ADD / ADHD Community
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Avatar universal

Let's get specific

I have realized that there are a lot of people new to this forum who have a knowledge of natural ways to manage the symptoms of ADHD.    I have a son, age 7, one of 4, who has ADHD.  He has been taking fish oil for over a year now.  We have stuck to the feingold diet to the best of our ability.  Neither of these have been enough to curb his behavior.  We have ALWAYS corrected inappropriate behavior immediatly and consistantly.  And not just the behavior, we have done our best to reach his heart and to help him to make better choices to avoid consequences in the future.  School is not an issue for us as I homeschool all 4 of our boys.  We have a wonderful parent child relationship.
After a year of trying the diet changes and fish oil, the problems were only intensifing.  He would not hesitate to lash out in a violent manner toward anyone who stood in his way.  Whether that be his brothers, me or complete strangers.  He has no regard for any one elses feelings or even dangers to himself.  We could no longer go to the park, church, field trips, or basically anywhere in public.  I have walked out of many a grocery store in order to consistantly deal with inappropiate behavior.  As I watched the rest of my children suffer and begin to grow resentful toward their brother, we made the decision to start him on Concerta.  I have not seen any negative side effects.  Really it has been wonderful.  We are now able to do things together as a family.
Having said that, I HATE that my baby has to be on this medication.  I am tired of managing symptoms.  I want a cure!  I am not sure if that exists, but this doesn't feel like victorious living.  I am drowning in guilt every day.  Whether that is from the fact that I give my son a pill every day or, when I didn't, all of the accusations of bad parenting I received from strangers daily.  I don't want any more guilt.  I have read every parenting book out there, I love and pray for my son every minute of every day, I have given my life to helping him.  I homeschool because I know he would not make it in traditional school.  I am able to adapt our style of learning to suit his needs.  He is excelling in all areas of academics, minus his test taking skills, but that requires him to sit longer than he is able.  And that is with the meds!
So after all of that, what I want is specific help.  What are these tried and true methods you have?  How did your own ADHD children respond?  Fish oil alone is not enough.  I continue with this daily, but I have come to believe that fish oil and diet changes are not alone enough to help him with day to day life.  In the long term, I do believe that this will help him, otherwise I wouldn't spend the ridiculous amount of money that this diet costs.  Healthy foods are WAY more expensive than "regular" food.  With a family of 6 and only one income, this definitely dents the budget big time.  Well I have babbled enough.  Please tell me what you know that could help my son.  Tell me about how your children responded.  Living day in and day out with ADHD is very different that spending a few hours a day with it, we all know that.  I am tired!
16 Responses
535822 tn?1443980380
You say that the concerta is working so actually you went with the Med way and the main thing is it worked for you, you say at the end of your post what can help your son, isnt that what concerta has done for him?I am sure there are a lot of parents like yourself happy with it but there are also parents who have children on these meds that are getting nightmares and hostility and very aggressive behaviors that stop once the meds are discontinued, you are one of the lucky ones. The posts here seem to be a mixed bag, and actually most times its not bad parenting it is a lack of Parent/child interaction, and Parenting skills no one tells them they are bad parents that is their interpretation .So often Parents dont realise the dynamics going on within their own Family ,a child maybe teased and made unhappy by the behavior of a sibling or relative, and the child acts out and is blamed or labelled,they dont get enough attention or outside games and activities, most children respond to positive feedback and praise.I hope he continues to do well.
535822 tn?1443980380
PS   Read the other thread by Chloe,and the post responding to it, you will see she is on concerta and is having problems  so you see possibly it affects differant people differant ways .
Avatar universal
I am not posting here to sing the praises of Concerta.  Even though I have him on it, I hate it.  What vitamin combinations work for ADHD?  Are there other diet options other than what we already do?  I am fully aware that there are lots of negative side effects to these meds.  Just because we are not experiencing them now, doesn't mean we won't ever.  So I will rephrase my original question of what things did you do with your ADHD child that worked?  I am here to find answers from others with experience.  I have only dealt with this for a relatively short amount of time.  There are so many ideas and roads you can pursue.  A quick google search leads me in a hundred differant directions.  I am tired like I said of running into a bunch of dead ends.  If something else has been tried and it works I am genuinely interested in hearing more about it.
535822 tn?1443980380
A lot of the parents have started giving their child, especially those with learning difficulties,a Multiple Vit amin -mineral supplement with B Complex and Vit C, if you read some of the other threads and also in the child behavior Forum , some do have success with Fish oil, other supplements to be be considered are the essential amino acids and the essential Fatty acids that support brain development and reduce aggressive/impulsive behavior,try eliminating the common allergenic foods for a month, wheat, Milk, see how they fare.black list all additives. ,sweetners ,no diet sodas, artificial flavorings and colorings. there is a lot about this if you google it . under children and Nutrition and many books .Protein rich foods support allertness and concentrationand make good selections for breakfast and lunch, eggs, chicken fish, tofu, ,it is better to leave the more relaxing carbs for dinner or an evening snack, and of course certified Organic foods without toxic chemicals make positive choices for any one with attention problems. Dont forget to work on the child /Parent interaction and focus on the positive side of a childs behavior and praise them when they do something right,.
Avatar universal
I was wondering how long your son as been taking concerta and what dosage is he on?

The side effects took a few months to start showing with my son and have gradually gotten worse. He started them when he was 13 and put on 38mg. Though I didn't give them to him on weekends or any school hols.
I stopped giving them him last Monday.

Avatar universal
He has been on 27mg's for about 5 months.  We have been on ritilan, focalin, and now concerta.  I noticed lots of negative side effects with the first 2, but none so far with the concerta.  What are you noticing in your son?
Avatar universal
Thank you for your help!  I am going to Whole Foods today and GNC to see what our options are for some better choices.  I really appreciate your input.  I pray we can take him off meds sooner rather than later.
Avatar universal
my son was on ritalin from the age of 7, with no problems 10mg three times daily,8am 12pm and 4pm the only reason he changed was because he was being called out of class by the nurse and laughted at, named called by some other kids. He asked his psy if there was a day long tab..

The side effects with concerta have been my sons sleep pattern is terrible, can't sleep at a normal time, when we go to bed, he sometime drops off 4am 5am, lies worrying, reading, walkig around, waking me and he's been missing school because of this or is very tired during the day.

Sometimes when he comes home from school he will go to bed staight away either sleep through or wake in the night to come wake me..His sleeping is all over the place.
He's been having terrible nightmares. He is constantly worrying about things that aren't important or shouldn't even be an issue for his age..imo and he becomes parionid about things.
He says he hears footsteps and see's shadows of people of a night. Most nights he will come into my bed because of this or I go to him. I have to constantly reassure him, it's been about germs for the last 3 months and constantly washing his hands. He worrys about what he's said to people also If he will get into trouble etc.
His personaly changes when on this med he becomes very sullen and seems depressed, very moody and his moods change very quickly at the turn of a hat really, he cries with fear and worries about eg,things he's said to people.
On hols and weekends when he wasn't taking them he then is the usualy boistorous, hyper self during the day, yet still I've been having the problems at nighttime and not leaving the house alone and when people visit us he will go into his bedroom and stay there. He hates talking with anyone he doesn't know and will avoid it, he wants me to talk for him.
He wants to meet up with his friends weekends, school hols but he won't leave the house, not without me or some other member of the extended family. He gets angry and frustrated because of this and cries alot about this fear. He fears he is going to be attacked, most weekends he arranges to go out with them and backs down at the last minute or the night before, his friends have stopped coming to stay over our house because they are fed-up of staying in here, even when he is out with me, he walks around with his head hanging down and a hood over his head he panics and nags me to get back home.
He's stopped all after school ativities and scouts. His eye tics have gotten a lot worse and his throat clearing.

Since last week when I stopped giving them him (for school) hes come home smiling and very hyper each night so far, kissing me and spinning me around..he's bigger than me :o).
We talk about how school is going each night, he tells me he's been talking with children at school he has never spoken with before,in 2yrs, since going to high school and had laugh with them. He was split from his few friends at the beginning of term because of his lack of concentration or not doing the work.
School earier this year decided to take his full time support from him, (I now think that is because this med made him come across like he was conforming correctly) but inside he was living in fear...since his support as gone his reports from teachers have gone downhill, he tells me he knows they are "a pain" but he needs the support to keep him on task. I know how hard it is for him to stay focused on anything like any adhd child.

All these things I've been telling his psy for months and she hasn't clicked that it could be the med. When I've told her how worried I am that he won't go out alone about his fears etc, she's just said he must make the effort!

It was only after going on the net and reading what other people, parents have said that I realised..I'm so angry with myself that I've let this continue for months. I know other people find them fine but they don't suit my son at all, we've seen no benefit at all.

I'm praying that things will get back to normal that his fears will go and that his confidence of the outside world will build up again. Thats what I'm most scared of most.    
Avatar universal
To "Jayncandi":  **Consider this a fair warning...this is LOOOONG!** :)

I've been browsing this forum a little and kept coming back to your post.  I have a 12 yr old son who was diagnosed with ADHD almost 5 years ago.  I absolutely loved the tone of your original message; I can tell that you have a believer's heart.  It made me want to share my story, which is not very dramatic, but you may be able to relate to it.  This son of ours is the oldest of 4 and since he was a toddler, he's always been very exuberant, very outgoing, the "life of the party," personality plus.  So much fun to be around.  Then he entered K5.  He was bright in class and loved participating, but his sweet (and observant) teacher noticed that he did best at his desk work when he had something in his non-writing hand to fool with such as holding a marker or something.

Grades were not a problem...staying in his desk was.  Disruptive behavior was talking out of turn, clapping or snapping his fingers or drumming on his desk compulsively.  Interestingly enough, he's always gotten along very well with others.  Aggressive behavior was not and is not an issue at school, but at home he would irritate his (16 months younger) brother mercilessly!  It was nearly unbearable at home.  His schoolwork began to suffer midway through his 2nd grade year as he would be working so hard to solve a problem and get nowhere.  His frustration was heartbreaking.  His sweet teacher (we have been blessed with awesome teachers) suggested we have him evaluated as she'd noticed several of the compulsive behaviors listed above.  She even cut a mouse pad into strips so that he could drum on his desk without disrupting the class!

After many tears, much gnashing of teeth, endless prayers, counseling with our pedatrician, a second opinion by a child psychologist including Metronome testing, and attendance at a couple of ADD/ADHD seminars, we decided to start him on meds.  I will never forget it.  I felt like the WORST mother in the world for doing what I felt like was doping up my kid.  He started on Concerta 18 mg two weeks before he began 3rd grade.

We were firmly counseled by our pediatrician that we would TRY Concerta; that it is not for everyone.  I HATED the first 2 weeks of it.  Our son couldn't go to sleep at night, and he ate hardly anything after breakfast and morning snack at school.  He was emotional and his eyes dilated.  Oh, I hated it.  I was on the phone with our pediatrician every single day.  He encouraged me to hang in there for the first 14 days.

And then, sure enough, it leveled off.  Over the past 5 years (can't believe it's been that long), we've adjusted the dosage as he's grown and he's now taking 36 mg.  He's still on Concerta.  We've not had the nightmare of trying different meds.  We usually do take a break in the summer, but we always have to start back on it at least 2 weeks before school starts to get through that transition time.  The transition period is nowhere near as dramatic as that first one, but there is still an adjustment.  Sometimes in the afternoons when he gets home from school, he is allowed a glass of Coke to help with "rebound."  I should also say that one of the few reasons I can stand for him to take it is that it still allows him to be himself - his loud, outgoing, humorous, wide-open self - he's just able to focus.

He says there is a definite difference when he doesn't have it.  He said that he feels his brain is going too fast for what's happening around him.  He says it's very hard to keep focus on anything at all when he's not on it.  When he's taking it, he said that he's able to slow himself down long enough to write down things such as a homework assignment, or focus on the teacher as she explains a lesson.  These are things that, quite frankly, I take for granted every single day.

I absolutely DETEST that I feel he has to take it.  I still feel guilt and feel that I am just medicating him to help him get through his days.  He's a great kid, a great friend, a good student, an exceptional athlete and a not-quite-as-irritating big brother to his 3 younger siblings.  He loves the Lord and loves texting his friends.  A normal kid.  One of my turning points was a seminar on ADHD that I attended given by a local doctor whom I greatly respect.  In addressing the "medicated kid" concerns brought up by several parents, he said, "Your child has one chance at an education.  If he needs this help, why would you NOT give it to him?"  For some reason, that resonated with me.  I don't know why, but it did.

I guess all that to say, just keep on keeping on.  There are so many different types of meds out there...and for a reason!  If they all worked the same for everyone, there would be no need for any others!  If you are able to track down a good, natural alternative, PLEASE post it on here; I'll be checking back in.  In the meantime, we can trust these little fellas to God and ask for the wisdom to take care of them and the courage to do it.

I hope that our son outgrows this.  I hope that he doesn't have to always take meds.  I hope that it causes no long-term effects.  I hope that he doesn't do as so many undiagnosed ADD/ADHD sufferers do in their young adulthood, which is self-medicated with illegal drugs (our family has had personal experience with this).  I have many, many hopes for him.  And he has many, many hopes for himself!  Warmest wishes to you!
535822 tn?1443980380
I have to say this I was sad at the comment that a Doctor would reccomend the use of these proven drugs with some bad side effects, you stated the Doctor at the seminar said "Your child has one Education" so it is all about them getting grades and education, not about the health and welfare of the children .I found your post very hard to take, in fact I was shocked by it, and it proved the point of non medication ,and the use of food  supplements.If your child does not get the Nightmares,agression , and the other behaviors that a lot of these children put on to these Drugs "so they may get a good education"he is very lucky . I am sorry also if this post offends you, I feel offended for the child.
Avatar universal
Thank you so much for your honest testimony.  I can appreciate how you have felt throughout this process.  It is especially difficult to actually be the parent of an adhd child and be solely responsible for their life.  If not medicated and they end up self medicating some day, we are responsible.  If medicated and others without an adhd child disagree, we are responsible.  It is a lose lose for us.  Keep doing what you and your husband feel is best for your child.
Avatar universal
As my post was not directed to you, but to Jayncandi, it's unfortunate that you found my post offensive.  I certainly don't take offense to your direct post to me.  A great thing about these forums:  We all get the opportunity to express our opinions and hopefully help someone else in the process, whether it's to shed new light on an exhausting subject or just be a shoulder to "cry on."  I do appreciate that you seem to have every child's interest at heart.  I respect and appreciate that you so strongly believe in what you believe in.

In all that I've read on these posts, it's amazing how different every family's situation seems to be.  Really, all we can do is educate ourselves to our best ability and then make the best decision we can.  After we've been responsible enough to do that, and monitor and take care of our child's health, and cover them with prayer, what else would you have all of us do?  You seem to be fairly knowledgeable about ADD/ADHD and your personal experience certainly lends credibility.  Whatever your position is on this board, whether it's Forum Monitor or Frequent Flyer, maybe it would be much more beneficial for you to be helpful, caring, and empathetic rather than judgmental.

Often, when someone has a very defined black-and-white view of this type of situation, it also indicates a close-minded "my way or the highway" approach.  I'm not the only one I know in my community who has the blessing of parenting an ADD/ADHD child.  And they're rather good parents, too!  And we do not all "treat" our children's ADD/ADHD with the same methods.

Pertaining to the "education" remark that I spoke of in my original post, and which you referred to in yours, it was one comment that he made and for me personally it was a "straw that broke the camel's back" moment for us.  When my son says, "Mom, with my Concerta I can actually look at the teacher and listen to her and understand her.  Without it, I can barely look at her because my brain is going too fast and there's too much else going on the room."  The "too much else," he further explained, could be someone walking by the classroom, someone pulling out a pencil from their backpack, or something else such as that.  Small things that prevent him from being able to focus.  Do you think I make sure that he takes his Concerta in the morning?  Yes, ma'am, I do.

If you read my post past the part where I said that my son was in fact taking Drugs for his ADD/ADHD, you would have noticed the part about how I feel giving it to him.  If you are a mother, you would understand the heartache.  I would think that if you have a child with this same condition, you would feel more empathy for a fellow mother who has a child with this condition.  You cannot make me feel any worse about the medication.

He is the oldest of our four children and is such an incredible blessing to us.  If you are as familiar with ADD/ADHD as you say you are, then you know firsthand how awesome these kids are.  The condition itself presents many, many challenges, frustrations, rewards, and creates incredible opportunities to talk to your child about things you may not approach for years.

Your concern for my child is touching.  Your judgment of those of us who do not choose your way, however, tarnishes your concern just a bit.  I would like to know more about these food supplements and other natural options.  When you have a moment, would you direct me to a web site that offers detailed information, or direct me to an earlier post that would contain it?
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