Ritalin LA - Kind of Long - Sorry!

Updated on November 30, 2006
D.A. asks from Dundalk, MD
16 answers

My daughter, who is 8 years old, is on Ritalin LA - 30 mg. She was diagnosed with ADD/ADHD at the age of 6 and has been on this same med since then, gradually increasing in dosage. I thought it was what she needed but now I'm not so sure anymore.

A few weeks ago, my daughter went to the school guidance counselor and made some comments that caused concern. After speaking with her and my daughter's pediatrician, we decided to get her into therapy, thinking she may have a mood disorder. She has had 3 sessions so far. Haley, my daughter, had a terrible temper tantrum this last time and got very angry. The therapist was very good and told me that she thinks that she may have moved too quickly with Haley (asking her questions too soon - should have played with her more and continued to get to know her). Haley comments that she doesn't feel like the therapy is helping her. I don't know if it is or not. Honestly, when Haley is with me, she doesn't show any signs that I see of any mood disorder BUT when she's with me, she is NOT on her meds. I don't give her the meds on weekends or when there is no school. Her doctor says the meds can't cause a mood disorder but can bring out an existing condition. I'm not so sure I agree.

After speaking with her therapist, her teacher and with my husband, I've made the decision to change her medication. I don't know if I want to take her off Ritalin all together or reduce the dosage. I'm worried that she was diagnosed too quickly and maybe she does not have ADD/ADHD at all?

I'm considering sending her to school one day next week without her medication. Her teacher has already said to me that she would much rather deal with Haley being fidgety in class then seeing her how she is.

Please help! I need some perspective from outside this inner circle!


My daughter's comments were that she did not feel like she fit in, she didn't feel like anyone liked her, she was angry and thought about hurting someone. She had, in the past, made comments in passing about feeling like nobody liked her and I reassured her that was not the case. She had, however, never made any comments about wanting to hurt someone AND she has not made any comments since. In fact, for the first time since being in school, she wanted to (and we did) invite children from her class to her birthday party. That was a huge step.

She is moody, always has been but I'm sure that comes from me! :) She sleeps pretty good, I think. She gets at least 8 hours a night, sometimes more, on occasion less. She does sleep walk once in a while. In fact, it used to be more frequent but has become less frequent recently.

She was diagnosed by her pediatrician, after her 1st grade teacher, who is an RN, called us in for a conference. She said that Haley was having difficulty staying seated, focusing on the task at hand and was very fidgety. All of her teachers then completed a checklist which we took to the pediatrician. I never thought about it until just now, but it seems kind of flimsy to be diagnosed by the results of human completed checklists. Is this common??

Her meds work on her within 45 minutes of her taking them, regardless of whether or not she gets them every day or not. She is a total zombie when on them and I refuse to have her like that. Changes will be made when we visit her doctor this week. Her doctor is really good and has never pushed the meds issue with us. It's completely our decision.

I look forward to any other input.


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So What Happened?

We visited the doctor today and talked about our concerns. We're going to switch my daughter to Straterra. During the switch, she's going to continue taking 20 mg Ritalin. At least Straterra is not a stimulant and that does make me feel better.

I know many of you are against meds, and I respect that, but this is a decision my husband and I made because it is best for our daughter.

Thanks to everyone for responding. It was a tremendous help!

Featured Answers



answers from Altoona on

My Ex-husband was on a lot of different kinds of ritalin. End result was that he wasnt any better and it ended up destroying his liver. He now has to take medications for it. One of my sons who also has adhd is on stattera and i love it. It is not a stimulant and it has worked for him for over a year now with no dosage changes.



answers from Scranton on

I agree with Lori too. My nephew is on something for adhd. hje is a complete zombie. he used to be a husky boy now he wasy about the same at my two and he is 18 months older. My two twins are skinny children about 45 lb and they are 6 1/2. My kids are wild sometime and my husband feels they may have add or something but we both agree that will never put them on any type of medicine. I feel some teachers use it as anexcuse for them not able to handle their class room. sorry if I offened anyone. just my opinion

Good Luck D..

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answers from Washington DC on

Hi D.,

Ok, Lori said it all and really totally agree with her attitude but wanted to add a short perspective from 'a foreigner.'
I was not born and raised in this country and as much as I love being here that;'s how much I get frustrated now that I have my own kids. In cases like yours I tend to think, what would have happen if we weren't living here? Do you think any doctor would know of ADD or ADHD? I tell ya, heck no. Actually growing up all i remember taking for all sorts of colds and flus and stuff was a pink medicine. I got that medicine precribed from the doctor about every thing. It was never anything else except that great tasting pink medicine. So, not to confuse you, I am 100 per cent against medicating kids. Some kids are just hyper, more concentrated while others are more 'artistic,' more withdrawn. There are kids that want to please the parents and there are kids who seem to have been born independent. Just enjoy your child and free your mind of these acronyms.
Good luck

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

My boys have symptoms of ADD & ADHD, but not all kids have it. I was @ my 5 years old soccer game and one of the mothers told me about this diet and I went home and looked it up. I read a little about it and thought i would try it. After ordering the materials on it, I started it with my boys and now my whole family. they has been a huge difference with them. People dont realize what we eat can cause alot of problems like dyes & preservities and other things, can induce asthma and other health problems. Here is the link Http://www.feingold.org



answers from Washington DC on

A lot weighs on what the concerning remarks were that your daughter made.

Bipolar disorder can often look like ADD/ADHD and is frequently misdiagnosed. Often in that case the ADD medications will not help or only marginally so. How does she sleep? Does she ever go for stretches on little or no sleep? Is she moody a lot?

Therapy is a good place for your daughter to be. You are her main advocate. Don't settle. Speak out. If you feel something is wrong, something's wrong.



answers from Philadelphia on

I think too many kids are labeled with this. An easy fix is giving a pill and dealing with the child that way. We live in a society where we want everything "perfect" including our kids. We don't deal with things, we diagnose and get rid of the issue. I think it's wrong. We teach our children to be free and express themselves and then give them a pill when they try to. Calm them down. That's wrong to do that.

I think we need to let children be children and realize that they are active and boisterous. They are not going to sit there like bumps on a log. The kids today don't get the opportunities that we did to play and burn off their steam. When we grew up we played in the woods, ice skated, ran around and burned off our energy. We would leave in the morning to play in the woods, come home from lunch, and then go back out until dinnertime. I remember watching for the streetlights which meant we had to be home. Kids can't really do that today. They have too much homework, there's no parent home that long as both parent's are working, etc. If you had put me in a stationary setting all day, I would have been diagnosed with ADD or whatever they want to label it today.

I really don't think you can label anyone with that until they are much older, and by that time they have learned how to deal with it.

If it were me, I'd take my child off of the medicine under a Doctor's care (some med's you can't just come right off of). Then, I would get my child help and support as to why she doesn't feel like she fits in. Maybe enroll her into Girl Scout's or a sport where she can be with other girls as a team and make more friends.



answers from Philadelphia on

I read an article that said that children that don't get enough sleep, start to display symptoms of ADD. In this study it was like 90% of the subjects diagnosed with ADD who changed their sleep patterns got better without drugs.
Just a thought. Good luck!



answers from State College on

my son is 11 years old and he has ADHD and he is always on the go you can't stap this boy from doing what he wants to do he goes to therepy but if i where you i would get a second opinion about her having ADD/ADHD maybe she don't have it but if she does they can help you understand it more.

wishing you luck
god bless you



answers from Pittsburgh on

My 3 year old was just diagnosed with ADHD among other things this past week. I am in the process of gathering information and although I have absolutely no intention of medicating him... which actually the doctor never brought up... I would like to say that although I agree that all kids are different I believe sometimes you can do everything you possibly can with a child and they are still bouncing off the walls. My son has gotten to the point where he puts my 1 year old in danger... not intentionally but It's still worrisome. I just wanted to point out that whether ADHD exists or doesn't exist that the parents are not always to blame. I am the mother of 3... and have worked with children with disabilities in the past. Sometimes it's nothing you've done wrong and a 3rd party intervention is helpful in helping figuring out how to handle the behavior.



answers from Washington DC on

Hello D.!

My name is K. and I am a former special eductaion teacher that has dealt with a lot of true cases of add/adhd and mood disorder not to mention a myriad of emotional issues.

My first piece of advice is this...follow your instincts. I would consider an evaluation of your daugther by an outside psyciatrist. It wiould help to see what he or she finds or doesnt for that matter.

Furthermore, having worked in the field I personally believe that these types of disorders are overdiagnosed. Which is sad because these types of labels inevitably end up hurting the self-esteem, which in turn can be seen as yet another diagnosis.

I would evaluate how her performance is on and off the meds as well....

In conclusion, it sounds like you know what is best for her and will do what id best. Good luck and remember you know your daughter best.



answers from Washington DC on

Hey! I just wanted to put in my 2 cents here!! I agree 99% with Lori!! They have firgured out that there is something in the brain that causes some of these issues!! That being said I agree COMPLETELY that meds are not the way to go!!! I think mostly it's how the adults in the childs life relate to them. Some kids are more hands on, some are energetic, some are laid back...
Sleep and diet I have seen first hand can make a huge difference in the way a child behaves or acts....

I was a nanny for this child who was the sweetest little girl until her parents decided she was old enough to start giving PB and candy to... She became a very hateful mean little girl!! So gone went the candy and she was a bit better, but not the sweet little thing we knew... I had read somewhere about PB being studied for effect on some kids moods so we tried that for a month... We took her of PB and low and behold... We had back the little girl we all knew and loved!!!!

You're lucky to have a teacher that said what she did to you! I think if you can manage an extra nice gift at some point just to let her know how much you appreciate her would be in order!!!



answers from Reading on

my son is ADHD/ODD/LD.He is 15yrs old.Can i ask who DX your daughter?Iam not one to take them off while no school or summer,the meds then take longer to work if that is done.Also do you have any support in your area.I want you to look up CHADD,i'm the leader here for my area.Its a support group for Adults and Children with ADD/ADHD.They give you alot of support and also alot on insite on it.Hope all works out for you.J.



answers from Philadelphia on

Hi D.,
You should definitly have you daughter evaluated again. She may be Bipolar like Beth suggested. One of my friends son was diagnosed with ADHD at the age of four and was put on several different kinds of meds over the years. He started acting out in school and at home, finally she took him to Dr. Who said he was bipolar and does not ADHD. He was just diagnosed at 12. He's doing fine now and thriving.



answers from Philadelphia on

My daughter is adha and im add im 31 they put me on meds for over a month talk about having a moody disorder you think i went nuts so I decide not to put my daughter on any meds we make sure she gets lots of sleep and what she eats. we did have her on a all natral sleeping pill only have so she would sleep we put her on it for two months than took her off after she got use to sleeping . as for her thinking the other kids dont like her, lets hope thats not true and maybe if you asked her what the other kids where to school or if there is something she would like to change about her outfits . or a new hair clip. if that would make her feel better ..




answers from Washington DC on

Well i have not read all the responces. But i am a mother to 2 children with ADHD/ADD... My 10 year old is only ADD and my 6 year old is ADHD.. OK Well my 6 year old was on that Ritlin which i never liked in the first place. because alot of children who are ADHD ritlin normaly makes them worse. Or make them like a Zomby. Right now my 6 year old is currently taking Aderal which is working pretty good.She has some major mood swings when she is off her meds. I am totally against putting a child on meds but in her case it is either that or deal with her screaming hollering fighting and all the above. But even with the meds she is the same way but not as bad as she would be off the meds. I think myself that Skyler (6) has some Bypoler in her the way she acts alot of the time. But being told she is to young to diagons for that quite yet. Well that is my so call story. feel free to ask me anything if you want to ask.



answers from Washington DC on

I have ADD....wasn't diagnosed with it till 11th grade and was put on Dexedrine. It seemed to make a world of difference. For High school, I went to a Catholic girls school. I no longer take the medication but, for the time I did take it, it did help me out. After being in public school through 8th grade, my mom thought I was being too distracted by boys so, in High school, I was placed in the Catholic school system. I was dealing with a lot in High school also, as my mother found out she had Ovarian Cancer. She died in June, 1995.....1 year after I graduated. I am now 31 years old and have 2 beautiful children....ages 7 and 4.

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