomorrow). It may be something as simple as a doseage issue for your munchkin. When he gets older, as long as you & the school counselors work with him he'll be able to deal with it better. Right now, he really doesn't know that he's being or why he's being mean. Have a little (sorry have a lot) of patience & you'll both learn to cope
Good luck!!

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S.M.

answers from Washington DC on

My understanding is that "early intervention" is critical when dealing with pscyhological and behavioral issues. Also, it may give you the support and coping skills YOU need. I know that there are certain diognostic criteria to be examined, but it is still odd to me that the doctors aren't suggesting anything.

I suggest you get as many 2nd opinions/tests as you can. You don't necessarily need to intervene in terms of medicating or not or starting a program of therapy. However, get as much information as you can and some peace of mind. Clearly, by your question, your current doctor is not giving you what you need.

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S.D.

answers from Richmond on

yes. i have a 13 year old son. he was diagnosed with adhd and bipolar affective disorder. oppositional defiant disorder and sensory intergration disorder. the first diagnoses at 5 was adhd. bipolar disorder was added on a few months later when meds for adhd did not work. at age 7 the rest was added. we are still struggling with behavior problems and mood changes. if your doctor does not want to give you the help you need, get a new doctor. local social services and county mental health boards are a good source to start. the virginia treatment center for children on 10th and leigh street in richmond, va are the leading place in the area for mental health in children. they have helped out the most in the past years.good luck! you will need it. patience is a virtue. that is what i tell myself daily.

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L.A.

answers from Lynchburg on

Forget the psychologists and find a child psychiatrist. Also, if there is a medical university nearby, they may be able to do a complete analysis for him. Please don't wait until he's six!!!! Keep searching (web sites, medical resources, call local schools & talk to the guidance counselers) until you find the answers you are satisfied with. Your his mom & you know him best.

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T.C.

answers from Richmond on

Hi J.,

Your situation sounds tough.

My oldest son has "ADHD". He wasn't violent but he would change at the drop of a hat also. He is an extremely smart person and would, all of a sudden, be nearly retarded. I couldn't understand how he could change so suddenly. I would get so furious because I thought he was pretending and playing games with me.

Fortunately, for us, I was given a tape to watch. It talked about how 80% of the children diagnosed with ADHD actually have food allergies. As it turns out, my son was allergic to whole wheat. For some reason, his brain would be unable to function about 20 minutes after he ate whole wheat. I don't understand it, but it is true right to this very day.

According to the tape, whole wheat and dairy are a the two main foods that cause the problem. I decided to take my son off of those two to see what would happen. Then I would reintroduced the foods. He was completely normal without them for two whole weeks. I added back in the dairy and he was just fine for another week. The day I added back the whole wheat is the day he became "retarded" again. Then I realized that all of his problems started when I decided to improve our diet with whole grains.

Your son may be one of the 20% who actually has ADHD. However, I think the food elimination diet would be a good thing to try...maybe he is one of the 80%!

Best wishes,

T.

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N.K.

answers from Washington DC on

Hey and YES!

My son who is now nine was labled ADHD pretty early as well. I really don't belive they give these babies enough time to just be. But at any rate he went through the same mood swings threats of violence swearing and some attacks. Early on consequences, rewards, redirection, etc worked. I tried to change his diet and use all natural remedies for a while and they seemed to work short term. I finally decided to put him on meds last month when he got very violent at school trying to hurt a classmate. He is on zoloft (was suicidal) and vyvanse (ADHD) we (school and myself) have seen a great improvement. How ever I only give the vyvanse on school days or days where there is a lot of stimulation. I do not belive in meds until you've tried everything else first.

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J.M.

answers from Washington DC on

J.,

I would highly suggest going to see a psychologist that specializes in children for a consultation. It can be a one-time thing and the psychologist will be happy to discuss with you his/her thoughts. I work in the mental health field and diagnosing disorders is not a simple as listing some symptoms and getting an answer.

From your description, it sounds like people may think he has bipolar disorder. That is extremely rare!! I cannot stress enough, how rare this disorder is in children. It is horribly misdiagnosed and that label does not go away. Children with ADHD are more prone to also be diagnosed with mood disorders, anxiety disorders, and other behavioral disorders.

Testing is extremely costly and is not usually covered by insurance. Kennedy Krieger has a 6-month waiting list, usually and costs about $1000 to $2000 for a full neuropsych work-up. Loyola College has a clinic attached to its doctoral psychology program. That is located at Belvedere and York Road near the Senator theater. They do everything on a sliding scale. Their number is ###-###-####.

Let me know if I can answer any questions personally or refer you to a good psychologist.

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