8yo Daughter with ADHD

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    • #48681


      My daughter is 8yo and has been diagnosed with ADHD. We had a difficult time deciding to get treatment through a psychiatrist as I wanted drugs to be a last resort. But over the last 1.5 years, her anxiety and behavior were getting progressively worse. She would say very mean things, hitting, threatening, tantrums at any perceived slight. My daughter is very well behaved in school, just easily distracted and some difficulty learning and concentrating on tasks, but by the time she got home all hell broke loose. When we finally decided that behaviorists were not enough we took her to a psychiatrist. Her doctor first put her on the lowest dose of Concerta (it’s been about 2 months) and we saw an almost immediate change. We had our daughter back (well regulated, school noticed a significant change in her attention and abilities). She even noted how happy she was that she can now “learn”. She looked forward to school and doing homework by herself. This lasted about 2-3 weeks and then slowly the anxiety/outburst started back up. Her doctor put her first on a drug that calms her down (forget the name but it was to take the edge off her coming off the Concerta and to assist her getting to sleep). Then Zoloft for the anxiety and something else for the incontinence (which didn’t seem to do anything and she’s off that now). Once the Zoloft was in her system (it was about 5-8 days) it worked really well for the first month or so. Then she started having incontinence (which from what I understand is a pretty uncommon side effect) and then fear/paranoia/jolts. This escalated quickly and reducing the Zoloft did lesson this a bit but not by much. It was then decided to take her off Zoloft. She’s been off of Zoloft for about 2 weeks now and doing better but has picked up a fear of bees (she never had this before) and some generalized fear. She is beck to being anxious and we think this drives her outbursts (which are not quite as bad as they were previously but bad enough.

      Her doctor thinks this is behavior based (attention seeking) I just don’t fully agree. I know when she is milking things of attention, this kid is really fearful and why did these behaviors go away when she first got on Concerta and then Zoloft? We are in the process of getting a new behavior specialist and maybe even a new psychiatrist. While I am reading as many books and online sources as I can I feel lost and not sure what to do, I just want her to be well regulated and happy.

      Her symptoms have been:

      1. Difficulty getting to sleep and going back to sleep when she wakes up. This is somewhat helped by the med that I forget, we now give it to her at 8pm which means she’s more irritable when she gets home but can go to sleep and has an easier time getting back to sleep in the middle of the night.

      2. Fear/Paranoia. This has gotten much better now that’s she off Zoloft but she does still have some difficult times (bees, having someone ride a bike behind her, etc…) She also is now waking up in the middle of the night with some nightmare.

      3. Incontinence. It’s now better but still an issue. She was getting alot of attention through this process so I’m sure there is an element of that still in play.

      4. Anxiety. We are seeking a specialist with this and trying behavior modification at this time her doc doesn’t want to put her on something that replaces Zoloft.

      • This topic was modified 4 years, 6 months ago by Nnyan.
    • #48697
      Penny Williams

      This sounds very familiar to me. My son has severe side effects to all SSRI’s, including Zoloft, and has even experienced significant fear episodes that halted life on some medications.

      I can offer some insights:
      1) Stimulants can increase anxiety. If you can back off the stimulant dose some, ask the doctor about trying that. While my son does better on a higher dose of Concerta, he cannot take more than a moderate dose without significantly increasing anxiety, which is debilitating in it’s own way. I learned a couple years ago that this sensitivity to these meds (and supplements) is common in kids with high-functioning autism, which he has also been diagnosed with.

      2) Just because one anxiety medication had bad side effects, it doesn’t mean they all will. My son took Buspar for a while with good results.

      A Parent’s Guide to Psychiatric Medications for Children with ADHD

      3) What you’re experiencing could be behavior-based without any intention or consciousness on your daughter’s part. Anxiety can cause kids to act out, as well as poor self-confidence, learned helplessness, etc. Behavior is communication. Ross Greene (author of “The Explosive Child” which I recommend every parent read) says “Kids do well if they can.” When not doing well, ask yourself what your child needs in order to be able to do well.

      How to Encourage Good Behavior in Children with ADHD

      Disruptive Behavior: Solutions for the Classroom and at Home

      Free Webinar Replay: ODD and ADHD: Strategies for Parenting Defiant Children

      ADDitude Community Moderator, Author & Mentor on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

    • #48770

      Thank you for your replies. I do think that her acting out is b/c of anxiety, then that is regulated she almost never acts out. I think my biggest concern with our current psychiatrist is that she really doesn’t do a good job communicating with us. We need someone that lays out the plan for us so we’re not left guessing “what next”.

      I will have to look into Buspar and maybe cutting back on her dose of Concerta (she’s on the smallest dose now) or do you think we should try something different?

      Thank you

    • #48992

      Oh this is tough, as an adult female with ADHD who was used as a guinea pig in the 80s I can tell you from experience it’s a nightmare, not only for you but for your child as well.
      Okay first I would like to suggest you pick up a book called “raising the spirited child” I love love love this book, it about treating the child without labels and was a great help when dealing with my 9yr old daughter.
      Second put your self in your child’s shoes. If someone gave you speed/amphetamines how would you feel inside? On top of that a antidepressant, which I took Zoloft when my daughter died, it’s some pretty intense stuff. Since I have experience taking both medications I can only tell you it’s probably way more chaotic in her head now than ever before.
      My 9yr exhibits most of the symptoms you described except she is in gifted class, but she still can’t be still, has trouble not talking contantly and has a few social issues like the inability to read body language and cues. She is 9, she is learning, I am willing to adapt to her, and every year I start the school year out talking to her teacher, yes she talks too much, yes she won’t sit still, no I will not medicate her. She is a child. Now that being said you child is not my child and your decisions on medication is completly up to you.
      Now medications… replace sleeping pills with Melatonin they come in gummy form at the grocery store. Both my kids take it to sleep when the have trouble and it can be taken in the middle of the night and their is no narcotic affect so they wake up “clean”, not feeling drugged, …
      Anxiety… now this is a big one. I take Tulsi-Holy Basil, yes basil, it’s completly safe unless you have hemophilia because it is an antioxident.It works for panic attacks, now it also has NO narcotic affects and can be bought in pill form or liquid form for smaller kids. She won’t feel it working but when put into situation where normally she would have a panic attack she won’t. It won’t make her happy but it will take the stress away and it really really works.
      ADHD … this is the toughest of all, even as an adult the meds , I have been prescribed them all, reeked havoc on my mental health and my social health because the stimulant made me frantic and feeling crazy all the time, yes I could sit down and do my work but I could talk to people because I was literally jacked up on speed, if you have ever drank too much coffee or taken a stimulant you know how you felt inside, zittery, sick, anti social. Unfortunately too much medication makes it worse.
      I really really suggest you buy the book “raising the spirited child” it opened my eyes a bit and helped me raise and treat my child not a diagnosis or disease, it’s about how special your child is and alternatives and tools you may not have thought of.

      I do not medicate my 9yr old except for melatonin for sleep. I never have. The main reason was I was determined not to do to my child what was done to me and I explored every other option first. I also put my foot down with her teacher and the school.

      I hope this helps you at least will give you other options to look at. Medications scare me, around 70 percent of meth addicts were introduced to the affects of amphetamines when they were children. Legally, that’s a pretty scary statistic that scared me away from stimulants.

    • #48994

      Have you ever considered taking her off the medications and taking her to Brain Balance? We did that. My son had the same symptoms you are describing. He went through 6 months of brain balance, we changed our diet (no gluten, dairy or artificial coloring) and the difference is unbelievable! He needs no meds. He is simply on a high dose omega and a Neuro probiotic. We also continue some home exercises. I encourage you to check it out. Medicines only mask the issues. They will never be a long term cure.

    • #49004
      Penny Williams

      There is no cure for ADHD. If you expect that out of any ADHD treatment (medication or otherwise), you will be disappointed. We chose to offer our son ADHD medication to offer an opportunity for success and to feel good about himself. If there were a “cure,” we’d all be doing it.

      ADDitude Community Moderator, Author & Mentor on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

    • #49194

      At two weeks your daughter has barely started her withdrawal from Zoloft. Do a Google search on “Zoloft withdrawal” and you’ll get an idea. I have had to withdraw twice from medications prescribed with reassurances by doctors that there is no problem (once from Effexor cold-turkey when I got pregnant, a real nightmare). Be kind to your daughter and wait three more months before you decide this is a problem that needs tackling. I wouldn’t add more medication in the meantime because it could really mess up her system. I suggest a bedtime rub-downs with magnesium oil for a calming effect from both touch and magnesium.

      I also benefited strongly from reading “Raising your spirited Child” recommended above, as well as the author’s other book “Sleepless in America”. One thing among many that I learned from this book is that if your child is seeking attention, she NEEDS attention. Fifteen minutes of focused attention when she asks for it, and the effects are miraculous. And of course if the child is not feeling good she will seek attention from her parents — how else can she affect her universe? Good luck to you both.

    • #49328

      No.1 – when the you had the Concerta refilled, was it the same mfg? I had such terrible side effects when the pharmacy changed the mfg of my generic Adderall that I can’t imagine how it is FDA acceptable to have such variation; I thought I was losing my mind. Now I have a relationship with my pharmacist and they honor my request for mfg.
      Glad that someone else mentioned melatonin and holy basil. Those two work very well for my daughter. She has sleep gummies with melatonin and l-theanine. We also have another tasty chewable supplement labeled Stress-Relax Pharma GABA. The most helpful resource I have found is the Amen Clinic. https://www.additudemag.com/dr-amen-adhd-approach/
      Dr Amen’s book “Healing ADD” describes 7 different types of ADD based on brain scans; which helped me tremendously as my daughter has severe anxiety issues and I am over-focused which does not do well on stimulants alone (neither of which are the classic add that most psychiatrists are familiar with). He talks about what is happening in the brain and how to use diet, medication, supplements and even neurofeedback. It has helped me understand what is going on in both my daughter and myself.
      One other thing I would recommend, which I know is asking a lot in a home dealing with the stress of ADD and medication adjustment, keep a journal of meds and the specific responses, and for supplements too if you go that route. I had a reaction to one type of B6 & L-Tryptophan but did fine with different brands.
      And don’t be afraid to switch psychiatrists. They can be your greatest resource or your greatest setback.

    • #49976

      I was also impressed by what Dr Amen talks about. Then Amen clinics do a SPECT scan to determine the exact protocol including the right medication. http://www.Amenclinics.com there are about 4 in the country and i think they are having a special right now . It is worth at least reading about.

    • #49986

      The thing is you don’t overcome or conquer anxiety overnight. She has built that up over several years of going to school with ADD and not understanding why things were not working out. Her initial response to Concerta made sense, but it probably was not the correct dose. It seldom is the first time. And, by the way, it is very typical for kids to really try and hold it together during school time and then just crash when they get home.
      The problem with anti-anxiety meds is that they don’t treat the source of the anxiety (unless you have a serotonin deficiency which would be really, really noticeable).
      Finding the correct stimulant medication dosage is very important ( you don’t just stop after one try).
      Helping her to understand how ADD is effecting her and making sure her teachers understand.
      Finding a new psyc might also be a good idea.

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