Medicate Me, Please!

I’m rambling on like a sleep-deprived fool. Hey Doc, how about some meds for me, too?
ADHD Parenting Blog |
Parenting ADHD Children blogger Kay Marner is mother to an ADHD daughter in Ames, Iowa

Natalie has always had problems with sleep, and, right or wrong, I tend to blame those problems on her attention deficit disorder (ADHD).

When Natalie was younger, falling asleep was the problem. Even though taking a stimulant to help with sleep seems counterintuitive, a 7 p.m. dose of Ritalin used to help with that issue.

In addition, Natalie has long had a pattern of waking up in the middle of the night, maybe two or three nights each month, and being unable to return to sleep for at least an hour and a half. Not ideal, but at that rate, I could live with it.

Recently, both of these problems have intensified. First, Natalie can't get to sleep. Then when she finally does, she's likely to reawaken between 2 and 4 a.m., and remain awake for several hours. Our old friend Benadryl, which we’ve used as needed upon the advice of our pediatrician, doesn't seem to help any more.

What's going on to account for these changes? And, more important, what can we do about it?

My mama-intuition tells me that it's a combination of factors, including:

• Making a zillion medication changes since November.
• The changing season and lengthening of days--I've noticed that Natalie's sleep pattern always changes as we approach time changes.
• A little thing I learned about from my good friend Google, called adrenarche, a stage that precedes puberty. (I thought that my skinny little baby girl was too young, at eight and a half, to start having underarm odor. I was afraid that her meds were messing with her development. Thankfully, I was wrong! Adrenarche begins between ages six and 10, and underarm odor is one of its indicators. She may be stinky, but she's perfectly normal--for once!)

Do any of you have folk wisdom to corroborate my theories?

I called the pediatrician's office--AGAIN--yesterday, four sleepless nights out of seven, and we're changing meds--AGAIN. We are tapering off Prozac over six long days and nights. This is just fine with Nat's special ed teacher. She never did like the idea of Nat taking Prozac. She believes it accounts for this manic-y love-fest thing Nat has going. We added it in the first place to help with sleep and anxiety, and it's done neither. So it's outta here.

We're trying Clonidine instead. (I'm trying to forget I ever read that stuff about sudden death in children who take Ritalin and Clonidine together--and praying this line doesn't come back to haunt me.)

If anyone has experience with the use of Clonidine to help with sleep in kids with ADHD, please share! I'll just take a little nap while I wait for your commentzzzzzzzz...

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