So, we're trying it. It had reached a point where his issues were getting in his way... more that just getting in MY way, IYKWIM. We homeschool, so getting him to "sit still and pay attention in class" has never been an issue. But when he's breaking his favourite things due to his carelessness, when he's unable to do the things he had planned and wanted to due to his lack of self-determination and motivation, and distractibility... when he's just "out of his mind" and out of control so often... Well, it was time to try it.
Plus, we've seen a lot of things settle down as he's matured. But not everything. Now that he's 12 and more conscious and understanding of his own issues, more aware and mature, we could safely say that most of the issues remaining were more than just stuff he would grow out of... and he himself wanted to try the medication.
Anyway! Our dr started him on Concerta on the minimum dose, 18mg. The first few days, he said he actually noticed when it kicked in, and when it faded later in the day. It was hard for him to describe the feeling, but he said he felt "nicer" for one thing heh... After the first few days, he said he no longer noticed it.
But I noticed the difference. It took awhile to be sure, because he normally has good days and bad days, and even with the meds he had bad-ish days, but there was still a difference overall. The kicker was a day where he was just off the wall, and I was thinking "wow, I guess it really isn't doing much for him after all", then at bedtime, clearing the kitchen, I found the pill he'd forgotten to take that morning...
Asking him how he feels on the days he didn't take the pill, he said that he felt like he knew he was "crazy, but I can't control it". When I asked him what his thoughts would be if we decided to stop the meds, he nearly cried... he likes the way he is on the meds better.
That was pretty telling to me, a good indication that this is the right route for him. And I realized it's like insulin for diabetics... most people make their own, their bodies balance blood glucose automatically, but some need to take it "artificially"... most of us balance our brain chemistry automatically but some folks need a little help.
He was still having his bad days, though, so we thought we'd try the next dosage and see if there was a difference. At his next checkup, that's what we did. He's been on the new dose (27mg) for about a week now. I think it's better, but that's where I was kind of hoping for some conversation with other parents whose kids are on Concerta, for their observations with their kids...
How do I tell when it's the right dosage? Does a dosage that is too high start having certain effects? He's not become a "zombie" or anything, he's still very active and full of personality. He does seem kind of moody sometimes, quick to tears, but he's always had that tendency and has been staying up late recently... perhaps in part due to the meds, which I know can disrupt sleep, but also we've been doing some late-night stuff recently. So it's reasonable that he's just tired. Is moodiness a common side effect, or a sign of a dosage that's too high, or is it most likely unrelated?
We haven't noticed any change in appetite, he's never been a huge eater and he's pretty lean, but he still ate three hot dogs for lunch one day... yet he lost 2 pounds between his checkups. We'll be keeping an eye on this.
I've noticed that his fidgeting has diminished like 1000%!!! His SPD 'tics' are also reduced in general. He is a sensory-seeker and was constantly crashing into things, wiggling, sitting upside-down, spinning, etc etc. Now he's practically *CALM*. And he's getting his work done under his own motivation, we're arguing less, he's happier (other than the moodiness mentioned above), he's more PRESENT, he gives better conversations and is more engaged... it's really quite remarkable.
But I'm really unsure how to tell when we've hit the BEST dosage. I know some folks go through months and months of trying not just different doses, but different meds, so I think we're pretty lucky that we're probably so close already. But what should I be looking for? What are some signs that it's too much?
I'm also just looking to CONNECT with other parents in similar situations, whether or not you actually have advice. I've been very anti-meds for a long time... well, not completely ANTI, just very much of the opinion that they're prescribed too much (thus causing negative bias against kids who actually do need it) and of course MY kid couldn't possibly be one of those who needs it, of course MY kid is perfectly fine ... so this is new territory for me.