Sunday, March 7, 2010


In my Biology class, our assignment this week was to analyze a drug ad in any popular magazine. We had to think about the condition it treated, the listed side effects, and decide whether or not we would use the drug if we had the condition it treated, then tell why or why not.

Well, one woman chose to analyze the drug Vyvance - which so happens to be the drug we have recently put our daughter on to help with her ADHD symptoms. Here is what she said when asked if/why she would take it or not:

"There is no way that I would take this medication or let my daughter take it." "I would not take this medication simply for the fact that I don't believe in ADHD. I think it is a parents lack of willingness to discipline their children when they are acting out and the inability to help their children with behavioral issues. It's more convenient for parents to let children take medication than to be "bothered" by working with them and their problems. The pharmaceutical companies get paid because of doctors who tell parents their children need medication. Therapy or counseling would be a much safer route to go than a medication like Vyvanse, and all of its dangerous side effects. "

While I personally agree that there are some children who exhibit behavior that should/can be corrected with more effective discipline by their parents or therapy, and I know this wasn't a personal attack, this statement kinda 'burned my bottom'... and at least one of the other students in the class was also bothered by it... I wasn't the only one to respond to her posting.

She said "I don't believe in ADHD" - what... like it's the Tooth Fairy or an Elf or Sasquatch? It's like someone saying they don't believe in guns.... HELLO!!!! THEY"RE REAL!

ADHD is real too... and I felt compelled to respond with the following (changed her name):


I have to completely disagree with you also, and ask you to open your eyes to another world - one you cannot control on your own. My daughter is 7 and has ADHD, as I did as a child - I remember how it felt to not be able to concentrate on anything for more than a few seconds or minutes at a time. I never wanted to put my child on medication as I was on Ritalin for 9 years, and didn't like the way it made me feel, although it did help me in school.

My husband and I struggled with the decision to try medicating her after trying different natural alternatives and behavior solutions for 3 years. When we first realized she was unable to focus and concentrate or follow directions, we tried dietary changes... including cutting out all artificial flavors, sweeteners, colors, and High Fructose Corn syrup... this worked for about a year and got us through Kindergarten successfully. At the beginning of first grade it was apparent the dietary changes weren't working any longer. We talked with the teacher and because we all agreed that she might be bored with the 1st grade work, she was tested, and we bumped her up a year in school... and we tried adding fish oil to her diet, because many families have had success with that - it worked for about 6 months, she did great. We also tried some different behavior methods and reinforcement for being able to get her work done at school, which seemed to help SOME, but she was still not able to get her work completed each day although she understood all of the concepts.

We knew it wasn't because of comprehension or her not being 'smart'.... her vocabulary was way ahead of her peers and she had no trouble understanding any of the material, only trouble with taking the time to complete her work and being distracted constantly.

So - This year she wasn't able to get even one assignment completed each day at school. Our happy-go-lucky, 'full of herself' child started doubting herself and having trouble with self-esteem, and that's where I drew the line - I took her to the pediatrician. We had a psychological evaluation done, including IQ and testing for ADHD. Her IQ was very high (confirming our suspicions that she was bored with the work) and she was off the charts for ADHD symptoms - not just checking off one or two possibilities, but having trouble with nearly everything in school and at home.

There are two classes of ADHD drugs - they work in different ways within the brain - We first tried one drug, Concerta - it didn't do much of anything to help her... so we then tried the other class of drug which includes Vyvance. It has been working like a charm. She has been able to complete all of her work at school (started out as 5 assignments in one day), and now has added half again the amount of assignments to her load (is now able to complete 7-8 each day), and has her self esteem back. She's proud of herself and the work she's able to do at school! She's our happy girl again!

Please realize that this is not a discipline issue. There's NO way that you could take my child off of medication and then try to tell me that you could manage her concentration level and make her successful in school by changing the discipline methods. Take the time to learn about the condition before you claim to have the answer.

I understand that many parents feel that medicating their child is the LAST thing they want to do... I felt the same way. I still do... I don't want to medicate my child unnecessarily. Also - I don't know that it's the answer for everyone or for every family. If you can have a happy, successful child without the medications, go for it! Believe me, we tried everything under the sun before the medication was even an option.

I hope that more people will realize that diagnosis of ADHD is on the rise, and although many children are misdiagnosed... it is a real thing, a real problem, and one that needs to be researched more and not pushed off as some sort of parenting issue. Ok... off of my soapbox for the day...

And no, the photos have nothing to do with the post... just a couple oldies of my favorite happy girl!


Andrea said...

What a very interesting post. Anyone can see how much thought has gone into your decision. I agree people are quick to jump in with their opinions when they don't know all the facts. Hope all continues to go well xx

Chickens in the Basement said...


I could not have said it better. As the mama of an ADHD boy who has never been a behavior problem, he can tell me when meds are no longer working. He will most likely take them every day that he needs to concentrate or stay focused.

You did a good job of educating a woman who has been lucky enough not to have the stressors we have had. This was one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make.

Nursing might not be the best job for Talulla!

Suzanne said...

Bless your heart. My son has ADD as well and we didn't put him on medication either until he went into a private practice to have some testing done and they couldn't even get through the test. She asked if I would consider putting him on an ADD medication for purpose of testing to see how much he knew- over how well he could control the ADD. I said I would try it and asked how long it would take to work- she said it would work immediately if it was going to work at all. We came back in the the next week after seeing my sons doctor and getting the prescription to try and finish the testing.

Let me just say- I cried. He sat, he answered, he focused- he succeeded in testing VERY high on his IQ and other test. Watching him through the one way glass able to sit and see the pleased look on his face that he was "doing it" was a double edged sword. I felt so happy for him and so angry at myself for MAKING HIM have to deal with something that he couldn't deal with. Making him feel bad for something he couldn't control.

That woman shouldn't talk about thinks she knows nothing about. Until you have ADD or a child with ADD- zip it up about anything about it. You can tell her I said Maybe she deserves a spanking? Would that cure her ignorance??

Jackie said...

Very well said. You drew the line at just the right place after trying all the alternatives.