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Ask Dr. Meg: My son has ADHD, did I turn to medications too soon?

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Dr. Meg Meeker

Dear Dr. Meg,

My son is 9 years old and just ending his year of third grade.  In first grade, we were encouraged by his teacher to have him evaluated for ADHD.  His teacher and I filled out a questionnaire about him. When we finished I turned it in to his pediatrician and since then has prescribed him Vyvanse.  He’s on a small dose that he takes only on school days.

I have been listening to your podcast and reading other books by some of your guest speakers and have taken away that maybe I turned to medication too soon.  What could you recommend my husband and I do?  Should I have him reassessed? Try taking him off meds and try other ways to get him to focus?  He’s not a very hyper child but I do see him lacking attention when it’s needed.  Would love to know other ways to handle ADHD without medication.  

Thank you, Jennifer

Dear Jennifer-

It sounds to me like you have done your homework regarding the evaluation of your son.  If the only medical opinion you have had, however, has come from your pediatrician, I do encourage you to go to a psychology specialist in your area who does thorough evaluations for learning issues, depression, ADHD, etc. This should take about 1 hour and give you a definitive diagnosis. There are kids who need medication. I’m certainly not against it (I prescribe it) but I do think that in the US, we overtreat kids with medication. That said, it sounds like you are doing a good job with your son. I would ask: how does he do on the Vyvanse? Is it better? Make sure that when you have him tested he is not on his medication so that you can get a clear picture of what’s going on.

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