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Adhd/sexual dysfunction
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Adhd/sexual dysfunction

My son is 11 years and dx with adhd. Has always been hyper and also has social skills deficits, can't handle group play well at all. His deficits may be related to a loss of oxygen at birth.

Just came to me last week and thought he damaged himself. He explained how he ejaculated and thought he might have done something to his insides cause he wraps cords around his wait tight until his abdomen bulges. I told him that ejaculation was normal, but the other stuff has me really concerned. Suspect it was going on for about two years, saw marks around his waist, below his ribs usually, for at least a year. Always told me his pants were too tight, so we went out to buy bigger pants. Used belts, told me the belts were too tight. Never thought he was doing this, until now. Always done very privately, in his room. I suspect he may be doing more, my husband has been finding certain things missing from his tool collection, pliers and stuff, only to reappear later. I also had a box of sewing needles missing that recently reappeared. I asked my son if he had my needles, he said yeah for a school project and forgot to put them back. I also found a vibrator of mine missing. I believe now he may be doing things with this stuff, but I don't know. Always claims to have a reason, so I just don't know. He said the same with his pants being too tight. Now, he tells me that he was trying to "make his abdomen bulge." At 11 years old, this seems very concerning.
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Hello,
   while it is expected for children with ADHD to demonstrate more impulsive behaviors than most kids their age, most of what you are describing is not typical behavior for a young adolescent. However, as you correctly recognized, boys may be surprised or worried by their first ejaculation. Its certainly understandable that he was concerned that something was wrong, and a good sign that he came to you for guidance.

So before jumping to the worst case scenario, lets look first at the least worrisome possibilities. I want to address the cord wrapping issue first. Some individuals seek out sensory input that other people would find uncomfortable or even painful. I share your concern, but the wrapping cords around his abdomen does not necessarily have a sexual explanation. Some people find deep pressure very soothing, though this is the first I have heard of this specific activity.I do not want to discount your concern that your son may be taking things that do not belong to him around the house, however, since he has ADHD, he may be taking things impulsively and forgetting to return them. While this would be a common organizational problem, your son does need to learn that taking your things without permission or failing to return them is not acceptable. Lets hope that your vibrator was just misplaced, though it sounds like that is not likely from your description.

Now lets look toward other more serious possibilities. I get the impression from your description that your 'mother's instinct' is telling you that there is a pattern of troubling behavior, and not just some curiosity or forgetfulness. Parental instincts are important. Of significant concern is that your son may be routinely attempting to deceive you. While kids do lie about things they are embarrassed about, and lie to get out of trouble, at his age we expect him to know the difference between right and wrong and to be able to choose to be honest most of the time. I recommend you meet with his teacher/teachers to learn if there are similar problems at school.

The other serious issue is the stealing, and of course we would like to know if he is actually stealing or just impulsively 'helping himself' to your husbands tools. I recommend you search your sons room when he is not home for evidence that he has taken more of your things, or perhaps to learn what he might have done with these objects. I would start checking out his stories to see if they are true. For example, you can ask his teacher about the needles. If he has taken tools, he should be able to show you what he as built or fixed. Since they are your tools taken without permission, it is not an encroachment on his privacy for you to expect explanations. If you can not find your vibrator, I would confront him in a firm, calm discussion with you and your husband present. If he has taken it, that is a serious violation of your privacy as well as very atypical behavior. It will be worth the discomfort to learn the truth.

Following a thorough search of his room, take him to the pediatrician and have him checked for signs that he may be doing other potentially damaging things to his body beyond wrapping cords. Give the pediatrician a 'heads up' about why you are coming so he or she will know what to look for and can prepare questions to ask. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for young teens to engage in self-mutilating or pain inducing behaviors to cope with depression, anxiety or emotional pain. Common behaviors include cutting or scratching themselves or burning themselves with either heat or cold. Using pain or self injurious behaviors to cope is a serious behavior that warrants psychological and psychiatric attention.

It seems that your best course of action after gathering information would be to ask your pediatrician for a referral to a psychologist and/or psychiatrist who specializes in adolescents.  These doctors may recommend therapy or an evaluation to determine why these behaviors are occurring. I would encourage you to consult with the doctor without your son for the first session so you may speak freely, and to avoid having your son give him or her a false impression that all is well (teens tend to be very good at fooling people to avoid treatment).

Best Wishes
Rebecca Resnik
Disclaimer: This post is written for informational purposes only. It is never intended to replace face-to-face psychological or medical care. This post is not intended to create a patient clinician relationship, nor to give or rule-out a diagnosis.

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