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

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Good morning,

I know exactly how you and your husband feel. We knew right away from birth that our son was going to need extra attention. He would only fall asleep if we bounced him and it was a very specific way we had to bounce him and he could tell the difference (we obtained very strong calfs lol). I was diagnosed with adult ADHD a few years ago and looking at my parents, my father definitely has ADHD even though he has never been diagnosed (I can just tell and so can others). So it all started to make sense the more and more I researched and found out more about ADHD.

1. How old was your child when diagnosed? – Our son was 5 just turning 6 when we started seeing people about his behavior.

2. Did you decide to medicate right away, or did you wait? – My wife has worked with children and has a degree in child development so we tried since he was really little to do what we could at home with the knowledge she has. When it came to meeting with people we were hesitant at first because there is always a part of you in the back of your mind that will want you to not medicate a child. We did eventually start medicating because it helped me so much it was like a switch turning on in my brain and i didn’t want our son to struggle in life like I did.

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? – While it is highly possible that kids and adults can function without taking meds, for some it does work. For myself i tried for a couple years to control my ADHD without taking meds and it just wasn’t working and it was taking a toll on my wife having to care for multiple “children”. Meds will not 100% make everything better, but it will give someone with ADHD a jump start (depending on the person obviously) and other things can be learned at a more leisurely pace I guess you could say. Again, this is for our case, ADHD effects many people in many different ways.

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? – Our son does not currently participate in therapy because the meds have seemed to help so much that the therapist said there wasn’t really anything that we’d need to come in and see him for at this time. Obviously as he gets older and school becomes more difficult we may need help then but with him being so young and in kindergarten and loving school, there is no need for therapy at this time.

5. Which med does your child take, and at what dosage? – Our son takes an extended release 10mg of methylphenidate (Ritalin) in the morning which usually wears off around 3-4pm and then he takes a 5mg short acting methylphenidate after school which helps him at home and helps him to fall asleep (I know a stimulant to help you get to sleep, but it helps calm the brain. I take the same medication he does and it helps calm my brain so I’m not awake thinking about everything).

6. Do you notice a negative difference in your child with meds vs without? – So far there has been no negative differences in our son since he has started his meds. It has all been positive. It literally brought tears to our eyes to see the difference in our son’s behavior and actions while taking meds. He is able to focus and have conversations with us now. He used to be constantly stuck in the ADHD “world” where he was hearing us but couldn’t focus long enough to talk about anything. At supper time instead of constantly wiggling in his seat and falling off his chair getting hurt, he actually sits down with us and eats his food while we talk about our day and what he did in school.

7. Are you glad you decided to introduce medication as a treatment option? Do you have any regrets? – It has been amazing seeing our son’s transformation after taking meds. We just seem like an all around happier family. We ask him all the time if he likes taking the medication and how it makes him feel and he has said that he is happy that his brain and body can be calm. My wife and I have both shed our tears both from sadness and happiness. Sadness because we didn’t think we were good parents and weren’t doing enough but happiness that we can now feel happier, not having to yell as much because we get frustrated over every little thing.

I have ADHD so I apologize for the long responses but ADHD is a very passionate subject for me and I could go on for days. The most important thing to remember is that you are good parents. Yes its ok to get frustrated and feel how you do on those difficult days. The act of trying to help your child shows that you care and love them. Another thing to remember is that just because you start a medication, doesn’t mean you have fully committed to giving your child meds forever. You can always stop the meds. Like I said, meds don’t work for everyone but it has worked for us and I am so glad that both my son and I take meds.

Hope this helps. I am always open to talk about anything so feel free to send me a message if you have any other questions and I’ll do what I can to help. I always recommend a YouTube channel called “How to ADHD”. The woman, Jessica, has ADHD and she is amazing at presenting what a person with ADHD is going through and give awesome tips that can help anyone with ADHD no matter the age. She also has a TED talk that is AMAZING.

Have a great day!