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behavior associated with ADHD

My son is 8. He was diagnosed with ADHD when he was 5 although we knew it by the time he was 3. He takes Ritalin... 25 mg in the am... 20 mg @ noon and 10 mg after school. The Ritalin has worked VERY WELL at controlling impulsivity and bad behavior. So much so, that his teacher this year asked me why he was on Ritalin. However, it has made him very slow at completing assignments and many other things. He is very bright and makes very good grades. On stadardized testing he is either on level or above level in every area. In 1st grade he scored on  7th grade 1st month level in science.  It's almost like he obsesses over the work to get it done perfectly. His handwriting is impecable as he often erases and rewrites to ensure that it is perfect. The problem is that it is taking him so long to get stuff done that he is getting behind on other assignments. Teachers have dismissed it in the past but have warned me that it would become a problem once he is in 3rd grade. Another thing is he appears to have developed tics. As soon as he started the meds he started rolling his eyes continuously and recently he has started chapping his lips constantly. We know this associated in some way to being on the Ritalin because he does not do it when he is off the medication. The only answer the pediatrician seems to have is to up the mg of Ritalin but it has not worked!  Are these symptoms of another disorder? Should we see a psychologist? Is there a better medication?
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Avatar universal
I do think that you need to see a child development peditrician or child psychiatrist that specializes in ADHD. Was he formally diagnosed with ADHD by a child psychologist or specialist, other than a pediatrician? Pediaticians are usually not qualified to eveluate ADHD.  I am also surprised that your doctor would tell you to up the medication if the medication is causing tics. I believe, but I am not an expert, that usually the doctor "reduces" the dosage if tics and other side effects appear. That is the reason that I recommend that you find an ADHD specialist. Also, there are "slow release" dosages of the various medications that eliminate the need to give him 3 daily dosages. In fact, Concerta is a once per day dosage that lasts almost 12 hours. It is my understanding that Metadate CD lasts about eight hours and has less side effects than Ritalin. You can Google these names and research the various types of these medications available. Anyway, I am of the opinion that some of the issues that you are having with the Ritalin are related to the dosage being too high and maybe there is a better medicine.  If your doctor never offered a "slow release" type version of Ritalin, Metadate or Adderall, he might not be up on the latest medicines and you should find an ADHD specialist that can help you with the type of medicine, dosage and issues. Have you tried to give him a medicine "holiday" with no medication for a while to see if his ADHD symptoms disappeared?  Maybe he is outgrowing them. I am very surprised that his teacher made the comment of "why you are medicating him". Maybe he does not need to be medicated anymore. Make sure that he still has ADHD before you continue to medicate him.  Good luck.
Avatar universal
My son was diagnosed by his pediatrician that he's had since birth. I feel very confident in his diagnosis. We knew @ 3 that he was ADHD. My mom and sister are both teachers and even they agreed. My son was not one of those kids that there was any grey area on whether or not he had ADHD. We knew it wasn't  behavior issues due to lack of discipline. He was respectful, did not throw temper tantrums, played well with other children, etc... He was just wild alllllll the time as if he were being run by a motor. When the motor shut off he would fall dead asleep among his toys but he could never lay in his bed and fall asleep. We have given him breaks from the med. You can tell from minute one, when he is not on the Ritalin. He is too rough with his baby sisters, he's loud, he's destructive etc... The reason the teacher made the comment is because she has never seen him off his meds. When he is on the he is quiet, mild mannered, compassionate, he pays attention, stays seated, etc... Also, we have tried the long acting meds. He has been on Ritalin LA and Concerta. For some reason his body metabolizes the meds just as if they were not long acting. We had better results with the Concerta but he had a hard time coming off of it. He was moody and mean which was not like him at all. He also had a very hard time falling asleep. I really think our next step is to see a child psychologist. Thank you so much for your input. It is greatly appreciated!
Avatar universal
he wants to be perfect in everything he does, becuase he is a zombie. He is only 8. There is no way you know he had adhd when he was 3. Thats just poor excuss of a child outlashing. Kids do that. I have adhd. im 24 years old now. ive delt with adhd through my enitre life. I was a bad outlashed child, but you cant have your kid depend on drugs his enitre life. He is taking a high dose of ritilin. Teach him how to relax, show him to relax his mind and slow down. If you do anything lower the dose of ritilin. try 10 mg a day. The higher you go the slower he will get. Realize ritilin is crack for normal people, for adhd kids....  it slows the brain down to normal speed. He is smart because he has adhd. people with adhd are 10% smarter, they just cant say it, because there minds are going 2414 miles an hour
Avatar universal
He is not a case of "child outlashing". Except for the hyperactivity he was an otherwise well behaved child. As I stated before... he did not throw tanturms, was very respectful to adults and children, played well with others, etc... He is not a zombie! While on the meds, he still plays with others and participates in class. He even plays baseball after school and takes art lessons. When he was not on the medication he was chewing on stuff all the time.... literally destroying a pencil or more a day. He was constantly up out of his seat and being very loud. He would busrt out with the answer to a question with out raising his hand 1st. At home he would break toys and then cry because he didn't understand what he had just done. When we were out in public he would climb on stuff, wander off in stores and run across parking lots with out thinking. Believe me when I say I tried everything to avoid using medication. I cut out red dyes, decreased the amount of sugar he ate, decreased refined sugars by cutting out white breads and pastas, cut out glutens, cut out processed meat, decreased foods with preservatives etc.... We tried behavior modification, went to therapy tried all forms of discipline, increased physical activity etc.... He's not smart because he has ADHD. There are plenty of children with ADHD with below normal I.Q.'s. He's smart because his father and I are both smart and because we have provided an educational environment since he was born. There is no scientific proof correlating ADHD with increased intelligence. There is however direct correlation between untreated ADHD and increased risk for delinquent behavior even into adulthood. As for having ADHD, I myself am 31 and have ADD. So, I know how it feels to have your mind going "2414 miles an hour". I know how it feels to go somewhere and not remeber how you got there. I know what it feels like to get labeled a "bad kid"... to have above average ability but not be able to complete an assignment. I know what it feels like to have very few friends because the teacher told the class you were a bad kid or because you had to stay in the classroom during recess and lunch to complete assignments. I also know what it feels like to go home and get the tar beat out of your behind because you got in trouble at school "again" for not doing your work. I also remember being embarassed because I had to take medicine to behave and could not just do it myself like the other kids could. I know what it feels like to be on and off the medicine. The plus to being a smart kid is you are able to tell when the dose is too high... at least I could. I have 4 kids myself and have been a foster parent I know the difference between a "behavior problem" and an underlying problem. I do agree that the last time we went to the dr. he placed him on too high a dose of Ritalin. Studies show that for his size he should take 25 mg of Ritalin a day but no more than 50 mg a day. He is currently prescribed 55 mg a day. We see the pediatrician again soon and will most likely be seeing a psychologist after that. Thank you for your input.
Avatar universal
My 9 year old has been on Concerta 18mg for three years now and it has been great for him. I actually wish he would take some extra time with his penmanship, but he is doing so well with his academics and impulse control I am very pleased. Concerta is only taken once a day, in the morning, unlike Ritalin. I think Concerta would be something for you to look into.
Avatar universal
We actually tried Concerta when he was 6. It made him really mean when he was coming off of it and he had a really hard time going to sleep at night. We also tried Ritalin LA (long acting). For some reason his body metabolizes it fast. It wasn't long acting at all. We want to go to one dose a day because he doesn't like being singled out @ lunch to take his meds because Kids are starting to ask questions. The doctor lowered his dosage last week and we are now on a waiting list to see a child psychiatrist. One thing we might be trying is taking Clonodine in cunjunction with the Ritalin. It's supposed to be effective in kids that "over focus". Thanks for your comment!
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