My Forum Comments
While I do not have children I understand your concerns. I too went looking for alt. treatments for my later-life ADHD diagnosis due to concerns about stim-meds and hypertension. There are a myriad of choices with mostly anecdotal reviews. I already take a mid-level dose of a stim-med. I changed my fish oil 1250 mg to a dose with high levels of EPA and DHA, introduced Inositol 1000mg, ginseng and gingko-biloba to try and squeeze more performance out of my pharmaceutical med. before I considered upping my meds. I do not advocate for any of these necessarily but, I think they made a small to moderate difference during a very active and stressful year and a half of my life. I also read a report, sorry no reference, about Vitamin C interfering with certain ADHD stim-meds. So I stopped taking the extra tablet daily. I do take a multi-vitamin that has enough Vit-C so I was not worried.
All that being said, supplements, because there is little to no peer-reviewed clinical work regarding them as a treatment pathway for ADHD, most clinicians/ MDs / Psychs. are not going to speak to them directly. It will be up to you to do the research and experiment with your child as I did on myself. It took me months of taking one, then another, then in various combinations to determine what, if any, benefit there was to spending an additional $30 – 60/mo. on sups. vs just taking my $10/mo. stim-med. Let me be clear, I never stopped taking my stim-med. I was looking to augment mine naturally.
Don’t be afraid to try, do a lot of reading and take your best guesses. I all honesty, most MDs who prescribe meds for ADHD are doing the same thing, just with pharmaceuticals. They try their best guess for a month or two, depending on the med build up scheme, and wait to see if it has done any good. If yes, up the med until it does harm then back off a notch or try something else.
I will say, for me, the introduction of the Inositol, Ginseng and Gingko did provide me with a needed energy boost that the stim-meds robbed me of by removing the hyperactivity I used to rely on. Of course the hyper-activity was a two-edged sword that usually hurt me in the end. The more natural boost was softer and more manageable.
YMMV 🙂 best of luck.January 7, 2019 at 9:55 am in reply to: Did anything you liked about yourself change with Medication? #106284
When I started taking my meds, going to therapy and reading about ADHD it was like I was a new person. Everything seemed brighter, happier and my struggles made sense. Once the newness wore off I was still better, but there were changes.
Yes, like other’s have said, I now have that half of second to check myself before I react. I don’t always do it, but I at least have a fighting chance now. Unfortunately as person re-diagnosed in their mid-40’s (I was diagnosed as a very young child, but my parents never told me) I have many built-in/knee-jerk reactions that are still hard to overcome. I still struggle with impulse buying on Amazon and regret, but am more controlled when I am in a store. Therapy and going to an ADHD therapy group has helped me un-learn some habits and find tools to help moderate my daily living.
If I have one regret about the medication, it is that it has altered my motivation. The “drive” that got me start jogging, to train for a 1/2 marathon and do a Tough Mudder is now gone. Trying to find the gear to get me out of bed in the morning and charge into my day with vim and vigor is all but absent. The trade off is that I have improved my relationships with co-workers by not having the High Drive to work until I drop and hyper-focus on precision that I held them to as well. I can let stuff slide more easily. I can punch out at 5 even when there is still work to be done. I get better annual work reviews and I am not as stressed out about all the stuff I have to do at work. I don’t need to be, I have the chaos of aging parents I can be stressed out about.
There are trade-offs, and they may be different for you. If you are struggling and want to make a change in your life, get properly diagnosed, have the Dr. look for associated issues like OCD, ODD, sound or light sensitivities. Nothing says you have to stay on the same med or continue taking an ADHD med. But, give it several months and find someone you trust and spend a significant amount of time with to give you an outside perspective on changes. Go to therapy so you can to talk though the changes and concerns. Find a regular support group or even just a short term ADHD group to talk about it. Listening to others with ADHD is very enlightening. In the end the medication may do nothing more than let you be kinder to you.
I will preface my response by saying I do not have kids and that my remarks are from my memories of being that age now that I am in my late-forties.
When I was 15, I realized I did not want to live past age 30. Clearly I have, but I digress. Part of my experience with ADHD (diagnosed after 40) is constantly watching, analyzing and thinking about people and situations to try to figure out how to fit in. My observations of adults at that age in 1985 was that adult life sucked. What I saw was a life of work, work, work, struggle, disappointment and frustration ahead of me. I was emotionally insecure, un-organized and had no sense of direction. Being a teen on the cusp of having to become an adult is very scary. Compound that with ADHD and now, with a constant barrage of information, political divisiveness, sexual identity issues, terrorism/shootings here and abroad to grapple with and the threat that if you go to college you will come out with an entry level job and crushing debt, it is hard to believe any child wants to step out into the world.
Your child has many more resources and people available to assist them in the transition than I did. Use them to the fullest extent you can. Be honest with them in that life is not easy and that they are going to have to work and save and work to get anything they want in life.
My ADHD is mild, I went to college, got kicked out, worked for a few years in menial jobs, struggled, went back to college, made bad decisions, married, changed majors 4 times, got divorced, joined the military, took a semester off, remarried, took a semester off, graduated in 6 yrs, worked and struggled my way up through various jobs, spent 12 honorable years in the service and have since become successful by most American standards. I found a job that I fit into. I am still unorganized and have no sense of life direction.
My success is because I was lucky to find people along the way to help me when I needed it and who tolerated my idiosyncrasies. Free psych counselors in college helped at times. Supportive instructors took me under their wing because I craved knowledge and I let them. I had a supportive family who didn’t always agree with my decisions, but let me make them, celebrating in my successes and were there to help when things didn’t work out so well. Luckiest of all I married a person who is more stable, financially practical and forgiving than I am. If not for her I would be living in van down by the river, but probably be OK with that.
Many kids are scared heading out into the world. Some show it more than others. Some will figure out a way to make it work. Some will need more help and take a bit longer to figure it out. I still haven’t. I just do what I do because it works. I still seek therapy when I need it.
Kids spend alot of time trying to figure out how they are supposed to live and act based on watching what they perceive as the successes of others, they need to figure out what works for them and make the best of it. As they get into their early 20s they will remember then things you taught them and the light will start to come on. The right meds, quality counseling and family support will all help make that happen.
Life is not easy in the best of times, sometimes you just have to chase the squirrels and see what happens.
All the best.
Themodemo – I understand much of what you say. I have lived with ADHD, undiagnosed, most of my life. I was in and out of therapy in HS and college and developed a deep distrust for Psychiatrists and meds that affect the brain due to a fact that often doctors prescribe them like throwing spaghetti against a wall waiting to see what sticks. I did not want to risk loosing “who I am” while doctors played a guessing game with meds. I had found ways to cope (pause for a 10 min., helper cat cuddle break – resume now) through out my life, but I was often at odds with the world around me. I made poor life choices, got angry when the world did not spin the way I thought it “should” and in almost every performance review I got knocked for poor interpersonal skills. I managed to get through HS, graduate from college and spend 12 years in the Army Nat. Guard Infantry, but it was all much more difficult for me than for many. I entered into a bad marriage that lasted 3 yrs, but only half that was living together. She is not a bad person, we were a bad match. So in a nutshell I can relate to what you are saying.
I was not diagnosed until my mid 40’s and only because I got a co-worker with ADHD worse than mine and we got to talking. Up to that point I thought ADHD was an over-diagnosed and over-medicated excuse for kids just being kids and parents not wanting to be parents. I still think there is some of that, but I digress. Once I was diagnosed with a mild form of ADHD, medicated and started Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) it all started to make a whole lot more sense. The meds gave me that split second to decide to do/say something before my impulsivity kicked in. My attitude changed at work and I was able to interact on a more professional level. This did not come without some costs. My ambition (high energy drive) is nearly gone and I have much less ambition. I do not have the drive to workout and stay in shape. In the year prior to meds I trained and completed a 1/2 marathon and a Tough Mudder. Now I am 50 lbs. heavier and my back hurts. Some of that may be due to age as well. YMMV. There are side effects from these meds so I would have to disagree with newenglandrose on that score. They can heighten anxiety alter your sleep, eating and sex habits.
I would recommend getting the diagnosis, finding a med that works for you and working with a therapist. ADHD has some symptomology of other cognitive disorders and can amplify anxiety. Getting a professional diagnosis can help determine the unique cocktail of cognitive disorder(s) you may have. Yes the meds are scary, but, for me, it was like a moment of clarity when they kicked it. So may things made sense and I was able to get better control of my life. My performance reviews have improved and I no longer go into my crazy, high stress “beast mode” when the poo its the fan at work. I don’t feel like I have to be everything for everyone when I am covering for my boss. I can dial it back and just do what I can do.
I am not cured, but I have found tools to help me live a better life. I still struggle, but knowing my situation helps me put it into perspective, when I have calmed down. I have been in and out of CBT sessions as my situation evolves and have tried group therapy. Sometimes sitting in a room full of strangers who can relate to your experiences and share mutual struggles is somewhat cathartic. I have gained useful insights and tools from fellow ADHD people. If nothing else I do not feel I am walking alone.
In short, get the diagnosis and then decide what to do about meds and the like. Start simple and get therapy so you have a safe place to talk about where you are, how you feel and what you want. If nothing else, you will be able to relate to your son and help him as he works through his ADHD plan for a better life.
All the best and good luck.