Reply To: Frustrated, sad, depressed

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Allison Russo

This reply was originally posted by user adhdmomma in ADDitude’s now-retired community.


I am sorry you are struggling so much. Being young, having severe ADHD, and no effective treatment is a really tough road.

First, you said, he doesn’t have learning disabilities “so he has full ability to do all the work.” I challenge you to change your thinking on that. ADHD IS a learning disability. It affects the capability to perform in school in all subjects and with most expectations.

Inattention, distractibility, poor working memory, need to move a lot and be stimulated all the time, feeling overwhelmed, not knowing how to get started, and more affect a student’s ability to do the work.

If he is that impaired at school, I would request that he be evaluated for special education services and an IEP plan (use this sample letter to make the request: The IEP will provide more help and is more enforceable than a 504 Plan (

In addition, I would request a Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA) and a resulting Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP). This will help teachers and school staff determine WHY he has these behaviors, and outline a plan to help them improve the behaviors.

If he’s struggling socially, talk with the school guidance counselor and ask him or her to get involved. Part of their job is to help students with social struggles and make sure they are doing well socially when at school. We have done this many times and it has always been helpful.

As for medication, my son is also super sensitive to medications (and even vitamins and supplements) although not to the same extreme. There are a couple stimulants that can be titrated down to very low doses – Quillivant is a liquid so he could take as little as a drop. And Vyvanse can be titrated in water (

There are also medications other than stimulants often used off-label for ADHD when an individual can’t tolerate stimulants. Intuniv is approved for ADHD. Wellbutrin and tri-cyclic antidepressants are the ones often used off-label.

And I would have him tested for MTHFR—it’s a genetic abnormality that can affect medication efficacy. It’s common in kids with Autism and ADHD. My son has it and treating it made a big difference in a lot of ways.

And don’t worry about team sports and other things kids are “supposed to do.” A healthy lifestyle and opportunities to nurture his interests and talents and feel success is what is key.

ADDconnect Moderator, Author on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen boy with ADHD, LDs, and autism