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.
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.