Pill poppin’…..

6 Oct

I’ve mentioned in previous posts that my son has Asperger’s syndrome and ADHD.  He’s super high functioning… but not high functioning enough to be able to spend his full school days in a regular classroom (he spends part of his day in a Behavioral Theraputic classroom… which is amazing that the school district we live in provides this kind of service, and it’s why we have to live in this district and pay INSANE amounts of money for rent so that he can be able to go to this school).  We have tried every single thing under the sun to help him with his issues- regular therapy, behavioral therapy, homeopathic and natural mood stabalizers, dietary changes, reward systems, strict daily structure routines, every single parenting method provided in every single parenting book ever written, etc. We’ve done it all… but he just CAN’T keep his anger and impulsiveness from taking over and destroying his days.  It’s tearing his self-esteem to shreds and keeping him from thriving the way he desperately wants to be.  It’s keeping him from having friends, and doing well in school (which he’s INSANELY smart, and a really amazing kid- so it’s a total shame). So we finally got to the point where meds were an option.

I hate meds.  I hate the pharmacutical system and the way doctors will just give pills out like candy.  So this was a REALLY hard decision to make.  But I’ve always said that meds should be used as a last resort… and that’s where we’re at with my little guy.  He’ll be in junior high next year, and we’ve got to help him pull some of this stuff together before then, because junior high is BRUTAL and he needs to have his wits about him.

So after another reevaluation, and a firm rediagnosis of Aspergers and ADHD, we went to his doctor who started him off on a mild dosage of Vyvanse.  I had him start taking it on Saturday morning so that I could closely monitor him throughout the weekend before unleashing him onto school.  I wanted to see if there were any side effects that I need to worry about.

Within in 4 hours, I noticed that the things that would normally send him into a blind rage didn’t bother him.  He had been working on a drawing for 2 days, and he accidentially screwed it up… normally, he’d tear it to pieces, throw his colored pencils across the room, scream and yell that he wasn’t good at anything, and a full blown hour-long meltdown would follow.  But Saturday, when this happened, he came into my office a little sad and asked me if I’d hold onto the drawing for a while and maybe he’d go back to working on it later…. AND THAT WAS IT!!!  No explosions, or destruction, or nightmarish chaos.  Just calm and sound behavior.  And a couple hours later, he DID go back to it and happily finished it!  This may not seem like a big thing- but after almost a decade of daily destruction melt-downs, this was huge.  When he was playing at a friend’s house and I came to get him & informed him he needed to come home and help me with chores (which is normally another thing that sends him into a rage), he happily complied.  This was how our whole weekend was.  He was able to actually finish tasks he started without jumping from one thing to another manicly, and was much more reasonable with everything.

The side effects were there, though.  Saturday night, he couldn’t get to sleep until 3am.  I thought this would probably work itself out (and last night he was asleep by 8:30).  If he’s hungry at all, he gets super nauseous- so we’re going to have to have him snack on regular schedules at home and at school (which is totally fine).  And he has flashes of weepiness/nervousness.  He’ll come up to me with a little panicked look on his face and say “I’m really nervous and I don’t know why!”, or he’ll say he feels really sad for no reason.  So I’ll have him take some big deep breaths, and within a minute or 2, it passes.

And then there’s the talking.  He’s always been a massive talker… and produces far more chatter than my ears can take in on any day.  But this weekend, the chatter was NON-STOP.  It was like someone pressed the “play” button on his mouth, and threw the “stop” button in the garbage.  By the time he went to bed last night, I thought my ears were going to bleed.  He would even repeat things over and over just to keep the chatter-flow going.  He didn’t do this when he was playing with friends- only when he was with me and Brad.  So hopefully he won’t do this at school because there’s no way that his teachers are going to be able to have a productive classroom with this going on.

But that’s my story.  I promised the other Aspie mom’s who read my babble that I would keep updates on here when we started the meds.  There aren’t meds for Asperger’s syndrome since it’s a behavioral disorder… but usually ADHD and Asperger’s go hand-in-hand, so it’s the ADHD that I’m trying to get a thumb on.

So if anyone out there has any experience with this new med Vyvanse (because it’s pretty new to the market, and it’s supposed to be alot milder than previous meds with less side effects), I’d love to hear it!!  The info I’ve found online has pretty much all been sponsered by the medication’s manufacturers- so their propaganda is pretty biased.  Any “real person” input would be SOOOOO appreciated!!!! 🙂


10 Responses to “Pill poppin’…..”

  1. whitney October 6, 2008 at 9:59 am #

    i can’t really give any input, but it’s nice to hear you’ve had a pretty smooth weekend. 🙂

  2. Kristen Ferrell October 6, 2008 at 3:07 pm #

    I can’t tell you how much I loooooove smooth weekends. We very rarely have them, so they are a rare and precious treat.

    At school it was more of what we experienced at home… a little weepyness, and MASSIVE chatter. But all the med literature says that side effects should subside in about a week or so.

    Keep your fingers crossed!!

  3. myshinyhell October 7, 2008 at 4:03 am #

    Oh Kristen, I’m so glad to hear positive things about the medication, and that you are getting a break from the anger, as well as your little guy. I hope that all side effects are minimal and wane once his body gets used to it. I’m glad you gave us an update, because I’ve been thinking about you and wondering how it was going.

    *crosses fingers with Kristen* xoxoxoxoxoxo.

  4. hayley g October 7, 2008 at 5:17 am #


  5. Cassie October 7, 2008 at 5:42 am #

    I am so happy to hear you had your first smooth weekend!
    My fingers are crossed that the side effects smooth out and these meds work for you guys.

  6. Kristen Ferrell October 7, 2008 at 8:44 am #

    It was probably the hardest decision I’ve had to make as a mother because of the way I feel about meds….
    But watching my son struggle and suffer was more than I could handle, and if the meds help him than it’s worth it. They’re already helping, so I’m a little more secure in my decision. And I’ve been told that all those side effects will lessen within a week as he adjusts.
    I just want him to succeed, and feel good about himself, and be able KNOW just how amazing he is instead of him feeling out of control and like he’s always screwing up.

    Thank you all for your encouragement!!! It really does mean alot!!!


  7. Brandi October 7, 2008 at 2:11 pm #

    My 15 year old was on Concerta from the time he was finishing up second grade until the summer before seventh grade, so about 5 years…It seemed to control the ADHD symptoms pretty well. He stopped climbing the walls. A few things that did happen, though…he would tap on things…like when he would set an object on a table, he would then tap on it three times. It was hardly noticeable, but one day I asked him why he did that and he explained that it had to be “an even number”…he sets the object down, “that’s one” and then taps once, to make two or three to make four. (totally OCD)…by his 5 summer on Concerta he was on the strongest dose (I think it’s 54, or maybe 72 mg) and by the end of he evening it would wear off and he would have some severe side effects. He would become very manic, bouncing off of the walls by 7pm and by 8pm he would be bawling in my arms and then having suicidal ideas and then raging about how he wanted to kill his sister, and then with the bawling again. He seemed like he was just wanting to jump out of his skin. It was horrific. So…I got scared and took him back to his doctor. His doctor wanted to give him more during the day, or move him to Adderall, which doesn’t wear off. After reading the black box warning about Adderall I never filled the prescription and made the decision to wean him off of Concerta and just “see what happens”, and now we are two and a half years in without the meds. His grades went from A’s and B’s, to A’s, B’s and a couple C’s, and I’m learning to deal with that. 😀
    It’s tough to know what to do…symptoms versus side effects, you know? You have to walk the line with this stuff and the first drug you try may not work, but #2 might work for a while before having to adjust things and you might try #3. You’ll be alright. You’re informed, conscientious…

  8. Kristen Ferrell October 7, 2008 at 2:49 pm #

    I try to be as cautious and informed as I can be. What’s really funny is that my ex-husband (Sully’s dad) used to really love the prescription meds (the ones not prescribed to him)- so he’s a walking medical book about every pharmaceutical out there. It’s come in really handy in this situation because he knows what questions to have me ask the doctors, what side effects are known with what meds, etc. He told me that if the doctors gave me any trouble, to tell them I’m getting all my info from an ex-addict (and who knows drugs better than an addict?! AND they are biased because of pharmaceutical company payouts).

    The behavior that your son was experiencing when the Concerta wore off is how my was acting on a regular basis (and at school). So we had to do SOMETHING different. We’ll try these for a while and see what happens. It’s just the first week, so fingers crossed!!

    Thank you so much for your input!!!!!!

  9. daMama October 9, 2008 at 12:22 pm #

    It breaks my heart to hear of your little guy’s troubles. I also have a good idea of what it is like to walk in your shoes too, Kristen. It is so hard. I am so hopeful that the meds will help him break free and be the guy you know he really is.

    I lit a couple of candles for you and Sully. My prayers to the powers that be for inner peace and good health for you both. You can find them at the address below. (look for rim, that would be me)


  10. Kristen Ferrell October 10, 2008 at 10:30 am #

    Thank you so much!! It’s so hard to watch your baby struggle. I’m a total control freak, so I just want to charge in and “fix it”. But I can’t. The helplessnes both him and I feel with this is so frustrating… because he so desperately wants to “do good”, but he just can’t get a thumb on it.
    Things are looking up, so we’re just gonna stay positive and keep at it.

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