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Old 03-29-03, 11:06 PM
Jrscrimson Jrscrimson is offline
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Question Help

Hello everyone!

My husband and I have been reading your post s and they are very helpful. We are currently trying to determine if our 8 year old son needs to go on meds. I am pro he is con. let me give you a little insight and any suggestions are very welcome.

My eight year old step son is having alot of problems in school, daycare, church etc. He has been in therapy this time for approx. 6 months. He was previously in therapy for over a year. His therapist has diagnosed him as ODD, but he does have ADD characteristics. His biological mother is also bipolar, so there is a chance he could also follow this gene pattern.

We have tried almost everything. His behavior is so frustrating, but we know we need to do something now and not wait until later.

i hope you all can give us some insight.

I work in the juvenile parole field and i see ED kids on a daily basis. I know he has issues. We are just trying to do what is best for him. The doctor has prescribed Strattera for him. This is such a new drug that it is hard to get a good feel on it.

Thanks for any input you can give.

Christi and JR
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Old 03-30-03, 05:05 PM
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Christi and JR,

Welcome to the ADD Forums!

From what you've written, your son has not been diagnosed with ADD, but with ODD. While he may be exhibiting some ADD-like symptoms, ODD and other disorders share many of these same symptoms. Here is an excellent article on ADD & ODD in kids.

Here is another good article on ODD and medications, which include Clonidine, Risperidal, Zyprexa and Seroquel.

Since stimulant medications (i.e. Ritalin, Adderal, Concerta) can actually aggravate an ODD or bipolar child, I am encouraged by your son's doctor's medication choice - with the following reservation: While Strattera is the first non-stimulant medication to be approved by the FDA for the treatment of ADD/ADHD, I don't believe there is much research available yet on the benefits of Strattera on a person with ODD.

With all that being said, however, your son's doctor may feel that Strattera may help with some of the ADD-like symptoms, and he may be right.

From my personal experience, I only wish my parents had put me on medication for my ADD when they had the chance back in Kindergarten (or any time after that). I would never wish my childhood, or the suffering I had to endure until I was properly diagnosed and put on medication nearly 12 years ago.

Here's an analogy that seems to work with some people who have a hard time understanding why one would put their child on meds:

If you drive a car in the snow without snow tires...what happens to the car? It slips, it slides, it moves all over the road. You can feel the wheels turning, you know you're giving the car gas, you can even hear the engine roar...but you move in sometimes unpredictable directions - usually with disappointing and sometimes dangerous results.

So what do you do? What are your choices? Stay off the road? Then you really get nowhere. The choice seems obvious now...you need something to give your car better traction...to help get a grip. Whether that's snow tires, or chains, or what have you.

Meds are often the traction control needed to help a child stay on the road, to help 'get a grip' and live up to their potential. Meds are not always the answer, but the difference here is....your child cant step out of his "car". He lives inside it everyday. Its up to you, as a parent, to make sure that your child gets whatever is necessary to live up to his or her potential.

I hope this helps, and please excuse the long reply!

Once again....Welcome
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Old 04-09-03, 10:16 PM
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Hi Christi and JR-

Medication is a difficult decision to make, however, Big has given you a good analogy as to why medication can be the right answer.

I think the key to getting comfortable with any decision with regards to medications and our children is to gain a full understanding of the diagnosis, and agreement with any diagnosis that our children receive. The best way to raise your of level of understanding regarding what a clinician is diagnosing our children with is to research most of the neurobiological anomolies that are comorbid with ODD.

You mention Bipolar in the family and ADHD like symptoms, there are many, many issues that can look like this, ODD being just one of them. That being said, it is generally accepted that if it is Early Onset Bipolar, the earlier you catch it and treat it the better the outcome and the less devastating the effect. The only real way to treat Bipolar is with medication, therapy is needed as well, but Bipolar, like most of these conditions is a chemical imbalance in the brain and the only thing that will correct the brain chemistry is medication.

Strattera is classified as an anti-depressant, it is a norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor. It was originally developed as an anti-depressant but in initial testing it proved to be more effective in treating ADHD than depression. This could be hopeful news for your son, as ODD is often treated with anti-depressants. However, just as you said, Strattera is a very new medication and things are being learned almost daily regarding it's effects now that it is being used by the general population. Just recently it has been acknowledged that you should not take Paxil or Prozac with Strattera, as they use the same enzyme pathway in the liver, therefore cancelling out the effect of each other to some extent.

I don't know whether I have given you any advice here, perhaps just more to chew on while you make this difficult decision - the one thing you might do is look into other possibilities for his troubles. I have no idea what kind of evaluations you have had done, but as I stated above, so often it looks like this...............but turns out to be that.

Hang in there
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Old 06-05-03, 09:45 PM
mbtmat mbtmat is offline
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Good luck with your son. My son was diagnosed with ODD when he was in 7th grade....finally something that made sense. He was put on Dexedrine at that point and did quite well. His self esteem popped back up after being in trouble most of that year and going to the principals office daily. He is now 21 and been off medication since his senior year in high school. My advice to you is keep him on the meds. My son hates the dependency of the medication. With that comes trouble. His temper is horrible, he has been in trouble with the law, flunked out of college, has nearly $13,000 of credit card debt and no job. Has creditors calling him & HE thinks he is doing well! No way! I'm at my wits end. We just don't know what to do with him. He just moved back into our home and it is pure H _ _ _!! Hope your case goes better than ours has. He won't talk to us about any of it, doesn't want to be thought of as a weakling, I guess. He could have so much going for him with the proper help, we just can't seem to find a way to reach him, he is legally an adult & I don't know what to do.

Sign me helpless in Oklahoma!
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Old 06-25-03, 07:28 PM
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Question ADD to ODD to atypical bipolar

Christy and JR: Your son sounds similiar to ours. Our son was initially diagnosed with overfocused ADD and put on Effexor. This helped somewhat yet he continued to get in trouble at school for disregarding authority and teasing other kids. He also causes chaos in our home by agitating his mother, sister and I. Thinking he needed stimulation we tried adding Adderall to the Effexor. We had tried Adderall initially with the diagnosis from the Pediatrician. The effects were disastrous. He would get very upset, climb out his window onto the roof. Threaten to run away. Cry unconsolably, which is unusual for him. We went back to the psychiatrist yesterday and based on genetic predisposition and his reaction to the adderall was diagnosed with atypical bipolar and given seroquel. It's only been one day now and too early to tell.
Big: Thanks for the web site posting. The ADDhelpline site was very helpful.

Does this sound familiar to any parents out there? I'd love some input.
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Old 06-25-03, 09:42 PM
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Glad you found it useful, rojerj1
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