View Full Version : What questions do I ask son about how new meds make him feel?

09-22-16, 02:23 PM
I have a 14 year old son with ADHD. New doctor is attempting to go old school, since 3 extended release versions didn't exactly work, and she has prescribed 20mg Ritalin.

This is my text conversation with my son...I obviously don't know the questions to ask.

Him: I took the medicine and I feel different, but I don't know if it's a good or bad different.
Me: What is different?
Him: I don't know, like I feel more focused but my head is also just like blank, it's weird.
Me: Blank how? How does it usually feel?
Him: I'm only thinking about this one thing, but I'm not thinking about other things, just this one thing.
Me: Okay buddy, try to remember when you stop feeling blank and different.

What are the questions I am suppose to be asking him?

09-22-16, 08:58 PM
I don't have any answers...just curious to hear what others say as we're starting a meds trial next month and I'm nervous...

09-22-16, 10:04 PM
The quiet mind question is a good one. Without stimulants I am constantly and neverendingly thinking. A quiet mind is a good thing.

If your son has sloppy/lazy speech it might be improved by stimulants.

His handwriting might change.

He might be able to do complex tasks faster and easier.

His working memory might improve. Dual n-back can be used to test this.

He might become more aware of himself and others. Doesn't happen to everyone.

His perception of time might change. Time might pass painstakingly slow.

You could test his reading. Without stimulants I jump all over the place and reading is a mess. For example can he sit and read a chapter of a book. Does he read each line in a linear manner or does he skip through the lines.

09-22-16, 11:42 PM
I will start by saying I am no expert and I dont have a lot of experience. I also dont have ADHD but my husband and son do. I think the problem with asking questions like that is that people with ADHD are different to begin with. I mean they were born thinking a different way than most so it cant really be compared. They have no reference as to what it "should" feel like.
My husband took Ritalin as a child and he said something similar to what your son said. He said that it helped him focus but it made him feel like a zombie because his mind felt blank. His normal was lots of things running through his brain all the time and the Ritalin made it all stop except one thing. He said he did not like the feeling but it did help him get his school work done better. He actually stopped taking it before high school because he could not handle the "zombie" feeling.

My son (10) recently started Adderall and he has tried to describe how he feels with it but he doesnt use the blank/zombie word at all. He says it helps him focus and that it felt a little weird at first but it doesnt feel weird anymore (he has only been on a dose that he could feel at all for 5 weeks).

My husband is trying to get his doctor to let him try Adderall after all these years. Back when he was a child they only offered Ritalin (i think that it might have been all that they had at the time).

I think I would just ask if he feels ok while using the meds. If the feeling bothers him. Rather than trying to have him explain it to you which can be very difficult, focus on if there is a bad feeling which would mean its not a good fit. If the meds are working and he is not bothered by any feeling than it doesnt really matter how it feels to him right? That's how I have been looking at it. Hope that helps a little and good luck

09-23-16, 05:08 AM
Kids can have issues with self evaluation. They just dont have the experience with thinking about how they feel on the meds because they have lived a life off meds. I know for me, I used to keep a notebook and write down my observations and any feedback from teachers. I also wrote down what my son would say about the meds, even if it was vague or repetitive.
Most of the feedback you will get will sound a lot like what your son said,at least until he is better at realizing the difference between what life is like off meds and then on meds for awhile.

09-23-16, 07:40 AM
So maybe I shouldn't be trying to gauge if it is working, but rather gauge how he is feeling? So today I should ask does the feeling bother him, or is it okay?

He is out of school this week so I can't ask his teachers if he seems more coherent. His biggest issue is this brain fog he lives in....think stoned surfer dude to the nth degree. He's not really present in this reality, he only visits on occasion.

09-23-16, 01:25 PM
"Was it as good for you as it was for me?" :lol: j/k

It sounds from your son's response that it is working. It's clearing his mind so he can focus on a single task, a problem ADHD people have a problem with.

09-24-16, 07:16 AM
Try reading a page of something together out loud?


09-26-16, 01:13 PM
Sounds like when I went on Adderall for the first time, at age 46.

My mind was so stunningly quiet ... without the constant chatter than I was thrown off balance for a bit ...

I simply was not used to a quieter mind that wasn't racing with thoughts ...

You're asking the right questions ... Kids aren't the most articulate about stuff like describing how the medication affects you ...

But if you keep observing and perhaps talk to teachers and listen to him (even when he's not specifically talking about meds or ADHD), you'll get a sense of how the med is affecting him.

Note: some meds quiet my mind ... some meds give me more get-up-and-go energy ... some do a little of each ...

I think I can say this: if he was miserable on the med, he'll be able to tell you that pretty clearly ...

You are doing all the right things ... Let yourself observe and listen and you'll come up with the answers you want ... about how the med is affecting him.