Anger and ADHD: Help!

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    • #40235
      Penny Williams
      Keymaster

      This discussion was originally started by user in ADDitude’s now-retired community. The ADDitude editors have included it here to encourage more discussion.

       

      My 7 y/o son is on 20mg of Adderall. He started on 10mg of Prozac 2 weeks ago. Today, the teacher called me to let me know that he screamed “shut up” at her during class.

      My son has really been struggling with anger control, and I am just wondering what medications have been helpful for this especially?  I have talks with him all the time about appropriate behavior, but it just isn’t working. He has consequences of not watching TV or doing video games, but his impulsiveness just gets the better of him. Then he says he hates himself for acting that way and for messing up.

      Any help? Thanks

    • #40835
      Devon Frye
      Keymaster

      This reply was originally posted by user mama2one in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      I have a 7 y/o who has similar difficulties. We have had to continue to try different medications. Right now he is taking 2mg of Intuniv and Abilify. Things aren’t perfect yet but this seems to be working better than anything else.

      What modifications is the teacher making? It helped my son to break his day down into chunks that he could earn stickers for when doing the appropriate thing. It is definitely heartbreaking to hear them talk negatively about themselves. Don’t give up!

    • #40837
      Devon Frye
      Keymaster

      This reply was originally posted by user brlk13 in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      Did he have issues with anger before starting the Adderall? My son tried Adderall at that age and it made him angry, agitated and aggressive. When we stopped the Adderall the behavior stopped. He’s had success with Vyvanse and combining it with Straterra has helped with impulsivity. He’s 11 now so maturity has helped as well I suspect.

    • #40839
      Devon Frye
      Keymaster

      This reply was originally posted by user Radgirl11 in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      Thanks. Yes, he did have anger issues before the Adderall, but I am wondering how much it is really helping.

    • #40841
      Devon Frye
      Keymaster

      This reply was originally posted by user brlk13 in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      For what it’s worth, I was also told at one point that Prozac and stimulants were not a good combination. We tried Prozac briefly — my son also has generalized anxiety — but it had some negative side effects. He has taken a combo of Zoloft/Vyvanse/Straterra for almost 3 years successfully. We tried just about everything and every combo out there before finding the right mix. Every kid is so different and it really can take a long time and a lot of patience to find a solution. Second and third grade seemed to be the toughest years so far. I don’t know if it was the med trials, the teachers, the increased schoolwork demands, immaturity or a combination of these. For my son, his emotions run so high that what seems like a small issue to most can trigger a big emotional response. He’s getting better at controlling his emotions but I personally believe that’s due to maturity and some work done with OT and therapists at his school, not medication. Hang in there!

    • #40843
      Devon Frye
      Keymaster

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

      A recent study showed that Risperdal with a stimulant is a successful treatment plan for ADHD with anger and aggressive behavior (with parent training also): https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3984501/

      Knowing he was angry before Adderall means you can rule that out as the sole cause. However, it could be the drug combination, or it could be the Prozac (trying Prozac for anxiety almost caused hospitalization for my son due to his extreme reaction to that medication).

      Amphetamines (Adderall and Vyvanse) and Prozac/Paxil have a bad interaction that few doctors are aware of: http://www.corepsych.com/2012/09/adhd-insights-prozac-paxil-ampehtamines/.

      There are two types of stimulants: amphetamines (Adderall, Vyvanse, Eveekeo) and methylphenidates (Ritalin, Concerta, Daytrana, etc…). Most individuals do better on one or the other but not both. Given that, I’d ask his prescribing doctor to try a methylphenidate next.

      Rationalizing and punishments often don’t work with kids with ADHD. What would be more effective is to address the cause of the unwanted behavior (aggression) and work to help him with that. If you haven’t yet, read “The Explosive Child,” by Ross Greene — it can change your lives.

      Here’s more on aggression in kids with ADHD:
      https://www.additudemag.com/slideshow/74/slide-1.html
      https://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/9868.html
      https://www.additudemag.com/slideshow/81/slide-1.html

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

    • #40845
      Devon Frye
      Keymaster

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

      We tried Prozac for my 9-year-old son this past fall. Pre-Prozac he had aggression challenges. The doctor recommended a small dosage of Prozac over stimulants as he thought stimulants could increase his agitation. Prozac was supposed to help with flexibility in thought. Instead it sent his ADHD off the charts. He couldn’t sit still in class. His anger outbursts increased as well — it can take away inhibitions, so he didn’t care what he said and to who. It was crazy to experience — felt like we were being held captive in our house by an emotional terrorist. We went off Prozac — took several weeks to get to baseline. We haven’t tried meds with him since. My other son has ADHD as well, but it manifests itself differently. He’s on Quillivant and it has worked amazingly well. Each child is so unique.

    • #40847
      Devon Frye
      Keymaster

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

      I can’t speak to medication issues, they seem to be so different for everyone, but I do think educational and psychological testing may be of good use if you haven’t done that already. There may be an LD or processing issue that’s not immediately obvious that’s causing some of his frustration.

      That said, I have always had a quick temper, or so I thought. What I have come to understand is even if my meds are right — I still need to have good rest, break up my meals (especially around 3 p.m. I’m going to need a snack) so my blood sugar doesn’t dip too dramatically, and learn to pay attention to that thing that I feel when I’m getting angry so I can get up and go to the bathroom, walk outside, whatever it is that will break the beginnings of a bad thing.

      Your child is young, but DBT and mindfulness training are appropriate skills to begin to learn at his age so he can learn some self care and self-moderating skills. It’s not a cure-all, but beginning to learn these kinds of skills before becoming a teenager is a very helpful thing.

    • #40849
      Devon Frye
      Keymaster

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

      All kids with strong emotions need someone to reflectively listen to them when they are “in trouble” and can’t control themselves.

      Then, when they are calm and happy again, they need someone to help them find things that they CAN do when they are feeling so angry (sad, happy, etc) INSTEAD of the behavior that they were using to alleviate the “pressure” and that was unacceptable.

      So many times these children keep hearing what they CAN’T do, but they don’t have a clue what they CAN do, and no one seems to think it’s important to help them find that out.

      Please try to understand: It’s so hard even for adults to know what to do when they lose control of emotions, why do we expect children to intrinsically know what to do?

      And a lot of children (and adults) with ADHD lose control at every slightest thing. It’s really not their fault, it’s the processes in their brains that just work differently and that make emotions difficult for them to control.

    • #40851
      Devon Frye
      Keymaster

      This reply was originally posted by user OMG_Its-Not-Just-Me in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      Hello. My son was taking Adderall also since he was 6 years old and we upped the dosage as he aged. Just a few months ago. I took him off of the Adderall because of the extreme side effects. Anger and extreme aggression were the side effects for my son. He is now taking Concerta instead, and boy what a difference medication made. My nephew who was a high schooler had to be taken off the Adderall for the same reason. Those side effects can def be a cause. I would most certainly talk to the doctor about something different. My nephew is on Abilify, which is another alternative for the Adderall. My advice from my experiences is to get him off the Adderall as soon as possible. My son and nephew were both suicidal from that medication. My son is now 11 and my nephew is in college; since the change of medication for both of them, the negative self-talk and overly aggressive behavior has ended.

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