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Old 03-31-14, 04:01 PM
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I did something I feel kind of guilty about, but now know the meds work...

After taking meds for ADHD--PI for a few months now, every day including weekends, I decided not to give them to my son (age 8) on Sunday. The only side effects so far are a lack of appetite during the day and trouble falling asleep (but melatonin helps that so it's not a problem). But recently my son has also seemed a little more grumpy than usual sometimes. He had a very grumpy day on Saturday -- he was just irritable about everything. We were at a farmer's market and they had a puppy auction, and there were little puppies (Labs, etc.) that people could pet. He loves dogs, but wouldn't even pet the puppies. I just felt sad for him that he was in such a bad mood, which seems to be happening more often lately.

At home, I really don't notice a difference with the medication. His ADHD is quite mild anyway, and it's primarily inattentive, so I'm sure that's why. Even with homework, meds don't seem to help at home. So because of the mild side effects, I wondered if they really made a difference at school. Off meds, he'd have good and bad days/weeks. His teacher said she noticed some difference, but I thought maybe it might be a placebo effect or her not wanting to discourage us from trying meds.

So this morning, now that my son can swallow his Biphentin without me opening it, I took an empty capsule, put a few grains of sugar in it, and he took it. This might seem wrong to some people but he is having a few side effects and I needed to know how much the meds were actually helping him at school. There was no harm (physically) in doing that. I did feel guilty about being dishonest with my son, but his ADHD is not severe enough that it would cause big problems at school, and in the long run I thought it was something I needed to do for him. I still feel kind of guilty about it.

His teacher writes happy or sad faces four times a day in his planner to help us communicate about his behaviour. The last few months it's been all happy faces (those were not unusual without meds too though, sometimes). But today he got two happy faces and two neutral faces! And I did notice he was a bit more hyper/distracted when he got off the bus. (Hyperactivity is not the main issue but it is a small issue sometimes).

This is great news to me. It shows that there is a noticeable difference at school when he doesn't take the medication. He's still just taking a low dose and we're going to try to increase it in a couple of weeks at his next pediatrician appointment and we'll see how that goes. Now that I know it does seem to be helping at school, I feel better about this.

On the weekends now, I'm going to pay closer attention to his behaviour, and give him meds some days but not other days to see the difference (not just with meds but with any side effects, like his mood). On the Sunday when I didn't give him meds, he seemed happier and we didn't have any problems (ADHD problems). So for him, it may be that he needs them mostly at school.
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Old 03-31-14, 04:11 PM
dvdnvwls dvdnvwls is offline
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Re: I did something I feel kind of guilty about, but now know the meds work...

There is also the question of whether him being reliably the same every day (i.e. using medication consistently in the same way regardless of weekends and holidays) helps him to cope.
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Old 03-31-14, 04:15 PM
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Re: I did something I feel kind of guilty about, but now know the meds work...

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Originally Posted by dvdnvwls View Post
There is also the question of whether him being reliably the same every day (i.e. using medication consistently in the same way regardless of weekends and holidays) helps him to cope.
I was thinking of that too. I'm going to start not giving him his meds maybe one day per weekend for the reasons I said, but also I'll see if that affects him at school. If I don't even notice a difference in him without meds at home though, I don't think it'll effect the days when he is medicated. But you're right, it is something to think about.
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Old 03-31-14, 04:48 PM
dvdnvwls dvdnvwls is offline
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Re: I did something I feel kind of guilty about, but now know the meds work...

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I was thinking of that too. I'm going to start not giving him his meds maybe one day per weekend for the reasons I said, but also I'll see if that affects him at school. If I don't even notice a difference in him without meds at home though, I don't think it'll effect the days when he is medicated. But you're right, it is something to think about.
Yes... I don't want to be seeming too subtle or strange about this, but how it works internally for himself, regardless of judgment of parents and teachers, is what I was referring to. You not noticing a difference in his performance or mood isn't the same as him feeling subjectively the same to himself day in and day out.
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Old 03-31-14, 08:24 PM
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Re: I did something I feel kind of guilty about, but now know the meds work...

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Originally Posted by dvdnvwls View Post
Yes... I don't want to be seeming too subtle or strange about this, but how it works internally for himself, regardless of judgment of parents and teachers, is what I was referring to. You not noticing a difference in his performance or mood isn't the same as him feeling subjectively the same to himself day in and day out.
Thanks for the clarification. That bolded part makes sense to me -- the way I'm interpreting it, you're saying that it might be difficult for him if he feels different from one day to the next. That's a very good point. I guess the flipside for me is -- is it better for him to feel the same every day if he feels worse (bad mood) or is it better for him to feel different on the weekends/holidays, but at least partially in a good way (happier). I don't even know yet if I'm going to give it to him on the weekends/holidays yet; I'd like to see if I notice a difference with/without meds for everyday stuff and special activities (sports, etc.). He did have bad moods before meds, so it could be unrelated to the meds, which is what I'd like to know. And, keeping in mind with what you said -- I'm going to make sure I ask him if he wants to take the meds on the weekends, and ask how he feels during the day with/without meds.
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Old 03-31-14, 08:30 PM
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Re: I did something I feel kind of guilty about, but now know the meds work...

I think what dvd is saying, is that you might not be actually realizing what your child is feeling, as he may have difficulty explaining. (or showing)

Just because you don't see the symptoms(off meds), or see improvement(on meds), doesn't mean that there isn't any.

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Old 04-01-14, 04:33 AM
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Re: I did something I feel kind of guilty about, but now know the meds work...

If the majority of the time, meds help then maybe taking a break on the weekends might work. I am usually anti med break but in some cases with kids, med breaks can help. As he gets older and hits adolescent territory, consistency with his meds will offer him the best chance for success. I know for me, I need meds everyday because my adhd is a 24/7 kind of thing. Its always a trial and error thing with meds and children.
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Old 04-01-14, 02:01 PM
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Re: I did something I feel kind of guilty about, but now know the meds work...

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Originally Posted by sarahsweets View Post
If the majority of the time, meds help then maybe taking a break on the weekends might work. I am usually anti med break but in some cases with kids, med breaks can help. As he gets older and hits adolescent territory, consistency with his meds will offer him the best chance for success. I know for me, I need meds everyday because my adhd is a 24/7 kind of thing. Its always a trial and error thing with meds and children.
I am personally not as against medication breaks and think it should be considered on a case-by-case and situation-by-situation basis.

There are certain times when I recommend against medication breaks. Two examples are a) there are safety concerns when the person is not medicated, and b) the person "resets" if they take a break for a few days such that, when they resume, they re-experience side effects that they did when they first started.

There are certain times when I recommend medication breaks. For example, if the person desperately needs to put on weight but simply can't do it while on meds, then a medication break is appropriate and arguably necessary.

Beyond that, it's a case-by-case and situation-by-situation basis. If they have a playdate, I would medicate because one instant of impulsivity can undo 90% of the positive relationships they've developed. But if it's a day off when they can "afford" to have a day with full-blown ADHD, then I don't see a problem with not medicating.

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Old 04-01-14, 06:12 PM
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Re: I did something I feel kind of guilty about, but now know the meds work...

My middle child has the milder ADHD in our family. Sometimes I will forget to give her meds on the weekend. The next day she is a cranky mess after taking her meds. I know stimulates only last 8-12 hours or so but skipping a day seems to really mess her up for some reason. Just thought I'd share my own observations with my kid.
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Old 04-02-14, 08:32 AM
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Re: I did something I feel kind of guilty about, but now know the meds work...

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Just because you don't see the symptoms(off meds), or see improvement(on meds), doesn't mean that there isn't any.

This is actually the main point of my post!
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Old 04-02-14, 08:36 AM
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Re: I did something I feel kind of guilty about, but now know the meds work...

Just a small update -- after one weekend day and one school day off meds, I gave my son his meds again on Tuesday and he got all happy faces at school and seemed to have a good school day. So, two things: 1) for him, a couple of days off meds don't seem to have any impact on the next day on meds; and 2) the meds do seem to be helping him at school even when I don't see an effect at home.
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Old 04-02-14, 09:28 AM
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Re: I did something I feel kind of guilty about, but now know the meds work...

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Originally Posted by messyme View Post
Just a small update -- after one weekend day and one school day off meds, I gave my son his meds again on Tuesday and he got all happy faces at school and seemed to have a good school day. So, two things: 1) for him, a couple of days off meds don't seem to have any impact on the next day on meds; and 2) the meds do seem to be helping him at school even when I don't see an effect at home.
Just wanted to mention, I also don't see a huge difference at home when my son is taking medication; however, typically, I am not requiring the same sorts of tasks required of him at school and nor is there the same amount of distraction that you would find in a classroom full of kids.
There is no doubt that medication helps him in school...
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Old 04-03-14, 02:36 PM
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Re: I did something I feel kind of guilty about, but now know the meds work...

When my son was on medication, we were doing weekend breaks. Mostly so he would eat, and catch up on sleep. But I started noticing that Mondays were really hard for him. Almost as if he had to adjust to the medication all over again. After a few really bad Mondays, I decided to stop the weekend breaks. It was just too much for him.
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