Yesterday was very rough. Over the weekend, my stepdaughters ran out of their Adderall, a medication that they take for ADHD (Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). It was my fault; they returned from spring break with their mother and I had miscalculated how many pills were left.
I tried contacting the after-hours clinic to see if I could get a prescription written during the weekend, but my calls were not returned. It meant that both girls would attend school on Monday without the Adderall. I figured, one day… they can handle it.
Sigh. It was a very bad day.
Cassidy Without Meds
My younger stepdaughter is nine. For the purposes of this blog, I’ll call her “Cassidy.” Now Cassidy has a big “H” in her ADHD. Her hyperactivity is very problematic.
What is particularly interesting about Cassidy is that when she is off her medication, she acts as though she is on speed. When she is on her medication, which, ironically, is a kind of “speed,” she behaves with more control, focus, and kindness. Monday began with her talking in a high-pitched, loud, baby voice at breakfast. I’m not talking about regular kid-antics, I mean it was as if her language were transformed into that of a four-year-old, and several notches louder in volume than was necessary. I asked her to please use her normal voice, to no avail. She started several fights with her siblings. Her hair was messy and her clothes mismatched, and I had to fight her to groom herself. She sang aloud, and ran through the house, stomping her feet. She had a peculiar grin on her face and made bizarre comments, as though she were drunk.
Sunni Without Meds
“Sunni,” who is twelve, has a big “AD” in her ADHD. Her hyperactivity is not much of an issue, but she is highly distracted and lacks focus. As we prepared for the school day, she couldn’t seem to find her shoes and socks, and appeared to be wandering aimlessly around the house, staring into space. She finally disappeared and didn’t resurface from the basement until I announced loudly that “We’re leaving now! Time to GO!” She didn’t make it to the van until I was starting down the street. It was a cold rainy morning and she had a short sleeved summer blouse on. “Where is your coat?” I asked. “I couldn’t find it,” she said. I found it later hanging in its usual place.
While the girls were in school, I went to the doctor’s office and got their prescriptions. The thing about Adderall is that because it’s an amphetamine, its use can potentially be abused. So I have to get a written prescription for every bottle of pills, signed by the doctor. Then I need to drive it over to the pharmacy and wait, presenting my valid ID to get the meds. After insurance, it costs me about $70.00. I did all this, to ensure that the girls would have the Adderall the next day. As I drove home with the pills in my pocket, I felt a sense of relief. But the day wasn’t over yet.
“I was acting crazy and couldn’t stop.”
After school, Cassidy informed me that she had gotten into trouble in class. She’d been sent to the “solving seat,” which is a designated place in detention. This is the first time she’d been to the solving seat all year. What a cooincidence. She also informed me that the children in her class were saying, “What is wrong with you today?”
“I was acting crazy and I couldn’t stop,” she admitted, with a pained expression on her face. At home, she was so wired I could barely manage to deal with her. She ran through the house, stomping her feet and slamming things, with the strange loud “baby voice” appearing and disappearing intermittently. It was as though she were being driven by a motor.
I asked Sunni to go downstairs and clean up her room. About an hour later, I went to check on her, only to find her staring into space, sitting in sea of dirty clothes and random objects covering the floor. When I re-checked on her later, she had fallen asleep, and it was clear that not a single item in the disaster-zone had been touched. What had she been doing all this time? She continued to sleep through dinner, and had no interest in waking until the next morning.
By this time, Cassidy had started several fights with her siblings, had back-talked me and kicked someone. I had tried previously to send her to time out in the bathroom, but she had poured paint on my bathroom cabinets. Standing her in the corner hadn’t worked, because she had picked holes in the walls. So I put her on a chair, where she remained for some time. Finally she began to wail, “PLEASE give me my medicine tomorrow! I’ll do ANYTHING! I can’t take it anymore! This was the WORST day of my life!”
It wasn’t so great for me, either.
A New Day
This morning, the girls got their Adderall, on time. The whole family seemed relieved. Anyone who says that ADHD is not a real condition, and that medication is unnecessary, should spend a Monday like this at my house. Of course there are varying degrees of ADHD, and for example, my oldest son has it but requires no meds. But my stepdaughters are literally transformed with proper medication. I might not have believed the change could be so dramatic, if I hadn’t seen it firsthand in my home.
For more information on Adderall XR, which for us has been miraculously helpful in the treatment of ADHD, click here. There are other medications available to treat ADHD, and it’s important to work closely with your physician to determine what would work best in your situation.