My 9Yr Old Son Has Been Diagnosed with ADHD

Updated on May 20, 2008
H. asks from Metairie, LA
16 answers

My son was recently daig w/ ADHD. Believe it or not I'm relieved to have an answer. b/c he's been so hard on himself and school is getting more challenging to keep out of trouble for not paying attention. But there's NO help unless they get diagnosed. Well his phychologist said that he needed medication but I don't want his personality to change but he's just about begging for help from me. So I agreed b/c theres so many new kinds out there they all can't be bad if your child really needs the help. My coworker is ADHD and she swears by her medications, that they really help her focus. But I'm nervous b/c his pediatrician wants to start him on Concerta 36. I just looked it up on the web and I'm not sure I'm comfortable with this medicatin. Have any of you had any experience with this medication and is any of it positive? The psychologist said that she wanted to try a fairly new one that is time release and lasts all day, and is only taken as needed for school, homework, etc. Unfortunately I'm not sure what the drug was that she mentioned b/c I've never heard of it but she said that there was a new form just our in summer 2006 that comes in a patch. Do you know what this could be and what have you experienced w/ ADHD children?

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So What Happened?

Thank you ALL for your input. I feel better about trying the medication. We started it yesterday and I've noticed great changes, except he is having irritability and headaches. I called the psychologist and she said that some children will have the irritability and headaches rather than the appetite loss. He stayes upset w/ whomever longer now as opposed to getting over it instantaneously. She is speaking w/ his pediatrician and suggesting reducing the Concerta to 27mg rather than 36mg or changing to Focalin. I'm waiting to speak w/ the pediatrician. I haven't researched the Focalin but it seems that most of your children are on it. He's so responsive to trying to make his diet better for him too...he wants help so bad it hurts me to know he understands so well that he needs assistance to feel good about himself and to succeed...I'll keep you all posted and thank you again for all of your advice.

More Answers

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A.H.

answers from Fayetteville on

Hi, just want to start out by saying I understand how scary this may be to you. I worked for a psychiatrist for several years and also in a behavioral hospital for several years so I have tons of experience with ADHD medications. They are not all bad. You need to watch your child and be able to provide his physician with any information he needs. Stay in touch with his teachers and see what differences they are noticing. Lots of children only take their medication on school days. They don't need it to be at home playing. Ask his doctor about this option. Are you seeing a psychologist or a psychiatrist? A psychiatrist should be the one wirting the prescription. It may take several tries before you find a medicine that works or the Concerta may work right away. Feel free to continue to chat with me if you like. It's hard trying to make the best decisions for your child! Good luck to you!

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C.C.

answers from Fayetteville on

H.,
My 11 year old son now takes Daytrana 20mg, (the patch). He was diagnosed with ADHD and Sensory Integration Dysfunction when he was 5 years old, and like you, I was hesitant about putting him on medication as well. I didn't want his personality to change either, but considering how badly he was suffering at school, it had to be done. It is a gamble with any medication and believe me, we have tried them all! Concerta 36mg worked the best at first, but he experienced the side effects of decreased appetite, slower growth patterns, etc. But at least he could concentrate at school and eventually caught up with the rest of the class. I do not give him medication during the summer months, weekends, and on holidays because I can tolerate him without medication. It also gives him a break from the meds and his appetite and growth catch up during the summer months. Taking breaks also keeps them from graduating to higher doses of the drugs due to a "tolerance build up" to taking the medication everyday.
I put my son on the patch when it came out in 2006. I has been beautiful! He has no side effects that were experienced when taking Concerta pills. I don't have to apply the patch on the weekends if I don't want to, and he has less of a rebound effect in the evenings when he does wear the patch compared to the pills. When he was on the pill, he would become extremely hyper before bed when the pill was wearing off. With the Daytrana patch, he takes it off 4 hours before going to bed and all is well. Every child will act differently to each medication, and it may not be the one for your son, but I have had to learn from trial and error what worked and what didn't. But from mother to mother experiencing the same problems, hang in there! There is nothing wrong with trying to find the medication that works best for your son. But if you do want to try the patch first before the pill, keep in mind that it takes the patch 1 1/2 to 2 hours to start working, so you have to put in on by 6:30am to be "ready" by 8am. Try it for yourself on the weekend so you can see how it works on him. The only downside I have found with the patch is how long it takes for it to start working after applying it(1-2hours), otherwise all is great. You must also follow the directions on the medication, such as putting it on the hip, or it won't work properly.
Just so you know what my son has tried in the past: Strattera, Medidate, Concerta, Adderal, Ritalin, and now Daytrana. If you have any questions, please contact me. I know how hard it was for me with my son and it helps to have someone to talk to about it. I am also a single mother with one son who is now 11 (been on meds since 5).
Sincerely,
C.

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K.H.

answers from Baton Rouge on

Hi H.,
My son Damon (9) was diagnosed with ADD and he was on Concerta 18 mg.One the first day I noticed such a difference.I was so scared to put him on the meds but they really did help my son.The fast that it's time release is great that way hes not on an up in the morning then a down in the evening.I know that this med is new and that can kinda make you have think long and hard but Concerta worked great for my son and I have told some friends about it also.Good luck to you and your family.

K. Hoyt
Mother to Damon,Marissa and Clayton
http://www.stayinhomeandlovinit.com/cgi-bin/team.cgi?id=K...

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L.H.

answers from Little Rock on

bey H. my name is L. and I just wanted to let you know that my 9 yr old daughter has ADHD/ODD and she was on the concerta and it didnt help her now she is on focilan and alibfy i know what your are going threw.here is my email address if u wanna email me [email protected]____.com good luck

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R.Y.

answers from New Orleans on

Hello H..

I can fully realte to what you are going thru. My son was diagnosed with ADHD at age 5yrs. It is overwhelming what we have to go thru. I have not heard of Concerta 36, but by all means do your homework on it. I was not comfortable with putting my son on any type of meds either and at such a young age. But, I needed help for him before he hurt himself or others or got further behind with school work. Our peditrician started my son on a 5mg dose of Adderall XR (time release), take one pill every morning at the same time. We monitor everything thing and work very closely with his teachers, in and out of school social workers and also psychiatrist. After two months on the 5mg dose and only little change. In agreement with the peditrician we increased the dose to 10mg of Adderall XR (time release). With this we noticed a little bit more difference but not drastic amounts, but of course still monitoring. A side effect the Adderall XR had on my son was loss of appetite which caused him weight loss to fast. Which by this time we finally managed to find a child psychiatrist to assist. He took my son off of the Adderall XR and put him on 15mg of Focalin XR (time release). Oh my goodness! What a difference in him. He went from being violent, not sitting still, not listening or caring etc..... To being calm and actually thinking before he does something and being able to learn. His appetite is more then fine on this medication and this particular dose is working well for my son. He is not a zombie like some meds may do. He is I guess what you say a more average six year old. Running, playing, learning and the main biggie......the meds helped him slow his mide so he can think and communicate better instead of it racing all the time. Just be sure to stay in close contact with all teachers and doctors who are involved and monitor everything. Everything will come together a little at a time.

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G.M.

answers from Lafayette on

Hi H.:
Im a mom of five; two of my sons suffer from Bipolar Disorder and one with ADHD. I like you was very leary of putting my children on medication. When my oldest son was diagnosed with ADHD it took me forever to make the decision to put him on ritalin. I started working in a psychiatric facility and talked with the psychiatrist; saw the effects the medications had on children and decided to try him on it. I saw a big difference in his behavior; but evenso when another was diagnosed I went through the same thing. We have been through many different medicaitons and as the doctor prescribes them I research and ask questions before trying them. Many of the medications can affect the liver, my sons' doctor does liver function tests on them at least once a year to make sure there are no changes.
As for concerta, two of my sons were on Concerta but that was about five years ago. It did work for a short time, but we moved from Concerta to Medadate and now they are using Focalin which lasts all day and I really like. It depends on the child. I wish you the best of luck!
G.

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B.B.

answers from Baton Rouge on

Hi, H., my prayers are with you and your son. I would like to give this very simple advice. If he takes a med for adhd and he settles down and can concentrate on schoolwork and tedious tasks, and doesn't get sleepy, or have mood swings or personality changes, then the med is for him. It is connecting somewhere in the brain and helping him. If not, tell the doctor he isn't doing well on that med and maybe another will help.
Also, get him on a 9 basic food group diet, a good herbal vitamin, pure water,no dyes or artificial additives, and fruits and veggies galore. Get away from white foods, whole grains only. The herb, feverfew, is good also. I can sign you up with a great herbal company so you can just order wholesale.
When addressing your son, always have the last words of your instruction to him be exactly the action you want from him. example: say "stop running, sit!" Not "Stop that running!"
His brain will pick up on the last command heard. Wearing monotone colors help, and as little buttons and buckles as possible. No distractions.
God Bless you with this task, you will have some challenges , but God can always help you, no matter how it looks.
Sincerely, BB

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H.G.

answers from Fayetteville on

My daughter was diagnosed this year, she was 6. I had a really hard time with it. She is so smart and always at the top of her class, she just had so much trouble staying focused. I was, like you, very worried about medications changing her personality. She is so lovable and sweet. I just wasn't sure how to feel. After much debate and discussion, we let the doctor put her on Strattera. She started on 25mg, but she is up to 60 mg now. We have had no side affects. It has help her focus a lot, and her personality is still the same ole kid. There was a day she did not take it, you can really tell the difference. I am not sure how we ever made it without the help. I realize how scary this decision can be, but you can change meds if you have side affects.

I wish you guys the best, and if you need to chat email me.

Good luck!

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C.G.

answers from New Orleans on

i used cylert in middle school, with better effects than ritalin had on me, but apparently, from what i just saw online, it can have really bad complications of the liver. maybe there's something similar out now without that bad side effect that you could ask your doc about. wellbutrin created a marked increase in my pulse rate which was scary fast at times on the medication. ritalin was good but had to be taken so often (adhd child forgetting to take meds, who'd have thunk it). it's good to work on behavioral modification as well as with meds though. because you don't want your kid to be drugged into an unrecognizable state. so work on finding a "good state of distraction".... yes i know it sounds ridiculous, but a quiet room was the surest way to have me distracted when i was younger and even today. i find something else to focus on (the ticking of a clock, the sound of someone turning pages 30 feet away, my tapping foot, the fray in my pocket, whatever) sometimes a cacophany of distraction helps to concentrate the energy, so don't be surprised if your child turns on the radio and the tv on low volume and lets the window screens up and actually does better with his math homework. sometimes it's just realizing that distraction is going to happen and concentrating that distraction in a positive way, or controlling it. i'm still very much add but i'm very successful in university now that i've learned to control it without meds. had i learned it sooner, i probably would have returned to college studies earlier.

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K.C.

answers from Houma on

Hi H.,

Have you ever tried natural alternatives? I'm a wellness consultant with an awesome health and wellness company. We have excellent supplements that can reduce the symptoms of ADHD. Also, many people don't realize how chemical use in our homes can cause symptoms of ADHD as well. Message me if you'd like to know more.

K.:)
www.Health4URFamily.com

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T.R.

answers from Fort Smith on

I have not had any experience with this but I just wanted to let you know you guys are in my prayers.

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K.E.

answers from Anchorage on

I teach elementary school and had a couple of students whose behavior and attention span were completely turned around by medication for ADHD. I know that starting meds can be scary and it is really daunting with so many types out there. Keep in mind that whatever works for another child may not work for yours and something may work for your son that doesn't work for someone else. Don't give up if the first one doesn't do the trick. Keep trying and something out there will. Also, you will know when it works. The students that I had start that started medication improved in 48 hours. One of my boys went from straight Fs in conduct to straight As in less than a week.

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C.M.

answers from Fort Smith on

I know that this is old and you probully have had the medicine fixed by now. My Daughter was 6 when we went through this, and was dianosed with ADHD/learning difficulty. We put her on adderall then adderall xr (time release) and now finally on Stratarra. I like Stratarra better because its non stimulate and really works.On this med. she didnt have any trouble adjusting to it, and it didn't change her personallity or eating habbits. My daughter is 9 now, so I understand the hardships of school. I didn't wanna put my daughter on meds either, but once you really do your homework on the meds and what he is going through and all that he is having trouble with, (exa. focus attention.) I am sure you can find one that is right for your son. Things do get better when you find the right one and you will see what a difference it makes.

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L.R.

answers from Shreveport on

H.,
I just want to say that the choice of medicating your child is up to you and your family. You should do what is comfortable for you all. I am personally, opposed to medicating children so young. All I ask is that you research all the other options in treating ADHD (and there ARE alot of other options). My nephew has ADHD and is on meds and they certainly work for him. My son was mis-diagnosed as ADHD at one point and we eventually agreed to "try" some meds with horrible effects, but take into account that my son was MIS-diagnosed, he didn't need the meds to begin with. They tried him on Stratera, which caused major agression in him. The other one tried was Ritalin, which caused moodiness.

Just check your options, do your research and choose the method that will be the best fit for your child and your family to work with. Good luck!

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A.R.

answers from Little Rock on

H.,
My son is also nine. He is taking Concerta 36 as well. He was diagnosed when he was in 1st grade. The difference was amazing once we started taking the medication. I too was a little leary of the side effects. I felt it was a disipline issue and I should be able to parent a little better and avoid any prescriptions. But I was wrong. The only side effect we have experienced it weight loss. This can be taking care of with ensure or a supplement. Good luck.
A.

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A.R.

answers from Lafayette on

Don't get worried my daughter had to fail first grade in order for me to get her diag. she was 7 or 8 years. She is fourteen years old. She has come a long way since then no attention span she was so upset with her grades she completely gave up there was nothing I can do. She was diag. with the same thing and the next year she passed first grade by second grade she was making A's, B's, & C's. She was put on a medicine named Concerta. My daughter is going to the eight grade and is a straight A student she hardly ever misses the honor roll she is very proud of herself her self esteem gets higher and higher every year but what I find amazing she hardly takes the medicine any more I leave it up to her as long as she keeps up the good work. There is also help at your local school where I am from we call it resource. It will help your child learn new and easier study habits no matter what. My daughter makes index cards to study I have helped her do this since first grade she still does it on her own with help from me sometimes then call them out to him. Like for definitions words on one card definitions on the other then she gives me the ones with the definitions and she keeps the words so she can look at them when I call out the definitions. Its how she started it will take time and patience hang in there it will work out for the both of you.

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