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ADHD and mood lability

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
post #2 of 21
As a parent of an adhd child, and a clinician at a children'smental health clinic, I can say that it can be invaluable to try the meds. We also spent much money with the homeopathic route, nutritional, etc. We never saw enough of a difference to continue. We are now seeing a difference with meds, and are pleased. One thing to think about it that you can try it (one of the stimulants) and if it is not working, you can stop, simple as that. You will know fairly quickly (if it is the right dosage, we had to try 2 diff. dosages to get the right one) whether it is working. It is a very hard decision, but clearly you are not making this decision lightly, and it sounds as though your child is really struggling. It is worth saying that sometimes in the evening when the meds wear off there is some greater mood lability, but it used to be all day. There may need to be 2 meds ultimately, one for the adhd behaviors and another for mood.

I wanted to mention that hardly anyone in the field seems to use Clonidine anymore for adhd. The long acting stimulants (Concerta, Adderall) tend to be more widely prescribed. Clonidine is originally a blood pressure drug, and has more side effects than many others. I would investigate this drug thoroughly before using it.

Hope this helps. Wishing you luck in the struggle!
post #3 of 21
Joe was on clonidine for a while - currently he is on Zyprexa {replaced the clonidine}, Zoloft, and Adderall XR. The MAIN reason we chose meds ... I was seriously afraid of him hurting me, dh, or Ben {who was an infant at the time}. I was working in a hospital and had been trained to physically restrain people - I knew there was trouble when I found myself restraining my 3yr old son because I thought he was going to severely injure or kill my infant.

I usually suggest to parents : IF noone in the family is at risk from the spec. needs child hurting them then herbal treatments or other homeopathic stuff is worth a shot ... BUT ... IF someone is at risk, and it sounds like your DD is, then I recommend the meds first because you HAVE to protect your other child. IF there is any sort of bad reaction to the meds you will know within the first 4-6 wks and you can always stop them. If I remember correctly Clonidine took about 3 doses to get out of his system; and it took the first dose to see it work.

post #4 of 21
Have to add in my take on this too.

I have ADHD, I have had it since I was 3 or 4 (looking back I know this now). I was not diagnosed until I was in my early 20's. I WISH it was more diagnosed back then, I think my life would have been richer. I had a difficult time making friends, I could NOT stop before I acted.

My ds Josh was initally ped diag'd last year June, I brought him to my psychatrist in October. He specializes in ADHD and kids, it was a difficult decision to put a 4 yo on meds for ADHD, BUT I saw him going down the same path I did. Trouble making friends, trouble in daycare, trouble just listening and understanding in general. I still have my same child at home, but he is focused, he can listen, he isn't a 300 million mile ball of energy. He realizes consequences AND there was a difference right away.

ADHD, for us, is a chemical imbalance in our brain, in order to fix it we need medication. Think of it in this respect, if he had diabities and the ONLY way to control it was through medicine, would you deny him that? IF not, then you have your answer.

post #5 of 21
My mom is a teacher and said one of the ways to see if meds will help a child, without actually using the meds, is to give the child a coke, or other caffeinated drink. Caffeine is a stimulant, just like many of the adhd meds and in kids with adhd, the stimulant actually helps them to calm down by fixing the chemical balance. If the caffeine calms them instead of jacking them up, meds will likely help.

My brother, who is now 28, was almost diagnosed hyperactive. My mom noticed he got into more trouble in school when he was less active out of school. She enrolled him in all sorts of sports and extracurricular activities to keep him busy and in school, he needed to be put in more challenging classes, b/c he was smart, but when he got bored, he got into trouble.
post #6 of 21

Two things

Caffine will often help an add/adhd person gain enough control that they don't need meds, works both for me and for my nephew.
Another tactic that has worked in my family is Chinese Traditional Medicine, if there is a China town near you go to an herbalist and see what they can do.... there are several "formulas" that we have used with great sucess for the kids in my family. It met help.
post #7 of 21
My son (age 12) took Clonidine when he was six or seven years old. He was on it for about 10 months, I think. At the time, he was diagnosed with ADHD and ODD (oppositional defiant disorder). The Clonidine was intended to treat the ODD, not the ADHD.

It did help, somewhat. This doesn't sound nice, but the Clonidine just made him bad instead of horrible. It also really killed his appetite, and he wore a size "slim" for the first time in his life. After about six months, he began to develop a tolerance to the medication, and it eventually just didn't help anymore.

He now takes Wellbutrin and has since he was 9. It's been very helpful.

We haven't tried homeopathy for his problems, and so I'm afraid I'm no help there. I just wanted to share our Clonodine experience. We've done the Feingold diet and also chiropractic. Neither has helped. I think homeopathy has it's place, but so does allopathy. I'll be honest and say I think it would be very hard to treat ADHD and mood problems with herbs. You'd be watching the clock and popping pills all day long. And it's not an illness that will ever be "cured." If you use homeopathy to treat a cough or an ear infection, you will eventually be able to stop taking the medications. ADHD is forever.

Originally Posted by shelbean
My brother, who is now 28, was almost diagnosed hyperactive. My mom noticed he got into more trouble in school when he was less active out of school. She enrolled him in all sorts of sports and extracurricular activities to keep him busy and in school, he needed to be put in more challenging classes, b/c he was smart, but when he got bored, he got into trouble.
Personally, I believe that ADHD is a life issue and not a school issue. If a child only has trouble in school and not at home or with friends, then I doubt the child has ADHD. A child with ADHD who is having trouble with hyperactivity in school is also highly likely to have the same troubles in other activities. Lots of children misbehave when they're bored. Shame on the schools for locking kids up in a boring environment.
post #8 of 21
Oh- my brother did have problems in other areas, but my mom found having an outlet for him helped immensely. I don't know if it would work for everyone, but I'm sure if he were a kid in a school today, they would want to diagnose him as ADHD. As it was, my mom fought tooth and nail to keep him from being labeled and put is special classes.

I do think there are times when meds are needed, but I think they should be used as a last resort, after all other options are exhausted. Too often, they are given as the first try to control the situation. If the condition can be controlled by diet, exercise and behavior modification, that is preferable to meds, but if all that has been tried and failed, then of course meds are needed.
post #9 of 21
Thread Starter 

thank you

post #10 of 21
Originally Posted by shelbean91
I do think there are times when meds are needed, but I think they should be used as a last resort, after all other options are exhausted. Too often, they are given as the first try to control the situation. If the condition can be controlled by diet, exercise and behavior modification, that is preferable to meds, but if all that has been tried and failed, then of course meds are needed.
I think that sounds nice, but isn't necessarily the best thing. Sully has already mentioned that her child has seen a homeopath for two years. What's the next step? Maybe Feingold, maybe acupuncture, maybe counseling, maybe chiropractic? What if none of them work? By the time all of those resources have been tried and failed, how many years of this child's life will have been gone by?

As it is, I'm frequently saddened that my son wasn't stable until he was nine. Almost a decade of his life, and half his childhood, was pretty unhappy. We can't get that back.

Do I think meds are overprescribed? Yes. Do I think they should be a last resort for people who truly need them? No. I think that what we need is a better way to figure out who needs them and who doesn't.
post #11 of 21
Thread Starter 
post #12 of 21
Sully and 2tadpoles- I wasn't saying I didn't think you should give meds and I'm certainly not judging you. It does sound like you've tried lots of other things and medication is needed. My post was more of an aside that there are lots of kids who are medicated without a second thought, by either the parents or the docs, and that's just sad. I'm sure you've put a lot of thought into the decision. If my kids are ever in the position that yours are in, I'm certainly glad the meds are there to help.

I hope you don't think I was judging you. I wasn't at all. I just wish all parents would put as much consideration into the decision to medicate as you both have.
post #13 of 21
I have two children with ADHD, ages 9 and 7. We started seeing a behavioral therapist when my oldest was three, he was officially diagnosed at age 5. We knew he had multiple food and environmental sensitivites and eliminated most of them from his environment and saw some improvement. He started taking methylphenidate (generic for Ritalin) when he was 5.5. It was like night and day. My impulsive, angry, screaming child transformed into a funny, cuddly, loud, happy boy. We switch to Concerta when he was 7, he is now nine.

My middle child was dx'd last fall at age 6. He had an uncommon but serious reaction to Concerta, which makes him a poor candidate for any type of stimulant medication. We started homeschooling last year, mainly because I felt that the teacher/school didn't not really know how to deal with hime without medication. We started the Feingold Program and I have seen slow but steady improvement.

Because of homeschooling and Feingold we have also been able to lower my oldest's medication dosage. We experiemented with cutting it all together, but he said he felt unhappy and out of control, unable to do things he enjoyed. He whined and cried, fought with his friends and easily became angry and physical. He went back on medication, party on his own request.

So there is my medication story. Two with ADHD, one doing well on medication, one doing not so well, but unable to take medication.
post #14 of 21
Shelbean, I didn't feel like you were being judgemental at all. Just wanted to say that.
post #15 of 21
Thank you for telling your stories! This sounds like my family. My DSS was dx with ADHD and some violent issues that involved my DD. My DH thought it was just being siblings, but I felt differently. I didn't like having to "watch" him every second, and to put DD in harms way waiting for the next incident. At first I did think this was something he was doing on purpose and being mean. But I researched and researched and reserached some more. I know that it's not something he can control, and some of the things he says have scared me. Such as what his head is telling him, or how he's feeling sad. He just started Kindergarten and I've alerted his teacher. We've tried different non-drug methods, but I'm almost at my wits end. DH wants to wait to get a second opinion until he's been in school for a while. I'd like to get him help now, but am scared of the drugs. DSS's birth mom is currently in drug rehab for the x# time and I'm afraid by teaching him at 5 to take a pill to feel better he will turn to other stuff when he's older. I know to teach him what is right from wrong and I'm not going to be there 24/7 to parent his every move. But the fear is still there. I am hoping to see how he does in school the first couple of months, and if the teacher agrees then we will be going for the second opinion. I think one of my DH's fear is that meds would change who our son is. The meds would crush his spirit. But the way I look at it his spirit is being crushed right now and nothing is helping. Well....I just thought I'd say something. Thanks for listening!

Julie (JK)
post #16 of 21
I know a lot of people struggle with the issue of whether taking meds now will lead to drug use as adolescents later. I believe the recent research points to kids with ADHD that are left UNmedicated being more likely to use drugs as teens, because by then their self-esteem is in a shambles, and they start to "self-medicate" by using drugs and alcohol. I think the self-esteem issues are so important, and yet each family must struggle with the decision on their own.
post #17 of 21
I struggle with this same thought! We are making sure there isn't a physical reason first for his behavior (migraines/seizures) if that is ruled out we are going with meds. I can't watch him every second, at some point I have to go pee and I have to stir the pot on the stove kwim? And as soon as I turn my back one of his siblings is getting hurt by him or my house or something else is getting destroyed. Yesterday he tossed the baby inside a hamper of laundry! She was ok but the potential for her getting hurt was there. He has also hurt me and even himself in the past, so in cases like this I do think meds are the answer. We have tried diet changes and they don't work much with the exception of making sure he doesn't get corn syrup.
post #18 of 21
Thread Starter 
post #19 of 21
Originally Posted by sully
I really do think this is the hardest thing I have ever dealt with in my entire life. It is so hard to know what the right thing is.
2 I know exactly what you mean. It is so hard knowing you have to decide for them and then wondering if you decided correctly.
post #20 of 21
I've been feeling the same thoughts as you other mamas-one day I think "yes-he has to have med's" then the next "i don't know-what if it hurts him". It's so hard. For my son I worry also because he has a serious heart cond. that he takes med's for twice a day and when he was dx at 5 months old I almost lost him. But his impulsivity and non-listening are also hurting him. Last night we were in the ER because he fell off the swingset doing something dangerous that I have repeatedly told him not to do. He had to have a cat scan and had a mild concussion and some sore spots on his chest. His a risk-taker and a no-fear sometimes type a kid. I know it's only going to get worse-I know his Father! But then there's that heart cond and then I get upset....I read someone mentioned self-esstem-it's true...he's also suffering when it comes to relationships w/ everyone because everyones mad at him all the time for his behavior. Its not fair to him and I have this feeling we will have to try med's-I wish there was another way........

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