View Full Version : My teen was recently diagnosed with ADHD. So many struggles...


igorcarajo
04-27-17, 10:24 AM
We have a teenage daughter in the 8th grade who was diagnosed with ADHD about two months ago. The diagnosis was made by a psychologist who conducted an assessment. In this case, the ADHD manifests more as inattentiveness than hyperactivity. I would describe it as a mental fog, for lack of a better analogy. This kid has always been quite stubborn. She enjoys sports and making things (like woodworking) much more than academics. She thinks that academics are useless. In the previous two years in middle school, she somewhat struggled but pulled through. This year she's falling through the cracks. She has given up on academics. She thinks she's dumb. After the diagnosis, two things happened: first, the school agreed to put her on a 504 plan, which I must say so far doesn't seem to have made any difference at all. Second, we spoke with her pediatrician and he prescribed the generic version of Adderall XR 10 mg. She took that for a couple of weeks. She said she didn't notice any changes at all, and her school performance also didn't change. We spoke with the pediatrician again, and he changed the dose to 20 mg. She's been on that dose for two weeks now, and still nothing seems to have changed.

That's where we are currently. I feel pretty lost. I don't think her doctor cares much. I don't think the teachers and counselors at her school care. Part of it may be because in the overall scheme of things, my kid is probably a small blip in their radar. My wife has been struggling a lot, and so have I. Her tendency is to try to "crack the whip", except that it doesn't work with our ADHD kid. It just doesn't. That produces a lot of frustration. The kid's attitude toward this whole thing doesn't help either, like at all. In the past we took her to a couple of different counselors for weekly chats, and she wouldn't talk to them. When I took her to the psychological assessment, she went very reluctantly. She is not happy about having to take medicine. She doesn't want to deal with this condition.

I have been feeling a lot of anxiety lately. After the diagnosis, my wife mentioned a couple of people that she knew with ADHD kids who had been put on Adderall, and it had been a "night-and-day" change according to the parents. I guess I foolishly hoped that we would get the same outcome. I don't know if I should find a different pediatrician, or try to find a pediatric psychiatrist instead. I'm from another country, and the whole medical care approach in the USA frustrates me. Doctors seem very "transactional". They come into your little white room, see you for five minutes, and try to move on as soon as possible. If my kid is failing so many classes in middle school, I don't want to imagine what high school will be like. I wish I could find a support group for parents. Any advise would be appreciated. Thanks.

Pilgrim
04-27-17, 01:15 PM
I'm not an expert but it's a difficult problem for you. Every case of ADD manifests different in different people. Like you I would be wondering ' so what happens now '. Something to note, medication does make you feel different. I became so depressed that it became urgent so I would have tried many things. That feeling of feeling different isn't necessarily a bad thing. Hope this helps

Little Missy
04-27-17, 02:07 PM
I havn't said this in a long time:

Oh my God, you're daughter is so lucky you all got this somewhat taken care of at a young age!:)

Caco3girl
04-27-17, 02:54 PM
I could have written your post! Last year my son was diagnosed with ADHD, the inattentive kind. He skated through school, did okay, and 6th grade it got harder, by 8th grade he was failing everything except for advanced math. he told several teachers that he was too stupid to go to school and he was going to drop out in 10th grade when he could.

We tried about 6 different medicines and dosages until we got one that worked, and it WAS a miracle night and day. Your child has what is called "brain fog", mine has it too. There is a lot of interesting information on it out there, and it really is a fog, an impenetrable fog. My son is on 40 mg of the Adderal XR, 10 and 20 didn't do anything for him. Concerta worked as well at 54mg...also 20 mg adderal IR in the morning and 20mg in the afternoon worked very well too but was a bit problematic with the school thing.

My son's pediatrician gave up when nothing worked. We had to go to a psychiatrist and yes it's a 5 minute assessment meeting and *poof* different drug tried. I don't think he was every on one for more than a week that we didn't see SOME improvement. It sounds like your doctor is taking too long between changes.

I convinced my son to take the medicine because he needs decent grades to get into college and he needs to get into college to continue with his baseball. Without baseball I am not sure this would have gone as well, but things are getting better.

The 504 did nothing for him....all the little steps the school tried did NOTHING. Finally got an IEP this past January that has him in classes with TWO teachers (one to teach one to get kids to focus on the teacher) and now he has A's and B's and is actually a happy kid who is confident in his abilities.

I could write a book on the subject but feel free to message me at any time since we have such similar sounding issues and kids.

jlynn30
04-28-17, 12:57 PM
I do not have a teen son (my ADHD son is 7) but I do have some insight on the diagnosing/finding good doctor front.

My advice would be to find a new doctor; whether that is a new pediatrician or a pediatric psychiatrist. The key is to find one that will fully listen to you and your daughter, especially at her age. :) We have been through 4 stimulants before landing on our 5th one. The 5th time is the charm?!?! It doesn't happen so quickly for everyone, so don't feel too discouraged!

I don't have much advice on how to get her to take it, but hopefully the right doctor will be able to help. My son is still pretty young, but he is very defiant, especially before he gets meds in the morning. When we found this last one, he actually asked me take it the third morning (something he's never done). When I asked him why he wanted to take it; he told me it's because it made him "happy". So, maybe finding the right one will make her feel a "better version of herself" and she'll want to take it.

Good luck.

dvdnvwls
04-28-17, 01:18 PM
I haven't read your whole post yet, but you're right about two things for sure: Girls with ADHD too often get lost in the shuffle at school because they can be quiet and not disrupt the proceedings, and "cracking the whip" is not just useless, it's actually worse than useless.

sarahsweets
04-28-17, 01:50 PM
We have a teenage daughter in the 8th grade who was diagnosed with ADHD about two months ago. The diagnosis was made by a psychologist who conducted an assessment. In this case, the ADHD manifests more as inattentiveness than hyperactivity. I would describe it as a mental fog, for lack of a better analogy. This kid has always been quite stubborn. She enjoys sports and making things (like woodworking) much more than academics. She thinks that academics are useless. In the previous two years in middle school, she somewhat struggled but pulled through. This year she's falling through the cracks. She has given up on academics. She thinks she's dumb.

I recommend seeing a psychiatrist. They can affirm the diagnosis and have the knowledge to manage medications.


After the diagnosis, two things happened: first, the school agreed to put her on a 504 plan, which I must say so far doesn't seem to have made any difference at all. Second, we spoke with her pediatrician and he prescribed the generic version of Adderall XR 10 mg. She took that for a couple of weeks. She said she didn't notice any changes at all, and her school performance also didn't change. We spoke with the pediatrician again, and he changed the dose to 20 mg. She's been on that dose for two weeks now, and still nothing seems to have changed.

It would be nice to think that her school cared enough about her to make help more available but thats not how schools work for the most part. She needs an IEP, her grades clearly demonstrate that and she is not thriving in school with the 504.
You need to send a letter requesting a formal eval in writing to all her teachers, her guidance counselor, the principal and the child study team/ disability services or whatever they are called. You need to send it return receipt and certified. Then you will have proof that they got it and BY LAW they have 60 days to get the show on the road. If they dont you have a right to some kind of medidation.
Since she is not burning down the school or getting into fist fights, its easier for them to shuffle her through and not be as persistent with what she needs to succeed. In the meantime become a huge pain in the as* with her teachers and force them to use her 504.

[That's where we are currently. I feel pretty lost. I don't think her doctor cares much. I don't think the teachers and counselors at her school care. Part of it may be because in the overall scheme of things, my kid is probably a small blip in their radar.
Her doctor doesnt care because he has a huge caseload of patients from newborns-on and isnt trained to deal with mental health and learning issues. He is there to diagnose, treat and wrap up a medical problem all in one with a bow on top. He doesnt have the time or experience to do much more.

My wife has been struggling a lot, and so have I. Her tendency is to try to "crack the whip", except that it doesn't work with our ADHD kid. It just doesn't. That produces a lot of frustration. The kid's attitude toward this whole thing doesn't help either, like at all. In the past we took her to a couple of different counselors for weekly chats, and she wouldn't talk to them. When I took her to the psychological assessment, she went very reluctantly. She is not happy about having to take medicine. She doesn't want to deal with this condition.

No offense but you have to help your wife to squash the cracking the whip mentality or she will be contributing to a lifetime of poor self esteem and confidence. Not to mention thaty drugs and alcohol look more attractive when you feel that way.

I have been feeling a lot of anxiety lately. After the diagnosis, my wife mentioned a couple of people that she knew with ADHD kids who had been put on Adderall, and it had been a "night-and-day" change according to the parents. I guess I foolishly hoped that we would get the same outcome. I don't know if I should find a different pediatrician, or try to find a pediatric psychiatrist instead. I'm from another country, and the whole medical care approach in the USA frustrates me. Doctors seem very "transactional". They come into your little white room, see you for five minutes, and try to move on as soon as possible. If my kid is failing so many classes in middle school, I don't want to imagine what high school will be like. I wish I could find a support group for parents. Any advise would be appreciated. Thanks.
You deserve to be heard and she deserves the best care but you have to advocate it. She is ENTITLED to a free and appropriate education. Google PRISE and see what it says.

igorcarajo
04-28-17, 06:48 PM
Thank you so much for the responses.

igorcarajo
05-05-17, 08:15 AM
How do I find a good pediatric psychiatrist in Austin, TX? Any recommendations?

namazu
05-05-17, 12:30 PM
How do I find a good pediatric psychiatrist in Austin, TX? Any recommendations?
Take a look at the Texas referrals section (http://www.addforums.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=203). If you don't see what you're looking for there, consider posting a request in that section for local referrals.

If there is a CHADD chapter in your area, the people in it may be another source of good suggestions. It looks like there was a chapter active in Austin at least as of last year, though the website isn't up-to-date: <cite class="_Rm">www . chadd . net / 482

</cite>

Lunacie
05-05-17, 07:42 PM
One thing that hasn't been mentioned yet . . . not all generics versions of
Adderall are created equal.

It might be worth trying a different manufacturer before trying a different
medication.

It's worth finding a psychiatrist to oversee the medication trials.

Caco3girl
05-08-17, 08:27 AM
How do I find a good pediatric psychiatrist in Austin, TX? Any recommendations?

In today's day and age it's best to go through your insurance company. Go to their website and look for an adolescent psychiatrist within 25 miles of you. Then start calling to see who is even taking new patients and that there aren't any weird things.

For example the first call I made looked and sounded like a normal place but it turned out to be attached to the county services office so all new patients were taken Thursday's only from 8-11am first come first serve....that wasn't what I was really looking for.

igorcarajo
05-10-17, 04:45 PM
Things have been going from bad to worse in my house. My daughter has a month of school left, is failing all her academic classes, and has given up. She doesn't want help. I feel overwhelmed by anxiety and grief all the time now. I feel that my mental health is deteriorating rapidly, and I don't know what to do about it. Lately, when I see somebody smiling on the street, I'm like "I used to know what that felt like".

Caco3girl
05-11-17, 11:36 AM
Things have been going from bad to worse in my house. My daughter has a month of school left, is failing all her academic classes, and has given up. She doesn't want help. I feel overwhelmed by anxiety and grief all the time now. I feel that my mental health is deteriorating rapidly, and I don't know what to do about it. Lately, when I see somebody smiling on the street, I'm like "I used to know what that felt like".

I understand. I was SOOO tired of having conversions with the school...your son did this, he's going to ISS...your son is in my office again, looks like ISS....your son can't keep getting sent to the office, after 3 it's ISS...he wasn't being destructive or violent he was just being immature...but I hated when my phone rang and it said it was the school.

One day it rang and I had steeled myself, ready for the attack, but it was the school nurse, so I let my guard down. She was calling to let me know that my son had cough drops with him, which they considered a drug, and if he was caught with them again he would be sent to ISS....and I burst into tears in the middle of work.

Meanwhile my son was failing everything, except math and gym, and he was telling his teachers he was just too stupid for school. It became overwhelming for him. He would do a project wrong in science and since there were only 4 grades at the time in the books it would bring him down to a failing grade...then he would go into English and bomb a test because he was still upset about not following the directions on the science project, poof bad grade in English...and it just snowballed.

He agreed to take the medicine because he didn't want to have to repeat the 8th grade...seriously, that was the ONLY reason why, he didn't want to stay in 8th grade as his friends moved onto 9th. The school granted the IEP, and between the co-taught classes and the medicine he really did start the semester with a focus I hadn't seen before. About 3 weeks in I asked him how hard school had been lately, he thought about it and said "Not too bad actually", I said "You do realize you have straight A's right? That turning in your homework and being mentally present during class is half the battle to getting good grades?"...he was actually shocked, he had no idea....and he has kept it up. School ends in 2 weeks, he currently has a 92, 96, 82, 88, 98, 91 in his classes. I couldn't be happier!

Find the right mix of support and medicine and your daughters world could seriously change practically over night! Good luck!

Caco3girl
05-11-17, 11:42 AM
FYI, my son also had the brain fog. Concerta 54mg cleared it as does 40mg Adderal XR, and so did 20mg adderal in the morning and another 20 in the afternoon. It did take about 3 weeks for the fog to almost entirely lift, but on day one my son said it was easier to understand the teachers directions than it usually was. You can test this over the summer too. Write out a list of chores, an example would be:

1. Clean your room, get out dirty laundry, dust, make your bed, take all dishes up stairs.
2. Clean your bathroom, sink, mirror, toilet, lay out fresh towels

etc.... my son would have read clean your room...and done it however he thought he should, he wouldn't have read the list of what I wanted clean. With the medicine he actually does the entire list now, as it was written. I have actually moved onto just saying "clean your room" and he knows now what all that really entails and does it. I swear, it is night and day.

sarahsweets
05-16-17, 06:26 AM
This may seem drastic but I would look into what it would take to homeschool her until you can get her to a passing point for this grade. They have online schools and most districts have basic requirements that you can meet in your own way. There is no need so subject her anymore this year to what she is going through IMO.

Vandeluca
05-24-17, 10:02 AM
Hi this is a silly question...When you all speak of 'brain fog' does it wax and wane? Is it jus them being forgetful or is it not understanding or comprehending?? What exactly is brain fog? Thanks..

Caco3girl
05-24-17, 10:42 AM
Hi this is a silly question...When you all speak of 'brain fog' does it wax and wane? Is it jus them being forgetful or is it not understanding or comprehending?? What exactly is brain fog? Thanks..

Brain fog did not come and go for my son. Starting in 5th grade I noticed him becoming more and more spacey. It progressively got worse, by 8th grade he couldn't follow the conversation, he would walk into a room and forget why he was there DAILY, he gave off the appearance that he was stoned. HUH? WHAT? *eyes squinting*...I don't understand...all thing he said hourly. Couldn't follow the teachers directions, couldn't remember when he tests, or even what he ate for lunch. It was very bad in his case. Then he would get so frustrated because he wanted to remember, he also wanted to talk about it, but he couldn't even find the words to express himself half the time, then he got mad at himself for being "stupid". It was truly horrible.

After about a month on the medication I started to realize he wasn't as spacey. He didn't understand why I was telling him to do things 3 different times and having him repeat it back to me. It started to frustrate him, I had to consciously stop myself from doing it. I had adapted to his brain fog and developed ways to get through, but to him I was talking to him like he was an idiot.

It's been over a year now and he's so much better, he's got a great personality and sense of humor that just didn't come through before. It's been truly wonderful!

I did a search when I first heard the term in relation to my son, this thread was great:

http://www.addforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=121123&highlight=brain+fog

Vandeluca
05-24-17, 12:03 PM
Thanks good explanation....I am going to check out that link.

But after reading your story....It made me further think....If he had adhd all along what made it get 'worse' at that time or was it just that concepts got heavier, or you just got tired (mentally) of working around his issue and you finally realized what was there all the time? I am just curious what made it (brain fog) explode like that...as I am assuming one is born with adhd so it's always there..??

Lunacie
05-24-17, 01:11 PM
Thanks good explanation....I am going to check out that link.

But after reading your story....It made me further think....If he had adhd all along what made it get 'worse' at that time or was it just that concepts got heavier, or you just got tired (mentally) of working around his issue and you finally realized what was there all the time? I am just curious what made it (brain fog) explode like that...as I am assuming one is born with adhd so it's always there..??

Several things can make ADHD and brain fog worse.

Things like more stress ... often noticed when kids reach 5th or 6th grade
(middle school). The work gets harder and the teacher helps less because
most kids are developing better self-regulation skills. Some may make it
through that change fine and crash when they start high school, or even
college. Some do fine until they start a job with a lot of responsibility.

Changing jobs to something that's harder or takes skills that are impaired
by adhd can be overwhelming and cause adhd symptoms to worsen.

Hormones, at puberty and other times, often make adhd symptoms worse.
Some women find that their stimulant meds don't seem to work for one
week during their cycle.

Allergies can make adhd symptoms worse, as can changes in sleep or diet
or exercise. Getting sick or going through a difficult situation can also make
the symptoms worse for awhile.

Caco3girl
05-24-17, 02:22 PM
Excellent points Lunacie.

Why I didn't know sooner...well the short version is he's my oldest, I didn't know what was "normal". Boys are all space cadets, and all teenage boys are idiots is what I heard when I asked people about it. Everyone said "Oh, he will grow out of it, just give it time"...but it kept getting worse. In second grade he was a typical kid, by 8th grade he was talking asking when he could drop out of school because he was too stupid to go.

What made the brain fog worse in my opinion was what Lunacie pointed out, the teachers and puberty. I see it with my second grader, the teachers give them all these hand outs, give them tests only on Friday's, no weekend homework, and they pretty much walk the kid through step by step of how to do projects....it gets less in third grade, that's when they get graded for real for the first time. Then in 4th grade there is even less support. 5th grade, hey they are trying to prepare the kids for middle school we can't hold their hands..etc. Plus the subject matter gets more difficult. We aren't just talking about the color wheel or See Jane ride the bus, thse are taken off the GA school standards website:

-Discuss how the issues of states’ rights and slavery increased tensions between the North and South.
-Describe the purpose of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments.
-Describe the role of the cattle trails in the late 19th century; include the Black Cowboys of Texas, the Great Western Cattle Trail, and the Chisholm Trail.

The subject matter got WAY more intense!

My son also really started growing around the end of 5th grade so I assume his hormones were overflowing all of 5th grade. I have heard often that puberty intensifies some ADHD issues.

Vandeluca
05-24-17, 03:23 PM
Ok Thanks for all of this info. I think I am at the stage now with a 13 yo girl as well but am just starting to realize it... (OP want to get them together?? lol)

I am glad I had time to check in today:) I get your comment about the "don't know any differently."...I hear you. I do wonder what normal is!! She has been so sharp and still is in a lot of ways, but sometimes I ask her questions and I am thinking "how do you not know this" or "why didn't you ask this". etc. She is still fairly organized but I see little signs that she may have an avalanche coming if I don't start to reign this in. IT is not helping that she is going to bed late bc she is so busy..But maybe it is a vicious cycle things are just taking her long.

Thank you again...

TylerDurdon
06-06-17, 09:17 AM
Welcome to the jungle. We've been through 4 stimulants, 3 non-stimulants,. 4 therapists and we've probably driven several school guidance counselors to seek other employment. My son is in an anxiety/depression loop right now which manifests in excitement about new things, then dismay and intense anger when he can't do them, to a cycle of intense negativity and depression where he constantly reinforces the worst possible scenarios. Hang in there -- work privately with the same therapist that you use for your kids. You need to support your own sanity while you help them work through this.

The biggest mistake that I made was assuming that 1) all I had to do was send him to the therapist and it would get fixed. 2) He would eventually just "get over it." They're ADHD forever. There's no magic pill.

good luck