Reply To: PLEASE HELP! On the fence about meds…

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1. How old was your child when diagnosed?
He was 6 years old. (Grade 1; but like you, we had seen signs for years)

2. Did you decide to medicate right away, or did you wait?
He started on medication last spring at age 7. Our psychiatrist recommended that we first learn everything we can about ADHD, and didn’t recommend medication unless he was experiencing problems at home, school, and with friends.

3. If you waited, what was your final reasoning for opting to medicate vs going with other methods of treatment that don’t involve meds? We tried behavioural methods, but they weren’t working. He was having a difficult time completing work and not being defiant towards school staff – despite his teacher utilizing all of the intervention strategies we could think of. And he was continually losing his mind on his little brother and pummeling him, leaving bruises. He also was not making friends at his new school.

4. Does your child also participate in therapy? If so, did they ever have therapy sessions before medication and did they seem to help at all before you added meds?
Yes he did and still does occasionally. We noticed immediately in therapy that he wasn’t going to be able to function without medication. He truly couldn’t really hear what the counselor was talking about with him. After medication, he was able to hear what she was saying, and was able to work on improving his anxiety, AND he STOPPED ABUSING his brother!!! He continues to see the school counselor on an occasional basis.

5. Which med does your child take, and at what dosage? He is about 70lbs and takes 40mg of Biphentin once per day. The psychiatrist said that Biphentin is usually better for younger children because the dosing is stronger in the morning and a bit weaker in the afternoon. Most elementary schools teach the core subjects during the mornings. He recommended Concerta when he reaches middle school because Concerta’s dosing is somewhat opposite of that: slightly weaker in the morning, and a bit stronger in the afternoon. (middle school schedules can vary a great deal)

6. Do you notice a negative difference in your child with meds vs without? Honestly, no. Initially, he experienced some mood swings that struck every couple of hours. But once we realized that the mood swings were probably connected to the dose drops of the Biphentin, he was able to cope with those. The mood swings lasted for about a week before they went away.

7. Are you glad you decided to introduce medication as a treatment option? Do you have any regrets?
We are all very happy with the decision – our son included (who is now 8). He enjoys school, and gets along really well with his teacher and his younger brother. The biggest difference for him was socially though. Before medication, he used to come home and tell me every day, “Jack/Tristan/Madalyn was mean to me today.” And he was really on/off with friendships (mostly off). After medication, he came home happy, telling me about how he played with Jack/Tristan/Madalyn, etc and that they’re friends now, and how he felt that the other kids liked him.
That struck me as so incredible: How the ADHD brain is more likely to perceive others’ actions/words as negative, and is more likely to remember the negative and dwell on it. And with medication, he was able to see the positive side of his peers. He still has some conflict here and there, but it isn’t daily and pervasive like it was before.

I hope my responses help you and your wife come to an agreement. Good luck 🙂