Seeking Mom's with ADHD Kids

Updated on April 12, 2008
L.W. asks from Linthicum Heights, MD
25 answers

Personal advice about the pros and cons of ridelin and other ADHD medication. Does diet modification work.

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B.W.

answers from Washington DC on

If you have concerns about using a stimulant then look into Strattera. It is a fairly affective ADHD medication, but unlike Ridelin & Adderal it is not a stimulant. So it does not have as many side effects as the stimulants. Personally my son will probably get a diagnosis of ADHD in the next few years. There are a lot of pros & cons to medication. You really have to go with what you are comfortable. My brother was on Ridelin most of his life and it helped. As an adult with ADHD I am on Strattera and it is working well for me. If it comes down to the decision for us I think we would choose a non-stimulant long before trying a stimulant. But they tend to not be as effective. There are also diet modifications that can help.

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C.T.

answers from Dover on

Hi L.,
My son was diagnosed with ADHD when he was 6 (he's now 19). We had him on Ridelin at first but I requested he be taken off of it after about the first year or so. It worked for him while he was in school but as soon as it wore off when he got home his mood swings were out of control. We switched to Aderall and had no problems with it. He went off of all meds at 16 and has been able to learn self-control and handles himself well. Good luck!

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R.C.

answers from Washington DC on

Medication, diet, behavior strategies and support for the person with the disorder/disability (and his or her family) are ALL necessary. So, too, is ongoing research, web-surfing and networking/relationship-building with others who experience or know about ADHD. The more I've learned about ADHD over the past 3 years, the more I think the "either/or" way of thinking simply doesn't work. It's not a matter of either medication or diet or counseling or behavior mod, alone. Almost all meds have side effects to deal with -- but there are some pretty clear effects associated with ADHD when unaddressed or untreated. I think it's partly a matter of learning how to live with it and learning how to adjust.

That said, we have tried a number of medications with our 8-year-old son, including Ritalin; and have found that:
-- he has difficulty falling asleep.
-- his appetite has decreased, and we are shifting away from large meals to eating food/snacks throughout the day.
-- we have great flexibility in deciding whether he needs medication after school or on weekends, since each pill seems to last about 3.5 hours. (It helps for playdates and afterschool activities.)
-- it's incredibly cheap, especially compared to other meds; and it's been around for a long time so there is a clear record of how the med acts in most people.
-- the supposed "stigma" of taking a med at school doesn't exist for my son. Also, a lot of kids go to the health room to take a pill each day.
-- He has become more irritable, but that may also be due to his reluctance to go to sleep.

Regarding food and diet: We let him eat most healthy foods most anytime, since we want to keep his weight steady and we find it hard for him to eat large/long meals (We've learned that he won't sit still for long at the table!) We try to limit all caffiene, and avoid red dye and processed sugars in food; but we've never tried a total switch-over to foods without additives or products that exascerbate ADHD symptoms.

Most of all, it's been incredibly helpful for my son and for members of our family to learn different tricks, techniques and strategies for dealing with the day-to-day difficulties that come up. Try it all til you find a "groove" that works -- Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

L.M.

answers from Dover on

Best of luck to you and your family. My advise is IF your child needs medication, don't be afraid to try it but don't be closed to stopping it either.

In my experience, I have found that IF a child truly has ADHD then the proper medication works wonders. For a child that is misdiagnosed, it can cause more problem than it solves.

My son was always a busy body and seemed hyperactive. Based on the questionaires and behavior, he was diagnosed as ADHD when he was 5 or 6. He started medication, against my husband's wishes, and he bagan to cry EVERY night for two or three hours and didn't know why. He no longer participated in the classroom...seemed sort of "out of it". I secretly took him off the medication...no one but he and I knew. A few weeks later, his daycare provider and teacher told me how well behaved he had been and how much better everything was. Imagine their surprise when I shared that he had been off the medication for weeks!

My niece on the other hand, is a classic case of medication working. She does better (not great) in school and her behavior is MUCH improved using the right medication (I forget which one they have settled on but there was some trial and error).

The one thing we have found is that the medication is sometimes used as a crutch or excuse. She may push her luck a bit and then say "well, I forgot my medicine today". If a dose is missed and others (like her brother) knows it, they tend to provoke her and then blame her lack of medication. I had both them and my own one day and she hadn't taken her medication. When they told me, I said "It is only one missed dose so you are still going to behave for Aunt L. today, right?" She agreed and was doing very well. Later the boys were provoking her and making her holler in the car while we were going down the road. I informed them that if they caused it again, THEY (not her) would be the ones in trouble. They stopped and so did she.

Her mother and my other sister were shocked that she behaved so well with not having her medication. That is where I believe that your expectations can make a difference for the child that needs medication but occasionally misses a dose.

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L.S.

answers from Norfolk on

L., Our son was deemed ADD and for 3 years I tortured myself over the medicine adventure. My nephews were on ritalin and unfortunately my sister was not good at calculating the times for their meds and they seemed strung out so to speak all the time. I hated seeing them like this.
Finally, this year, our son's second grade teacher and I have kept very close contact especially with his focus and grades. She felt before Christmas it was time we at least checked with our DR. We took her advice and our drs too...he prescribed Straterra. This is non narcotic and it does take a little bit of time to get in the system but let me tell you...what a difference. He is reading, focusing and is now one of the highest in the class. And he was very close to the lowest...for the last 2 years! His teacher called me last week to inform me they are all stunned and will be testing him for AIG...which is advanced placement. Had I known how much different this would have made his life for the good, I would have never tortured myself over this whole ordeal. And the best thing with strattera is that the dr says he will develop habits and will hopefully be able to wean off the meds as the years go by. I dont know if this will help, but check out straterra. It has certainly made a huge change in our son. It can be used for ADHD as well.
Good luck...and dont stop researching.

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T.L.

answers from Washington DC on

i work at a clinic that specializes in neuropsychiatry ... dr.daniel amen has created lists of supplements and dietary changes that can SIGNIFICANTLY improve ADD/ADHD in children and even adults ... there are a list of books if you would like to read up on the disorder ... medication is one solution but diet, exercise and supplements make a world of difference ... check the website www.brainplace.com ... or call the call center ###-###-####

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S.M.

answers from Roanoke on

i myself was a hyper active child when i was young and was on ritalin for many years and suffered sleeping in school and not really getting to learn because of this i finially grew out of this so maybe you can wean your child off it as you go maybe things will get better i know with my situation may have been different it caused me to have hyper active thyroid disease have them to check for that to that can have the same effects as other diseases and some doctors dont know it until others things trigger it like over active heart disease but all in all it did help and it took a few years for things to get better but i outgrew it by age 16 and was took off all the meds and i am now 43 and have never had to have anything else so keep me posted as what they tell you and if you need to know more email me
[email protected]____.com or [email protected]____.com
take care
susie

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S.A.

answers from Washington DC on

I would suggest checking out the articles and information on www.naturalnews.com
I have know several people that were on Ridelin and it it very dangerous.

Consult with a Naturopath that concentrates on ADHD. They focus on treating the cause not the sysmptom and the mind - body connection.

Also, cleaning up the environment in which you live. I suggest learning about the 5 steps
www.healthychild.org

It is not just one thing that will help. It is many things to create a healthy environment and nutrition.

Also, take out processed foods and articifical colors and flavorings.

http://www.nativeremedies.com/

http://search.freefind.com/find.html?id=61148091&page...

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F.S.

answers from Washington DC on

L.,

We use Adderral XR for my son. He is 8 now and was diagnosed at 4. Diet may or may not work, depending on the child. For us, Adderral is wonderful. The issue with any medication for ADHD is the individual child's reaction to it. Most ADHD meds have side effects (adderrall doesn't for us), but you have to weigh what you are willing to put your child through. You almost have to test try the drugs, and be prepared for them not to work out, and be nicely surprised, when they do. I'm sure your doc gave you a list of side effects. The list you won't get is this- the proper medication can allow your child to focus more easily, control exaggerated motions, remember to look ahead of them so they don't run into doors, carry out a normal conversation without jumping around. The most important for my son, is that he can enjoy playing games, reading, spending time with us. He used to be all over the place and couldn't get much out of the activities we tried to do. Now we play board games, video games and read books together and have a good time all around.

Good luck,

F.

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W.K.

answers from Washington DC on

My daughter has severe ADHD and a mood disorder so the diet modification did not work for her. My aunt's son has ADHD and it worked for him. She took out all dairy from his diet and it has worked wonders.

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N.K.

answers from Washington DC on

My son age 9 also a twin was labeled ADHD about 4 years ago. I found diet change didn't help much since we were already limiting meat and "junk". I attended a parenting group at UM for parents of children with ADHD. They taught more of consistency and consequence which help some and being the type of parent you would want.

I just began meds with him about three weeks ago after him became suicidal and physically trying to harm others at school. He is on Zoloft 25 mg and Vyvance 30mg both once a day. They appear to be working well. He went from getting calls and reports everyday to having a perfect uneventful days everyday. The downside is a slight loss in appetite but nothing to worry about yet. How ever he doesn’t want to take the pills so I have to check to be sure he swallows. I do give him breaks from the Vyvance on weekends.

I personally believe ADHD is a learning style rather than a disabilty. I took two years and home schooled him three days a week. This worked because I know him and had the time to modify the work where he dosen't become disinterested. Each time he is tested the results are on or above grade level. So once again it's a learning style not a problem.

I made a poster for him of all the famous people that were labled with learning disablities. He seemed really excited about it. It's important to build their self esteem because the labels can tear them down.

Most importantly use your best judgement and stay in control not the doctor's.

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R.F.

answers from Norfolk on

Dear L.,
I am a teacher, and have had experience in a class with many kids who were labeled ADD or ADHD. The conclusion is this - Kids will be kids and their attention spans ARE very limited just by human nature. Unfortunately, society has labeled these children as such, and now they will always be labeled with this. They also, rely on their meds as an excuse not to behave. Follow the Bible. In Proverbs - there are many instructions given to parents on how to raise their children. It does require a lot of work, time, and patience, but in time you will reap the benefits of your efforts. I have two young boys, and we have seen great improvements in their behavior since we have been consistently applying scripture to their life.
Sincerely, R.

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A.L.

answers from Norfolk on

My son was recently diagnosed with ADHD, he's six, and he's always been extremely hyper, I was really sceptic about putting him on medication, but he had been suspended off of the bus twice, and was in danger of being kicked out of school, so I took him to the doctor. He's been taking ritalin for 2 months now, and he's made a complete turn around. The only down side that I've encountered with him, is his appetite has decreased a little. Other than that, he's doing great. I tried altering his diet before this, but it didn't really do much. I wish you luck, hope I was helpful.

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J.M.

answers from Washington DC on

Hi L.,
I have several friends that are using The Feingold Diet very succesfully. It's definitely worth a try, but it requires some pretty radical change. Here's a link:http://www.feingold.org/

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A.R.

answers from Washington DC on

I had ADD growing up and they gave me Dexedrine, which worked, however it also modified my appetite, and my personality. When I was in college, I decided to take myself off of the drugs, and stopped eating chocolate. No more symptoms. Each person is different, but frequently eliminating sugar/dairy can help. For more info. check out www.mercola.com
Dietary changes can help.

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R.C.

answers from Richmond on

there is a lot to know about adhd, I have an 18 year old daughter who was diagnosed with ADHD at 10, she was A B student when she was diagnosed. She behaved well at school, just liked to talk, what girl doesn't. However at home she was different she had mood swings and a very high energy level. The signs are actually there from the age of 3 or earlier, after filling out all the questionnaires I realized that. She was put on adderall, it affected her appetite, sometimes headaches, but all in all no major issues once she was on the right dose. She stayed on the meds from 5th grade to 1st 1/2 of 9th grade. She said she didn't want to stay on the meds the rest of her life. SHe also knew that having a routine and keeping things organized helped her with the ADHD. So the doc and I agreed to try it for a sememster, but if the grades dropped than she would have to do back on, Well to this day she is med free, she actually graduated a year early. Now remember this is a case where I the parent saw concerns not the school, the schools however are differnt now, the kids are expected to learn a lot more at earlier ages, and they have trouble keeping up with the massive load of work, and the first thing you know they are saying the child isn't focusing, if he isn't able to complete an assignment in 10- 15 minutes. I would want to know more in what has lead up to this, is it the parents or the school.

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T.V.

answers from Norfolk on

Hello L.,

I have a daughter with ADHD and mild bi-polar. It took going to 4 doctors before I would put her on medication. It has made a world of difference in our lives. She is definitely two different people without it. I also do behavior modification, therapy and a minimum of diet modification. You may get mixed reviews on what to do, but you have to follow your instincts. I do not however recommend Ritalin. My daughter takes Metadate CD once a day, in the morning. She has had Ritalin and also Concerta in the past. I disliked her having to take medicine at the school nurse, embarrassment is the last thing these kids need. Good luck!

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A.K.

answers from Washington DC on

L.,
You might want to visit www.chadd.org for infomation. This is CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) - a national non-profit organization. I actually coordinate the Northern Viriginia chapter of CHADD. We have monthly meetings, parent support groups, and lots of other resources!

Good luck!
A. Dolin, M.Ed.
www.ectutoring.com
www.anndolin.com

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C.C.

answers from Washington DC on

L.
I just wanted to add to all the information you received a few more links about ADD and ADHD. My son was diagnosed with ADD and was "forced" to go on meds in order for the school to stop picking on him (this was some years ago). We promised him that he could come off it if after 3 months, he did not see any improvements. He became very depressive and aggressive. Doing research and reading more on the subject helped us tremendously in understanding what ADD/ADHD is. My son learned to turn this "disability" into an asset and learn how to use this to him advantage (he was in his mid teens when he was diagnosed).
Having a strong family structure and routine is really important as well as many other factors in the child life (lots of sleep, good eating habits, organization skills).Attitude is also really important in knowing how to deal with ADHD people.
I hope that these links will provide you with additional information and tools to help your family.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/medicating/

http://www.adhd.org/

http://www.drhallowell.com/index.html This is a centre that specialize in ADD/ADHD and do ongoing research on this subject. They also have great tools and tips.

Good Luck
C.

D.S.

answers from Allentown on

Hi L.,

I have a resource person who does work with this type of child/children. She is Dr. Laurie Dietzel.

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

Hope she can give you the details that you need. Good luck. D.

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T.D.

answers from Washington DC on

My cousin has ADHD and was on ridelin for awhile until the headaches got so bad he begged to be taken off it. My aunt then found a hospital in Chicago where they tested my cousin for certain vitamin deficiencies. The vitamin suppliments helped tremendously and he is now top of his field in the Navy. I would definitely research diet modification and I can get the name of the place in Chicago that did the testing if you want.

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S.W.

answers from Washington DC on

I have lived with ADHD all my life. If you want some good info and want to make contact with those who experience it daily, go to www.adhd.org You can also email me anytime as well. The diet is simple. Cut out all refined sugar, including anything with High Fructose Corn Syrup in it. Switch to Raw sugar to use, more fruits and veggies if possible, and switch to Organic or Natural meats..I mean all of them. Hormones and Antibiotics in your food is not a good thing either. That is what I have done for myself and my girls. I think my Oldest may be an Add'er , but time will tell. She is manageable, and I won't have her diagnosed or put on meds. Do you find that your child tests you daily?Constantly pushing limits? How was he diagnosed anyway? Please, feel free to email me offlist. [email protected]____.com if you have any questions.

S.

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J.R.

answers from Washington DC on

Hi L.,
I have a son with ADHD he is now 18yrs old. We tried ritalin and it turned him into a zombie. WE tried other meds and they truned him into a zombie and made him feel horrible. So we were forced to turn to diet and behavioral modification and yes they work. It is very hard and you have to stay disciplined with it because it works when used but they have to be in a routine with little alterations. Hope that helps. J.

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C.W.

answers from Norfolk on

My daughter has ADHD and I have been really happy with the medication (Adderol) she has been given. Her fun and sweet personality has not changed she can just focus better. One thing that people need to realize is that ADHD is a disease just like diabetes, cancer, etc. It is a chemical that is missing in the brain. We wouldn't deny our children medication for these diseases b/c the world views them as "real". ADHD is just as real and you should always seek thd advice of medical professionals.
On a personal note my 21 year old nephew was diagnosed with ADD 12 years ago. The difference after medication was so significant that his grades in school went from D's to A's. Now as an adult he makes the conscience choice to not take his medication but has learned throughout the years how to cope. Also, I have ADHD and always have. I'm a certified teacher and now I realize that IF I had medication when I was a child I would not have always been singled out for not listening, or paying attention but would have been able to focus. You have to do what is best for your child and if giving them medication that will help them focus in school, be able to socially fit in with their peers and get them ready for the future is what is best and go for it. You DR will help you and be there every step of the way. Be patient and be confident that what you are doing is right. This is a medical condition just like I said. Also, if a diatery change would make that much of a difference DR's would be doing that first. If a diatery change does make a difference it's not ADHD.
Just to let you know that the reason I had my 4 year old tested for ADHD was b/c she almost got hit by a car. She had her focus on something and even though we were yelling and chasing her to stop she didn't hear us. Thank goodness the driver saw us. That made me realize that I needed to do somehting that was going help my child focus on more than justone thing at a time. Now, when I say stop she stops, she listens in preschool, doesn't get in as much trouble, she not as aggressive, doesn't just sit in front of the tv all the time, can play independently w/o outward stimulation. It is SO WONDERFUL!!!!! Our relationship is so much better now b/c now I spend my time enjoying her instead of constantly trying to get her on focus. GOOD LUCK. Follow your motherly instincts and listen to the DR!

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K.H.

answers from Norfolk on

My daughter now 32 was on Ritelin and it caused abnormally high pressure in her eyes, She was diagnosed with borderline Glaucoma. We took her off it and due to her uncontrollable enuresis problem she was put on another medication. She was highly sensitive to sugar and although there have been studies saying it has no effect on ADHD kids I noticed a difference in her the second she walked in the door from school. From my observations sugar highs took two to three days to leave her. The studies seem to give sugar every other day which doesn't allow for the body to completely eliminate the problem. Diet helps but keeping a child on it is a nightmare. The number of times I have heard "A little bit won't hurt" It does and although trying to be polite my mind was screaming "YES IT WILL" People think children should be rewarded with sweets and chocolate. Not when they are ADHD.

There are other parents out there with ADHD kids and there is a support group. Raising a child is hard enough without the problems caused for the whole family from an ADHD child. I do however think that too many children are diagnosed with the problem, because the Teachers no longer have the patience to deal with an active child. We now live in France and are raising our 8 year old Grandson who is dyslexic. The approach here is very different. He had some behavioural problems when he came but the teachers sorted it out and he is now a very good boy. He is getting extra help in reading and writing.

If I were you I would try diet first.

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