Should You Medicate Your Child for ADHD?

This is a question that any parent with a child who has ADHD has asked themselves at one point or another. I have one child with ADHD that is medicated and one child with ADHD that is not medicated. From my experience, I think the answer to the question depends on the severity of their symptoms. If your child is functioning well in school academically and socially both at home and school then there isn't much need for medication in my opinion. If they are not functioning well at home or school in those areas then it might be worth looking into ADHD medication. Staying in close contact with teachers alerts you to any issues that arise with your child as far as academics and social interaction while at school. My daughter's Kindergarten teacher had no problem telling me that she thought my daughter should be tested for ADHD. I appreciated that input from her and followed her advice. Your observations of your child's behavior at home in combination with their teacher's input is sufficient to determine what plan of action you need to take.


I Don't Want My Child On All This Medication

I don't like my child being on these medications either. The side effects of medications such as Concerta can be horrible. That is why my other child is not on her medications right now. The side effects are worse than the condition. Upset stomach and headaches are the most common side effects that I have seen with my children. My son does not experience these side effects like my daughter does. His symptoms are so severe that he would not function well without his Concerta. Her symptoms fall primarily into the inattentiveness category and can be managed more than having her sick everyday from the medication. I feel like I have made the right choices when it comes to medicating or not.

There Is No Magic Pill

There is no magic pill for ADHD. The medication your child takes does not cure them or completely get rid of all their symptoms. For my son, the medication actually adds irritability to his symptoms in the late evening hours as he comes off the medication from the day. Good diet, counseling or behavioral therapy also helps along with the medication. ADHD children are high maintenance. It requires educating yourself on their diagnosis, going through a series of trial and error with medication if you choose medication, and constant behavioral counseling. Counseling either at home with your guidance and/or with a professional counselor. Our insurance only allows a certain number of visits to a mental health provider so I have to support my children as much as I can from the home front. Just don't expect the medication to get rid of all their symptoms.

Patience

I have found that the best thing I can do for my children with ADHD is to have patience. Even on medication, my son is very challenging at school and at home. I am in constant communication with his teachers on his academics and behavior. My daughter is a handful when it comes to completing homework and focusing on what needs to be done. I have to stay on them both every day to complete the simplest of tasks. It is difficult for me since I have 2 other young children. Without my son's medication, we would be in a world of hurt. It helps him so much and I am very thankful for what it does do. The rest is up to me and the amount of patience I have on any given day.

Update December 2011

My daughter's performance in school had suffered so much over the past few months that we decided to give her medication a try once again. This time she seems to be doing better with managing the side effects than she previously had. My decision to put her back on her medication was from my observance of her behavior here at home and input from her teacher at school. I really was disappointed with a parent teacher conference and the information I found out about my daughter's behavior at school, her attitude, and her academic performance. All of these things were factors in deciding to put her back on her medication, Vyvanse. She seems to be doing much better now and her teacher noticed a difference in her the first day she started taking it.

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Comments 8 comments

shea duane profile image

shea duane 5 years ago from new jersey

I'm so glad you took this approach to the question. I was so afraid I was going to read another hub that insisted there is only one way to parent. Thank you!

Great hub!


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 5 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

Let me tell you something here, and please note that I know what I'm talking about from my own personal past experiences.

1. methamphetamine is illegal and universally derided as a horrible drug by the mainstream media and every established government entity in the USA

and....

2. ADHD medications are most often amphetamines - I've used those illegally in the past - and I know from experience that they are absolutely no different in effect than illegal meth.

Sure, if used as prescribed then they'd probably not be very harmful. I'd NOT think that they still wouldn't be without various and sundry physiological and psychological risks.

Having a slightly different chemical compound than meth doesn't make them much different - just change things a tiny bit, and pretend it's really something totally different....is what Big Pharma has done.


Deborah-Lynn profile image

Deborah-Lynn 5 years ago from Los Angeles, California

I think you have contributed a very useful perspective to the parental dilema of whether or not to medicate ADHD and if so, when. My two daughters have been on very different treatment paths as well and primarily because every child is different and have specific needs.

Please keep writing as your children continue in their education and developement as I have noticed in my teens that neither have outgrown this problem and will likely have ADHD as adults.


angela p profile image

angela p 5 years ago from Richmond, Virginia Author

Thanks to all for your input and comments. I know how serious the drugs are that my child takes. However, I would give him anything as long as it was FDA approved to and it helped him. That is the situation I am in with him. It helps him. He is a different child, a pleasant child, on this medication. I made that choice and am very glad I did.


msperu75 profile image

msperu75 5 years ago from North Carolina

I would like to say that reading your article was very refreshing. My child has recently been diagnosed; however he also has to deal with other anxities as well. It has been a rather difficult process and at this point we are waiting to see what medication the doctor will be placing him on. One thing that I noticed that helps a lot is a schedule, my only problem is follow through. Being a single mom with two other kids and plenty of worries, makes it a bit difficult for me to maintain follow through, but that is definitely the key to making the day to day a bit easier. What I have also noticed lately is that a lot of what I do or how I plan depends on how good of a day he is having. But we are working on it and his counseling I have to say does help as well.


Ardie profile image

Ardie 5 years ago from Neverland

Wow, Im so glad I found this. There have been times I've wondered about my daughter (7) and her need for medication to help her focus in school. But I hate the idea of putting her on something. However, I also hate the idea of my own fears keeping me from doing what's best for her. I love the point that you make that says each child is different. After reading this I think my daughter will be fine without medication as long as I teach her coping skills. Thank you!!!


angela p profile image

angela p 5 years ago from Richmond, Virginia Author

Ardie - we changed our insurance awhile back and my son had to go without his meds for 1 week. OMG.. I thought the house was going to fall down around us. He was so wild and impulsive and just nasty to everyone around him. That reinforced my thoughts that I was making the right decision. My daughter has been without medication this school year where she was on it last year. She feels much better but I have to work with her harder. I feel like it is worth it to keep her feeling well. Only you live with the child and knows what she is like day and night. Not a doctor or a teacher. You have to get their input but I feel like you know what is best for your child.


Ardie profile image

Ardie 5 years ago from Neverland

I agree, professional input is helpful but I live with my daughter and watch her daily. I stay involved so I know what's going on. Thankfully she isn't destructive - she just has to work harder to stay focused and complete tasks...so I stick through with her. It does become very trying at times, like when Im exhausted or she JUST cant work, but we do it.

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