ADD Meds -- Continue, or Quit???? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 11 Old 09-22-2002, 01:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ds has taken ADD meds for 6 months. We started with the lowest doseage and tried several different formulas before settling on one that held few, minor side effects and also corrected the focus issue. (This was after 4 solid years of trying every other option -- herbal, diet, environmental manipulation, allergy work, other healing practises.) Now, 6 months into meds, he no longer responds as well to them -- breakthrough of old, non-focus behaviors. I talked to the doc, and she gave us a script for the next highest doseage. When I filled it, I had a conversation with the pharmacist who told me that over time, usually every 6 months (!) the child's body will need more of the same med to achieve the results. I do not want to increase his dose every 6 months. I did not want him on the meds initially, although the results are dramatic and have changed his life for the better.
This weekend, we started the increased dose. Yes, it works. He is clearly not over-dosed, as I saw the symptoms of that on another med we tried (basically, he was tweaked out which is not a pretty thing in a child. The other over-dosed scenario is lethargy, which is not the case, either.)
Part of me wants to drastically change everything, pull him out of school and home-school, pull him off meds, blow up the tv, etc. etc. etc. The other part recognizes that although I don't care if he isn't the profile of a "typical" suburban kid, he does need to be able to accomodate the mainstream at least partially. He doesn't play organised sports with the exception of swim team, we don't do much tv, we eat only organics, blah blah. On the other hand, we live in a community that looks like a set for a movie about American Suburbia with green lawns and big houses and 2.5 kids, and all that jazz.
I guess I'm just looking for feedback. I have learned that most mamas on this board have really valuble viewpoints that I may not have considered, and I can incorporate them into what ever problems I've tried to solve. Thanks and bright blessings.
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#2 of 11 Old 09-22-2002, 02:58 PM
 
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The reason that the kids dosages need to be adjusted so often is because they are growing so fast. Eventually he will slow down or plateau. You said yourself that you have tried all sorts of other things, and that this is working very well for him. Don't beat yourself up just because it doesn't fit your idea of what you wanted for your child.
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#3 of 11 Old 09-22-2002, 11:22 PM
 
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ADD is part of the Autism Spectrum...

There is a super new fantastic book out on different treatment methods for autism. It is called "Children with Starving Brains" By Jaqualine McCandless. Demand your library get it! Or get it from Amazon. Well worth the money...

Editorial Reviews
Book Description
In the midst of a worldwide epidemic of autism, ADD, and ADHD, this book is a message of hope to parents embarking on the challenging journey of finding proper medical care for their Autism Spectrum Disorder children. Genetic susceptibility activated by "triggers" such as pesticides and heavy metals in vaccines can lead to immune system impairment, gut dysfunction, and pathogen invasion such as yeast and viruses in many children. This is the first book written by an experienced clinician that gives a step-by-step treatment guide for parents and doctors based on the understanding that ASD is a complex biomedical illness resulting in significant brain malnutrition. Dr. McCandless, whose grandchild with autism has inspired her "broad spectrum approach," describes important diagnostic tools needed to select appropriate treatment programs. Her book explains major therapies newly available and identifies safe and effective options for parents and physicians working together to improve the health of these special children.

About the Author
Jacquelyn McCandless received her M.D. from the University of Illinois College of Medicine and is certified as a Diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. Since the early 1990s, her interest in women's issues and sexuality has led to an alternative medicine practice with a focus on anti-aging, brain nutrition, and natural hormone therapy. In 1996, after her granddaughter was diagnosed with autism, she returned even more to basic medicine and began working with biomedical... read more

+++ I strongly reccomend it.
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#4 of 11 Old 09-25-2002, 11:18 PM
 
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It's called drug tolerance. If a drug is taken regularly over a period of time, it will eventually lose its effectiveness and a higher dose must be administered.

There is a thread about ADHD in the Learning at School forum. I am also reading a book called Talking Back to Ritalin. It is by a psychiatrist and teacher at Harvard Medical School.

How does your child feel about the meds? Is he happy with them? Does he like school? When you say he is improved, or the drugs work, what do you mean?
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#5 of 11 Old 09-26-2002, 12:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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He feels better when he is in control on the meds. He knows he isn't paying attention when he doesn't take them, and it makes him feel frustrated and like he's a "bad boy" (his words, not mine) since the fallout from his last school was that he had to be punished for his ADD. (excuse the language, but those m-f'ers!!) Now he is in a Catholic school where he has experienced nothing but straightforward support and kindness with his ADD. So, we are moving forward. Frankly it's better for the entire family when he takes the meds.
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#6 of 11 Old 09-26-2002, 02:16 PM
 
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Hi - I hope I can offer a little help... Someone may have mentioned this to you, but - does he stay on the meds full-time? I'm a School Psychologist and one of the things I remember from grad school and also from interacting with child psychiatrists is: take the child off the meds after school, at night, on weekends/holidays, and during the summer. Most meds for ADD get into and out of the system very quickly - they have a very short half-life and are out of the body in a few hours, so this would give your son a break from the meds but still allow him to better control his behavior at school.

Good luck!
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#7 of 11 Old 09-26-2002, 04:04 PM
 
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That may help. Some parents report a worsening of their child's symptoms when the drug is stopped after school and on the weekends, though. It makes sense - if a drug is taken for a specific symptom, the original symptom will rebound, sometimes more intensely, when the drug is stopped. (Like, for example, being in more pain right after Vicodin wears off than you were before you took it, although some people do not experience this.)

Sometimes a child on Ritalin is given a tranquilizer at night to counteract the drug so he can sleep. The tranquilizer makes him feel depressed, so an antidepressant is added and the Ritalin is increased in the mornings to counteract the hangover from the tranquilizer. Sometimes this combination of drugs can cause bizarre behavior and thinking, so an antipsychotic may be added, side effects of which are depression and lethargy...increase the Ritalin and the antidepressant...the cycle continues. Sometimes it can be hard to find the precise dosage.
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#8 of 11 Old 09-26-2002, 07:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I will ask his doc about cutting back on the dose on weekends, to allow him some control, but not a full dose. The day he starts to need a tranq to get to sleep is the day I pull him off meds entirely. The same goes for it affecting his appetite. He's on a fairly high-protein/veg diet with lower carbohydrates and a fair amount of fat. I'd give him fish oil, but whenever I take it, it repeats on me, so I'm sure it would be the same on him. YUCK!!! I've had the doc keep her eye on him for symptoms of obsessive/compulsive and bi-polar and depression, but so far no signs of those things.
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#9 of 11 Old 09-26-2002, 09:14 PM
 
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i know nothing about ADD, but i saw your comment about the fish oil (fishy burps ). you might be interested in a DHA supplement that's not fish based. i take the one dr sears endorses called "neuromins". it's also the same one they're adding to formula now. it's synthesized from the algae that the fish eat and in turn make DHA from. i think it's helped me have a little clearer head maybe. certainly hasn't hurt, but i don't have your DS's temperment issues, either. anyway, if you want more info check out dr sears' DHA site at www.dhadoc.com or probably he has info on www.askdrsears.com, too. i know he thinks it helps with ADD and there was a study at purdue university a few years ago that suggested it might, too. here's a link -- http://www.addgroup.org/purdstudy.htm .

hth,
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#10 of 11 Old 09-29-2002, 01:25 AM
 
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I'm a chiropractor in the Atlanta area and have had many patients who had been diagnosed as ADD/ADHD. There are a few things you may not realize...

1. Ritalin is a Cat. 2 drug that affects the brain at the same receptor site as cocaine. It is nasty stuff without a doubt. Taking Ritalin (or Aderall) has been proven to stunt growth and can trigger Tourette's symptoms. Some kids in school will sell their Ritalin to other kids that want to get high. It is not like an asprin (although tens of thousands of people die from asprin every year, so it's not benign either).

2. There is no definitive lab test for ADD/ADHD. The diagnosis is based on the individual who is administering the series of questions. Therefore, it may benefit you to get a second opinion if you choose to continue with the medical approach.

3. The link to Autism Spectrum Disorders and the MMR vaccine is so obvious now, even mainstream magazines like Parents are talking about it. You may want to look into reversing the possible damage from any vaccines thruogh the use of homeopathics. I don't know specifics, but I have had several patients go through the detoxification.

4. Lastly, think about what controls EVERYTHING in the body. The central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) is the most important system in the body. As long as the brain is able to comunicate with the rest of the body, without any interference, the body should work at 100% of its potential. Everyone has a different genetic potential, but wouldn't you want to be at 100% of yours? Most people have areas of their spine that become misaligned (what chiropractors call "subluxations"), and these subluxations cause interference to the messages, to the power that runs the body. Therefore, the body does not work the way it should. Maybe that means a chld gets ear infections, or a woman is infertle, or a kid has ADD. If you remove the interference to the power, the body can start to release the right chemicals in the right quantity and just function better on EVERY level. It's a beautiful thing! I get to see miracle everyday. Chiropractic isn't a cure-all, but I guarentee that your son's body will function better if he has his spine adjusted on a regular basis.

Sorry to be so long-winded. I hope this helps you. Dawn
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#11 of 11 Old 09-29-2002, 02:48 PM
 
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Some people say that Ritalin's short half-life makes it nonaddictive, but that's precisely what makes it addictive - it hits the user intensely and then is out of the body, leaving the user to go through withdrawal. Cocaine's half-life is even shorter than that of Ritalin.

Longer-acting preparations (Ritalin-SR, Concerta, Metadate-SR, Gradumet) are actually less addictive, but since the drugs stay in the body longer, any bad side effect will also last longer.
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