Monday, May 09, 2011

Large Amounts of Stimulants ARE beneficial for Inattentive ADD

We've been on this journey to find the right meds for my son (now 15) for six months now. Well, it's actually been more like two full years, or longer. We tried the typical stimulants for ADD with our general practitioner -- and one even worked for a couple of years, until our son began to grow. In 8th grade, which is often the case, the bottom dropped out so-to-speak, and our son [who had been previously doing well in school] just couldn't pay attention AT ALL. The more I researched, the more I felt that our son fit the Inattentive ADD description. I also was realizing that whatever meds we were trying weren't working.

So we tried a year with a psychiatrist rather than our family GP. I assumed she would have more experience -- but the same thing happened with the psychiatrist as was happening with the GP, in that she would give us meds, my son would reach the FDA approved limit, and she wouldn't go any higher than that dosage. It became really obvious that in my son's case, he needed a higher dosage.

I had done some research about a doctor who works specifically with ADD patients and who is local to us. The difference between this doctor and the others are:

1) He has experience SPECIFICALLY with ADD patients -- that's all he works with. His experience spans 35+ years, so he really knows what he's doing.

2) When the patient tries new meds, you don't wait forever to see if it's working. The nurses at the office have the patient take meds in the morning, then the patient comes back in a few hours when the meds are fully working, and they take the patient's blood pressure, pulse rate, and then do cognitive testing to really KNOW if the meds are working. You don't have to wait for a month like we've done in the past, seeing if the teachers at school can report if there's been any improvement in the patient's ability to pay attention.

3) This doctor is willing to use much higher dosages of stimulants, and willing to do meds in combination with each other -- i.e., a stimulant, and then an anti-anxiety if the stimulant causes anxiety problems, etc.

I did the research into the high dosages, because initially this worried me. I found that the FDA limits are made for an average, and not the non-typical patient. Also, higher dosages are perfectly alright for some patient's needs.

I have personal experience with this now, in that my son is taking 171 mg. of concerta. The difference is amazing. I didn't want to report too quickly about this -- I wanted to wait and see if the good benefits held strong. They have, and our son is doing well.

We went through about seven different meds before we found something that would work. I was really very nearly to the point of giving up -- I was trying to gear myself up for the possibility that we wouldn't find any med that would help my son pay attention, and that we would just have to go on without any kind of help at all.

If there's one thing I would like to report, it is the fact that it really is true, that you have to work hard to find the one (or hopefully two) med that will work for your child. More importantly than that, it is EXTREMELY important to find a doctor who is a specialist in ADD, and who is willing to work hard with you to find the right medication in the right dosages. This has made all the difference for my son.

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