Nightmarish Side Effects


"My 10-year-old son has started having terrible nightmares. Is this a side effect of his stimulant medication?"

Dr. Larry Silver specializes in treating children with attention deficit disorder (ADHD).

If your son has taken the medication for a year and you haven’t made any changes to his regimen, I suspect that something else is causing the nightmares. There is an easy way to find out. Stop the medication for a week. (Any time you discontinue a child’s medication, talk to his teachers and ask them to be more understanding during that period.) If the nightmares stop, you should ask his doctor to try another medication. If not, consider other sources of stress in his life that might cause his nightmares.

Larry Silver, M.D., is clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown Medical Center in Washington, D.C. and director of training in child and adolescent psychiatry at Georgetown University School of Medicine. He is a former acting director and deputy director of the National Institute of Mental Health, as well as the author of Dr. Larry Silver's Advice to Parents on AD/HD and The Misunderstood Child: Understanding and Coping with Your Child's Learning Disabilities.
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