View Full Version : Side effects with ADHD medication. What are the options we have?


srinin
07-05-16, 12:17 PM
My son:
13 years old
Will go to 8th grade
Fully inclusion setting in public school with limited support from aide
Has aspergers & ADHD.

Issues he has are: attention span, sensory, emotional control

He has been on ADHD medication (Concerta 27mg) from the past 18 months. Medication game him some stability. We noticed some side effects: Weight loss, Taking breathing more explicitly, Less socialization, More anxiety.

Due to the side effects with allopathic medicine, we want to try alternate approach. Here are the options we have:

1) Homeopathy.
2) Naturopathy(Supplements, Vitamins) etc.

If naturopathy, how to find the doctor? We live in Central NJ.

Any other options we have? Appreciate if you could share your thoughts on this.

Thanks

Impromptu_DTour
07-05-16, 02:09 PM
Hi and welcome to the forums.

Cant help but to applaud you for being vigilant with your son, its a very challenging situation i can imagine.. and you want nothing more than to give him the best opportunities that you can, that are the safest. Being that I am not a dr.. take care that what i have to say (or anybody else here for that matter) is purely supportive, and advice, meant to supply information for your own furthered research.

I dont have much to apply with my experience with Aspergers, so I'll limit what I have to the ADHD, with the potential that it could be applied to the aspergers aswell.

I want to start off by commenting on the Concerta. First of all its great that you gave it a period of time before coming to a conclusion about it.. many people expect instant feedback without recognizing an adjustment period. That said.. is the concerta the only pharmaceutical method you have tried? Concerta is a Extended Release Ritalin. My possible thoughts based on your appraisal is that the dose may have been too high? Alternatively.. i myself didnt respond well to many ADHD medications when i was a kid.. but then again I had only been on Ritalin.. and extended release methods (such as Strattera). My thoughts on Extended Release variants is back and forth.. he may respond better to an Instant Release method, and it would be far easier to manage the dosage amount and play around with it and get quicker feedback.

There are many pharmaceutical based methods of treating ADHD, not limited to Concerta. There are also non-stimulant based methods too, but I have less warmth towards them.. but there are many people out there that they work very well for.

But if you are committed to exploring non-pharma methods.. you likely are already prepared for this, but be prepared for a struggle with your desired treatment method. I dont want you to feel discouraged, but please be open. Its not impossible.. but be especially easy on yourselves, with the understanding that ADHD (and aspergers) is more or less easier to manage from person to person, depending on a cacophony of biological and environmental factors (especially when these conditions work in tandem).

That said, be open to the possibility that a pharmaceutical approach might be unavoidable, but the Concerta is likely not your option (the social-ability factor is the one that i would be disenchanted by myself).

There is no one SINGLE approach to treating ADHD, and any approach is meant to be in CONJUNCTION with other theraputic methods. Considering your son.. you will greately benefit by having him in some regular therapy. Many of the things he will be experiencing will have much to do with not only triggers and learning how to regulate his emotional responses, but also learning how to identify his behavoral patterns and take the initiative to keep them in check.

ADHD is primarilly a behavioral/developmental disorder.. and not necissarilly a learning disorder. So.. the therapy will be his ticket for HIM to learn how to manage and govern HIMSELF.. and to not necissarilly UNDO the habits and patterns that he already has, but to disarm them a bit more so that he is able to manage them. As you know.. the ADHD and Aspergers will never go away, they are lifers, but his COPING mechanisms can be buffed to make his life far more manageable.. up to and including eliminating the need for medication (for the ADHD that is, but take that with a gently.. thats never a guarantee, ADHD can change in severity depending on a boon of life situations and circumstances).

So.. my first to things i want to arm you with.. is to MASSIVELY research exactly what ADHD is..

Secondly.. be prepared to continue exploring pharmaceutical methods.

Thirdly.. please look into therapy.. mentoring.. and private tutoring. Medication is never (ever) meant to be a single approach. Especially with a developmental/behavioral condition

Now.. Naturopathy / Homeopathy.. i hate to say this but there just isnt enough satisfactory research to support the success (or the safety) of these methods, aside from good old fashion Vitamins, Exercise and Therapy..

My caution to you here is this.. you're going to read ALOT.. and i mean.. a ****-Ton.. of stuff from people making wild claims about curing disorders and diseases by dumping lemon extract and lavender in their socks every night or what not. But be xtra XTRA vigilant to follow these claims right down to a Peer Reviewed Journal.. which has been supported by the Scientific Method.. otherwise you will be wasting not only your money and time.. but your son's time.. and opportunities.. (which should be the most valuable thing to you).

Im not about to say that there are NOT methods that work.. my partner is an Energy Medicine Practitioner.. and we want nothing but the best for our 1 year old son.. I myself am in college to develop methods of management without relying on big-pharma.. but even still.. be very careful not to let yourself get sweet talked by non-conclusive claims that are not supported by validated evidence.

You're best bet on vitamins.. (of course.. work with a doctor, dietitian.. whoever):

Omega 3,6,9
A strong B multi-vitamin
Vitamin D
Potassium
Ive heard Zinc (not much experience with it)
Theres alot of great resources for research on vitamins..

As far as DRs in NJ who are Naturo/Homoepathic.. be careful that your Insurance WILL cover them.. many dont. And make sure you are clear on how your insurance company is DEFINING naturopathy and homeopathy.. and if the practitioner you go to is in line with that. And be very strongly advised.. (understanding that I am NOT AGAINST N/H methods.. but many people are cashing in on this trend and putting alot of unsuspecting people in danger). Naturopathy and Homeopathy.. does not require anything close to the education, information, practice, and accountability that straight medicine does. Dont put your son in that kind of a situation, just to have a naturopathic / homeopathic dr. ...But im also not the person to shove a bunch of bull hair up my **** to cure my gout, because someone said that its "the natural way". I know i say things about N/H and alternate methods.. which is funny because im probably the most N/H and alternate method person i know, and i live in the NorthWest. I just hate it when people end up 'taking someones word for it', just because they wear a sarong and smell of patchouli, and end up really hurting themselves because they had a serious medical need that was compromised.

You're probably going to have to do some shopping. There should be many resources.. Naturo/Homeopathy is kind of the big thing right now.. (but again.. dont settle on one until you like.. are comfortable with their knowledge.. and that your insurance will cover them).

One last thing i want to leave you with:

http://www.russellbarkley.org/

This man is pretty much our goto around here regarding current, supportive, scientifically based, and parent/patient friendly Dr on ADHD.

Dont let people discourage you about your choice.. be prepared for and expect resistance.. and people are going to be dicks about it. However, please dont shut out allopatic methods. From one Naturopathic/Homeopathic (and scientist) parent to another.. out ideal vision for how our kid will be treated.. *shrug* might not be good (or healthy) for him.

All the best,

iDTour

srinin
07-05-16, 10:50 PM
:thankyou:

Thanks for detailed reply. I will definitely read a lot about ADHD and will consider other suggestions you gave.

Thanks a lot!
Hi and welcome to the forums.

Cant help but to applaud you for being vigilant with your son, its a very challenging situation i can imagine.. and you want nothing more than to give him the best opportunities that you can, that are the safest. Being that I am not a dr.. take care that what i have to say (or anybody else here for that matter) is purely supportive, and advice, meant to supply information for your own furthered research.

I dont have much to apply with my experience with Aspergers, so I'll limit what I have to the ADHD, with the potential that it could be applied to the aspergers aswell.

I want to start off by commenting on the Concerta. First of all its great that you gave it a period of time before coming to a conclusion about it.. many people expect instant feedback without recognizing an adjustment period. That said.. is the concerta the only pharmaceutical method you have tried? Concerta is a Extended Release Ritalin. My possible thoughts based on your appraisal is that the dose may have been too high? Alternatively.. i myself didnt respond well to many ADHD medications when i was a kid.. but then again I had only been on Ritalin.. and extended release methods (such as Strattera). My thoughts on Extended Release variants is back and forth.. he may respond better to an Instant Release method, and it would be far easier to manage the dosage amount and play around with it and get quicker feedback.

There are many pharmaceutical based methods of treating ADHD, not limited to Concerta. There are also non-stimulant based methods too, but I have less warmth towards them.. but there are many people out there that they work very well for.

But if you are committed to exploring non-pharma methods.. you likely are already prepared for this, but be prepared for a struggle with your desired treatment method. I dont want you to feel discouraged, but please be open. Its not impossible.. but be especially easy on yourselves, with the understanding that ADHD (and aspergers) is more or less easier to manage from person to person, depending on a cacophony of biological and environmental factors (especially when these conditions work in tandem).

That said, be open to the possibility that a pharmaceutical approach might be unavoidable, but the Concerta is likely not your option (the social-ability factor is the one that i would be disenchanted by myself).

There is no one SINGLE approach to treating ADHD, and any approach is meant to be in CONJUNCTION with other theraputic methods. Considering your son.. you will greately benefit by having him in some regular therapy. Many of the things he will be experiencing will have much to do with not only triggers and learning how to regulate his emotional responses, but also learning how to identify his behavoral patterns and take the initiative to keep them in check.

ADHD is primarilly a behavioral/developmental disorder.. and not necissarilly a learning disorder. So.. the therapy will be his ticket for HIM to learn how to manage and govern HIMSELF.. and to not necissarilly UNDO the habits and patterns that he already has, but to disarm them a bit more so that he is able to manage them. As you know.. the ADHD and Aspergers will never go away, they are lifers, but his COPING mechanisms can be buffed to make his life far more manageable.. up to and including eliminating the need for medication (for the ADHD that is, but take that with a gently.. thats never a guarantee, ADHD can change in severity depending on a boon of life situations and circumstances).

So.. my first to things i want to arm you with.. is to MASSIVELY research exactly what ADHD is..

Secondly.. be prepared to continue exploring pharmaceutical methods.

Thirdly.. please look into therapy.. mentoring.. and private tutoring. Medication is never (ever) meant to be a single approach. Especially with a developmental/behavioral condition

Now.. Naturopathy / Homeopathy.. i hate to say this but there just isnt enough satisfactory research to support the success (or the safety) of these methods, aside from good old fashion Vitamins, Exercise and Therapy..

My caution to you here is this.. you're going to read ALOT.. and i mean.. a ****-Ton.. of stuff from people making wild claims about curing disorders and diseases by dumping lemon extract and lavender in their socks every night or what not. But be xtra XTRA vigilant to follow these claims right down to a Peer Reviewed Journal.. which has been supported by the Scientific Method.. otherwise you will be wasting not only your money and time.. but your son's time.. and opportunities.. (which should be the most valuable thing to you).

Im not about to say that there are NOT methods that work.. my partner is an Energy Medicine Practitioner.. and we want nothing but the best for our 1 year old son.. I myself am in college to develop methods of management without relying on big-pharma.. but even still.. be very careful not to let yourself get sweet talked by non-conclusive claims that are not supported by validated evidence.

You're best bet on vitamins.. (of course.. work with a doctor, dietitian.. whoever):

Omega 3,6,9
A strong B multi-vitamin
Vitamin D
Potassium
Ive heard Zinc (not much experience with it)
Theres alot of great resources for research on vitamins..

As far as DRs in NJ who are Naturo/Homoepathic.. be careful that your Insurance WILL cover them.. many dont. And make sure you are clear on how your insurance company is DEFINING naturopathy and homeopathy.. and if the practitioner you go to is in line with that. And be very strongly advised.. (understanding that I am NOT AGAINST N/H methods.. but many people are cashing in on this trend and putting alot of unsuspecting people in danger). Naturopathy and Homeopathy.. does not require anything close to the education, information, practice, and accountability that straight medicine does. Dont put your son in that kind of a situation, just to have a naturopathic / homeopathic dr. ...But im also not the person to shove a bunch of bull hair up my **** to cure my gout, because someone said that its "the natural way". I know i say things about N/H and alternate methods.. which is funny because im probably the most N/H and alternate method person i know, and i live in the NorthWest. I just hate it when people end up 'taking someones word for it', just because they wear a sarong and smell of patchouli, and end up really hurting themselves because they had a serious medical need that was compromised.

You're probably going to have to do some shopping. There should be many resources.. Naturo/Homeopathy is kind of the big thing right now.. (but again.. dont settle on one until you like.. are comfortable with their knowledge.. and that your insurance will cover them).

One last thing i want to leave you with:

http://www.russellbarkley.org/

This man is pretty much our goto around here regarding current, supportive, scientifically based, and parent/patient friendly Dr on ADHD.

Dont let people discourage you about your choice.. be prepared for and expect resistance.. and people are going to be dicks about it. However, please dont shut out allopatic methods. From one Naturopathic/Homeopathic (and scientist) parent to another.. out ideal vision for how our kid will be treated.. *shrug* might not be good (or healthy) for him.

All the best,

iDTour

Cyllya
07-06-16, 05:44 AM
Isn't Concerta itself homeopathic? (It's not normally called that, but the whole idea behind homeopathy is "like cures like," e.g. a disease can be treated by a substance that normally causes symptoms of the disease in healthy people, usually by using a much smaller amount. That's actually what mainstream stimulant meds are!) But even if you want to consider it allopathic, I wouldn't dump the entire practice of allopathy just because of one mediocre treatment result. It's normal for many of us to respond well to one ADHD drug but have side effects or inadequate treatment from others.

Almost everybody hates ADHD meds to some degree; the reason so many people take them is because every other option is terrible.

Generally, the natural treatments for ADHD aren't really treatments, but rather things everybody should do anyway, but maybe they are more important for ADHD. Try to be as healthy as possible (eat well, get enough sleep, exercise, maybe meditate), learn organization skills, and so on. Cognitive behavioral therapy can help if the therapist is knowledgeable in ADHD.

The Feingold program helps some people with ADHD, but all the anecdotes and studies I've seen about it only talk about improvements with hyperactivity and impulsiveness, not attention problems.

Occupational therapy is supposed to help with sensory issues, but I haven't had any luck finding an occupational therapist.

Nutritional supplements could be good if he is deficient in anything. For most nutrients, having too much could also cause ill effects, so ideally, you'd want to have a doctor check his current nutrient level (I assume naturopaths could do that too).

sarahsweets
07-06-16, 06:14 AM
He has been on ADHD medication (Concerta 27mg) from the past 18 months. Medication game him some stability. We noticed some side effects: Weight loss, Taking breathing more explicitly, Less socialization, More anxiety.

I can tell you that my son began medication at the age of 4. He is 20 now, 6'3 and in college. My youngest could never tolerate stimulants but as it turns out she has anxiety and depression and requires an antidepressant so for right now thats what we are doing. My oldest daughter couldnt tolerate meds until 6th grade. She took them for 3 years and decided she didnt want to take them anymore in her freshman year of high school. My point is, I have three kids, and all three of them handled and needed meds differently. When they were old enough to assert themselves and told me they didnt want meds anymore, I was not about to force them to take them. We tried supplements like fish oil but alone it wasnt enough. Fish oil and meds was the best. Also, therapy with meds is also what worked the best. My oldest and youngest are still going.

Due to the side effects with allopathic medicine, we want to try alternate approach.
Side effects can be bothersome. i can tell you that all of them did horrible on anything from the methylphenidate family of drugs (concerta, ritalin,focalin). They just couldnt tolerate them. ( I can either) but we switched to amphetamines and it was successful. I understand the desire to use non-pharma options but you can do that and still try meds to see what works best.
We always have avoided anything with artificial crap in them because they arent good for any humans as far as Im concerned.
We have always limited treats for health reasons. I can share that when I didnt know as much as I do now (about 10 years ago) we consumed a lot more crap like hot pockets, frozen stuff like chicken nuggets and sugary drinks. We cut that stuff out 5 years ago and its made a tremendous difference. I also found out that I am EXTREMELY sensitive to MSG and its the hidden poison in everything.I have to read every label and had to learn all the hidden names it goes by.


I am in NJ and our doctor is from the Princeton/ Monmouth Junction area. She has been our family psych for 17 years. My son began with her when he was 3.5 and as I said he is 20 now. PM me if you want the contact info.

srinin
07-10-16, 06:49 AM
:thankyou: for reply. Much appreciated.

I can tell you that my son began medication at the age of 4. He is 20 now, 6'3 and in college. My youngest could never tolerate stimulants but as it turns out she has anxiety and depression and requires an antidepressant so for right now thats what we are doing. My oldest daughter couldnt tolerate meds until 6th grade. She took them for 3 years and decided she didnt want to take them anymore in her freshman year of high school. My point is, I have three kids, and all three of them handled and needed meds differently. When they were old enough to assert themselves and told me they didnt want meds anymore, I was not about to force them to take them. We tried supplements like fish oil but alone it wasnt enough. Fish oil and meds was the best. Also, therapy with meds is also what worked the best. My oldest and youngest are still going.


Side effects can be bothersome. i can tell you that all of them did horrible on anything from the methylphenidate family of drugs (concerta, ritalin,focalin). They just couldnt tolerate them. ( I can either) but we switched to amphetamines and it was successful. I understand the desire to use non-pharma options but you can do that and still try meds to see what works best.
We always have avoided anything with artificial crap in them because they arent good for any humans as far as Im concerned.
We have always limited treats for health reasons. I can share that when I didnt know as much as I do now (about 10 years ago) we consumed a lot more crap like hot pockets, frozen stuff like chicken nuggets and sugary drinks. We cut that stuff out 5 years ago and its made a tremendous difference. I also found out that I am EXTREMELY sensitive to MSG and its the hidden poison in everything.I have to read every label and had to learn all the hidden names it goes by.


I am in NJ and our doctor is from the Princeton/ Monmouth Junction area. She has been our family psych for 17 years. My son began with her when he was 3.5 and as I said he is 20 now. PM me if you want the contact info.