Tuesday, January 8, 2008

ADHD


I enjoyed yesterday's health and family related post so much, I thought I'd do it again today! Mostly because I had a really good day yesterday, all the way around. And my Little Guy played a big part in that. Some of you know that he was diagnosed ADHD this year, after a year or two of behavior and diet modification, as well as Sea Buddies Concentrates vitamins.

He's always been a challenge to parent and to educate, but yesterday - well! Yesterday he made dinner for us all. Pork chops, corn on the cob and baked beans! And he read a book while he sat in the kitchen stirring the beans! For those of you with ADHD kids, you know how miraculous that is. And it's all made possible with the intervention of drugs. :) I kid you not.

My brother and his wife have beautiful daughters, and one of them happens to lack focus, just like my Little Guy (and like me). So, as they were going through the agony of facing the whole "something's wrong with our daughter" (nothing is WRONG about ADD - we just lack focus), then a slew of doctors, and finally the ups and downs of medication, I wrote them a letter, walking through what we'd experienced with Little Guy. I thought maybe some of you could relate. Without further ado, the letter:

Hey! Did Cutie Pie have her doctor's appointment this week? If it's anything like any of mine, she was diagnosed and you were sent home with 2 or 3 weeks worth of medicine? I hope so. I wanted to chronicle for you the last month with Little Guy, just as an encouragement.
The first week on meds (Strattera) was tough. Little Guy was on 25 mg the first three days, then upped to 60. For the first week he had an upset stomach and was lethargic. His whole personality just kind of down shifted. He hated it. We hated it. It was awful. Two days in I was looking at the holistic alternatives very seriously, thinking this was the worst thing ever to happen to my boy. When his dose was upped, the symptoms were worse. He was very angry at the little blue pill and didn't want to take it. I kept telling him that the stomach aches took a week and a half to two to go away, and that if things weren't better in three weeks, we'd take him off the meds and try something different. He grumbled, but kept taking them. The second week on meds was a little better, but the stomach was still upset, his focus was still a little off and he was lethargic and edgy at once. Weird combination. But better than week one. Relatively uneventful until the weekend of the second week. We forgot his pill on Sunday and the difference was tremendous. We IMMEDIATELY noticed a difference in focus, self-control and behavior. I was all too eager to give him his pill Monday morning. By the third week the stomach aches were gone. He began to really settle in and focus. And his handwriting dramatically improved. His teachers were only noticing slight focus differences, but were impressed with the handwriting change. Evidently that's an early sign the meds are working. But they were still unsure of the full benefit of the drugs. Week four was Thanksgiving - company, a short school week, lots of excitement. Hard to tell, really. Week five is OH MY GOSH. It's been a week of very good days. I spoke with his teacher today and she was glowing. She showed me a poem he's working on and said that pre-meds he would never have gotten it done. He's finishing projects, getting homework done when he gets home, succeeding in ways he couldn't before. Night and day difference. He's been taking timed multiplication tests this week. The first test he got 66 out of 100 wrong. Wednesday was 23 wrong. Today was one wrong. He's a new boy, seeing light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. So it really does take awhile for the meds to work. For Little Guy they were progressive, which seems to be the norm when you read other people's stories. I just wanted you to have this when you're on day three, in case Cutie Pie goes through Little Guy's experience. Persevere. It's SOOOO worth it.

Me again. The way I describe ADHD to my Little Guy is that his personality pre-meds is fractured. He is a great guy, loving, determined, brilliant, but he can't focus. With the meds, he's no less himself, but more. They put Humpty Dumpty back together again. He gains confidence he never had. How do I know? I was diagnosed ADD a couple of years ago and meds have made a big difference for me as well. They work because we need them. (I take Adderall XR, by the way) Feel free to ask questions. This is all still fairly new to us, but we're excited about the future!

Until I write again ...

Flea

18 comments:

Melissa said...

Wow, this should be required reading for anyone with a new dx. I have a feeling we're going to be going this route with my daughter. It's good to know it they do use drugs there is a 'ramp up' period.

Glad to hear your Little Guy is doing so well. And he can swing by Illinois and cook me some pork chops whenever he has time ;)

Burgh Baby's Mom said...

Glad to hear your little guy is doing well! Happy kids make for happy parents, or in your case, well-fed parents.

Flea said...

Thanks guys! I was REALLY ready to give up on the drugs the first week, especially after reading people's stories online. Most of the bad stories were from people who'd given up after three days, so they never saw the benefits. But there are absolutely zero side effects now.

Hope you get things figured out with your daughter, Melissa. I was in denial for several years before getting help. :(

Casdok said...

A lovely post and thank you for the lovely comment on my blog.
You are so right - there is nothing wrong with us. :)

Candace said...

Although it may take that long to see a positive change you also have to keep in mind some drugs are wrong for some. Timothy is on Concerta, we tried Adderall XR last year. On Concerta he has a down shift in the evening and depending on what is going on it can be dramatic. However, with Adderall XR, once it wore off he would scream at every little thing, get very frustrated and was generally miserable (as was the whole family) all night. I am very glad it worked out for you, just making a comment for those that may have our experience. After 2 weeks I could take it no more (I tried to ride it out with him) and he and I decided he would go back to Concerta. I have thought about trying something else, but after the last time I am scared. With Concerta we were an exception and it was like night and day the first time he took it, but Adderall XR was so different. He also lost weight in the 2 weeks on Adderall XR and it is hard enough to get him to gain on Concerta. It took months to gain back what he lost. I am so glad to hear that you all are doing well and especially that "Little Guy" (how on earth did he get that name??) is doing well in school. That must be so neat for him. It is amazing what the right dianosis and medication can do.

Flea said...

My Little Guy could stand to lose some weight. In fact, he has lost a little on the Strattera. Strattera strikes me as a milder drug, but it's also called the virgin drug. I assume this means it's for people who haven't been on anything, because it was the first one I took, but after I stopped for awhile with the move, it didn't work when I went back to it.

Yes, we're very fortunate that the Strattera has worked for him. He comes down a little in the evenings, but it's really not noticeable. Keeping his sleep schedule regular has made a huge difference. For him, if he misses sleep, he gets nasty. Sleep is good.

I love the Adderall XR for me because I've lost about 30 pounds so far without trying. It just keeps dropping off, a little at a time. That's fine with me.

Flea said...

My Little Guy could stand to lose some weight. In fact, he has lost a little on the Strattera. Strattera strikes me as a milder drug, but it's also called the virgin drug. I assume this means it's for people who haven't been on anything, because it was the first one I took, but after I stopped for awhile with the move, it didn't work when I went back to it.

Yes, we're very fortunate that the Strattera has worked for him. He comes down a little in the evenings, but it's really not noticeable. Keeping his sleep schedule regular has made a huge difference. For him, if he misses sleep, he gets nasty. Sleep is good.

I love the Adderall XR for me because I've lost about 30 pounds so far without trying. It just keeps dropping off, a little at a time. That's fine with me.

Candace said...

That is where a negative for one is a positive for another :) Timothy cannot afford to lose weight. His Dr actually told me to give him a minimum of 150 extra calories a day after that. He said he didn't care how I did it, just do it... candy bar, whatever. There is a patch out now that I have heard good things about, but I'm afraid with the fair skin there would probably be a reaction and/or it would bother him. Is Strattera the kind that builds up over a period of time? If it is a "beginner" medication though it probably wouldn't do for us since it has been a couple years now... It is amazing how you can think things aren't going that great and then you miss a day... it is a great reminder of what could be. I have on a couple occasions given it later in the day and it has worked out, but usually we skip it if it is late.

Flea said...

I'd ask the doc about it being a beginner drug. I think so, but I don't know so much. And yes, it had to build up. We skip if it's past 10 am. And WHOO BOY are you right about missing a day and remembering the bad times all over again.

KIDZMAMA said...

I can't imagine giving my kid medicine that takes so long to have its full effect. I'm glad you read into it and stuck with it. He looks like he can be quite funny. I'm sure you'll teach him how to grill soon.

Flea said...

Next summer, kidzmama. Next summer. He'll be beggin'. And I'd already spent 10 years trying a variety of things, including the holistic med route. I knew a little longer to get results wouldn't kill us. But I wanted it now!!! :)

Maria said...

That's great that the meds are working so great for you guys! BTW, I tagged you for a book meme.

Tanya Brown said...

I thought I'd stop by and say hello, since you were kind enough to stop by my blog about a week ago.

I'm glad that the meds are helping your son's situation. Hearing that he's gaining confidence in himself is wonderful.

The Sports Mama said...

Bug was diagnosed ADHD about 10 months ago, and I'm totally on board the medication boat! What a difference his has made! He takes Metadate, which is apparently a newer drug on the market. I love it! It hasn't decreased his appetite hardly at all, wears off in plenty of time for bedtimes so its not affecting his sleep patterns, and we noticed a difference in the first couple of days.

His issues were a little different. He's a brilliant kid, and his grades never suffered before the medication, which is a big reason it took so long to diagnose him. He had self-control issues, and other social issues. He would lose his temper with anyone at the drop of a pin, only to mellow out after a fairly short time. It was impossible to gauge it, too. However, to hear Bug tell it, he was always "high temper" before his meds. Now, (in his words) he's "low temper" all the time.

We've also got him on a mood regulator, Risperdal, which combined with the Metadate has made him a completely different kid, while keeping who he really is at his core the same. (Does that make sense??)

I could share so much about our experiences, but I don't want to hog all your comment space! :) If you want to talk more about it, or bounce your own experiences off of someone for different perspective, just let me know! :)

Jan Parrish said...

Yes, there is all the buzz about how are children are over medicated, etc.
However, if they need it, they should take it to improve their life.

My son had a mild form of this and outgrew it during puberty.

Very informative. :)

Flea said...

Candace, it looks like you need to jump over to Sports Mama's blog and pick her brain. This may well be the route which sets you all free. Thanks Sports Mama!

Jan, I agree. I tried everything else with my boy before pursuing meds. And my middle boy is going thru a mild form, but I remember puberty. I think it might just BE puberty. :)

And hi Tanya Brown!

The Sports Mama said...

You're welcome! :) Honestly, I would be more than happy to talk about what we've gone through, and continue to go through, with Bug with anyone who wants to. I know we didn't have that at first, and it made it more difficult than it needed to be.

And.... I just noticed something. With all the time we've been spending at each other's "place"... I'm NOT on your blogroll. :)

Flea said...

Well I will remedy that RIGHT THIS MINUTE.