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Is There Any “Right” Age to Medicate?

Running into an old acquaintance in the produce aisle brought back all the difficult moments my daughter faced before I ultimately decided to treat her ADHD at seven years old.

3 Comments: Is There Any “Right” Age to Medicate?

  1. Yeeeah, I appreciate her opinion but its also an opinion and not right for everyone. I was 16 before I was medicated.. sure I feel like maybe starting at middle school may have been better but I don’t know if it would have been good for me before then. I learned coping skills without meds that I wouldn’t have learned otherwise and make it very possible for me to live a live now as an adult free from adhd meds. Would they help me now? Probably. I’m a nurse and it does make me nervous to know I have a lot to remember on a day to day basis so I set alarms and leave myself a lot of notes. The thing that I think a lot of people underestimate in this entire thing is that stimulant drugs cause two things. Vasoconstriction.. which is okay in kids because their vascular systems are brand new and functioning great.. adults on the other hand are another story and these drugs can cause side effects — the worst being a stroke from high blood pressure/ vasoconstriction. Second.. these drugs can effect certain receptors in the long term which can perminantly effect motivation/ drive beyond what is already the problem, in other words you can make the problem worse with long term use of stimulants. People seem to not consider this when considering adhd meds and doctors dont often drive this point home to parents. I am glad I only took adhd meds for about 3 years of my entire ADHD Combined type life. I also had some pretty sad social moments dealing with my adhd that maybe could have been avoided.. but I learned from those events as well. Life is a journey. I just think parents should be really aware of the side effects of long term stimulant use. My 11 year old who has inattentive adhd and is on the spectrum started Concerta this year at 11 years old and it was a game changer. Am I sad we waited. NOPE. Is she sad we waited? NOPE. She has a wonderful self esteem actually. I’m not saying not to medicate because every child is different but thats my point. EVERY CHILD IS DIFFERENT. Undoubtedly, the authors friend who stopped her in the store should keep her nose out of her brothers kid’s business honestly and refrain from giving her opinion on kids that arent hers but I also felt the article was pushing medication earlier in a way which makes me as a nurse uncomfortable because the downside to starting medication earlier is not mentioned at all and its a HUGE choice.. and a personal choice that should be taken seriously given this is a schedule 1 drug with a high potential for abuse.

  2. I wish this article considered more than one perspective and personal story because there are so many different factors to consider. In the only example shared here, the parent felt like not starting medication at age 7 would have destroyed her child’s self-esteem but at this age, isn’t self-esteem mostly determined by our environment. I know kids can be mean but her examples were that by her second year of preschool (age 4), she was falling behind in her reading development and feeling dumb. Maybe before worrying about medication, we should first make sure our child is in the right educational environment for their learning style. Too many preschools are using inappropriate learning methods that aren’t good for any child and especially miserable for a child with ADHD. A great resource to learn about what is developmentally appropriate and to find an accredited school is Preschool kids should be learning through experiences (not sitting much) and learn to love learning!!! Even in kindergarten where this girl was shamed in front of the entire class for being so excited and blurting out the answer. Too often, our educational system wants to put every student into a box rather than embracing the enthusiasm and creativity often found in ADHD kids. Even with the right environment, medication may be necessary, but no amount of medication can make a bad environment work! it’s important we look at both and talk to our schools about how we can engage and channel these kids to make a difference in their schools and communities.

  3. Thanks for writing this. My son has been adamant about not taking medication and we have respected that. When things happen I always wonder. I was 32 when I started medication and I think it saved my happiness… It gave me a gateway into the world where people manage to arrive on-time etc etc. However, I sometimes wonder if I hadn’t suffered and had started meds at a young age would I appreciate the change or would I have been much more successful. I don’t know and I vacillate on my conclusions often. That is why the medication decision is so individual and difficult. I depends on the person, the chemistry, the medication and luck. Thank you.

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