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We've only just recently put our teen on Adderall for his ADD. He was diagnosed as ADHD-hyper/inattentive combo in the past and we've spent 7 YEARS working with him, therapists & diet to get a 'working' solution. When he was tested recently, the hyper was deemed as "not an issue" because he's learned to control it to a reasonable extent.

As our son hit puberty, though, we had to look at other options. You're not alone. It's a hard, frustrating time but you are NOT alone. We've cried all those tears (guilt, relief, concern, anger & frustration) too.

Yes, in some ways it might have been "easier" for them if they had access to meds earlier ... both academically & socially. What we are seeing a few months into the Adderall, though, is that this is not the "wonder cure". It does allow our son to be himself more often, with less difficulty which is the whole point (for us). Studying, taking notes and focusing all come easier...however he's still distracted unless he makes the CHOICE to control himself. He tends into hyper behaviors when he's tired, been eating "off" his normal diet, or is growing.

Socially, we see him better able to interact with his friends, take less offense, have greater self-esteem when things are good. He still tends to 'drop' emotionally though and is still more sensitive than most of his peers. His grades are still A's & B's...but generally higher numbers, and less difficult for him to achieve.

The biggest side effects we've had with Adderall are the weight loss (he lost 4 pounds in the 1st month and is down 2 pounds this month) and the dry, hacking cough thing. The latter was taken care of with a humidifier/air purifier in his room, although he was prescribed a different med to help (takes maybe one tablet a week, if that). Once he started sleeping better (caused primarily by waking with the hacking cough), he's doing even better. He's also a little more emotional by the end of the day but it's not too bad.

We've only seen a few ticks...kind of shaky at times, a twitchy eye when he's tired.

Overall, for our son, this is the right decision at the right time. We didn't want to hand our son a "crutch" and are happy with the self-control and behavior modification he's learned over the past 7 years. Together, those skills AND the meds are helping him to reach as high as he wants to. There's still a lot of CHOICE but we hope to see even better decision making on his part as he gets more & more used to the 'benefits' of his meds.
Sawbuck, my son, too, had a lot of tics when he was younger to the extent that he was diagnosed as having Tourettes Syndrome. However, Thank You God, he hasn't ticced in a couple of years now. He's currently on Strattera and Metadate and hasn't ticced at all since beginning medication. So, yes, watch for tics but don't be excessively concerned unless/until they show up again.

Lack of appetite was an issue for us when he began Strattera. Someone suggested to me to try to get the calories in through liquids (they do, after all, still get thirsty). So, he drank alot of milkshakes and Yoplait smoothies. After some initial weight loss, he maintained his weight okay and continued to get taller. Interestingly, when we added the stimulant to Strattera, his appetite picked up. We've been happy with the combination.

Keep us posted as to which med the doc suggests and how it's going, okay?

I read your initial post, but skipped past all the following posts cuz I'm a little short on time.

Deciding whether or not to medicate your kid is a decision that only you can make.

For me, personally, I'll be eternally grateful to my mother for never giving up on the "potential" she felt I posessed. All through my life she believed in me and researched a whole bunch of possible reasons that would explain why I was a chronic underachiever. Finally, after my sophomore year of HS -- when I had a CUMULATIVE 3.8 GPA -- I was diagnosed with ADD.

I was immediately medicated with methylphenidate HCL (ritalin), and saw insant results. The very next semester, I responded with a 3.8 GPA. After that, I maintained a 3.0+ GPA and was named as the runner-up for "Most Improved Student" in my class of 450 (a girl who returned to school after pregnancy won that scholarship).

With my improved grades and 23 ACT, I was able to get into a "solid" school. I spent two years there and transferred into a US News Top 50 University and really blossomed there. With the meds, my focus and concentration went through the roof -- I could actually commit my mind to a single task without standing on my head or running like a headless chicken around the house as my parents begged me to do my homework.

I graduated from that university with a very average GPA, but I did what I had to do while becoming extremely active in extracurricular activities, and now I have a really cool job in a really great city.

For me, it all worked out in the 11th hour. Thank god my Mom never gave up on me, otherwise I'd be a community college drop-out with limited hope for the future.

My cousin has also been diagnosed with ADD, and my Aunt doesn't wanna put him on meds. After seeing my story unfold in front of her eyes, I don't see why she wouldn't medicate him. I'm not saying meds are like magic -- I definitely lost a lot of "personality" when I first became medicated, and I laughed maybe 3% as often as I used to, couldn't really "connect" with people, blah, blah, blah... but I've worked out those kinks pretty well and now I can communicate really well and apply my mind to important tasks. It's still a struggle to maintain a desired level of motivation, but I have the ability to perform when I really want to.

Hope that helps.

Oh yeah, I'm on Adderall now.
I can understand parents concerns about putting there kids on meds. So I thought I'd add my story and maybe you would feel a bit more comfortable with the decision. I posted this someplace else but my story hasn't changed so here it is.

I'm a 27 year old woman with severe adhd. As a child my parents (actually my mother, dad was out of the picture pretty early) didn't put me on meds and pretty much knew nothing about the disorder. I was constantly in trouble at home, in school and my grades were horrible. I also suffered from terrible headaches, stomach aches and nausia both at home and at school. In fact I devolped an ulcer at age 9 and again at 13 from all the stress I had put on myself. Looking back now I'm sure my symptoms were mostly stress related. I wasn't physically sick, just overwhelmed most of the time. I'd worry constantly about getting in trouble because that would mean the teacher would yell at me and then my mother would yell and punish me when I got home. I remember knowing I was really smart, but after awhile I started believing that I was just a bad, lazy kid. I struggled and suffered with this until I got to college and had enough. All growing up people (teachers, family friends, etc..) had said that I was probably hyperactive but nobody went any further than just mentioning it in conversation. Anyway in college I was miserable, I had gotten by on raw intelligence and a bit of luck in grade school and high school so even though my grades weren't good I was able to graduate. In college I was finding life impossible, I couldn't sit through the lectures or complete all the heavy reading that was assigned. I had an idea what was wrong with me so I went to a Psychiatrist that specialized in ADHD. I got tested, diagnosed and put on medication for the first time at age 24. It was truly like a miracle for me. This sounds dumb to people who aren't hyper but I felt so comfortable inside. Finally after all those years I could sit on the couch, relax and watch an entire 30 minute show without feeling like I was going to explode. Not only that but I read my first real book. I actually read an entire book without getting frustrated, skipping pages or rereading the same page several times. It may sound like no big deal but to have to wait until your 24 to be able to enjoy a book was a major breakthrough for me. In fact I called several memebers of my family just to tell them. I've been on Adderall XR for almost 4 years now. I have never had a side effect and it works great. I am also planning on going back to college to get my degree. This time I will pick a difficult degree I know I will enjoy instead of just looking for the easiest program and hoping I can handle it. I know I can handle it and that I am smart, I'm not the lazy, bad kid from my youth. I am upset about all the time I've lost but finally excited about my future because I know I will have a future now. If I could go back in time I would make my mother put me on medication. Yes some medications have side effects, it is good to be informed about that possibility and to know what to watch for. It's all about finding the right one for you. Besides the effects of stress can be just as dangerous if left untreated. Not to mention the self esteem problems and depression that usually follows someone that is constantly failing. I'm not thrilled that I will most likely be on medication for the rest of my life, but I would not go back to the way I was before for all the money in the world.

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