Outgrowing ADHD Medications

Reader’s Question

My son is an overall good kid, but over the past year or so he has been getting into a lot of fights. It seems he is the one who starts most of them. He has done community service twice for this. He is ADHD and takes Focalin 10 mg 3 x day. He is in counseling.

Psychologist’s Reply

If your son is participating in community service projects, he must be a teenager. As you know, children don’t outgrow ADHD. As they become older, the physical hyperactivity may decrease but the inattention, distractibility, and poor impulse control continue.

While children don’t outgrow true ADHD, they can outgrow their medications. Teenage boys can change dramatically over the span of a year. Your son may be outgrowing his current medications or may need an additional medication to help with his impulse control and mood stability. I would also guess that his current medications are prescribed by a pediatrician or family physician. You may want to consult with a psychiatrist regarding his medications. Depending upon his age, body weight, puberty-status, and size — a medication change may be able to maintain him as a good kid. Also continue with the counseling, focusing on anger management and alternative to fighting in social situations.

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