I was recently told by a psychologist that my son and I may have ADD. We will have testing done after the first of the year. There is no hyperactivity. I am worried about meds. How successful is treatment without meds when there aren't behavoral issues? And if I chose to allow my son to take meds would they be for his whole life. I was always labeled as a daydreamer, lazy etc. I've always had trouble following through and keeping a schedule or routine. My son's school history and comments from teacher's are almost exactly my same story. "Smart kid,enjoy having them in my class,well behaved and very kind and sensitive to others. But has no drive or motivation. Doesn't do homework or finish projects. Never prepared for class and very disorganized. Has so much potential if they would just try." Grades C's, D's and F's. Test scores very inconsistent from year to year. One year above average the next year average. Up and down all through school. My son is all for meds. I guess the thought of having improvement without having to do much sounds good to him. I am hoping there are alternatives to meds that really do work. Anyone had any success?
Some have success with non-medication treatment. Most of it involves teaching skills that are often lacking in ADHD individuals. Often, however, medication is necessary, at least in the short term, in order to give the learner the ability to concentrate and work while they learn to concentrate and work.
Not to shatter your son's illusions, but the meds don't make life easy, not by any stretch. What they do is give you better capacity to stick with the work, to put aside the distractions that so often frustrate us. Meds or no meds, it's a long road ahead, but it's definitely worthwhile to get the treatment.
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Just my experience--I took the meds for a couple years (age 19-21) and was able to learn the skills I needed to function without them. For a while I would take one on special occasions, like needing to do my taxes or fill out a lot of job applications.
Before I was diagnosed, my parents were able to accomplish some of the same things without meds. Sometimes it was hard on me, and I know it was hard on them, but they held me strictly to account without making me responsible for things that were beyond me, or punishing me for failing to follow directions that I simply had not heard.
For example, child needs to do household chores, to turn into a competent adult, but at first you might have to break the chores down into steps, and either instruct the kid step by step or provide a list.
Same with homework. I often couldn't do it because I felt overwhelmed and didn't know where to begin. Sometimes I didn't understand the assignment, because the directions had only been given once, and they were a bit complicated. Other times it was just too hard to stay focused through the entire task.
Meds won't make things easy, but they can help. They don't do the work for him, just help him tune out distrations. And no, you don't have to take them forever. If he tries them for a few days or weeks and they aren't helping or have bad side effects, you haven't lost anything in the attempt. If he takes them for a year and does well, you might consider seeing if he can continue to do well without them. Or when he's done with school, he might find a job where he does fine without them.
Oh, and let's not forget the big 3: ADHD is not caused by poor diet, lack of sleep, or lack of exercise, but they will definitely make it worse! There is no magic diet to cure ADHD, but adequate nutrition, including 3 substantial meals each day, helps the brain work better. Sleep too. In fact, if you are sleep deprived, ADHD medications cannot be effective! Also, you and your child should try to get at least a little physical activity every day.
[QUOTE=janewhite1;4648035]Before I was diagnosed, my parents were able to accomplish some of the same things without meds. Sometimes it was hard on me, and I know it was hard on them, but they held me strictly to account without making me responsible for things that were beyond me, or punishing me for failing to follow directions that I simply had not heard.
The problem there is that my doctor believes I am also ADD. I have implemented wonderful plans of action for my son to help him stay on task. From calendars, lists, a planner that is teachers are to sign so that I know exactly what his assignments are so I can help him and check to see it's done, a distraction free area for homework. But unfortunately I can not seem to stay on the task of keeping him on task. Between the two of us...well you can imagine. My husband has his own issues and can not help us. Right now he doesn't even know about my son's therapy. He will be a very negative part of this. He will not be able to accept that our son is not lazy or stupid. His mentality is "mind over matter" and "if you really want to do something then you can". He has been completely non-supportive of my therapy. This is part of why I initially started therapy for myself and discovered the rest.
I guess as long as our therapy includes giving him the tools to organize himself in the long term, I will concider medication. Thanks for you input, I am sure I will be asking a million more questions as I am always forgetting what I wanted to ask the therapist and remember after I get home.
"You can do it if you really want to." That is the tragedy of children with undiagnosed or denied ADHD. The reason is that stimulants treat ADHD, and adrenaline is a stimulant.
Let's say I watch a kid run. Kid is running fast, but not quite fast enough. I get a lion and have it chase kid. Kid is terrified, runs faster. Wins race. Then, let's say I yell the at kid for being lazy all those times he didn't run quite so fast. Clearly he's capable of going faster! He just needed proper motivation.
That's part of the ADHD child's irregular performance. When under extreme stress, our brain chemistry can actually normalize. (Some of us turn into serious adrenaline junkies as a result!) So, once in a while, with a deadline looming, under great pressure from parents and teachers, the child manages to get it together and do his work properly. For his trouble, he gets three words of praise, before the teacher turns around and uses his extraordinary performance under extreme stress as proof of what he could do anytime he "chose" to!
If your kid wants the meds to make things easy, he's got another think coming. But if he's already aware of the fact that his brain only works right some of the time, and just wants to get that proper functioning more often, he will.
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I know exactly what that is. I have a diffiult time focusing on a task. I start thinking about the end result before I get started. Thinking of all the "what ifs" Do I have enough time, should I have done a different task the could be more important first, tons of different scenerios and end up not doing it until I have no choice and it's the last minute. But when it is the last minute I seem to thrive. My family is always commenting on my last minute Christmas shopping and I have always told them that that's when I think my best. I stress and stress over what to get everyone. I want it to be special and meaningful. I pick things up and put them back until I'm out of time. Then I begin to panic and the ideas just come flowing in and I can run around and get everything I want in one run. My son is the same. School projects leave him with a mental block until the end. Unfortunately with a lot of deadlines, you have now run out of time to put your wonderful ideas into actions. Hopefully now that we have a possible answer to why this is happening, things will get better. Unfortunately I am not so sure we will be able to accomplish this living with my husband. I do not believe we will have any support on this from him and maybe even sabatoge.
Oh, I have such a hard time buying presents! It's always so stressful and difficult, and a few times when I was younger I dithered so long I failed to get anything at all, to my eternal shame. Most life skills my father tried to teach me worked out great. The buying of presents was probably the biggest area where his sink-or-swim lessons backfired and left me with major anxiety and incompetence.
Still, my parents' teaching combined with my formal treatment during college years has managed to produce a person who can usually imitate competent, organized and on the ball at work, even if my home is a bit disorganized. (Jane shoves laundry to the other side of couch). Last spring, a co-worker actually called me organized, and I almost fainted. (Actually there were other reasons I almost fainted, but whatever.)
This year, I gained a lot of administrative responsibilities, and the scope and variety of my duties threatened to overwhelm my coping mechanisms.
Some of the things I came up with were a little counterintuitive. Like, it's 3 pm, finally got out of that meeting, sitting down at the desk... the first thing I do is DON'T read the to-do list! It'll just freak me out, and then I won't get anything done! Instead, I'll glance at it long enough to pick out one task and start working.
E-mail got nuts, learned to use folders, and take an hour once a week to go back through the inbox for anything I might have missed.
I'm not sure how to get your husband on board, but here's one thing. Initially, my dad was not behind my ADHD treatment at all. My mom was, but he was convinced that my problem was still motivation. The one thing that changed his mind was success. I'd been diagnosed shortly after, (let's be honest here), failing out of college. When I went back, my first semester was a 4.0, and I graduated with high honors. I still don't know that he really believes in ADHD, but he's an empirical sort of guy, and he recognized that the treatment worked.
My husband is undiagnosed but we believe he has a disorder called OCPD Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder. Not to be confused with OCD. There are many symptoms that deal with "thruth owning" perfectionism, ridgidness, control and many more, inlcuding the inability to be wrong or at fault or imperfect, which is why those who suffer from it rarely get treatment because there can't be anything wrong with them. It's everyone else. I am pretty sure he will not be able to comprehend what it is not to be able to "stop it and fix ourselves". That's why we did not involve him in my son's grades. I knew his handling of it would be probably harmful. He already is completely against me seeing a doctor about my unhappiness. He feels it's rediculous and a waste of money. "if you really want to improve just put your mind to it". I will be bringing this up at my next appointment. Right now my anxiety about speaking to him about this is looming everyday. But I am ready to do whatever is necessary to help my son's life and self esteem improve. And mine of course.