Comments on
Growing Up With ADHD Meds – And Deciding to Quit Them


I’m always thrilled when readers write in wanting to share their experiences or their children’s experiences with medication.

So often when we talk about psychiatric meds,

3 thoughts on “Growing Up With ADHD Meds – And Deciding to Quit Them

  • June 6, 2012 at 7:58 pm

    Hi Zoe,
    I have written to you before about my 8 year old daughter who was diagnosed last year with ADHD. She does have all the typical symptoms, but my husband and I were extremely against medicating her. We don’t believe pills are the way to deal with a problem, and I didn’t want my kid on pills for the rest of her life. She needs to learn how to cope with it. Unfortunately she was struggling so badly in school that we decided to put her on the lowest dose of Adderall. She is currently on 5mg of Adderall, and her grades have greatly improved. She had always showed an aptitude for math, but now she is working at grade level to almost above grade level. Reading and writing are still a struggle, but she has made great improvements this year. She only takes the pills during the school week, not on the weekends, and now that school is out, she is not on them at all. I do notice a difference in her hyper-activity. Her mouth goes 90 to nothing all the time, but that’s just a part of who she is. I don’t medicate her to make it easier on us, I don’t think that’s fair to her, and I do think she needs to learn to control herself. She says she can’t tell the difference when she’s off or on the pills. The thing that irritates me the most is her teachers will ask her if she has taken her pill that day, and if she says “no” they send her to the office to call us to bring her her pill. It was especially bad the last week of school. The kids weren’t doing anything in class as far as learning, so I didn’t medicate her that week, and her teacher actually got mad because she was hyper. Teachers want her on the medication because it makes it easier on them. I’m not medicating her to make it easier on them, I’m medicating her so she can concentrate on school work in class. We don’t teach her that having ADHD is a bad thing. I show her extremely successful people who have ADHD and tell her it doesn’t make her any different from anyone else. She may just have to work a little harder, but she is more than capable of accomplishing anything she sets her mind to. She is an extremely bright little girl. A social butterfly that most people love, in small doses. As for right now, I do believe medication is helping her in school, but it will be her choice if she wants to continue taking it as she gets older. By not constantly medicating her I think she is learning to cope with it. She doesn’t have behavioral problems. She is polite and well mannered. She just talks constantly. You get used to it 🙂

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  • June 6, 2012 at 11:55 pm

    As I understand it the anti-med camp feels that it just masks the problem without treating it, but I feel as if the no-med folks make a good case for all of us; society should be more tolerant of differences.

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  • June 18, 2012 at 10:20 am

    This is a comment a reader emailed to me. I think she makes some very good points about the timing of when one decides to quit medication and how this influences one’s take on the need for it.

    “Observations:

    1. Dropping meds at the same time you engage in the most stressful developmental stage & challenges of your life, so far, doesn’t seem like a way to gauge one’s ability to drop meds. She did pretty well, considering. Most non-med students struggle mightily their freshman year and not a few of them have similar crises.

    2. Wondering about the personal process that led to such a seemingly ill-advised combination / plan. Support system? Advisers? (Who cosigned this!?) Seems like there might be a lack in meaningful support. How do you do this any time in your life, without an adequate support system?

    3. She correctly observed that there are many components to her meds use. One component is lifestyle. That’s a major lifestyle change. Preparation? Issues identified prior? Support identified prior? Goals? Steps? For most people, successfully changing a med-based lifestyle is not a one semester DIY project.

    4. Did she go cold turkey? Seriously? Support group? Plan? Coping mechanism/practice? The physical effects of discontinuing meds are enough, without adding anything else.

    The bases that weren’t covered in making the decision to see what it would be like to drop the meds leave me to conclude that she didn’t actually find out what it would be like to live without meds, yet. What she did learn was what it would be like to drop meds at the worst possible time, without adequate preparation or support. If it’s framed that way, that’s a ton of very valuable learning. With adequate preparation, a plan, and a system of support, she still has a chance to answer her original question.”

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