15 year old won't accept ADD diagnosis

<p>My son was diagnosed with ADD (mainly inattentative, not hyperactive) this summer. Last year (9th grade) was a disaster. He does not accept the diagnosis and won't take medicine. I'm so frustrated because he is smart, but just needs a little help to reach his potential. Any ideas? I'm wondering if there is something he can read or any way to incent him to try. He wants to "try harder" and see how he does in school before deciding. We want him to try it and see if he feels better. He really needs to get his grades up this year. Unfortunately, there is no way to "make him" take it. My heart breaks for him as he struggles. And of course, it is not helping him socially either.</p>

<p>With medicines like Ritalin, the effects are such that I think it should be his choice whether or not he takes it. He has made it clear that he doesn't want that, so try to help him in other ways. Pills are not always the answer.</p>

<p>Check with your GC. Your school may have resources during the day that he can use which will help with organization, etc. You may also want to meet with GC to see if a 504 plan is advisable. He may be eligible for accommodations such as longer time for tests and quizes. Your school should have resources. Your son is not the only one at your school with this issue. Good luck.</p>

<p>Set up a meeting with the school special ed. resource teacher, and so that you and your son can learn more about other accommodations that are appropriate for him. Often this would entail requiring that all of his teachers provide him written (rather than oral) instructions for all assignments, that the teachers sign his planner every day indicating that they checked to see that he recorded homework correctly, and a requirement that the parents sign the planner every day indicating that they know the homework has been completed. The resource teacher will have other ideas as well. Tell your son that working hard is good, but learning how to work smart is much better.</p>

<p>He doesn't want to be different than his peers- so he doesn't want a label. While it might be a relief for a parent to have a diagnosis at this age, it almost never feels that way initially for a teenager..... He needs to talk with someone about this (not his parents) who can bring him to an understanding of his needs such that he does not feel judged or abnormal. If you only target the end points of this issue(i.e., you need to take medicine or you need X help in school)... you end up with lots of arguments. Kids and teens are willing to do what is needed if they are helped to understand and define their needs themselves..... </p>

<p>If you have the $ and he would be willing, see if he will do Cogmed (<a href="http://www.cogmed.com)-%5B/url%5D"&gt;www.cogmed.com)-&lt;/a> it is mostly done at home and it improves working memory difficulties which are the cognitive issue for many kids with ADHD ((Fyi, ADD is outdated as a term. Everyone is called ADHD now whether or not they are hyperactive....))</p>

<p>Who made the diagnosis?</p>

<p>A psycologist made the diagnosis. (Yes, it is ADHD) I feel like he will also be very upset with the other accomodations that are available because that just makes him different. Also, it is not just the organization issues which I agree we can adress with signing the planner, etc. It is also the inattention and "acting up." Last year he was not willing/able to ask for a teacher recommendation for Student Senate because "all his teachers hate him."</p>

<p>No offense, but medications don't always work, and it would be benifical in the long run if he learned how to cope with his issues instead of relaying on a medication to do it.</p>

<p>(i may sound a bit biased about this, however i used to take ritilen for the exact same thing. It did NOTHING but turn me into a zombie)</p>

<p>It is also the acting up." Last year he was not willing/able to ask for a teacher recommendation for Student Senate because "all his teachers hate him."
Wait a minute mom. He IS a teenager AND a boy and they ALL start to rebel/ push back against mom as a part of growing up around this age. That is probably going to happen, ADHD or not.
And yes ,boys that age really are sensitive to anything that makes then different from their friends. The diagnosis PROVES there is something "wrong" with him, to his way of thinking, and I'm sure that is not a happy thought. Has he tried the medication at all?It can slow smart kids down so much that they feel they are now stupid. Does it require multiple doses , as opposed to 1 on the morning, 1 at night? if so, ask to have the dosage changed so he doesn't have to take a pill in front of his friends. And a deal where he tries A medicine, [which may be changed if it is not found to be effective,] for a set ,agreed upon period of time, with some sort of a reward that he agrees to after the trial period, might not be a bad idea, if it makes the bitter pill go down easier. And Ritalin is not the only medication there is for ADHD. Sounds like its just the first one tried.
Who was it that wanted him to ask for a teacher recommendation for Student senate? Him? or You? If a student wants something that requires action on his part- like asking for a recommendation for a student leadership position- then he will have to find the courage to ask for it. But the excuse he made- all his teachers hate him- sounds like the kind of excuse a boy would make up as a reason for not doing something he had no interest in doing in the first place.
Just my opinion, but I have been there.........</p>

<p>Good for him. Did the diagnosing doctor inform you clearly that the largest NIH study to date shows that at best the drugs only work better than placebo for two years, and by the end of the third year, young patients on psychostimulants are behind those on placebo in EVERY area - academic, mental health, and socially? If not, is he guilty of malpractice?</p>

<p>Maybe needs to sit with the idea for a bit, then talk with the psychologist or someone else to talk things through. I wouldn't push it as likely he has some anxiety about returning to school right now. Knowing there are other kids in his situation is helpful as well. There are lots of websites/books. ask the Psych for information (or the people at school).</p>

<p>^ that's a study I'd like to see a link to...</p>

<p>MINI,
You are misinterpreting the MTA study. The study shows that when a kid is on the meds things are better than placebo, better than behavioral intervention only. When they go off the medication in the study, they do not continue to show the difference.</p>

<p>The problem is not the meds. The problem is when the only intervention is the meds....that is the resounding message of the MTA. When the patient is on medication, they MUST have the support to learn the skills.. not rely on the medication to do it all.</p>

<p>NOT every kid with ADHD needs meds to learn skills. 80% show short to medium term benefits however.</p>

<p>This boy was diagnosed by a psychologist. Psychologists are not prescribing medication, as i am sure you know. Don't inflame things by suggesting malpractice.</p>

<p>Google MTA and Ritalin and you will get the links. OR go to <a href="http://www.parentsmedguide.org%5B/url%5D"&gt;www.parentsmedguide.org&lt;/a> for reliable information about medication.</p>

<p>Cited in Whittaker, "Anatomy of an Epidemic" that I already posted (study from 2007). <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Anatomy-Epidemic-Bullets-Psychiatric-Astonishing/dp/0307452425/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1312684115&sr=8-1%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www.amazon.com/Anatomy-Epidemic-Bullets-Psychiatric-Astonishing/dp/0307452425/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1312684115&sr=8-1&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>There are 2 books I think you will find very helpful - Driven to Distraction and Delivered from Distraction. Both are written by Dr. Edward Hallowell and Dr. John Ratey.</p>

<p>Meds have worked great for me my whole life-- and I went off them frequently in my teen years and definitely noticed the difference. I'd just give your S time, let him try all the options and let him come to his own conclusions. While you want him to do as best as he can in high school, life with ADD is a marathon, not a sprint, and developing a good attitude about treatment is an extremely important life skill that he will not learn if he is constantly feeling the need to rebel against something that's being forced on him. I went on and off them even though I needed them because I was a silly teenager once too, and I still graduated from an excellent college-- I just had to take a roundabout way of getting there.</p>

<p>
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Pills are not always the answer.

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</p>

<p>Sometimes they are the answer. Not always, but sometimes. </p>

<p>
[quote]
No offense, but medications don't always work, and it would be benifical in the long run if he learned how to cope with his issues instead of relaying on a medication to do it.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>Where did the OP, or anyone, say that medications always work? Of course it would be beneficial to cope with his issues without meds but that is not always possible.</p>

<p>I don't take meds because I want too. I take them because a decade of trying everything else under the sun left me with nothing but an empty savings account and a precarious marriage. I wish so much I had not wasted so much time being stubborn and resisting just trying the damn meds. </p>

<p>sureofsomething, I would let him "try harder" with the caveat of setting up a date by which he would try the meds. For example, if trying harder is not working within, say, a month, then he tries the meds. I really feel for your son, it must be very hard to really believe that all your teachers hate you.</p>

<p>Note (given that this is a 15 year old) about teen driving, from this NIH Web Site
NIMH</a> · Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)</p>

<p>
[quote]
What about teens and driving? Although many teens engage in risky behaviors, those with ADHD, especially untreated ADHD, are more likely to take more risks. In fact, in their first few years of driving, teens with ADHD are involved in nearly four times as many car accidents as those who do not have ADHD. They are also more likely to cause injury in accidents, and they get three times as many speeding tickets as their peers.

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</p>

<p>Here is the reference: Cox DJ, Merkel RL, Moore M, Thorndike F, Muller C, Kovatchev B. Relative benefits of stimulant therapy with OROS methylphenidate versus mixed amphetamine salts extended release in improving the driving performance of adolescent drivers with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Pediatrics, 2006 Sept; 118(3):e704-e710.</p>

<p>What is the journal reference for the MTA study that is being talked about?</p>

<p>Ah, but you missed HOW the drug companies sold the FDA on the drugs to begin with? (This is true for most of the psychostimulants, and some of the anti-depressives as well.) Two to three weeks after beginning trials, the researchers would go in and retrospectively exclude anyone who responded to the placebos. Since the FDA does not require any long-term studies of effectiveness, virtually all of the drugs studied are approved. </p>

<p>As I noted, the psychostimulants are effective for up to two years (over placebo). As you note, they MAY buy time for other interventions.</p>

<p>Robert</a> Whitaker: 'Anatomy Of An Epidemic': Could Psychiatric Drugs Be Fuelling A Mental Illness Epidemic?</p>

<p>Back to the OP, he may or may not accept the diagnosis (is a psychologist doing the diagnosing?), and then he may or may not accept the need for pharmacological intervention.</p>

<p>(Robrym - I urge you to read the actual data in the MTA study, rather than simply the summary or discussion. We seem to agree that medication plus community intervention is necessary for substantial longer term improvement. But I didn't real that the OP's psychologist suggested any such intervention."</p>

<p>"After three years, 45-71 percent of the youth in the original treatment groups were taking medication. However, continuing medication treatment was no longer associated with better outcomes by the third year." From the study summary.)</p>

<p>Mini,
I have read every word. I deal with it every day professionally. Perhaps you should read the full text of my post. The value of medication is IF it is used to facilitate skills learning.</p>

<p>Again, no need to inflame a situation or scare a family.</p>

<p>I began researching for the OP with my go-to site, NAMI. Once there, I clicked on the ADHD button (interesting!) which led me to CHADD. Chadd's page on "Dealing with Stigma" might have helpful reading resources for you and your son, but you actually have to join Chadd to link to those resources.</p>

<p>Anyway, try retracing my steps. You might see helpful things along the way to as far as I got, which is: </p>

<p>CHADD</a> Live | Stigma</p>