Drugs for my 12 year old son – scared!

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    • #72725

      Any stories here where people regret using medication or think they could have done without them?

      We are starting a 2nd ADHD evaluation for my 12 year old son, we (the parents) are convinced he has it. Previous evaluation at 10 years old was inconclusive and they said he had above average IQ and had too much in his head.

      We’ve always gotten complaints from the teachers that he disrupts class and doesn’t focus well when he needs too. His academics is good, but we get complaints from teachers almost every day. My husband insists we use drugs and behavior therapy, I am afraid of the drugs. I’ve heard that you have to increase the dose all the time and take breaks from taking it which can be hard.

      My son is impulsive, disorganized, can be a bit verbally mean even though doesn’t mean it – just doesn’t think before he says stuff, forgetful, having a hard time concentrating on things he doesn’t care about, has emotional outbursts that come and go pretty quickly. He really likes to talk and that what gets him in trouble in school during class. At the same time he is very smart, curious, and happy kid and would seem like a very normal highly intelligent child. I am afraid to make a mistake and make my kid dependent on drugs for the rest of his life.

      Please help by sharing your personal experiences.


    • #72978
      Penny Williams

      What you’ve heard isn’t completely factual. Some people choose to take breaks from the medication, but ADHD medications don’t require breaks. I personally find the breaks more detrimental. And, you don’t have to increase the dose all the time — this is completely dependent on each individual’s metabolism, genetics, and neurotransmitter levels. My son has been on the same dose of Concerta for several years.

      This article offers a solid overview of ADHD medication:

      I find that learning the facts about ADHD medication (because public opinion of ADHD meds isn’t factual) helps to make an informed decision on trying these medications. Every parent is cautious and scared about medication for their child, but it can change your son’s life for the better, if ADHD medication is right for him.

      As for school, it takes more than good grades to succeed at school. Behavioral expectations are a big part of that. If it’s an expectation in the school handbook or the teacher’s classroom rules, and your child’s disability prevents him from meeting that expectation, then it should be accommodated and worked on. That absolutely includes behavior. Ask the guidance counselor for a meeting to discuss this and learn the process for your son’s school.

      Free Webinar Replay: Do’s and Don’ts of Behavior Management at School

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

    • #73060

      I was scared of medication too. So I understand where you’re coming from. Like Penny said though, look at the facts instead of the opinions. The facts speak volumes.

      Since I said look at the facts, I won’t go into personal experiences. I will say, medication is a decision we did not take lightly but not one that we regret. Best of luck to you!

    • #73198

      It is scary. But either you medicate, or they will self-medicate with drugs and alcohol as they get older.

    • #73312

      My 13 year old daughter has ADHD. We procrastinated getting a diagnosis in part because of my fears about medication. I was wrong to be afraid. Medication has been life changing. And I can say that even though we are struggling with it right now.

      We are on our second medication because, for her, Concerta stopped working after about 3 months. It took all of us a while to realize that she was back to struggling and we are still working on digging out of the hole. Her ADHD shows up most noticeably in the form of really poor executive skills – homework gets done but not turned in, lost and thus needs to be redone, books aren’t brought home so that assignments can be done, etc. When her medicine was working, these problems were virtually non-existent. When it started to lose effectiveness, she started to slip. When it was no longer effective, she fell apart. It’s been very noticeable how much that medicine really was working once it stopped doing so.

      What has been fun for me to see is that she is one driving the process to get another medication. She is now the one asking for a change in dosage because she thinks the medicine is making a difference but not enough of one. And, she is the one who first noticed that the Concerta was starting to fail.

      I would encourage you to be open to it. It’s been really good for us.

    • #73323

      This is not an easy one – for our family- our youngest has -ADHD + anxiety disorder and sensory issues and the medication is a god- send. The ADHD meds + the anxiety meds has made his life so much better- he is engaged in school he has friends- he plays with us , it is really an amazing turnaround. For my oldest son, he had adhd and takes meds for school. And it has helped some – not the dramatic turnaround of his brother. He seems to be doing better in school this year as opposed to last, but I am not really sure if some of his gains are not just maturity and not really the meds. But we have no regrets about giving them. There seems to be little harm and as long as you do the things to help his brain grow and not just solely rely on the meds for future gains your son will be fine.

    • #73333

      Speaking from my own personal experience with medication.

      I was diagnosed at the end of 4th grade and started taking meds in 5th. I still take Concerta to this day (I’m a sophomore in college now studying biology and looking to go into genetics). I did have to gradually increase my dose as I got older. I’ve been on the dose I’m on now since 9th or 10th grade. When I entered high school I was also prescribed a smaller dose of Ritalin which I take if I needed a top up after school. It’s definitely scary needing to take something to function “normally.” I got used to it and now I take my larger dose if I have several classes that day or if I’m planning on doing some legit intense studying. I take my smaller dose (10mg, so I play with it a little) if I don’t need to stay focused for long. Last year I hardly ever took my meds and only had to take them to get a paper done.

      Really it boils down to doing research and weighting the pros and cons. I’m to the point where my doses are set and will most likely stay set, so I know what I’m doing and how everything effects me. I take medicating very seriously, if I don’t think I need it that day, I don’t take it. Before college, I took it during the week and didn’t use it on the weekend unless I had a bunch of weekend work (which was rarely).

      I hope this helps some. In the end it is your decision. Definitely do some research, maybe even discuss it with your son if you think he can handle such a discussion. It is a hard decision, but I’m personally glad my parents made that decision.

    • #73363

      I am adhd and all of my 4 children ages 15 12 11 and 10 are as well. I understand the trouble and worry your going through. After a37 Year’s of being diagnosed with by polar on anti depressants all my life all I felt wad depressed but finally they diagnosed that I had adhd and boy was they right. Looking back at all the struggles I had. Never understood it till now yes I take adderall but I wish I would of started earlier as you grow u can understand and focus on what your body is going threw. Yes it’s good to give breaks. But medication is not the only key.patients and helping them cope and understand why they feel the way they do and how to cope with it rather throwing a tantrum or getting emotional. I was hesitant at first but seeing the difference that it had made in my life it’s the most effective way in my opinion and I don’t want my kids to have to go threw what I did. Either way u choose vitamins or prescriptions they have to learn. To understand it. My 12 year old daughter and 15 year old son take it rather well. They have there frustrations and emotional moments but I talk them through it. Yes raking them of and on is good so they won’t rely on them as they grow they will notice the difference their brains will catch it eventually and they can start making a habit and start doing it on their own. Any real concerns though when in doubt ask a doctor and get the full break down before u make a decision and do what u feel is comfortable. Try vitamins and if it fails might want to consider it. Teenage years is much harder to be able to reason with that’s why I went. With meds. They have to see it for themselves or they think it’s completely nonsense. Good luck

    • #73389

      Since your son is 12, I would ask his opinion. If it makes his life easier, he may want to take it. If he doesn’t notice enough of an improvement to justify taking it, he may not. At 12, my daughter tried medicine but decided it wasn’t for her. I wouldn’t insist he take it unless there is a clear advantage. I would use classroom adaptations and behavior management first for a mild case. You can always try it, the medicine is not long lasting. But again, you are familiar with your situation and should trust your instincts.

    • #73576

      I tried meds and I got spooked. A few months in, I began to experience dark emotions I wasn’t used to. I quit them and since have relied on “Yerba mate” as my favourite coping substance. Never looked back since.

    • #73653

      I have been taking ADD meds for 20 years and my only regret is I did not start sooner. I do not take a break from them because I need them like I need my other meds on a daily basis. It is very hard to function without them. Please take this next statement with only love for you and your son. If a break needs to be taken possibly it is more of your issue and not his. The world is going to open up and be a new and exciting place for him. I feel bad for kids when parents take their ADHD meds from them for awhile. Trust me on this. It is hell and feels horrible. You would not take his antidepressants away for a break. His brain is different and needs them to function. Get educated. There is no reason to fear. Be happy for him. He can feel your fear. Let him feel your happiness.

    • #74643

      If you have an opportunity to try neuro-biofeedback, I would highly recommend it.

      Both my son (12 at the time) and I underwent this process. Both of us had been on Strattera for at least 4 years. It worked well in the first year or so for me, but by year three I began developing chronic depression, though my Dr. claimed I would not experience tachyphlaxis, or diminishing results from every day use. I underwent the biofeedback program and went off the meds. I finished a Master’s degree, climbed a mountain or two and taught high schoolers after a nearly 15 year interval. My son was kicked out of a prep school, home schooled for three years, underwent the biofeedback, but also went a year without academics and worked on his fine and gross motor skills (OT too), and is now playing football for a different preparatory school.

      Meds are fine for a quick fix, and if your kid has profound issues, or co-morbid issues such as ODD, meds might be a good place to start. But our family did not want to rely on meds indefinitely. It can get expensive and might create a dependency situation for your child. If you think meds are the only option, plan to change up the dose every six months or so.

    • #74699

      Research a natural product called NOOTROPICS. It has the Psychostimulatory effects ( as Ritalin is a stimulant) and it boosts cognition; plus it has 13 additional supplements. I am 52 & have been at this researching a long time to get off the Ritalin & the horrible side effects. I take Noocor ( found on Amazon ) it works 100 times better! Google Nootropics & research, it may be what you’re looking for. Good luck & God bless.

    • #74983

      We just recently started our 7 year old son on Adderal and we were in the same boat, scared… terrified.

      So, we started with a supplement of a green tea, ashwaganda and B vitamins. They were chewable, artificial color free, so a win-win. We explained what the supplement was for and I asked him how he felt on a day that he had taken them. It helped so much that he could actually explain his ADHD. He said “When I don’t take these, it’s like I have 5 songs playing really loud in my head. I can’t think, I don’t know what to do and I make bad choices.” BOOM! Taking a stimulant helped him get some clarity on the difference, helped him be able to explain it to us.

      However, the supplement would wear off quickly, he was taking 5 a day and it would still wear off. A friend of mine in the herbal tea industry told me one day “You know… the medication they would prescribe, comes from the same species of plant as green tea.” So we took the plunge and tried the Adderal.

      He said it has the same affect, it stops the music in his head and doesn’t wear off. We see him being more responsive, able to get dressed on his own and some small successes at school.

      We’re only a month in and I’m sure there are changes in the meds to come. But I’m glad we did this, glad he could get to a point where he could explain the difference.

      Side note: He had a panic/anxiety attacks (like a major melt-down, but where he says “I can’t breath, I feel like I’m having a heart attack,” on both the green tea and the adderal. I think it’s just the nature of the stimulants… Still working on this.

    • #75280
      Suzanne C

      I wouldn’t worry about regretting it – the effect of the stimulant medications wears off after a number of hours – so if you don’t like it after a few weeks of taking it you can just stop. There would be no reason to regret trying.

      Like others here I have found the effect of mph on my son to be quite life changing. I don’t know how he would learn or be able to stay in school without it.

      I also agree with the person who mentions that people with ADHD who don’t take medications tend to self medicate. There is research to support that view – taking medication halves the risk of drug problems later.

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