View Full Version : I am at the end of the rope. Please help!

06-17-14, 11:33 PM
My son who is 8 years old was diagnosed with ADHD 2 years ago. HE was given Focalin for it. At first I felt guilty for giving it to him but after a whole year in kinder garden and half of first grade and his teacher had nothing but complaints along with other parents and kids,I had to do something. My husband and I tried everything as far as punishments or possessive reinforcement but nothing worked.

The very first day we gave him 5 mg Focalin his teacher came out and told us he had been perfect all day. Calm and focused and finished all his work in class. He had also got along with the other kids great. He just finished up second grade with perfect grades and honer roll so Im very happy as far as his academics.

This is my problem. When the medication wears out in the evening and in the morning he is very difficult to deal with. I sometimes sit and watch him and his hand and legs always moving. Constantly! I have never seen a person more fidgety in my life. He can't sit down for even 10 seconds and eat his breakfast without being distracted and I have to sit next to him and watch him eat or he will never finish. In the evening it's the same battle. Lately he always like to argue about everything and if he is not running around making noises we might ask him to go and sit down, so he sits down somewhere, fidgeting with his hands and feet and make noises to himself. The kid cant just chill for even a minute. Even when he is occupied watching something interesting on TV he always moves around on the couch.

The real nightmare is when we have guests over or family. He gets out of his routine and become a complete nightmare. It's like he tunes out everything and everybody. Even my family and my husbands family who both criticized us for medicate him at first, asked us if his medication had worn out or if it was not working?

As soon as his medication kicks in he becomes the most loving and fun to be around. He still plays and have fun but he doesn't act like a complete lunatic.

I don't know what to do because I don't want him to grow up to an adult being like this. IS there anything I can do ? Do hyperactive kids grow out of this and if so, when?

06-18-14, 12:33 AM
It is hard to say. When I was 6 the teacher told my parents "something has to be done about your son. I couldn't stay still in class.

They gave me ritalin one of the early rit kids. A fifth grade teacher asked my parents if she could try to teach me without meds. I did fine for the most part, I still got in some trouble but I managed to get through school, post grad, doctorate and am doing ok. I have a 6 year old I am scared to even get diagnosed, he shows some symptoms but is not disruptive. He is pretty good and shy around others but he is a hand full for my wife. I don't like yelling at him, I felt like I got yelled at my whole childhood.

I think the biggest mistake my parents made was taking me to a psych around 10, before that I never felt like I had any problem at all. I think giving kids meds may make them think they are not adequate and also the issue that happens later on-they think they need a pill to be good enough or normal. Then there are the brain consequences.

My parents tried the feingold diet and that helped for me. Also, I run all around with my son, I think physical outdoor activity is very good at balancing this high energy. He may be trying to get attention and purposely pushing buttons, you know we adhd people love to do this...

Good luck, I know the next few years will be a challenge but I try to think, will he be doing this at 12? Treat him well, don't yell too much, best of luck

06-18-14, 01:02 AM
I probably had a lot in common with your son. Most people who know me would consider me a relatively normal, healthy and functional adult.

I really applaud you for being willing to do whatever it takes to help your son have a good life. No one but a parent can understand how hard these decisions are. Really good for you. Some children need medication, and at the same time, medicating kids is not the same as medicating an adult. I was medicated as a kid, .. and it sort of worked and sort of didn't. The problem is that a kid doesn't regulate his own meds,.. we're trying to make his neurology a little more stable so that things are easier for him. The big challenge that I think you are experiencing, is that as a kid, being medicated 90% of the time makes it harder to self-regulate when you're not medicated 10% of the time.. but that's a necessary challenge.

BUT Being medicated as an adult, and dealing with these disorders in general as an adult, is completely different. IMO there is nothing wrong with a kid needing to be medicated 24/7. But as an adult, if we're medicated 90% of the time, we can double down and manage the other 10%. I know it sounds like a kid should be able to do that,.. but it's really hard. Focalin doesn't do it by itself - Focalin just gets that 90%. The other 10% requires a mortgage a full time job and a wife and kids. And as an adult I find that adderall helps me focus and learn to cope with my disorder in ways that don't require the adderall. As an adult it's not 90%/10%. It's more like 75%/25% .. but to use the adderall to give yourself the mental calm to LEARN how to cope ... that's not kid stuff. I couldn't do it at 8. I don't think I could have done it at 18. At 28 was a different story. :)

There is a lot of hype about the dangers and long term affects of medicating children, particularly kids who need to be medicated all the time. I'm less familiar with Focalin, but it's pretty much all hype, and the long term effects of these medications have been studied ad-nauseam and if you're looking at the peer reviewed scientific research these drugs consistently prove themselves to be safe (when prescribed and taken properly).

06-18-14, 04:28 AM
I think meds have helped me be a grown up.

06-18-14, 09:07 AM
Lately he always like to argue about everything and if he is not running around making noises we might ask him to go and sit down, so he sits down somewhere, fidgeting with his hands and feet and make noises to himself. The kid cant just chill for even a minute. Even when he is occupied watching something interesting on TV he always moves around on the couch.

You know he's going to be hyper and difficult in the morning and evening, so you have to expect it, plan for it, and work around it. Get a trampoline for the backyard, and a mini-trampoline where your TV is (it saves the couch!). Monkey bars, too, if you have room. Instead of asking him to sit down, send him someplace where it's ok to move. You might try letting him eat breakfast standing while watching TV or a computer screen, or sitting on a big exercise ball. Give him permission to excuse himself and go ride his bike or play computer games when the guests get to be too much.

We always know DS is going to get whiny and difficult at 6pm, when his meds have worn off and he's getting hungry, so we just expect less coping out of him then, and tolerate more.

My son's doctor says the need for constant motion should lessen quite a bit in the teenage years.

There are two medication options you might discuss with the doctor. One is to add a long-acting non-stimulant, for example Intuniv. It takes 3 days to build up or exit the body, so there is always some medication helping 24/7. The other is that if your son is experiencing a big "crash" and rebound at a particular time of day, you can add an afternoon booster or switch to a formulation of his stimulant that has a higher peak and longer taper.

06-18-14, 09:48 AM
Your son has a disability.

His Focalin is his "wheelchair".

Using that analogy, his "wheelchair" has helped him to get around by himself.
His life is much, much better.

But there are places in your house that his "wheelchair" doesn't fit.
So, he cannot rely on his wheels to be the answer, every minute of every day.
It is NOT a cure.
It's an assistive device.
It doesn't "teach him" to walk.
Focalin is NOT A CURE.

You, and your friends/family, will be reminded of his disability when his "wheelchair" is not being used.
Seeing him fidget is like watching him take a bath because he can't stand up for a shower.
Or watching him drag himself over to his toys scattered on the floor.

When you see his fidgety behavior, it is annoying to you. Not him.

You are mad at him for fidgeting; this is the same as being mad at him because you think "he's just not trying hard enough to walk".

He'll get better at dealing with his disability, as he gets older.
You'll see less fidgeting.
Not because it goes away.
But because he'll have learned that society doesn't like seeing his disability... and as social animals, we WANT to be a part of the group. So we TRY to fit in. We TRY to inhibit the things we do, that make others laugh at us, or yell at us, or fire us.

Just be glad that's he's got wheels helping him, now.
I am. He's finally experiencing what it feels like to be awesome, and loving it, I'm sure.



06-18-14, 08:15 PM
Is the fidgeting only since he started the meds, or has it always been this way? If it's new, it may be a rebound effect, which is pretty common.