A PARENT’S GUIDE TO
those used to treat ADHD, there are a few exceptions. You
shouldn’t take ascorbic acid or vitamin C an hour
before or after you take ADHD medication. ADHD stimulants are strongly alkaline, and cannot be absorbed into the
bloodstream while these organic acids are present. High
doses of vitamin C (1000 mg), in pill or juice form, can accelerate the excretion of amphetamine in the urine and act
like an “off switch” on the med. Caffeine is another culprit.
It’s also a stimulant, and many people with ADHD “
self-med-icate” with caffeine. Once you start taking an ADHD medication, you may find that the amount of caffeine you used
to tolerate easily now makes you jittery and anxious.
HOW TO WORK WITH
YOUR DOCTOR TO MAKE A
AS A PARENT, YOU KNOW YOUR CHILDREN BEST. YOU know their favorite foods and which ones they should stay away from. You know when they are
getting sick or when a tantrum is brewing. Often you can
tell when they are lying or in need of extra attention.
But what happens when you have to rely on someone
else’s expertise to figure out the best ADHD medication
management strategies for your child? When you are wondering if the medication your child is taking is really the
best one for him? Or you have not been seeing the positive
changes you were told to expect, or your child is experiencing a side effect that troubles you?
You can’t go it alone. You need to rely on the expertise
of your child’s medication prescriber to determine the best
medication for him. How do you communicate with the
doctor so that you are heard? When you are the expert on
your child, and the doctor is the expert on ADHD medication, here are five things to keep in mind:
EDoctors want to find the best medication for your
child. ; Medically speaking, a doctor’s repertoire of treatment
strategies is typically limited to prescribing medication.
Working with you to find the right medication, dosage,
and administration schedule means she has done her job.
RDoctors depend on you.; Because you know your child
best, prescribers rely on you to report any improvements
or negative side effects that your child is experiencing.
Doctors use this information to determine the next change
to make in adjusting medication, whether it’s changing
the dose or changing to another medication.
TKeep track of what you observe. ; One of the first things
a doctor will ask during a follow-up medication check ap-
pointment is, “How is the medication working?” Telling
the doctor how your child is sleeping or eating is just the
tip of the iceberg in providing information that is needed
to find the best medication. Using a medication log will
help you capture key information. For instance, noting
when your child takes the medication and when it wears
off are important to guide medication adjustments. Asking
his teacher to track his behaviors at school will provide
important information needed to assess the effectiveness
of a medication.
U Ask your child. ; Before you meet with the prescriber for
a medication effectiveness appointment, ask your child
for feedback about her experience of taking the medication. Ask: “What do you notice is different for you when
you take the medication? When do you notice the medication starting to work after you take it? What do you notice
when the medication is wearing off? If anything were possible, what else would you want the medication to help
make different?” Don’t forget that the key person in this
equation is the child, and she has an important perspective
to share—how the medication is working for her. In addition, during the medication adjustment appointment,
invite your child to answer the questions asked by the
doctor. It is probably more efficient for you to answer in
our time-conscious medical system; however, your child’s
voice and involvement in the process are invaluable.
IDetermine if your doctor knows her stuff about
ADHD and medication.; At a time when more people are
being diagnosed with ADHD, and awareness of ADHD is
growing, the fact remains that many doctors have had little
training in diagnosing ADHD or in evaluating ADHD medications in medical school. Those doctors who are familiar
with ADHD and the medications that treat it are often
those who have taken it upon themselves to learn. So how
do you find out if your doctor or medication prescriber is
someone who has the medical expertise needed? Asking
lots of questions will give you a basic idea of how qualified
he or she is: What type of medication is this? Stimulant or
nonstimulant? How does this medication work in my
child’s brain? How does it help his ADHD? And so on.
Following our guidelines will make sure that you will
have all the essential information and people on your team
to determine the right category, dose, and timing of the
ADHD medication—and to maximize your child’s chances
of safely getting all the benefits that ADHD medications
can deliver. A
LAURIE DUPAR, PMHNP, RN, PCC, is the founder and director of the
International ADHD Coach Training Center ( iactcenter.com) and
founder of Coaching for ADHD ( coachingforadhd.com). WILLIAM
DODSON, M. D., is founder of the Dodson ADHD Center (dodson
adhdcenter.com), in Greenwood Village, Colorado, and a member of
ADDitude’s Scientific Advisory Board.