Friday, July 20, 2007

To medicate or not to medicate? That is the question.

Genetics or self-fullfilling prophesy? Sign of the over-medicating times or proactive parenting? All boy or Energizer Bunny doing speedballs?

I come from a rather large disfunctional family on my Mom's side. My Dad's side was disfunctional also, so much so as to be almost non-existant. But I digress. My maternal family is peppered with tasty morsels who are sweet and tender-hearted on the inside yet (at least in their younger years) quite rough, bitter-tasting and hard-to-swallow on the outside. They were classic cases of ADHD long before ADHD was fashionable or even diagnosed. My sister, my nephew, and my oldest uncle are some of these relatives. They happen to be some of my favorite relatives. My sister, not always so.

As a child my sister was incorrigable - at least to me & my friends. She was a horror in school. Her grades showed it. She had a miserable time of it. She was the sweetest, most caring person you'd ever come across, yet most of the time impossible to be around. My uncle was the same, so I hear. His doctor nicknamed him Boo, short for Bubonic Plague (so says family lore).

I tell you all of this because yesterday I took B to his pediatrician to talk about his borderline positive result on the Conners test for ADD. Daddy-O & I have been asking B's teachers since he started preschool at a little over 2 years of age, if they thought he was ADD. Mostly this was because if there were a bunch of boys running in tight little circles, B was running in 10 tight circles around the other boys' 1 tight circle. It has always been exhausting to just watch him. All his teachers have assured us that B was just "all boy" and we took much comfort in that. Still do, in fact. And, believe me, he is ALL BOY. Except for pink being his favorite color, that is. So, at the end of the school year, when his wonderful first year teacher commented on how easily distracted B is and what a hard, hard week he'd had I knew it was time to take it to his pediatrician.

So, Daddy-O, Mello (our wonder sitter) and Mrs. F all filled out the Conner's test & sent it to the pediatrician. And let me tell you something. After looking at our respective scoring, B behaves way better for Mrs. F & Mello than he does for Daddy-O & I. I think that's probably how you want it as a parent but I still think we're getting a raw deal here.

Daddy-O has been fairly adamant about not wanting B on meds. I am in complete agreement. Except. Except if it will help him concentrate better in class. Except if it will help him follow directions better. Except if it will help him not get frustrated or over-zealous when he plays and alienate his friends. Except if it will keep him from going down the paths that I watched my sister and nephew go down. Except.

Well, the doctor appointment couldn't have gone any better considering what we were there for. While WonderDoc, B & I discussed if and when B was distracted or lost focus and how that made him feel, B also busied himself tearing holes in the paper covering of the examining table. Two holes which he eventually pushed his legs through as if he was a legless boy laying on the table. As we moved on to social ramifications of ADD, B progressed to shredding said paper covering into strips - the entire paper covering. By the time we had agreed on a low-dose med, B had the paper covering tied all over his body in headbands, belt, bandana, sash and even had his ankles and wrist hog-tied at one point. He was a walking, talking ADD action figure.

I did ask about possible homeopathic alternatives. Herbal remedies. Non-medicinal therapies. WonderDoc, whom I absolutely, completely, unequivocably trust, said that really none of them work for very long. What will work, he says, is the lowest possible dose of a long acting med. So, we try it.

Starting this weekend, we try 10mg of Focalin XR. Anyone out there have any feedback on this med? I'll keep you posted on how it goes for us.


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
WhyMommy said...

Love the description. He sounds like a great kid, diagnosis or no.

Leann I Am said...

He certainly sounds like a boy. I'm on the fence about meds too. I guess it's okay if you do your research and have explored your options. There is a need for these meds, but only with proper diagnoses.

Good luck! He sounds adorable! Busy little guys....

Jojo said...

Hi..tough call to medicate,and I'm not going to be any help, except...
I have always been ADD and as an adult, just started meds. (I'm 45)(Focalin XR 20 mg per day)I truly wish I had been given this med in second grade. Feel free to email me if you would like more info. I am not a doctor and everyone is different. (email like is on my blog) Jojo

Assistive technology said...

I'm unsure about medicating as well. He sounds like a very energetic child, but I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing. Is he having a hard time keeping up in school because of being unable to pay attention? It sounds kind of like you were just waiting for a reason to get him diagnosed (which most doctors will gladly hand out like candy.)

Personally, I'm more in favor of lifestyle modifications, behavioral therapy, and alternative education than giving him a pill. Just keep an eye on what it does to his mood. If it doesn't seem to help anything at all, he doesn't have ADHD.