View Full Version : Newly diagnosed 17-year-old son - HELP PLEASE

05-18-16, 11:57 AM
I am desperately seeking help/advice. We have been seeing a psychiatrist for the past three months with my 17-year-old and he has reluctantly diagnosed ADD. My son will be starting treatment soon, but I am struggling greatly with the idea.

All his life he has been an A-student, so although I have questioned this diagnosis at various times throughout his life, I always rationalized that it couldn't be true because he was/is such a strong academic student. Symptoms he has include forgetfulness, chronic lateness, extreme lethargy in the mornings and very communicative in the late evening, impulsiveness and often simply "spaced out" for lack of a better term. Things have really come to a head this past year in his final year of highschool, to the point where he has come to me a number of times saying "there's something wrong with me". This led to a number of appointments with a psychiatrist, which has gotten us to a final ADD diagnosis, though he isn't 100% sure that it is.

I'm nearing my wits end and although I am worried about putting him on medication, I am hopeful that something will help. I am exhausted from managing him in regards to lost items, untimeliness, forgetfulness and fighting with him to get up in the morning. He has chosen to stay back home one year before heading off to University, but I am seriously worried that unless he gets help (which hopefully medication will be the answer) that he won't be able to venture off to a University that is 24 hours away from home. This has also put a huge strain on my marriage because I am constantly defending him from my husbands "he just needs to get his **** together" attitude.

I am really looking for some advice and hoping to hear opinions in regards to our situation. I am worried about the medication side effects and also worried that they are going to make his sleep issues worse. Please help me. I value all opinions.

05-18-16, 01:17 PM
Welcome to the community. I hope you can find some comfort and helpful knowledge in this space.

Here's a great place to start reading for some valuable information:

Others with more input will be eventually be along. Meanwhile, take good care of you, too. We can't serve others from an empty cup.

DJ Bill
05-18-16, 01:35 PM
Please do what the doctor is telling you as far as medications ...and don't try adjusting doses without his approval. Be aware that there is a period of adjustment and also some meds may not work effectively for him. Try to have at least three alternative meds in mind should he not do well on one.

With that out of the way, I can tell you I had the same exact problems as a teen, and dropped out of a good college as a result 1 year later. I was in the top ten of my class of 100, and always took the higher level classes. I was one who HAD to understand WHY something was, and that killed me my senior year in calculus. (And in college too!) I was considered smart by my family and friends. Failing out of college was not something they expected.

Taking off a year may be a good idea if there is structure in place. Somewhere there is an article on ADD'ers in College away from home. You Have to have a support system already or he may fall flat on his face, even with meds. We do well with structure, like routines, systems, calendars, etc. Leave us alone and we are off in space before you know it.

I wish I had been diagnosed back then, as I wasted 30 plus years of my life not realizing there was a problem and I was not lazy, stupid, or crazy.

Best wishes for a good life for him, including some awesome help from his mom. (Tell him he needs to stay away from alcohol too on meds.)

And a carabiner on his keys and one set place to keep them if he doesn't have them strapped to his belt loops is a must. A friend gave me a key clip for my belt in college and it was a godsend.

05-18-16, 04:00 PM
Thank you both for your replies. I will definitely be doing some more research and reading. I do have to take time for myself for sure. I am finding this increasingly stressful as he gets older. Now that he is driving and out on his own there are more and more lost items and I'm not always there to manage his time. We do currently have a lost set of keys, as well as various other items. Once the correct medication is found, will it not help with the loss of items and the chronic lateness? I'm feeling overwhelmed and of course I am losing sleep. I know this will get worked out eventually. It is very difficult to convince a teenager that they need more sleep, especially when dealing with an issue such as this. I'm glad I've found some place to talk. I wish we had local support groups but I am in a small community. I may have to travel to Winnipeg if I want to find personal support I guess. Thanks for listening. My heart hurts so bad for my boy right now as I watch him struggle through his final year of highschool.

DJ Bill
05-18-16, 06:32 PM
Yes, the proper medication will help with the ADHD symptoms somewhat. However there are a lot of strategies to help out , now that you know some of his problems are adhd based.
Until then.....Search under the seats in his car and have extra keys he cannot get to just in case. I never have one set of keys myself. Sure it costs a bit but it saves the locksmith bills.
Speaking of his car....He should have NO distractions while driving, like the radio, friends chatting, etc. You may want to go for a ride with him and see how good a driver he is.. Or ask one of his friends how he drives..Inattentiveness can really make a mess if not treated or eliminated somehow.
Are there any others you could lean on, like church, friends, a spouse? It is OK to need and ask for help.

05-19-16, 04:51 AM
Can i just say as someone very new to medication for Adhd, That in reguards to waking up in the morning temporarily my partner brings in my morning dose an hour before i plan to wake up and getting out of bed is alot easier. I do understand that maybe not ideal in the long time but maybe once there was a routine he could wake up enough to take them on his own etc. atleast for me thats what im hoping for. Yes i still have trouble with sleep, my dr will slowly help me with this same as with your son if thats the path you choose.

05-19-16, 09:41 AM
My son was diagnosed at 13. My best advice is to take what the doctor gives him but if you see a HUGE personality shift don't be afraid to stop the medication. The first one my son tried turned him into a totally different and mean person, we stopped that on day 2. The second had no effect, the third has a small effect, but not much. We are researching other options.

You are not the only one who had a husband who feels like the kid is just being lazy. I have nothing to help you in that area other than to say let your husband talk, then agree to disagree.

05-20-16, 04:11 AM

I urge you to read this. Not because I am some great writer but because my son is 20 now and an example of what treatment can do.