June 26, 2017 at 11:57 pm #51871macmomParticipant
I come here in deep despair about my 19 year old son. My son was diagnosed with ADD when he was 9 and we relunctantly put him on medication for it for 6 years. He took Concerta and Vyvance for the most part. His counselor suggested we wean him from his medication 5 years ago while in high school and his symptoms were not severe. Once we weaned him off Vyvance, his ADD symptoms resolved.
Fast forward to now, he just finished his sophomore year of college and has been struggling with severe social anxiety which is very painful for him. He also started having trouble with severe text anxiety which is also new. It’s like he can’t handle stress. He did not have these issues until recently. I did some research and found a study from 2001 by Joan Baizer of the University of Buffalo that revealed childhood use of stimulants damage frontal lobes which causes anxiety and depression in adults. No doctor ever informed us of this study. We were told they were short acting and were therefore “safe.” Our son’s symptoms were mild and we would have never given him these drugs if we were informed they would harm him. I am so distraught right now and I’m wondering if anyone can reassure me? Are there any other studies out there that contradict this one? Did I set my son up for a difficult life because of these medicines? I love my son more than anything in the world and I’m having a rough time with this.
I appreciate any response I can get. Thank you in advance.
- This topic was modified 3 years, 2 months ago by Penny Williams.
June 27, 2017 at 12:16 pm #51884LysParticipant
Social anxiety is extremely common in ADHD people with or without medication being involved, so it’s hard to tell. It can often evolve in Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria under stressful situations (lots of info on that on this site). I still remember my first year in university – lack of sleep, crappy food and too much necessary social interaction, combined with more focus than I even needed due to long-term projects was more than I could physically handle, and it took me a few years to get myself fully together again. There may or may not be side effects to stimulants, but chances are he might have gotten here regardless. If may even be that the stimulants delayed the onset of his anxiety.
It’s in the nature of parents to second-guess ourselves. Now that I have an ADHD kid myself, the last thing I want is for her to feel anxious, or not good enough, but the world is all too eager to hurl our inadequacies in our faces (and I say that as a person that is overall thankful for having ADHD). The problem is that guilt on our part adds to the burden that ADHD kids have to bear. My suggestion would be to leave the past in the past and concentrate on the present. Proper food (plenty of protein, less carbs, no candy bars and preferably no alcohol) and some good sleep would go a long way in calming his depression and anxiety, no matter how “uncool” he might feel. You have done the best he could, now is his turn to learn to take care of himself. Hugs!
June 28, 2017 at 12:28 pm #51990Penny WilliamsKeymaster
It looks like the study was on rats and that they gave them a high dose of Ritalin — equivalent to more than what most patients need. The study’s author even stated, “Ritalin does appear to be safe when used properly, but it is still important to ask what it is doing in the brain.”
At this point, your energy is much better spent discovering how to help your son manage what he’s experiencing today.
It could be that the demands of college are too much for him to handle without ADHD treatment, which could very easily increase anxiety a great deal.
Social anxiety is somewhat common in individuals with ADHD. I have significant social anxiety myself, but not ADHD. Social anxiety is really tough to live with. It negatively limits what the individual experiences in their life. There are so many things I don’t do or don’t participate in due to social anxiety.
I would seek treatment for the anxiety (counseling or medication, or both) and help him move forward from where he is today.
ADDitude Community Moderator, Author & Mentor on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism
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