ADHD with my 5 year old son....Need advice

United States
February 23, 2007 9:10pm CST
Ok, my son just turned 5 and he is pretty overactive. I have not had him checked for ADHD but he really does have many of the symptoms. I am getting concerned because he is starting to get in trouble more and more at school and I am losing more and more patience with him. I am torn in the decision to have him checked for ADHD...if he does have it I am torn whether to put him on meds. I do not want him to be dependent on meds. I have also talked to people and read things where kids are on meds and they are just zombified. I don't want that for my son. Part of me just thinks he's a normal active little boy. My husband is very active and hyper so sometimes I think he's just going to be like my husband. My hubby is also VERY against medication. He doesn't want him to be reliant on drugs, either. Do any of you have children with ADHD? Do you have them on meds? Are there any "natural" alternatives to meds? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I am the type of person who doesn't even like to take Motrin when I have headaches...I can't imagine having my son on meds every single day. Thank you
8 people like this
17 responses
@SageMother (2277)
• United States
24 Feb 07
If he is diagnosed with SDHD he can be dependent on meds, much like a diabetic is on insulin shots, or he can end up in a juvenile detention center by the age of 12. I would opt for the meds. There is no shame in being dependent on medications where they improve quality of life. I don't understand why people are so ready to cling to the idea that this is a horrible thing but will let a child's life be ruined by his inability to control himself. Get the meds and get a better life!
2 people like this
• United States
24 Feb 07
I am in the same situation with you, lol. My son will be 5 in 2 weeks & is extremely over active. I took him to the doctor about 6 months ago to have him checked for ADHD, but his pediatrician refused to check him for it as he said all 4 year old boys would come back as having it. So I have been limiting his caffine & sugar intake more than usual. Like you I am also against meds as long as I can help it, and my son is already on Singulair everyday for asthma, & has to use his albuterol inhaler almost everyday. Limiting his sugar & caffine has seemed to help some, not alot though, so my mom has suggested that I try a natural treatment that is sold at the health & herbal foods stores. I plan on trying it, but I am going to wait until it gets closer to the school year to start. My brother is 17 & was diagnosed with ADHD & ADD at the age of 3, so he was put on ritalin (sp?) then adderol when it came out, my mom said she wished that she had tried the herbal & natural treatments first, the meds work on my brother, but they decrease his appetite, so he is skinny as a rail, he is 6'2" & weighs 125lbs. Before taking him to his doctor, as they would probably push pills on him, I would try limiting caffine & sugar intake, and if it doesn't seem to help try the natural treatments. Good Luck
2 people like this
• United States
24 Feb 07
thank you so much for your story. It's nice to know i am not the only one in the situation. :) I know I'm not, but it's nice to hear other stories, too. What natural remedie are you going to try? I saw on my other post that you gave me a link to a product on ebay that i may try. is there anything else you kow of?
1 person likes this
@GardenGerty (96659)
• Marion, Kansas
25 Feb 07
The albuterol, while very necessary for breathing problems is likely to also be part of the problem for your son, littletownmommie. It is stimulant. I talked to a nurse who had to have some albuterol treatments when she had bronchitis. She was our nurse at Head Start, and she said it is no wonder that our kids who take it cannot sit still or behave, it makes you feel like you are crawling out of your skin.
1 person likes this
• United States
24 Feb 07
If you are seeing many ADHD symptoms, and your son is in trouble frequently, you should talk to your son's doctor. I am in education and have worked with many children who have ADHD. I'm sure there are cases where medication has not worked out for children, but I have also seen children who were completely miserable in their school setting because they are constantly in trouble and realize that their behavior is unacceptable, yet they cannot control it. Many times learning is hindered because a child cannot hold his/her attention to a task long enough to learn. I have seen many instances where medication has helped children so much and made them so much happier. If your child struggles with tasks that take more than a few minutes, or he starts falling behind in studies at school, you need to take action before it becomes a real struggle for him to catch back up. In the meantime, cut back on caffeine,sugars, and stimuli that overexcite him. Break tasks into shorter increments for him.
1 person likes this
• United States
24 Feb 07
thank you so much. i have been doing some research and he doesn't get caffeine at all, but he does get sugars in candy here and there and 100% fruit juices. Also msg i have found can be something triggering it. He's not in trouble all the time...but every day he is doing something that he shouldn't like talking or jumping around or wiggling...not listening, etc. He does his work, but he's just in pre-k so it's more fun work than anything. ;) he does lose interest quickly in things and that worries me. I just don't want it to get to a point where it's too hard to turn around. I am looking into some alternative things though like the sugar and all and some other herbal remedies. thank you for the comment. :)
• United States
24 Feb 07
Try stopping the sweets and any juice that is red for a few days and see if you have a different kid i know I did but you have to give it a few days i hope this helps :)
1 person likes this
• United States
24 Feb 07
thank you. i have stopped the sweets today. red juice, huh? why is that? i usually only get apple juice for the kids...100%.
@villageanne (8555)
• United States
24 Feb 07
My nephew is ADHD and his meds do make him zoombie but I think it depends on the individual as to how they react to medicaions. There really is no way to predict how medication will affect any individual without trying. I know how you feel. We love our children so much and only want the best for them. Sometimes that is hard to make a decision when it is this serious. Good luck with your son.As long as you support your son, he will be ok.
1 person likes this
• United States
24 Feb 07
thank you so much. i do not let him get away with his actions just because i think he may have a problem. ya know? i still punish him and he does understand it. he's not as bad as some kids are. I don't think he's got ADHD really BAD...some kids get violent and hit and throw things and all that...my son does not do that. It's just he's so hyper and he just doesn't stop and it's getting him in trouble. I am going to do what some others have said and cut down the sugars. I have also found a natural med for adhd that i may try. thank you so much
1 person likes this
• United States
27 Feb 07
Thanks for "Best Response" hope your son is doing well.
@quatelmon (955)
• United States
24 Feb 07
ADHD is usually just an excuse. Children are active, and you have to let them have an outlet for this. Telling them that they have a disease will give them an excuse to do poorly in life. Just give him more space to run, and read other options for over active kids. Seriously, kids are just active! Especially boys. My neighbor's kids are on meds, and it's terrible. They are only on meds during the school year, and they seem so much happier in the summer! Please reconsider. Doctors will diagonose adhd just so that there is an excuse for medications.
1 person likes this
• United States
24 Feb 07
I agree, and I did not mean to offend! I just feel that too often, medications are prescribed for children who do not need them. There are many MANY cases where medication is the way to go, and it will help them. Please don't feel guilty that you feel that you took two years away from your daughter's life! She's sounds like a happy, well adjusted person, and you sound like a great parent! I did not mean to say that no one needs medication, just that sometimes meds are taken as a first resort, when they should be the last. Keep in mind that most doctors make money when they write a prescription for a certain brand of medicaiton, and that is my reason for hesitation.
• Canada
24 Feb 07
We have a son who is seven years old and has been recently diagnosed with ADHD. Our son started showing symptons at age 5, however he could not be diagnosed until now. Part of the reason is because developmentally there are so many behavioural factors that can mirror ADHD symptons, that they need to wait until the child has matured a little. At first we noticed little things at home like, he could play adanvced games on x-box with little or no trouble and remain focused for long periods of time but had issues with concentrating on other activities in which he would constently fidget, get irritable and frutrated for lack of completion. Then he began to have some issues at school. Although our son loved to read, at school he fell behind his reading level for his age. Math was challenging and he was constently in and out of his seat, which was disruptive to the rest of the class. By working closely with his teacher and the school, our son participated in several different behavioural improvement programs, the teacher moved him to the front of the class and closer to the door so disruptions were limited and we began working on a modified education improvement program with him through the school. He now has a "wiggle" seat that provides him with some movement while in class. In working with his teacher , his teacher gives our son several small tasks throughout the day to keep him moving. Being a kinectic learner, our son certainly has the ability, he just learns a little differently. In our community there was a resource we utilized in which they assess some of the challenges your child is having and creates a program to help your child in school. Our son now has an occupational therapist that comes once a month to work on his hand-eye coordination and manipulation, he has another teacher who works with him on his reading and math and has already surpassed his grade level reading requirement! Our next step was to meet with our sons physician. We had some questionnaires given to us for both the school and us to complete. After further testing he was finally diagnosed. Now we knew what we were dealing with. So, we researched. We did a lot of research to understand his condition, so that as parents we knew what we could do to help him. The topic of medication has been brought in many of our discussions with the school, our sons doctor and eachother, for us the conclusion right now is, we want to try every other possible avenue first and then, if we are faced with having to make that decision, we will research some more and do what's in the best interest of our son. I guess the long and the short of it is, there are many options available to you if your child does get diagnosed with ADHD it is not just a matter of whether to medicate or not. Setting strict routines at home, following a healthy diet and limiting things like caffeine and sugars, working on a reward system, helping to maintain confidence levels when they get frustrated, working with specialists and first and foremost talking to your family doctor about your concerns. You've done a great job so far in reaching out, and doing some preliminary research. If your child does have ADHD it will require hard work, dedication, frustrating moments and great rewards. But then again, as I am sure you will agree, your child is definately worth it. Talk to your doctor, find out what your dealing with have all the facts, and take each step one by one with each decision along the way. Best of luck, and remember you are never alone. There are many resources and a lot of support out there, you have just begun tapping into it.:)
• United States
24 Feb 07
thank you so much for the support. :) i didn't realize it was age 7 they were diagnosed until an earlier post. that makes me feel a lot better so when my mom and others say he's TOO active, i can tell them what i have learned that he may just be immature and crazy right now. LOL he does learn things and remember things even when he doesn't look like he's paying attention. but, as you said with your son...he can sit on the computer or a game boy for an hour, but if he has to sit and write the alphabet or his name, he gets very bored very easily. :) thank you for the thoughts and support. i am today starting to cut down his sugar and all. it will be good for all of us. i have a snack drawer that has little candies and all and he is in that several tiems thru the day...that will stop now. he doesn't get caffeine hardly ever so that's not hard. the sugar will be hard, though. thank you
• Canada
25 Feb 07
I don't have any children, but my cousin was diagnosed with ADHD recently, and my Aunt and Uncle decided to put her on Adderall at the doctors advisal and it totally changed her. She went from being a happy, excited, energetic, outgoing, albiet sometimes frusterating and annoying little girl, to being a quiet, dull, shy, unimaginative girl who looks like she has a bleak existence. I'm saying this will happen to your child if you choose to put him on the meds if he's ADHD, but I am saying that they could possibly change his attitude towards everything. If I were you, i'd do some deep research into the medications and maybe some homeopathic versions, just to be safe. Regardless of what direction you choose to go, i'm sure that you will make a good choice for your sons future, and remember that there is always room to change if you need to. -ML
1 person likes this
@cripfemme (7718)
• United States
24 Feb 07
There are meds, behavior modification therapy, ADHD support groups for kids and parents. I am very much against meds myself, but some people need them (like my friend Nigel, who has ADHD, who climbed a phone poll because of his poor impluse control).
• Singapore
24 Feb 07
Have you come across "reiki"? It is a "safe" form of healing that involves no med. Ask around and I won't be surprised if some of your friends are attuned to reiki energy. I am sure they won't mind giving him a free treatment if you would like it.
1 person likes this
• Canada
24 Feb 07
I feel very comfortable with this subject because I have lived threw the experience and still live it daily.I have a son that is now 14 years old and has NLD;a form of and combination of ADHD. You as a parent know if there is something wrong with your child so don't overlook this.Let me tell you also that both my wife and I had the same opinion about medication. We did not like it and did not want him to be on them BUT THE BOTTOM LINE WAS(IN HIS CASE).....Medication was the answer.(By the way we still do not like it). For many years we did not allow any discussion surrounding medication because we were against it until one day we got a call from the school.This was not the first time we got calls because we were always involved but this call and this meeting was different. Our son's teacher told us point blank that there was something wrong with our child.We felt so sad...So we got him evaluated by a professional.What was discovered was a blessing in disguise because today he is living a very normal life. We detected this challenge early enought to help him.. It has allowed him to function and focus on his daily routines.He has tried days without them and just can't keep focusing.His social skills are solid and his circle of friends are solid. Start one step at a time... You must get him evaluated by a professsional and not anyone within a school or pre-school system.Then listen to the results.After that time you will know for sure if it is a problem or not. Regarding the medication... Are you ready to see him face some serious problems in the future just because you are against medication? DO YOU WANT YOUR CHILD TO BE PICKED ON OR CAUSE HIM SOME SOCIAL PROBLEMS?If the medications can help him focus and play a better role in society THEN SO BE IT... Don't worry about the medication part right now... tHERE IS ALWAYS SOME NATURAL PRODUCTS THAT CAN HELP... My recommendation is get him evaluated first... Then you can go to the next step.. Oh by the way.. You guy's a very lucky to have noticed this now .... Early detections is so important and you are on the right track.. Everything will work out just fine I know... Cheers
1 person likes this
• United States
24 Feb 07
Hi, I have two children one is 13 and the other is 8, both are adhd and were diagnosed by age 3. At five years old my son was about to get kicked out of kindergarten, because he would talk to everyone and could not sit and concentrate. He was not violent at all he just couldn't be quiet or sit still. I like you I did not want to try the meds!! After two months of conference's three times a week I put him on the lowest dose of Ritalin instant release. He went from not being able to complete any tasks to completing all his work and making straight A's or A's and B's now. With my daughter same scenario forced to put her on meds to be able to stay in school. They went from Ritalin instant release to adderall to concerta to Ritalin xr. Both of my children are still on Ritalin xr and for them this is the best med and I watch them carefully. I do not give them the meds on the weekends or any holiday. Caffeine is actually not bad for a child who is adhd it will actually calm them down. It works opposite on children with adhd. I am presently checking into the natural alternatives but haven't found one that works yet. As far as meds go just start your child out on the lowest dose and slowly up the dose very two weeks under physician care. When you notice your child in a zombie like state have the doctor lower the dose to the one before this happened. I will be the first one to tell my children's doctor that the dose has to be lowered because I don't like to affects. I hope this helps.
1 person likes this
@snaglpus (17)
24 Feb 07
hubby may be demonstrating similar stubborness like your boy,but he could be right about meds;he could be wrong too.there is a technique practiced by baby docs or child psychiatrists credentialed by the american academy of environmental medicine(aaem)They treat add and a lot of other illnesses like asthma,stomach problems, excema,psoriasis,ptsd,chemical,food allergy,sleep problems,chronic fatigue.if your boy doesn"t get the appropriate help now,when he's 18,he'll be unmanageable,and get tossed outa the house.chagylmommy,you have your hands full.hubby ought to understand that one of the meds out there might be a great help.He MUST AGREE TO HELP THE KID ,NOT JUST DO STUFF HIS WAY.If he doesn't,,,,,,,,,,well,the root assumptions of your marriage are open to question,The docs I described above are expensive initially,but often give superior results.a source book that would be helpful is The Yeast Connection by dr William Crook published in 1974.these drs will usually offer treatment with meds/antidepressants,or the more elaborate process of testing the boy for food,chemical,dust & mold allergy,and maybe a combination of both.note that they are flexible.Mainstream docs often disparage what they do not know about and a lot of them will tell you DO THIS OUR WAY.Sound familiar? good luck and your ducklings
@judyt00 (3504)
• Canada
24 Feb 07
My son was bordreline adhd, In fact, at30 he still does not sleep through the night. When he was 8 I had him tested at the children's hospital, by the psychiatric team. tThey suggested that sincehe waonly bordreline we notput him on meds but have him in a very regemented school program and get him some impulse control sessions. They also suggested some deletions and additions to his diet And through trial and error we found what calmed him down and helped him to focus. Amazingly, for him, it was chocolatethat calmed him down! the teacher thought I'd put him on ritalin after Easter break. Start by reading labels. eliminate anything with nitrates or nitrites, any chemical red food colouring and any MSG. I also found that red tomatoes were a nonon for him yet he could eat the yellow varieties. In grade 5 we found a good teacher who gave him instructions to get up and leave the class room until his frustrations were over instead of disrupting the whole class. within three months, he could just sit, close his eyes for a minute, and refocus, instead of disapearing for an hour or more. Good luck, but if he truly needs meds, don't be ashamed. they have kept many a young person out of prison.
1 person likes this
@mobyfriend (1019)
• Netherlands
24 Feb 07
If you are certain that his being overactive is unusual have him checked out. Concerning the medication. Every child is different and there are different methods of treatment. But you can't check into those untill you are really certain that your son has ADHD. And if it's true try to get information from organisations and other parents with ADHD children. Hope everything will be okay with you and your son.
1 person likes this
• United States
24 Feb 07
I actually WISH I knew I had ADD growing up. It would have helped me SO much to not feel like an odd ball. I have the quiet version and never tested. However my sister was and does have it. I KNOW I have it. There are 2 versions. Loud and like you said your son is. And quiet. But I was the daydreamer, always distracted, messy desk, etc. I forget things at the drop of a hat, still I am not organized and all kinds of other stuff. But I never had med's and neither did my sister. We survived. There has to be better ways. I hear kids will get addicted and stuck on them forever.
1 person likes this
@earthsong (589)
• United States
24 Feb 07
As a parent with a mildly autistic son and son with severe ADHD I would definitely advise to get him tested. And by a child psychiatrist that specializes in children with issues like this. My oldest son was misdiagnosed as ADHD when he was in 2nd grade by a general psychologist (one that dealt with all issues and ages) and was put on meds for ADHD and he just got worse and worse. Obsessive/compulsive problems came out and then severe aggressiveness. I became so concerned that he would either hurt himself or others that I insisted on a referral to a specialist. He was tested in depth and we found out he actually has Asperger's, rather than ADHD. He got off the meds, got good counceling and he is very highly functional now. Even if he is ADD/ADHD and you opt to try and handle his issues without medication having him diagnosed will be very helpful. They can help with school issues, and help you understand what he's dealing with better.
1 person likes this
• United States
24 Feb 07
You need to be careful when getting a diagnosis for ADD/ADHD. Why? Because there are other disorders that have "signs" that overlap. Those include Autism, Asperger's Syndrome, and O.D.D. (Oppositional Defiant Disorder). You need to take your son to a psychologist for a neuro/psych evaluation and have it determined EXACTLY what your son has, if anything, and then speak with your doc about the best treatments out there. I'm also going to suggest you start therapy with your son, because he will have issues with emotions and connecting with people that a therapist can teach you both on how to cope with, and help you and him learn how to do that (you learn how to teach him, him learn to recognize such things). Good luck, you are in for a bumpy and long and drawn out road, and don't expect any easy answers, because there aren't any. Even medications don't make everything all better, they just make the child a little more manageable.