Friday, January 11, 2008


My son was trying feverishly to pull up his pants, but he was in such a hurry he couldn't get them up.(the picture is not my son. I just thought it was cute) I was trying not to laugh and he noticed. He looked at me and said, "Mamma, it's not funny. I have to hurry or the ants will get back into my pants."

You guessed it. He was referring to the saying "You have ants in your pants." I am constantly telling my son this because he never stops moving. My husband never stops moving either. Seriously. He never stops moving. So, when my son started showing the same tendencies, I didn't think much of it. It is certainly a trait that has been passed down. But when is it more than that? When is it considered Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder?

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, ADHD is common. If your child is in a classroom with 25 kids, on average one of them will have this mental disorder. Would you medicate your child to help him/her concentrate in school? I've thought about this a long time and still have no answer. I've talked to people who are strongly against it and others who say the medication has changed their child's life for the good. I guess we all have to see what works for our families.

Remember, many children are hyperactive who do not have ADHD, so don't fret too much if you have a child who can't sit still. It could very well be normal. A complete evaluation by an expert is the only way to know for sure.

Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or CHADD is a non profit organization that could give you the support the you need. It's always nice to hear from other parents who are going through the same thing.

So, what about medicating kids for ADHD? I have a friend who says the medication has made a wonderful difference in her son's life. He is doing much better in school. Others say it's wrong to medicate kids and they tout behavioral therapy.

For my son, turning off the television, looking him in the eye and reiterating things over and over seems to work. Well, sometimes it works!We'll see what happens when he gets into school.

-NewsAnchorMom Jen


dayoub said...

One of the most helpful and safest therapies for ADHD has been food supplements high in 3 omega fatty acids.. You can read these abstracts from pubmed. Some papers are available for free. The majority of papers show benefits, few and minor side effects

on the other hand pharmacological have been linked to a variety of side effects.I suggest any parent giving these drugs to a child read the package insert to be educated about what adverse events might occur.

Some of the more worrisome reports include suicide while on Straterra. Not just one or 2 isolated cases, 130 cases in one month of monitoring:

Here is another report:

By LINDA A. JOHNSON, Associated Press Writer Wed May 24, 7:42 PM ET

Accidental overdoses and side effects from attention deficit drugs likely
send thousands of children and adults to emergency rooms, according to the
first national estimates of the problem.

Scientists at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated
problems with the stimulant drugs drive nearly 3,100 people to ERs each
year. Nearly two-thirds — overdoses and accidental use — could be prevented
by parents locking the pills away, the researchers say.

Other patients had side effects, including potential cardiac problems such
as chest pain, stroke, high blood pressure and fast heart rate.

Concerns over those effects have led some doctors to urge the
Food and Drug Administration to require a "black box," its most serious
warning, on package inserts for drugs such as
Ritalin, Concerta and Adderall. Yet even doctors advising the FDA don't
agree on whether that's warranted.

The issue was discussed in a series of letters in Thursday's
New England Journal of Medicine, including some from doctors worried about
the dangers of not treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

"The numbers (of side effects) are puny compared to the numbers of
stimulant prescriptions per year," said Dr. Tolga Taneli, a child and
adolescent psychiatrist at University of Medicine and Dentistry of New
Jersey in Newark. "I'm not alarmed."

An estimated 3.3 million Americans who are 19 or younger and nearly 1.5
million ages 20 and older are taking ADHD medicines. Ritalin is made by
Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. of East Hanover, N.J.; Concerta by Johnson &
Johnson of New Brunswick, N.J., and Adderall by Shire US Inc. of Newport, Ky.

Twenty-five deaths linked to ADHD drugs, 19 involving children, were
reported to FDA from 1999 through 2003. Fifty-four other cases of serious
heart problems, including heart attacks and strokes, were also reported.
Some of the patients had prior heart problems.

Still, there hasn't been a clear estimate of the scope of side effects. The
CDC report, while not a rigorous scientific study, attempts to provide that
by using a new hospital surveillance network.

From August 2003 through December 2005, the researchers counted 188 ER
visits for problems with the drugs at the 64 hospitals in the network, a
representative sample of ERs monitored to spot drug side effects.

Doctors linked use of stimulant ADHD drugs to 73 patients with side effects
or allergic reactions. Another 115 accidentally swallowed ADHD pills,
including a month-old baby, or took too much.

"These are cases where a young child took someone else's medication or they
took too much of their own," CDC epidemiologist Dr. Adam Cohen said of the
second group.

Nearly 1 in 5 patients was admitted to the hospital, 1 in 5 needed stomach
pumping or treatment with medicines, and 1 in 7 had cardiac symptoms.
Sixteen percent of the side effects involved interaction with another drug.

Besides cardiac problems, common symptoms included abdominal pain, rashes
and spasms, pain or weakness in muscles, according to Cohen. No patients died.

Extrapolating to all U.S. hospitals, the researchers estimated 3,075 ER
visits occur each year.

In another letter in the journal, the heads of the American Psychiatric
Association and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
wrote they are concerned a black box warning would discourage use of ADHD
drugs, raising patients' risks of academic failure, substance abuse and
other problems.

This past February, an FDA drug safety advisory panel voted 8-7 for a black
box warning. The next month, another FDA panel instead recommended data on
cardiac and other risks go in a new "highlights" section the agency plans
to add to the top of drug inserts.

Dr. Marsha Rappley, pediatrics professor at Michigan State University, and
two other doctors on the advisory panels believe the vote for a black box
was premature.

She said studies show the drugs raise blood pressure and pulse rates a bit,
but it's unknown whether that would harm children taking them for years,
and that cardiac risks may be higher for adults.

Dr. Steven Nissen, cardiology chief at the Cleveland Clinic, who had
pressed for a black box warning at the FDA panel meeting, said ADHD drugs
are powerful stimulants and inherently risky. Nissen and other doctors say
the drugs are being prescribed to some who don't need them.

This week, the FDA said it is "working diligently" on "labeling changes
that we feel accurately reflect the available data and the advice of the
committees." The agency declined interview requests.

jimmy the pink said...

Ritalin is given by doctors to boys who can't be controlled or boundaried by their moms, mostly single.

The kids have amazing concentration powers when watching a Harry Potter movie or playing Halo 3.

But when it comes to school work, suddenly they've got "ADHD" = A Doctor Has Dollars.

Anonymous said...

I had an ADHD child many years ago. We recognized it immediately and decided on a pattern for him that was different. We never asked him to sit down and be still. We spoke with each of his teachers every year and told them of his condition and asked them not to force him to sit still but just keep him busy. He was kept challenged with the next thing to come. He is now 42 and considered a genius. He writes programs for computers and invented numerous things. He makes in the neighborhood of $500,000 per year. He has spent 22+ years in the AF and retired two years ago. We kept him challenged all the time and about the time he was 16 he had learned to control himself and accomplished very much. He was chess champion of his school. He fixed the computers for three schools when he was just a teenager. It wasn't easy but we managed and also raised three other children in the process all of which have become very successful. Think outside the box. I don't approve of medication because I've seen what it did to my sister's child who was also ADHD. He is 40 and useless. Can't keep a job and can't keep a life. Good luck with your son, and bless you.

SuperJ said...

Jimmy and anonymous hit the nail on the head. Ritalin seems to be a parent's way of saying "I don't want to deal with it" in convenient pill form.

I was "diagnosed" with this "disorder" in my early teens. Fortunately, I was too busy with music, athletics, schoolwork, extracurricular activities, kart racing, work and family functions to really notice.

Then I found a field of study and career path that requires me to be able to think on my feet and cover a wide range of ground in a short period of time.

No, I can't keep the radio tuned to the same station for more than 30 seconds, and it took me two hours to type this post after leaving it and coming back to it eight times.

But overall, I see my "disorder" as a tremendous gift. It allows me to do things that "normal" people can't.

jimmy the pink said...

In families of weak parents, it's called ADHD.

In business, it's called Multi-tasking, Floating Awareness, and Diffuse Perceptual Keying.

Kids sell their Ritalin to classmates, or trade it for "cheese" heroin, pot, or X.

Shame on parents for doping their kids like they were horses.

News Watcher Dad said...

You got a problem?

Just throw some drugs at it.

Yeah, right.

Anonymous said...

My son had/has ADD. He was diagnosed after a battery of tests when he was seven. I didn't want to medicate him, but it was apparent he was failing in school and friendships. His grades and school behavior improved immediately. As he grew older, I would try to take him off meds, but his grades would drop from A's and B's to C's and D's.

He is now 21 and will not take medication. He has dropped out of college and struggles with keeping jobs and relationships.

It's so easy for those of you to make judgements when you have not dealt with this issue personally. When your child is suffering, most parents will try every possible solution. My heart still breaks when I see him struggling as an adult. You never stop being a Mom.

Carol said...

I have a son who is ADHD. I do not really believe in just giving a drug to fix whatever but I have to agree that unless you have lived this situation, it is hard to see where you come from. Also, every child is different. This shows in the effect medication can have and working on behavior mocification. The medication is not a cure all so we also have to work on behavior modifications. This is the way it is for us but as I said...every child is different.

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