This reply was originally posted by user brlk13 in ADDitude’s now-retired community.
I’m no expert, just a parent, but I can share my experience. I was feeling similar concerns when our psychologist suggested meds for my son when he was 6. There were two things he said to me that convinced us to give meds a try. First, he said kids with ADHD can get by without meds, but for many it can be like trying to keep your head above water with a brick tied to your foot. You can do it, but you constantly feel dragged down and it’s exhausting. The second thing he said was to remember if you see side effects from a med that concern you, stop the meds and the effects will go away. It was a long road for us trying to find something that worked AND had no negative side effects but it can be done. Some meds made my son emotionally sensitive or weepy. Some made him angry and a bit aggressive. Some made him too tired to function. Some caused tics and some did absolutely nothing. But we found what works and it helps him focus, controls his anxiety, his impulsivity and allows him to function well. He is 11 now and we’ve had a successful combo for nearly 3 years. It’s not a magic pill, but it makes his life easier and less stressful and allows him to be successful and school. For every article that tells you there could be side effects like suicidal thoughts and aggressive behavior, there are an equal number that will tell you people with untreated ADHD are more likely than average to suffer from depression, anxiety and addiction due to self-medicating with drugs/alcohol. Whether or not to medicate is personal and no one person responds to meds in the same way. The only way to truly find out is to try them, observe your child very closely, and see what happens. It’s not easy, so hang in there — but I encourage you to be open to trying your psychiatrist’s suggestions if you feel they could be beneficial.