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Rocks and Hard Places

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I prefer to not talk about medication, because it’s a polarizing topic.  Instead I’ve written a “story”, about a family with a boy that takes medication.


Little Man was three, and he had so much energy that he had already been kicked out of two daycares.  Mommy and daddy were worried, and frazzled.  They knew something was different about him.  And they were trying to hold down jobs, which was becoming increasingly difficult when nobody could handle their child.  So they made an appointment with The Doctor.

The Doctor knew right away that Little Man had ADHD.  He was like Tigger the Tiger, always bouncing here and there, distracted by butterflies and ants and sunshine and air.  The Doctor started Little Man on a medicine to help him.  The medicine is a stimulant.  Mommy and Daddy were nervous, but wanted desperately to help Little Man.

They're bouncy, bouncy, bouncy, bouncy, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun!

For a while, Little Man did much better on the medication.  But after a while, it seemed less and less effective.  It was changed to an extended release version, designed to last 8-10 hours.

Because of Little Man’s metabolism, it lasted 3-4 hours.  The Doctor prescribed it twice a day, and soon Little Man was at the maximum dosage. 

Stimulants tend to affect a person’s sleep, and soon Little Man was up every night, waking up Mommy and Daddy at 2am, 3am, 4am.  When people are sleep deprived, it begins to take a toll on their health.  Mommy and Daddy were not doing well, and they talked to The Doctor about it.  He added a medication at nighttime, to help Little Man sleep.

For a while, things went well.  Everyone was sleeping again.  But time passed, and Little Man became more and more irritable.  Stimulants can have this effect.  The Doctor added a mood stabilizer medication, to counter the effects from the stimulant.  He also added a non-stimulant ADHD medication, because the stimulant was losing its effect.

Now Little Man is five-years-old and on four medications.  He was still very irritable, and was now having episodes of aggression.  Mommy and Daddy walked on eggshells around Little Man, and Mommy began to fear him because he is a very strong child.  Mommy began to worry that Little Man would have to be hospitalized.  Things were very dark.

Then Friday night, as Mommy sat crying again, she decided that the medications would stop the next day.  They would have a medication free weekend.

Mommy was very relieved to see that Little Man was back to his bouncy, happy self.  There was no irritability and no aggression.  Even when he was sent for timeout for not listening, he did not yell or slam doors.  There was a lot of laughter over the weekend, and Little Man was very, very affectionate.  Mommy was so happy to see that her child was not out-of-control, and she stopped thinking about hospitals.

Little Man slept well all weekend.  He even agreed to read some words for Mommy, which he does not like to do.  It took twice as long to get anything done, but they were all much happier.

But they did worry about school.  Little Man was as distracted as ever.  Mommy and Daddy stayed up late, talking about medication.  They decided to give him ONLY the non-stimulant medication on Monday, and hope for the best.  They would consult with The Doctor (who they were starting to lose faith in), and see how things went at school.

Mommy and Daddy knew the school would not be happy, but they didn’t care.  They had been travelling this dark and lonely road all by themselves, with no help.  The school was not there to help them when Little Man was breaking things and screaming.  Even their family and friends did not understand. 

They were just glad to have their happy, bouncy child back.  And maybe the rest would just fall into place, and they would find a happy ending.


About Flannery

Kid, husband, dogs, my mother, full-time job, maximum stress, minimal relaxation...sooner or later I had to vent. AND we moved from California to Texas. I could start a whole other blog about that.

10 responses »

  1. Oh my. I have to say first off that I would never ever ever judge your “friend” and any choices that parents make relative to meds. But the escalation that you describe sounds too much like dr. Nick and Elvis caliber stuff. One med causes this and then another med is needed to alleviate that. I can’t say that I will never be there and I’m definitely not opposed out of hand, but it scares the shot out of me. I wish your friend nothing but the best and hope that somehow they get better results w less meds.

  2. That was supposed to say shit!

  3. Medication is such a hard topic….you take one, it causes problems, you take another, it causes other problems, then you get to the point where you don’t even know what the real problem was anymore…..there is no easy answer when all you want is your little boy back.

    PS–school can stuff it.

  4. I agree with Lizbeth, school can suffer it. They just have a tiny window while the parents have to deal with his character transformation, sleep deprivation etc. I also hope they find better results with less medication. At that age doesn’t medication always need to be tweaked anyway cause they change so fast? I also hope they find a doctor they can trust/rely on more. **yay** for getting their bouncy boy back!!

  5. At this point, I’m a firm, firm believer in diet/nutrition/supplements over medication. I haven’t heard a medication success story yet. I do believe that if the body is lacking; because it’s not absorbing, or processing, or getting the right nutrients, the brain is starving as well. Have you ever heard of Dr. Abram Hoffer? I find his theories very intriguing. Check him out sometime. He advocates high doses of certain vitamins over medication. His theories were very controversial with the medical community. Interesting food for though though.

  6. We have tried both meds and supplements. If the meds work, it is a constant dance with combinations, weight changes, etc. Both my kids are on the spectrum and meds worked wonders for one and were a huge disaster for the other. We have seen a huge difference with using supplements in both of our kids. SuperNu Thera by Kirkman labs has been amazing for us. Our son becomes much more irritable and less flexible without it. Hope your “friend” has more success to share soon.


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