messy. crazy. amazing. joyful.

We're not all officially ADHD. Dad's unofficial. Our ten-year-old twins have ADHD. Our seven-year old wants to have it because everyone is always talking about it. Our three year old has ADHD--just because she's three. And me, Mom, I think it's contagious. Who can remain untouched in a house where shoes seem to be lost every morning, instructions are routinely thrown aside, and fights erupt over which continent capybaras come from?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

We Need Tranquilizers, Not Stimulants

So sweet, funny, fun, and creative most of the time but inflexible and insatiable some of the time.

I haven’t written for a while because all I want to say is “aaaaaaaaah” again. We’re trying Focalin, and I don’t think it’s working for either of my kids. There seems to be a lot of screaming and whining these days. Loud screaming, sent-to-the-room-to-scream screaming. And teasing and fighting and poking and pushing and wrestling and horseplay ending in tears. I don’t think this can be caused solely by the transition from school to summer.

We started on a very low dose, half a 5 mg capsule, and for about a week we’ve had worse than average behavior. Two days ago we moved up to one pill a day to see if that worked better. That seems to have made Luke wake up at 4:30 am. So the lack of sleep did not help today. Falling on the floor whining at any request—to get a chore done, to get clothes on, even to come for lunch. Oh, it is so exhausting for me, and it seems exhausting for him too. Izzy is going from anxious family policewoman to constant Gestapo girl. She is stressed about every situation.

How is it that stimulants are not working for either of my kids? I’ve read that stimulants do not work for 20% of people with ADHD, but it seems strange that they have not worked for either of them, especially since they have four cousins who do well on stimulants. Our psychiatrist feels that their anxiety comes from their problems dealing with ADHD symptoms, but I’m starting to wonder if anxiety is their primary problem. Maybe we should try meds for anxiety? I don’t know, so we’ll just keep trying.

We are also working on a new reward program. It is all on the computer (and it is free). So far they like it. Izzy said it was fun just because they are allowed to log on to my laptop. It is a little complicated to set it up, but once it is set up it’s great. You set up chores, give each chore a point value, and then set up rewards that they can earn with their points. Chores and rewards are already programmed in or you can create your own. Check out if you are interested. I’ll tell you how it goes.


  1. I feel your pain. I find that I don't blog as often as I want to because I would be complaining and saying the same thing over and over again. Sadie falls to the floor often when I ask her to do things or say No to her. It is so frustrating to see a child over the age of 3 or 4 tantrum like a toddler.
    We haven't started medicating for her anxiety because her Dr says that those meds are much more complicated to regulate.
    I hope this week goes much better and you and your kids can enjoy your summer vacation!

  2. I am so glad I found your blog. Please keep posting. It really helps to read what others go through for ideas and sanity. Both my kids have ADHD. One is 12 and one is 9. My son is close to another diagnosis, right now he is depressed but they think he has Aspergers and Auditory dyslexia. My daughter has major anxiety. Both are not medicated but we see social workers and psychologists every week. I may be medicating my son soon and am nervous about it. Both of my kids have only had their diagnosis for a short time so I am still trying to get support and information. If you ever get a chance to read a book, check out my blog. It is a book blog and my meditative therapy for sanity. Keep smiling!

  3. Oh, I forgot to tell you how much I love your main photo. I smile every time I see it!

  4. Booksnob,

    Thanks for the encouragement. It has really helped me to share ideas with other ADHD families, too.

    What is your blog address? I love reading.

  5. I know how you feel. I too am standing right on the line of knowing that my Luke is in that 20% that don't do well on stimulants. He is on the very last stimulant we haven't tried (yes, we've now tried them ALL) and it's pretty good when it's working but he seems worse when the meds are worn off, instead of just happy, ADHD kid, very emotional. We are now experiencing some trouble sleeping too.

    The anxiety piece is interesting. I am starting to realize that most of our ADHDer's negative behaviors are actually caused by anxiety and stress, which is caused by their neurological differences and the expectation to act neurotypical when they are not. I am reading a great book about this now, the most helpful book about handling the behaviors I've read yet, called Survival Strategies for Parenting Your ADHD Child by George Lynn. I had been passing it up on the library shelf for two years now because it's more than 10 years old but the text isn't dated at all. It's a must read!

    I think our next step will be mood stabilizers/anxiety meds if we can't get this last stimulant just right (well, I know it can't be perfect, but at a point where it doesn't add an over-emotional, angry aspect to a kid who was just happy-go-lucky before).

    Thanks for sharing this post. I read so much about kids who have reached a maintenance point with meds and are doing well and we, after nearly two years, are still doing meds trials unsuccessfully. Not that I wish for anyone else to experience that but I am glad to know we aren't the only one. I was beginning to think I am being too particular about the meds. I just feel they shouldn't change my child's personality and his counselor feels the same way.

    {a mom's view of ADHD}

  6. Sunny my blog is called Booksnob and you can find me at

    Both of my children really like my idea about blogging about books and both want to start blogging tomorrow so I think I am going to let them try it. They need the writing experience and it may just fire up some of their creativity.

  7. Booksnob, I can't seem find your site. Is the above address right?