Concerta Isn't Working Anymore

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Concerta Isn't Working Anymore 2013-11-25T09:23:07+00:00

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  • #123022

    bpearce60
    Member
    Post count: 2

    My son was diagnosed with ADD at the age of 9.  We, like most others I’m sure experimented with many tactics and strategies including medication.  After a few trials, Concerta turned out to be the best fit for him.  He has always excelled academically.  Straight A’s all through the gifted program at both his elementary and middle school.  He’s now 15 and in 10th grade.  He is in the International Baccalaureate program at our local high school.  He has grown rather quickly over the past 2 years from 5’4″ to 5’10″ and still going (I am 6’4″).  For the first time ever, he is struggling mightily in school (C’s, D’s & F’s).  We’ve tried what seems like everything to help him, but he forgets to turn in assignments, resists studying because he’s “never had to do it before” and “just can’t figure out how to get started” on any task.  We’ve had multiple conferences with his teachers and they have been fantastic.  Accommodations have been made but still no serious change.  We know the ADDers issues with perceived motivation and effort, and try not to judge, but we’re at a loss for a solution to help him get back on track and reach the potential that has been so obvious previously.  His dosage of Concerta is 54mg and we are afraid to take it higher.  We tried Vyvanse, but that was not the solution.  He only weighs about 115 pounds and the medication already affects his appetite.  Looking for some advise ASAP!

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    #123061

    sdwa
    Participant
    Post count: 363

    My experience with Concerta was that it worked for a few years, and then stopped working. So I stopped taking it. And my situation deteriorated. After a couple of years off the medication, I have recently started taking it again – and now it works again, noticeably.

    Some people work with their doctors to try different drugs, but it can be time-consuming and frustrating. You might check the Attention Talk Radio archives for discussions about medication, dosages, types, etc. It’s a good resource.

    Other than that, if the medication is not working, some alternatives include regular aerobic exercise, and a high-protein, low-carb diet, which are usually good lifestyle strategies for anyone. I’ve noticed those are changes that can really boost my overall functioning.

    You might also consider how his day could be structured to leverage his peak hours (for example, scheduling the most challenging classes at his best time, and/or sandwiching low-interest activities between high-interest ones, so that some of the mental energy and momentum from the high-interest stuff might leak over into the low-interest areas.)

    I know this is tough stuff, as I’m currently watching my ADHD son flunk out of high school due to his refusal to admit he has ADHD, take medication, show up for class, or do any homework at all. Somehow the message “Gee honey, you’re really impaired. What can we do to fix you?” is not quite working for me. I understand the stress and fear around this issue.

    Shorter, more frequent school assignments, or smaller class sizes might help if those are options.

    There are a number of coaching resources out there, although most of them are pricey. The Edge Foundation is one. ADDCA may list coaches who work with kids transitioning from high school to college.

    One key concept I have heard many times is to try to notice when and where he is at his best, and try to find a common thread between those situations and other things he has to do.

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    #123142

    bacciw
    Member
    Post count: 2

    I wanted to share that we have ahd tremendous success overcoming the decrease in appetite by adding an antihistamine called periactin to my daughter’s prescription. I found about it in some forum recommended by an ADHD doctor and tried it with my daughter 1mg twice a day has increased her appetite considerably, she has gained a few pounds already and it has been only a month. Perhaps you would consider asking your son’s doctor if that is an option in your case.
    As far as the academic struggles, I can empathize as well,I am not sure to what extent it is related to the medicines not working as well and to what degree are academic struggles not uncommon at certain stages. My daughter has also been in a gifted program since early childhood and as long as she took her medication, she has performed consistently well, a straight A student while without the meds she would not be able to complete classwork, getting Fs for being completely inattentive. Despite her ADHD being well managed with the meds, I have learned that transitions create some particular challenges,albeit temporarily. Transitioning into high school, gifted learners who are not used to having to study need to develop those new habits. My daughter is going through a very similar thing, she was shocked at the beginning of the school year because she had to actually study for the first time, and even though she was studying, which in her case meant cramming before the due date,she was still not getting her usual easy As. We made a deal with her,told her it was her choice because there was no need to rush into AP courses,but if she wanted to continue taking it we would get her a tutor. we also talked to her about her expectations and to see this as a learning opportunity, that as things get more complex, they take more effort and time and one has to manage those two, nothing wrong with portioning a challenging course in order to have a balanced workload. So we got her a tutor and she is feeling much better, she is focusing on developing new studying habits and skills, she still has a C in her AP class but the rest are Bs and As and she is slowly making progress.This is her first year in high school and there was a transitional period with her middle school transition as well. My concern was the degree of anxiety and explosiveness during the times of stress but she is back to her normal sweet self, trying to manage her time and workload. like we all have to learn to do.The way I see it better to face this now while she has a protective environment than later on her own. That said, it is not at all easy,and I can imagine what you guys are going through, the pain, the anxiety, the frustration. Trying a different medicine might be the solution, but in our experience when new stressors are added other things may be needed to be added. Hang in there, you guys will figure it out.

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    #123149

    blackdog
    Member
    Post count: 909

    @bacciw– Sounds like you’re really on top of things and doing the best you can for your daughter. Good for you. 🙂

    The stress with transitions is something I am very familiar with. I have a really hard time adapting to new situations and new people. Even one little change in how things are done at work or home can throw me off. And people who show up for a visit without calling. I hate that. It happened today and completely disrupted my day. I haven’t been able to get anything done since they left.

    It is also a very common trait with Autism, and autism seems to have a lot of similarities with ADHD. Autism was also what saved me today because my autistic nephew decided he’d had enough and wanted to go. Which was fine with me because I had had enough too.

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    #123152

    bacciw
    Member
    Post count: 2

    @blackdog

    Thanks for your words and sharing your experience. I am not on top of things,I gave up on trying to be on top of things. life is uncontrollable, but I am doing he best I can, I think that we need to tell ourselves what we tell our children, our best is not going to be consistent every day, and that’s just the nature of things, this is true no matter who you are, neurotypical or not. And that’s ok.

    When I talked about transitions being difficult I was thinking of big changes, but you are absolutely right, yes, there is the little transitions that are just as challenging. I have some of this difficulties you mentioned myself, I hate unannounced visitors, and I find it difficult to get back on track when something disruptive happens to me. My triggers are mostly emotional, I might be able to regroup form a distraction faster than from some difficult conversation. A few weeks ago I reacted to something a colleague at work said to me, granted, this is a renowned difficult person and by all standards I handled it well, yet while I asserted my boundaries and responded effectively, I had to leave the office and go somewhere safe to cry for ten minutes. It took me two weeks of spinning in all directions. talking with the therapist, and venting, ruminating, self soothing, to fully heal from the insensitivity I encountered. Sometimes I wish I had an armor, an emotional armor when i have to deal with the world.

    So, getting distracted is one thing, but in my case, I think the emotional reactivity is what is he most devastating effects the long lasting setbacks, I have learned thousands of tricks to handle the disorganization, sometimes the tricks work better than at other times.Depends on what else is going on. I have learned it is a good thing to have some excuses handy for when you need to escape some situation. I know it would be ideal to get through it, but that is only an ideal, something to set as a direction, to lead the compass, not the ultimate goal. We don’t owe anyone else explanations, sometimes we owe people apologies and gratitude. We owe to ourselves to take care of our well being.
    I try to treat myself as I treat my own children, with understanding, with love and with compassion. Its hard when we are aware of our challenges,one tends to fall into the trap of self blame, if perfectionistics nothing ever meets our standards, and our standards can be impossibly high, I tell myself as a mantra, ‘this is good enough’, save the highest standards for what truly matters to me.

    Again thanks for your words. I hardly ever write or post on anything. Children going through perfectly artificial demands to perform and suffering be cause f that is something that triggers me, to see the pain where there should be just joy. Our children are amazing, they have amazing hearts, minds and souls, and these kids are suffering to meet perfectly artificial one size fits all standards and unrealistic expectations on what some people believe is what defines success in life. My kids are very intelligent according to the IQ charts, but what does that matter if instead of heeling them explore and enjoy the world, it only brings tears of frustration and feelings of inadequacy?
    I want them to be good people, to make an effort to be happy, to get along with others, to be agents of change for good, to live life fully. There’s enough things in this world that are going to make them cry for just cause, homeworks or grades shouldn’t be one,yet so much is determined by a number, the whole system is flawed yet we can’t fully escape that it is a fact it has an impact on what opportunities they will have, career wise, so I have no easy solutions.

    Anyway, here I am going on tangents, have an electronic hug and thanks for reaching out.

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    #123155

    blackdog
    Member
    Post count: 909

    @bacciw

    I know exactly what you mean about giving up trying to stay on top of things. I gave up in a big way a long time ago. I finally let go of the last bit of attempted control when I lost my job in September. I could have fought it but I decided I just really didn’t want to work any more.

    The result is that I have been sitting around like a lump ever since while the mess around me continues to grow and grow. But I go through this every now and then and then sort of snap out of it and get things back in shape.

    Now that I have a better idea of what is going on in my brain and why I have difficulty with staying organized and on too of things I am hoping to snap out of it for good. Like you said, our best isn’t consistent from day to day. So I am trying to learn to use those really good days to get more done so that I can take it easy on the other days.

    I have the same trouble with recovering from things that make me emotional. And not just bad ones. I sometimes feel really drained after a good conversation or even watching a funny movie. It’s like I can only take so much then I have to get away and shut it out. It just feels overwhelming.

    I hate the way children are forced to conform, expected to be like everyone else, fit into the same box. The system is flawed to say the least.  But they are smart kids and they can find ways around it.

    I passed tests when I was in high school without knowing a thing about the subject of the test. I just wrote really creative, and really long, answers that always got me at least a partial mark. And I passed grade 11 math by getting a friend who was good in math to calculate what percentage I needed to get on the final exam and then focusing on answering just enough questions to get it. And I was lucky enough to have a few teachers who recognized the quality of my essays and gave me bonus marks to cancel out what I lost for handing them in late.

    Anyway, now I’m the one who is rambling on. And I lost my train of thought several stops back. So I think I better leave it at that.

     

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    #128500

    lteck21
    Participant
    Post count: 1

    @bpearce60

    I realize this is a longshot as these posts are from 4 years ago, but your story is EXACTLY that of my son’s! Diagnosed at 9, have been on c
    Concerta with great succes. He is now 15 and in High school and we are struggling! Wondering if you found any solution to help your situation?

    Thanks

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    #131112

    siggipiggi4
    Participant
    Post count: 3

    I tried concerta a while back, alza 54. I took it because I was told that it made you foccused for a while, and i bought two pills during my exam period. I took the first pill a week before my exam to see how it affected me. I was really excited to see how the effect would turn out, especially with my hobby (I make electronic music on my laptop), and As soon as I got home from school I swallowed the pill and sat down by my computer. While I was making music, I had an enormous amount of excitement and felt really passionate with my work, however I felt no difference with my concentration. I worked on my beat for about six hours and went to bed. When I was studying for my exam, I had the same feeling, excited about my work, but like I usually do when i study, I constantly lost focus and did irellevant things. I was unsure about the pills’ potency and asked a friend who also had taken the drug, he said he had never been more focused in his life… Did the drug work as it should, or was it just the placebo effect playing me? Is this a sign of ADHD?

    -Unsure 17 y old

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