ADHD and anxiety 7 years old

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    • #79893

      I have a 7 year old boy that was diagnosed with ADHD non hyperactive. We are currently trying neurofeedback as well as vyvanse.

      As we were getting the diagnosis his grandmother died. He took it pretty bad. He started developing tics that would come and go. Itchy belly button, hair pulling, head tilt, jaw movement,etc. They last a few weeks and change. Ever since starting the neurofeedback they have mostly gone away. They pop up every once in a while. He also is hyper sensitive to certain things like tags in clothes or turtle neck shirts choking him.

      Long story short… He loves taking piano lessons but when we sit down to practice he gets itchy and says he can’t. Same thing if we go outside to have a catch. He loves baseball and piano but says practicing makes him nervous and itchy.

      Because his anxiety is so bad the neurofeedback therapist couldn’t really work on his attention because she was spending the whole session working on anxiety. We ended up trying medication in the meantime to see if it made a difference. Our pediatrician put him on vyvanse and we noticed his attention got better but he still doesn’t pay attention in large group settings. Also the anxiety is still there. Sometimes he is fine but sometimes he losses it over something like practicing piano or what’s for dinner. All of a sudden he didn’t want to go to his neurofeedback session because he said the pads hurt him.

      At this point the spot from hair pulling is beginning to grow back but the itchiness persists. His teacher is concerned because the vyvanse isn’t helping in a large setting.

      His neurofeedback therapist thinks he has some type of anxiety disorder along with ADHD. The pediatrician won’t put him on anything else. Is it time for a psychiatrist or a neurologist?

      Just looking for any advice. He already has a 504 plan at school. His teacher doesn’t think he has any learning disability and that it’s pureoy his attention. He does well in school once he understands the topic.

    • #79896

      Hi, I’m not an expert but I have a few thoughts to share. My 9 year old daughter has had some of the issues that you described in your post: the tics, the sensitivity to clothing, the distractability. My daughter is also prone to getting really wound up and being unable to relax. She is also prone to having emotional outbursts. But, in my opinion, certain things can help a lot. I think your in the right track with the neurofeedback, but how is your son’s diet? I would avoid processed sugary foods as much as possible and emphasize fruits and vegetables and foods that are good for the guy like raw milk, fermented foods, bone broth, high quality yogurt and kefir, etc. if the idea of foods in relation to guy health is new to you, check out Nourishing Traditions and the GAPS diet. The other obvious thing that is critical to my daughters well being and behavior is enough good quality sleep. If your son has to be woken up in the morning then he’s not going to bed early enough at night. Exercise is another very important thing for anxiety and hyperactivity,. I know you said your son isn’t oyltwardky hyperactive, but I feel like the tics, and the anxiety could be helped in the same kind of way by exercise and movement, particularly movement out in nature. I would encourage spending as much time out in nature with him as you possibly can. Nature is calming. Also make sure to have a good balance of time out of the house with time in the house, and I would recommend a book called simplicity parenting which is about, among other things, the important of spending time at home and about creating an environment at home that is calming.

      There’s one other type of therapy that you might want to look into called the Masgutova Method.

      As I said at the beginning of this post, my daughter is 9 now, and while we still face certain personality challenges and many of the issues that I mentioned above, she is doing much better these days.

      Please forgive the possibly multiple typos in this post as I am typing on my cellphone. Good luck!

    • #79897

      That should have said foods that are good for the GUT, not guy!

    • #79898


      We’ve been doing neuro once a week for about 5 months now. He has been on vyvanse for two months.
      I try to get him outside as much as I can. He plays multiple sports too. Food is a whole other thing with him. He is super picky. He is hyper sensitive to animals so he really won’t eat chicken or turkey. He will eat some fish and steak( doesn’t realize where steak comes from, but he will eat fruits and some vegetables. All he wants to eat are bagels and pizza. Barely eats lunch at school.

    • #79910

      I know that eating right can be a real challenge but I urge you to look into the Gut and Psychology Syndrome diet by Natasha Campbell Mcnride. And Also the book Nourishing Traditions. The Gaps diet is extreme as is Nourishing Traditions in many ways but you can still start with small changes and increase from there. Even the meat aversion over time could be overcome perhaps incrementally. The bone broth can be cooked into rice for example. Diet is so fundamental to physical and mental health that I don’t think it can be compensated for in any other way.

    • #79911

      And please check out the book Simplicity Parenting! If he is playing multiple sports he may be doing too much outside the house. Kids need a lot of time to just be at home with their imaginations being kids.

    • #79961
      Penny Williams

      Did the itching start after the Vyvanse? Sometimes there are rare side effects.

      The rest of what you describe fits sensory processing disorder (VERY common with ADHD):

      Too Loud, Too Bright, Too Sticky!

      And SPD related behaviors can often look like anxiety or SPD can cause anxiety.

      Since your child’s medication and symptom profile is turning out to be more complex (which is also common with ADHD), it is a good idea to see a specialist. Could be a pediatric psych, a neurologist, or a developmental doc. It’s most important that they have lots of experience with ADHD, not what type of doctor they are.

      Your Expert Overview: Choosing the Right Professional to Treat ADHD

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

    • #79967

      His itching started before the vyvanse. I’m pretty sure it’s an anxiety thing because it only happens when he has to focus on something or if he is tired. He will sit down to practice piano and the itchiness will start or if he is reading a book to us allowed.

      Thanks for the info. We had him evaluated at CHOP’s ADHD department and we thought he had a sensory processing disorder or OCD too. They disagreed.

    • #79968

      Obviously there is something else going on since the medication isn’t working the way its supposed to so we are trying to figure out our next steps.

    • #80147

      Hi Vince82

      I’m sorry your going through this I know you want the best for son my advice to you would be to first take him to a psychiatrist that specializes in ADHD not the pediatrician I’m sure they mean well but this area is not his expertise and remember doctors from different disciplines have a different take on giving children medications. The tics are definitely a side affect from the medication he is taking and you will have to try different ones until you find the one that best fits like a puzzle piece which a trial an error. My daughter was diagnosed with ADHD the combined type when she was 11 and I understand what your going through

      As far as the school is concerned they will never tell you what your son needs you have to fight for it starting with keeping a notebook of all of his report cards and watch how his academics are being affected once you have evidence that it’s affecting him either behavioraly then ask for a PPT in writing and bring your evidence with you to support why you want him to be tested and make sure you email your concerns that’s your paper trail. Also check with your department education online about parents rights

      Also check they have tons of resources
      Hope this helps good luck

    • #80153

      Thanks for the reply. The tics started way before he started on meds. He was diagnosed with ADHD by CHOP last summer and we decided to start with neurofeedback before we went straight to meds. The neurofeedback has taken care of most of the tics but at this point wears off after a few days. He has only been on meds for 2 months but has been doing neurofeedback for about 6 months. We think this is either an anxiety issue along with his ADHD, OCD, or SPD. He is doing ok on vyvanse but still having issues paying attention in a large group along with showing signs of anxiety. His therapist for neurofeedback can’t even focus on his attention most of the time because he is anxious. At this point he just says he is nervous and doesn’t know why.

      CHOP has plenty of ADHD specialists but I was wondering if it mattered seeing a psychiatrist or a neurologist. We’ve seen about 4 different psychologists at this point.

      The problem with school is that academically he is right on pace. It just takes him a while to grasp concepts because of his attention. He needs someone right on top of him explaining things a few times. He gets longer times to take tests, a cushy seat pad, he goes to a reading specialist and math specialist for extra one on one time. His teacher is great and spends a lot of time and effort finding ways to keep him engaged. Now kids are beginning to notice he needs to be reminded a few times, forgets to pack his back, leaves homework on his desk, etc. That is starting to bother him which of course fuels his anxiety.

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