Friday, September 17, 2010

adhd medication

"Liam is in a really good mood, he has been so good, listening to me really well he sat and ate his lunch with no problem, I haven't seen him in such a good mood in awhile!”
told to us by our friend Judith after spending the day with Liam while he was on the Adderall.

We didn’t make the decision to try ADHD meds lightly. Ritalin has gotten such a bad rap over the years from being over-prescribed and abused that it even has it’s own song on The Simpson’s.

Bart: [singing to the tune of "Popeye, the Sailor Man"]
When I can't stop my fiddlin'
I just takes me Ritalin
I'm poppin' and sailin', man!

But as we learnt more about ADHD and the neurological component, we likened it to any other disease. If Liam had been diagnosed with diabetes we would not have thought twice if the doctor had said he needed insulin. So we forged ahead into the land of prescriptions.

We’ve been lucky that we were able to start him on the medication over the summer so that we can watch for effects and side effects. Our family doctor was only comfortable starting him off on Ritalin until we were able to see a pediatrician. Over a couple of weeks we tried a variety of doses. We quickly discovered that a higher dose caused Liam to have a lot of anxiety. This boy who has flown 20+ times in his 8 years was petrified during take off on our trip to British Columbia in June. He sat between Hilary and I, clinging to both of us and ran through every possible worse case scenario. Luckily we were able to distract and redirect and the anxiety ultimately passed since that was only the first 15 minutes of our 10+ hour day of travel!

The Ritalin did have the desired effect of helping Liam to slow his thoughts down and to focus on what was going on around him and what he was doing. The down side of Ritalin is that it only lasts in your system for about 4 hours so he was taking a 2nd dose at lunch time. This was okay when we were on vacation but not something that would work well during summer camp or when he was back at school.

It seemed however that we were going to be stuck with Ritalin for a long time. The first referal we could get for a pediatrician was Sept 24th! We asked our doctor to see if there was anyone else that we could get in to see sooner.  Our second referral was for Oct, 2nd!  Luckily the second Dr had a cancellation and we were able to get in the very next day.

This Dr started us on a course of Adderall, first at 10 mg per day and then up to 15 mg.  And WOW! It has been great!  The one fear that we had, that Liam would lose himself or his amazing personality, has not materialized.  He is still the great, fun, awesome kid with the wacky sense of humour that he always was.  But now we don't have to say things like "stop spinning" or "please just be still for 1 minute" 346 times a day.
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