Seeking Advice for a Friend

Updated on February 10, 2008
S.F. asks from Vine Grove, KY
11 answers

My best friend was in tears today, and probably like most of you with your friends, I can't stand to see her upset for any reason. I told her that I'd post the problem here and see if the super mommies board could offer any advice.

Her 5 year old son was diagnosed with AD/HD a couple of years ago. Her and her husband have tried every method of dealing with it possible. When it was obvious that medication was needed, they put him on the lowest possible doses and have altered the meds as needed (depending on their effectiveness. They didn't want a "zombie" boy, they still want his personality to shine through.) He sees the psycharist for his AD/HD on a regular basis and has been seeing a behavior therapist for several months. The behavoir therapist diagnosed him with ODD as well because of his anger issues and inability to control his emotions.

His behavior has not improved any and has gotten to the point where he is physically destructive and violent toward his parents and older brothers. (however he wouldn't hurt a hair on his little sisters head.) He took a hammer to his oldest brothers television last week for no reason at all!

My friend is terrified that the only option left to them is to place her child in the hospitial (as the psycharist has reccomended occasionally), and she doesn't want it to come to that. This is my god-son here, and one of the sweetest children in the world when he wants to be. He's not a bad kid, even after what I just told you guys.

Dose anyone have any advice on how to deal with these issues that I could pass on to her? Is there any other road than the one to the psych ward at the hospital?

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answers from Charleston on

I'm sorry to say but going into the hospital may be best for him. I was actually in one for a while. Not for ADHD but for bi-polar. It is rough on everyone involved but in the end it works great. I have learned what my triggers are and what I need to do to avoid them. With him being so young he needs that help to understand why this is happening to him. As long as he is told that everything that is going to happen in the hospital is to help him and make him feel better. Eventually he may be able to come off of medications if he and his parents allow treatment in every form his doctors think is needed. I haven't been on medications for two years because of the things I learned in the hospital. Hope that this helps and if you or his mother would like to ask more questions feel free to do so.

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answers from Fort Wayne on

Hi. I personally recommend letting the child be hospitalized for a short period of time. I have a niece who was also diagnosed with severe ADHD and also had a violent streak in her. After having the hospitalization recommended, my brother and wife decided it was worth a shot. It ended up being a Godsend for her. Basically, the reason it's so good for them is because they're being evaluated 24/7 on the effects of medications on their little bodies. The doctors there specialize in treating various conditions and know exactly what to look for in terms of what's working and what's not. She was there for 10 days and came out a completely different child, and it was all for the better. She was able to concentrate in school better and behaved better in general. She was 6 when she was hospitalized.

It's hard for parents to be able to differentiate between what's working medication wise and what's not because they are so sensitive to their child that they really can only see things to a certain extent. With the hospitalization, they're able to monitor children professionally and also be there to counsel the child in areas they feel they need counseled in. It was really hard, I'll say that much. My niece cried and wanted to go home whenever she saw her parents, but in the long run, it was for the best. It doesn't have to be made out like she/he is being sent to a "psych ward". When we explained to my niece where she was going, we said that she needed to stay there so the doctors could figure out what medicines were the best for her, and to do that they needed her to stay there for a few days. She never looked at it as something being wrong with her since it was put that way.

These kinds of things are so hard to watch a child go through, but the good thing is that it's treatable with the right medications. It's best to get control of it now in the best way possible than to wait and have a child who's older and not able to be controlled. I hope this helps.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Indianapolis on

Have they considered getting an opinion from another psychiatrist? I am concerned that this little boy was diagnosed with ADHD a couple of years ago, presumably when he was 2 or 3. The diagnostic criteria issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends against diagnosis until age 6, and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry strongly recommends against prescribing psychoactive medications for children under 6. Diagnosis and medication of a very young child is not standard practice. If the medication is so ineffective that hospitalization is being discussed, I'd be concerned about the effectiveness of this doctor.

My 8yo takes Focalin, and it helps tremendously, so I'm not opposed to medication for ADHD. Maybe the psychiatrist in this case is both competent and correct in her treatment of your godson. Maybe his is an unusually severe case and hospitalization is the best course. But it worries me that the diagnosis was made contrary to established protocols, and it worries me that he is getting worse. It certainly can't do any harm to get a second opinion. The Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist Finder at lets you search by location and specialty, so your friend should be able to find a list of pediatric psychiatrists who specialize in ADHD.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Indianapolis on

Hi S....

Before I start this...let me tell you that I know first hand how difficult it can be to have a child with ADHD and ODD. My 10 yr old daughter has been diagnosed with both (when she was 4). I have done all of the research and talked to many professionals about finding the best possible treatment for her. I hated the idea of medicating her!

In all of my research, I have found that the combination of low dose meds, seeing her behavioral specialist, seeing her counselor, strictly sticking to her behavior modification plan, awarding her good behavior, and having her involved with the awesome programs at DAMAR Services have made a huge difference in not only her life, but our family!

Doing all of this at first, seemed like alot. At first it seemed as though our family's focus was on her. But, it didn't take long at all for her total treatment plan to fall into place and become a welcomed part of our family.

You and/or your friend are more than welcome to contact me for more insight and info on our daughter's treatments. [email protected]

If we are parents don't/won't do all that we can to provide the best possible for our one else will!




answers from Wheeling on

I agree with the one person about food allergies. My son has ADHD. We took him to an allergist for testing which was a good thing because we had no idea about how allergic he is to some foods especially brazil nuts, and any kind of rodents (rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs, etc...). He is also allergic to chicken mainly chicken feathers but not eggs. We try to keep him away from chicken as much as possible even though he loves it. He will become very angry, antsy even with just a couple of bites because his paternal grandma forgets about chicken. It is time to take our son back for testing again and possible allergy shots. I am hoping if he starts the shots it may help him with some of the problems. He is homeschooled because I do not want any teachers subjected to his behavior sometimes. I do understand about the medication issue but his dosage may need adjusted up or down. Our son was on Adderall, but we had to take him off due to him becoming very angry and sometimes violent behavior. We are now on Ritalin at a little higher dose and it helps quite a bit. Maybe the little boy needs to have his meds adjusted up or down or even changed.



answers from Indianapolis on

don't have any advice for you but these ladies had good points, just wanted to say that the way you mention her son sounds exactly like my 5yo son cept I know my son's bipolar with a violent tendancy so just wanted to offer another *HUG*



answers from Kokomo on

Hi I have a 5yr old daughter that is ADHD so if you would like email me or have your friend email me at [email protected] and ADHD in the subject.... Also where is this boy being seen at?




answers from Lafayette on

I have a son who is ADHD/ODD...he also has severe sleep apnea, aggression problems and asthma. I know what she means about the mediciation but it's not always like that. if you get a doctor that knows what they are doing they will get the right doses of medication. My son is on ALOT of medication but it does not make him a "zombie" If he starts a medication and it starts to get those "Zombie" side effects just tell the doctor and the can reduce the dosage or change it. If you have any questions e-mail me. [email protected] Would be happy to help in anyway. My son will be 11 in July and he's been on meds since he was 5.



answers from Indianapolis on

Hi S.,
I really feel for your friend and you. This has got to be the hardest decision for she and her husband.
I have a friend that has a little one like this and she and her husband have gone the route of using more medication. It has helped quite a bit.
I know you said that she doesn't want him on a lot of medication but maybe this would be an alternative to having to put him into a hospital.
Thinking of my own little boy, he would be so scared without me and his other siblings.
I think the hospital should be the very last straw.
Has she tried diet? I know that allergies to some foods can make children seem angry or out of control.
Sugar being the worst. Sugar is in everything it seems. If you look at lables, it is almost the number one ingredient.
There is a life change she might want to check out.
She can go to It is a little radical but if it works, why not?
I will pray for her and her family.



answers from Louisville on

Just remember that he doesn't know why he's like that either. And it's difficult for him to. I have a son with ADHD and we are well controlled on Adderall XR and are looking into art therapy. Luckily he does not have ODD, but my nephew does. It can be really scary at times.
Your friend needs support. We recently had a support group start up in our area, and it has already been terrific.
Unfortunately ADHD is a lot of experimenting to see what works. I can tell you that my son is no where near a zombie on the meds. He is the same sweet, funny boy, just in control.
Tell your friend to talk to other moms of kids with her sons problems. They may have found something that she hasn't.
Don't give up on the little fellow, there is hope.



answers from Lafayette on

You said they've tried everything possible so this may not be any help or even apply for that matter but thought I'd mention it. Have they tried ABA therapy? It's an intensive program that usually takes place 40 hours a week, can be expensive, but sounds like a great thing. They teach him to 'behave' by rewarding him for good behavior. There's a lot more about it if you research it. My son recently got diagnosed with autism and it's very common for autistics to have adhd tendencies, and this program is highly recommended for these kids. I haven't gotten to try it yet, but thought maybe it would help?

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