View Full Version : Hubby is against medicating...need advice


Twimm
03-17-10, 04:33 PM
I was recently diagnosed with ADD. I was actually doing research for my daughter who is currently being evaluated (tenatively dx with ADD, but waiting on final evaluation) when I came to the realization that I had an issue too.

Anyway, my daughter is starting to struggle in school (she's in 1st grade). I have had several meetings with her teacher to discuss the issues she's having. Her teacher is wonderful and is trying very hard to keep our daughter engaged, but there's really only so much you can do for a child with ADD when you have 24 other children to interact with as well. Our daughter often forgets what she's supposed to be doing, daydreams, has trouble reading (although since she's been involved with the intense reading program they have at her school, it's gotten much, much better), has trouble not fidgeting, interrupts often, etc. She struggles with any sort of timed test, so although she does well in general with her schoolwork, she's in the lower end of performance in her class in general because of the structure of the evaluations. I'm not too concerned this year because her teacher really does understand what's going on and is supportive of us as we begin the ADD evaluation process. In other words - she's willing to make some accommadations when needed in order to help our daughter stay on top of things in class. My big concern is next year. Much more is expected by 2nd grade and so far, my impression of the 2nd grade teachers at our school is that they are not nearly as flexible and understanding as her current teacher. I think she'll need medications in order to make her way though next year, but my dh is adamantly opposed to medicating her and has even gone so far as to say he doesn't care if she fails in school or not, he will not agree to medicate. While I understand his concerns (it's not like I want to medicate her!), I am really frightened at the prospect of letting her fail and what that might do to her self-esteem and self-image. This is especially important when considering that she has a twin sister who is currently thriving at school.

Any advice??

MGDAD
03-17-10, 06:20 PM
...he doesn't care if she fails in school or not, he will not agree to medicate.

Not to be snarky, but if he does not care about your daughters well being, I see no reason why he should be in the decision making process regarding medication.

So many people argue from a position of ignorance, it is sad. Tell him to do some reading/research about medication, then discuss it with him. Otherwise it is a pointless battle.

Lady Lark
03-17-10, 08:51 PM
Make an appt and have the doctor talk to him. My husband wasn't against medication, but was certainly very very wary of going that route. After the talk with the doc and finding out what some of his issues were we agreed to try without medication, and then if that didn't work give it a shot. Well, surprise surprise we ended up on medication, and he's totally ok with it now.

In fact after about a year there was a brief break where Steven wasn't medicated for a couple week, and in exasperation he shouted, "Did he take his meds today?" When I told him no and why his response was, "Why didn't you keep any of the old pills?!" Apparently seeing the difference, and being reminded of what was before made a convert out of him. :p

Shawver83
03-18-10, 12:56 AM
We had the same attitude at first with my five year old. He's in kindergarten, but has struggled since pre-k with focusing and staying on task. He tested to be very bright, but his performance is at rock bottom. He goes to a small, private Montessori school. We finally had to do something, as they were considering asking us to withdraw him due to his impulsive and disruptive behavior. We tried (and are still trying) neurofeedback, hoping that would solve the problem without meds, but it didn't. We finally started him on Intuniv in December. The results were amazing. He's still struggling and having issues, and I'm still not sure he's going to be able to make it through first grade at the rate he's progressing, but it's an improvement. I can understand how your husband feels, but sometimes you have to look at the larger picture. I'd rather have him take this medication than fail or perform miserably below his potential. We didn't want to put him on stimulants because he's already small for his age and barely eats, and those tend to decrease appetite. Right now he's on a non-stimulant med, but if we ever have to change that, I'm going to have a real problem with it. So it's a hard decision. I still hope we can go without the meds one day, as no one really wants to medicate their child, but sometimes the benefit outweighs the drawbacks. From what I understand, the meds used for ADHD are all very safe, and proven safe for years. Good luck to you!

Dizfriz
03-18-10, 04:01 PM
It is very hard to deal with this adamant anti medication mindset.

Here are a few things that have had a degree of success. Keep in mind that if a person does not arrive at a stance using reason it is very hard to use reason to get them to change their stance.

1. Use others disabilities such as Diabetes as a metaphor. There are a lot of parallels between ADHD and Diabetes. Both are chronic. With both if you take away the interventions, the kid goes back to point zero. With both you can often handle the milder cases without having to resort to medication. If the case is other than mild, then medication is usually indicated. Would the dad refuse your son medication if he was a diabetic? If not, why with ADHD?

Similar parallels with the visually impaired. If a child needs glasses to focus and function in school then would the father refuse to allow him glasses. The ADHD child also needs help so he can focus. Why deny him the help he needs? Both need some kind of assistance to succeed in school and life.

The same with mobility impaired and wheelchairs. What is the purpose of denying the use of a wheelchair to allow the child to go to school and learn?

2. You can try to educate the dad. Here are some sources of possible help here.

If the father denies the existence of ADHD here is the International Consensus Statement on ADHD This is a *very* good handout for those doubting the existence of ADHD
http://www.russellbarkley.org/images/Consensus%202002.pdf

Here is a transcript of a workshop by Russell Barkley. Barkley is considered by most to be, by far, the top person in the field of ADHD. Many, including myself, consider this transcript to be the best write up on ADHD available on the internet. It is dated 2000 but most of the data is still basically pretty good. I do warn however that this is forty pages long and Barkley is information dense. It can be a bit of a struggle to work though so take your time. It is, in my opinion and in the opinion of many others, very much worth the effort. It has probably been of more help to the parents of ADHD children than any other thing I know. I am going to suggest you start with this overview and then download or read the article from there.

http://www.greatschools.net/cgi-bin/showarticle/2054

Here are two videos by Barkley that are more recent. Be aware that these are aimed more at professionals and he throws data fast and non stop. I feel that for many the transcript may be more accessible. The earlier session is on the impact of ADHD as a disorder and and may be more use to you. The later one is more on treatment. Look for a bald guy with a gray beard (grin)

http://www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/mindinstitute/events/dls_recorded_events.html#dls10

3. As suggested by Lady Lark, get someone else involved. The physician, school personnel, preachers, anyone who has a good understanding of ADHD and who the father might listen to. Check them out first to see the level of knowledge.

Good luck. A lot of parents have been through this and it can be quite difficult to deal with a very stubborn parent. I have never found any way to guarantee success but the effort is worthwhile.

Dizfriz

The negative effects of not medicating are often much more severe than the negative effects of medicating.

Twimm
03-18-10, 04:25 PM
Thank you all for you input. I appreciate it. MGDAD, don't worry about being snarky. I feel pretty much the same way. In fact, it may very well come down to our marriage being on the line because of this issue. He is terrified of the possible side effects...cardiac arrest, stunted growth, etc. I don't like the idea either, but you have to balance risk with benefit and he's having a hard time doing that. I've tried to explain that even Tylenol has potential side effects and it's the same with the ADHD drugs - there are potential side effects. I do think talking with the doctor like Lady Lark suggested would have an impact, but at this point he's not even willing to do that. I will definately look at the links you provided Dizfriz...maybe they'll present the information in a way that he's more open to.

Dizfriz
03-18-10, 05:03 PM
He is terrified of the possible side effects...cardiac arrest, stunted growth, etc. I don't like the idea either, but you have to balance risk with benefit and he's having a hard time doing that. Here is some information that may be of help. Ritalin (Methylphenidate) has been around for over 50 years and the Amphetamines (Adderall) has been around over 70. We have a pretty good idea of the side effects of both. Methylphenidate, for example, is considered by most to possibly the safest psychiatric drug on the market. Neither are addictive when taken as directed there is good evidence that kids taking these drugs may be less susceptable to addiction than those who were never medicated.

The Mayo Clinic has a very good write up on ADHD and disucsses the drugs at http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/adhd/DS00275

Here he may be able to find answers to many of his questions since they touch on all of the points you mentioned. Also, he may be more apt to accept this since it comes from a source that has one of the highest reputations in medicine.

Again, good luck and keep on plugging. These kids are worth every bit of effort we can give.

Dizfriz

ADHDTigger
03-18-10, 05:46 PM
Twimm, I don't know if this will help but...

I was a Ritalin kid. The hardest thing for me is that back in the dark ages when I was diagnosed and treated, it was believed that you grew out of it around puberty. So the assistance that Ritalin was to me was withdrawn because I had hit an age marker.

That led to many many years of misdiagnosis and medications that not only didn't help but in many cases were harmful. I became a mistrusting adult as a result of this.

If medication is indicated for your child- and it sounds like it is- there are those who could make the assertion that refusing to allow your child needed medication is akin to child abuse. There is a long time poster here who has detailed his struggle with his ex wife to medicate their son making that very assertion.

I'm 47 years old. Ritalin did not harm me in any way. Not staying on it DID.

RedHairedWitch
03-18-10, 08:20 PM
Get educated about the meds, you and hubby so you make the choice eyes wind open. Also make sure oyu both know it can take a whiel to find the right "mix", and that there is no magic pill.

There are many treatments for ADHD and meds are only one of them, and they do less as the only treament. It may sounds silly to some, but things like diet and lifestyle, bedtimes, excercise and therapy make a big difference.

teacher abc
03-18-10, 11:39 PM
Reading these posts is useful to me...When I was discussing my kid with my best friend, whose son has ADHD, she was so negative about meds. Apparently, he took meds and when he hit adolescence, he started to react badly to them, so she decided it was not worth his doing better in school and took him off. This was one of the first times I could remember where we had differences. I wouldn't say we fought but it was clear that we weren't seeing eye to eye. It is not that I am saying that my kid has to have meds but that it is a possibility (I am guessing even probability, after we get through with the psychiatrist) but she was warning me against them, especially the stimulants. I know she did what she thought was best but I think if it were me, I would have first tried some other type of med (i.e. non stimulant) before I give up.

MGDAD
03-19-10, 01:21 PM
I do think talking with the doctor like Lady Lark suggested would have an impact, but at this point he's not even willing to do that.

This are the statements from people that just drive me crazy. Not willing to learn more from a physician? Sounds more like fear, than logic.

Twimm
03-19-10, 01:35 PM
This are the statements from people that just drive me crazy. Not willing to learn more from a physician? Sounds more like fear, than logic.

It is, I'm afraid. He doesn't deny that she has ADHD. But he truly, honestly believes that if we give her more structure, if we devote more time to helping her with her homework, she'll be fine. I agree that these things will help, and in fact we are doing those things. But we can't sit next to her in class to help her manage her time and we can't force her to focus while there, either. Again, I'm willing to put off medicating as long as she's thriving, but I fear the time when she won't be doing as well is drawing closer. A lot of the reason she's still doing as well as she is is because of her teacher. Next year, that's all going to change.

Lady Lark
03-19-10, 03:50 PM
Behavior modification does help, as long as you are consistent. Once the modification stops, the behavior returns. Ask him if he's still willing to do all of this in high school, or college, cause it's not going away.

Also, remind him that medication isn't a make or break decision. You can stop if you don't like the results (although some medications should be tapered off and not just stopped completely). If you decided to medicate it's not like you can never stop once the first pill has been taken.

JAC1968
03-19-10, 06:11 PM
The hardest part for me as a Father was admitting my child had such an issue and that medication was the answer. I was sad for my child and sad for me. Perhaps your husband is working through all of this and trying to process.

I am happy to report that my 7 year old is doing awesome in school now that he is taking Concerta. It has been a game changer for him.

ADHDTigger
03-19-10, 08:30 PM
The hardest part for me as a Father was admitting my child had such an issue and that medication was the answer. I was sad for my child and sad for me. Perhaps your husband is working through all of this and trying to process.

I am happy to report that my 7 year old is doing awesome in school now that he is taking Concerta. It has been a game changer for him.

I put the situation to my NT partner. His son is grown and is a wonderful young man. His son is also NT.

The first thing my partner saw was that your husband is not wanting to admit that his little girl has a disability. From his perspective, it is as if he failed as a man and as a parent. This makes a whole lot of sense to me because, even though my parents chose medication for me, my father was never good with it and was often inclined to believe that I just wasn't trying. Unfortunately, I knew that and the result was estrangement from both of my parents for many years. Too many. I never had the opportunity to rebuild with my mother before she died.

This situation has struck many chords for me. Some exploration that I haven't yet been willing to do. That is a good thing- I have to resolve my feelings on this.

It may be time to consider some effective couple counseling for you both. Or something. Situational counseling? He needs to understand that not accepting his daughter as she is will have far reaching effects that he just isn't seeing from here. Unfortunately, acceptance is going to include becoming willing to give her all the tools she needs to become an adult.

But we can't sit next to her in class to help her manage her time and we can't force her to focus while there, either.

I'll go you one further. You can't be there through adulthood and the challenges that come then, either. I understand that in his mind, she will be 'Daddy's Little Girl' forever but the day will come when she is 47. If she doesn't have the tools, or knowledge of the tools that she will need in her life, she will flounder. I know this from harsh experience.

If I can help in any way, I will.

OnlyMe
03-19-10, 10:18 PM
It may also help, if it is true for your girl, to raise the stakes. My girl wasn't diagnosed until third grade, by that time she had a really bad reputation with the other kids because she bugged them and couldn't always be trusted to do her part in the games. I think that if she had been medicated earlier she would be in a better position socially, which she now really, really wants. It's getting better now that she's on meds, but she's lost a lot of ground. If your girl is like my girl, he's not just risking academic failure, but social isolation and failure also.

Another analogy that might help him is to ask if he would keep her from sports. While sports have many benefits there is also the risk of head or knee injuries that have life-time consequences.

Would he keep her from dating? Most boys are nice, but some are abusive.

Would he keep her from driving? Automobile accidents can be horrific.

People are unreasonably afraid of risks that they are unfamiliar with, and blase about risks that are common.

sohcahtoa1277
03-19-10, 11:15 PM
Twimm,

Has your husband stated any specific reasons as to why he does not want to employ the use of medicine to treat your daughter? I might suggest speaking with your family physician (both you and your husband) and having a frank discussion where all the treatment options are discussed - medication, counseling, tutoring, special education programs - etc... Also your doctor should be able to educate both of you about the pros and cons of each ADD medication.

Good luck :)

fancherml
03-20-10, 11:29 AM
I was diagnosed at 5 with ADD and my father forbade medication, saying that it would "crush my spirit". My mother wilted and complied with dad. I was not medicated. I am now 39 years old and can only offer this...

My life progressed and turned out so differently than it could have, if only someone would have helped me....

There is not enough space here to tell you my sordid story, but I now have an 8-year old boy with the condition, and he has been on meds since '09. I don't like "medication" just based on what I was taught, but remember vividly how it was like to grow up the way I did. My son doesn't have to go through that. My hubby, who was not supportive in the beginning, sees his now-blossoming son and has "changed his opinion" about meds. (not that I asked it in the first place). FWIW

Michele