Mar 6, 2013

ADHD is a gift. Why we are choosing to say NO to medication.

He's zany. He's funny.  He's a little odd... and he's ours.   Ever since we discovered that our son has ADHD {a diagnosis that has been both unquestionably confirmed by some and out and out denied by others}, we have been walking a path that is neither lonely nor littered with dangers. 

 
If the statistics are true, only 3-4% of the U.S. population is walking around with ADHD.  Oddly enough, I also read that about 10% of children are currently on  Ritalin or Adderall, so you do the math.    A few weeks ago I wrote about how this all came about in our life, and I won't lie, it was hard.

I think that what makes a "disorder" like this one scary or disturbing is that we don't know enough. As I've become increasingly educated, I more strongly believe that not only do I probably have ADHD, I am beginning to understand the positive side of this disorder or disease that many people consider a gift.

A gift? What can possibly be good about the inability to focus on something for a long ... SQUIRREL!

Where was I?  Ah yes, the gift. 

Other than the hyperactivity or inability to focus, other characteristics of people with ADHD include: creative, artistic, intuitive, empathetic, visionary, inventive, sensitive, original, loving, exuberant.

Many of those words are words that I have used to describe my son since he was very young.  Many of these words describe the hundreds of movie stars, athletes, artists, authors, and business tycoons who have found a way to harness their ADHD and turn it into a strength rather than a liability.

When the Doctor gave me the diagnosis, my brain began to race as I thought about the implications. If we have to medicate, his personality may change.  School will continue to be more challenging, grades won't be where we need them to get the scholarships he will eventually need.  When she began talking about our treatment options I steeled myself for the "Give him these pills" talk, where I would have to advocate to keep my son drug free.

She told me that she didn't necessarily recommend medication at this time, unless we really wanted it.

Why?

Because the Cognitive therapy we had already been doing with her for the previous three months, the structure of our home, and the behavior modification that is a consistent part of our parenting strategy was already showing a positive difference in his behavior.

She then looked at me, as though waiting for an answer.

I leaned forward in my chair and opened my hands up toward her.   "So you are saying that because of our parenting habits and our ability to follow directions, our son will not need medication to function?"

She smiled and explained that he is high-functioning within the diagnosis, and that she wanted to revisit the topic in the fall when he started 5th grade, but if at any point before that we became weary of "staying on top of him", we could fall back on a medication plan.

{Smiles} No, Thank you.

In the next part of this series, I will be explaining specifically what habits and structure we implement in our home and what "Cognitive Therapy" even means.


What else I'm learning:
So, what about you?  Do you know someone with ADHD?  Do they use medication or cognitive therapy to deal with their ADHD?
Linking up with:

9 comments:

  1. My son has ADHD and we did use medication for a while at the urging of the teachers and the constant complaints.

    After a couple of years, we took him off and taught him the tools to deal with it on his own...to govern himself...learn to make lists...etc. My guess is ADHD has been around, well, as long as we have. It probably isn't something new, but modern drugs are.

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    1. It's hard to think that the way I process the world is "wrong", it's just different. I think that God made me the way I am, and made my son the way he is. If I can't teach my son how to cope (either with or without meds), then I am not doing him any favors!

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  2. Oh sweet girl...10 years ago my husband and I went thru this...and after scouring the bookshelves, looking at what felt like 100's of books that advocated medication, we finally found one...yes, ONE! that said while there are those few that truly needed the medication, ADD (my son does not have the H) can be seen as a gift. We did the cognitive and some diet as well...HUGE difference...it wasn't always easy, and there were second guesses, tears, you name it...but fast forward 10 years...my son who is 15 is on the last chapter of his first novel...over 250 pages...he is thriving in high school, and has learned so much about himself and what he is capable of. I better stop typing before I leave a BOOK on here. So thankful you found a doctor that is supportive of your choice! ((Hug))

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    1. THANK YOU! Most of my friends have chosen to use medication, comparing ADHD to a disease like Diabetes (to be fair, for some kids, it really is a dysfunction), but after reading extensively about it, I am starting to learn that the negative aspects (my son also has the inattentive type) my son can "get around", without losing all of the benefits and his delightfully unique personality.

      Write a book! I'll read it!! I really appreciate the comment, encouragement like this doesn't come every day! :)

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  3. Sounds like you are making the right decision for your son. For mine, medication has been life-changing and we'll continue with it.

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    1. :) I think that to medicate or not is deeply personal. To the family and to the kid. Some children absolutely need to be on meds to begin to deal with the behavior modification stuff. Sounds like you are doing the right thing!!

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  4. Yes! My husband has ADHD and came from a super disorganized home. I am super Type A and try to be very organized so together we make a great team. He takes medication (a very low dosage) to currently help with his college classes and even out his moodiness. But he is ALL those things are more described above. He is so talented and creative, he will bring many great to this world!!

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  5. Hello, I just came across this while researching Adhd and add at the mentioning of my childs teacher, my husband and I are against medicating, and so have been looking for ways to help my son with his struggles in school ( teacher basically said he would have to be left out because she has no time to "deal" with him and so we have been thinking of homeschooling) and home life, and help or info would be great! I couldnt figure out how to find out if you had posted your habits and structure that you implement in your home and what "Cognitive Therapy" even means.
    Thanks!

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  6. You know what... you are right! I never wrote a follow up {Attach that one to my inability to stay focused long enough to follow through...} I will write part two today! I will link it to this article so anyone looking can find it!! Thanks for the comment!!

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