My 7 year old has been diagnosed with ADHD. He has always shown some signs of OCD and anxiety as well. The last few weeks, it has been out of control. He washes his hands like 100 times a day, worries about every little thing....(ex: I think my fork just touched the napkin, I think the straw just touched my elbow, etc). At first I was getting annoyed by it but I quickly realized he couldn't help himself. I have no idead what to do....anyone else go through this?
Me (30), DH (32), DS1 - Michael (7) and DS2 - Nathan (4 - severe peanut allergy and an egg allergy)
In our case it is something that we have to be aware of and deal with on a daily basis. Is there some new stressor? Change in routine? I know for my boys if something changes it can make the ocd worse.
I wish I could say do xy&z and it will stop. It is a journey to find what will work for your child. We have tried many things over the years consistency I would say is the key.
Me 33, DD - O 13, DS1 -J 8, DS2 - Cr 6, DS3 - Co 5, DD2 - E (11/10)
Thank you for responding Sarah! I can't think of anything new that would have triggered this. His newest thing is constantly having to pee or thinking he wet his underwear. So I am bringing him to the doctor on Saturday to give a urine sample to make sure this one isn't a medical problem and we can find a way to get through it.
It's really tough. I am going to check out the workbook and look into behavior therapy. Thank you!
Me (30), DH (32), DS1 - Michael (7) and DS2 - Nathan (4 - severe peanut allergy and an egg allergy)
I can see you don't have ADHD because someone's telling you the thinking goes like this: "I think my fork just touched the napkin" etc. That's not really how it goes. Today, for example, I got in the mail a can of spray paint. Immediately, I had to stop what I was doing and finish spraying the filing cabinets so they would look pretty. Was I just thinking and thinking about the filing cabinet looking unfinished until the spray paint came? actually... yeah. But I think about everything else, too. Not just the filing cabinets. It's not like I'm at the dentist office pondering about my filing cabinets or anything. But when I walk into the garage, that's one of the first things I like. "I gotta get another can of spray paint. I can't stand the way that looks". It's workable, though. Your kid can learn to live with the way he is just fine.
I think it's a bad decision to get your kid diagnosed, officially, at such a young age. One kid that I know was diagnosed with ADD at age 5 and around 7 or 9 was given a prescription for adererall. His father left to marry a different woman around that time, so that increased stress at home.
Of course you may not do something like that, but anything can happen. Your house could burn down. A family member could pass away. Or just something at school that you don't know about and never find out about could happen to your kid. Things happen.
Anyway, that kid ended up crushing up his meds and sniffing them by age 15. By 17, he was mixing his meds with pot and alchohol and by 18 was on cocaine. He says, "I was prescribed a high enough dosage that I figured out a way to overlap and get more from the pharmacy so I could take around 17 10 milligram pills a day".
That stuff is highly addictive. When I was around 7 years old, my teachers told my Mom I had ADHD. She said, "Get over it".
When I was 12, a teacher said the same thing. She said, "I don't care. She's a good kid. Teach her".
By the time I was 17, my mom had been pressed and pressed about ADD and ADHD from teachers. She said the same things. "I don't care. I'm not getting her diagnosed and I'm not putting her on that terrible medication". So I started asking her for it. She said the same things to me, along with, "You can do what you want when you're out of my house but until you're at least 18, you're under my roof and my rules".
When I was 18, one of the first things I did after I moved out was go get a perscription for ADD medication. Within 4 months, I was so addicted to it that I had to have it in my system to stay awake. I started having breathing difficulties. I would yawn with every breath, always feeling like I wasn't getting enough oxygen. My mom would say, "Stop yawning! Stop yawning!" I would say, "I can't!" And that was true! I literally could not breath without a big yawn.
I got off the medication but the breathing thing took a while to go away. When I applied for 9-11 dispatch officer, later on at age 25 or so, that breathing thing came back as a nervous tick when I had to take a polygraph exam. I had nothing to lie about and should have passed the exam just fine, but because it was weird getting hooked up to wires and asked a bunch of questions, I guess the anxiety just made my body breathe like that again. I found myself answering these questions TRUTHFULLY while GASPING for air. Of course, once she unhooked the wires, my body stopped. So she failed me for messing with the exam.
The kid that was on meds his entire life turned out to be a drug addict, and a full one. Anger issues, threats to murder everybody he gets mad at, homelessness, and every drug in the book.
Those meds are too strong for kids. I don't care what the doctors say. All this diagnosing going on all over the place is ridiculous. For most, ADD and ADHD just means someone is bored, or easily distracted or needs to discipline themselves more or needs more discipline from their parents.
If I overcame it or if it was never there or if I just learned how to live with it - whatever the case might be - it was never made into a huge ordeal.
If there's anything from the drug addict that he would say to you - and I know him very well - he would say, "Don't do it, man!" And then proceed to tell you how those drugs ruined his life. And it's true. His brain is damaged because of the drugs in such a way that he has no filter for his emotion. So, when he is angry, he can be potentially dangerous. He's the sweetest person anyone could ever know, and that's good.... cause it's saved him from actually harming someone, so far.
Of course, it wasn't just the ADD meds that made him that way. It was other drugs that he chose to pair with them, and the way he chose to hold in his resentment from his parent's parent's divorce. But now, he would like to change his life around, and there's not a huge amount he can do, shy of staying away from drugs, going to church, being a good person, and working hard. He's doing all those things, yet he's still living in section 8 housing, because he hasn't got a good skill set to succeed, and he still makes mistakes because his brain operates a certain way.
Had he not been prescribed those drugs to begin with, it wouldn't be as bad as it is now. Had his parents stayed together, and he had a father growing up, he wouldn't have some of the emotion he has now. Had a few other things not happened the way they did, he wouldn't struggle in some of the ways he struggles. Point is - the meds didn't do him any good, nor me. I was only on them for a few months, and they didn't do anything but surprise me in how incredibly additive they were, and keep me out of a job that I wanted. That's not a big deal. Didn't harm me in any way. But for him, it was a different story. They set his life on a certain path that continued to spiral downward until he was able to get away from all substances. He now does everything in his power to stay away from everything other than cigarettes and alchohol. Of course, his parents wish he'd stay away from both of those as well, but they've got to pick and choose their battles with him, even when he's an adult.
I am very thankful that my mother had the attitude that she had with me. "Too bad. Teach her. She's a good kid". Because I learned from her attitude that I was not to get onto any kind of medication unless I absolutely needed it, and even if everyone around her insisted that I needed meds of ADD / ADHD - she wasn't going to give it one second of her time. She never even took the time to research the difference between the two of them. There were others that said, "She's autistic" or "She's OCD". She had the same response
I may be that way, but if I am, it's never been diagnosed and if someone wanted to diagnose it now, they couldn't. Because I've learned. She took time to teach me what she knew what was best for me, expected that my teachers would do the same, and let me figure out the rest. I really highly recommend to stay away from those medications. They are over prescribed and they give your kid the idea that he should take drugs to get through life instead of getting through life himself.
I wish I had a list of details to go through. If you send them, I'll go through them to give a response to each one.
The hand washing is a detail. So here's how my mind works. I immediately think, "Is he really washing his hands 100 times a day or is the guy exaggerating and if so, how much?" That's completely irrelevant, right? It flat doesn't matter. The point is - he's washing his hands obsessively or too much. I don't need to know exactly how many times. That's just a literal way of thinking. That's it. No big deal.
You can find out if he's good at math, later on, around age 12 or 14. This will help. A lot of people who are highly intelligent get "diagnosed" as ADD, ADHD, or with some type of autism. I don't know what the diagnosis does other than give them the ability to get meds and give their way of doing things a name. But there's enough information online, now, to really find out, without bothering with a lot of steps involved in diagnosing, and there's a lot of ways a person can overcome actual issues without having to go onto medication. A little diagnosis at age 7 is no big deal. Not like it's going to haunt him or anything. But, I'd reverse that direction to getting help with all the little things if you can.
What I mean by "getting help with all the little things" is going after all the little details and just waiting a while to see what happens. Sometimes, when you tackle the little things, you wish you would have tackled all of it head on earlier on. But sometimes, the big thing goes away on it's own when you tackle the little things. To me, ADHD, ADD, autism, and OCD start with the little things, and by tackling it too much, you run the risk of your kid having bigger problems later on down the road. Hope that makes sense - what I'm trying to communicate.
So - here's a little thing. Hand washing. Try some of these:
"OK. You already washed your hands once today. Don't be so OCD, son!"
"What'd you get on your hands?" (make him admit that he really doesn't have anything on his hands) and say something like, "Why are you washing your hands if you don't have anything on them?"
"By the way, you dry out your skin when you wash your hands too much"
"OK. You're driving me crazy. Seriously, sit down. We're gong to have to lesson in girly stuff." (he'll not want to sit down) "I don't care what you want. Sit down." ... "OK. So, here is a picture of a woman's face. http://www.google.com/imgres?sa=X&biw=955&bih=681&tbm=isch&tbnid=zHacpQsEFopMXM%3A&imgrefurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.marykayfoundation.org%2F&docid=7IyHYTa9VwsLWM&imgurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.marykayfoundation.org%2Fimages%2FMaryKay_Pic.jpg&w=209&h=235&ei=OrogU73bBLG42gXUo4GACg&zoom=1&ved=0CJMBEIQcMA4&iact=rc&dur=1050&page=2&start=12&ndsp=11 Do you know who this is?" (no) "This is the founder of Mary Kay. I think her name is actually Mary Kay. "Well, every day, I go to work. I work for a business. There are many businesses. Wal-Mart is a business. The grocery store is a business. Where we take money to buy carpet to put in our house is a business. The men that built this house own a business. So, money comes from going to work which can be thought of as working for a business. Do you understand what a business is"... "Great. Now, if I were to sit at home all day and not be part of a business what would happen" (see if he'll say, "We wouldn't have any money" and get him to understand the concept that money is what puts food on the table, clothes in his closet, gifts on the Christmas tree.) "Mary Kay was a woman and she is known for her beauty. Do you think she's pretty?" (try to pull the kid into the conversation. It doesn't really matter what your kid thinks cause most people think she's beautiful, but the kid doesn't need to be told that. Just needs to feel important so he will listen). "One reason reason she is called beautiful is because of her skin".
[ I have to start a different strand again. out of room. >
Her skin is very beautiful. That's why she's called beautiful by most people. Luckily, us guys don't have to worry about all that. I am a man, so I can have broken fingernails and rough places on my hands... see this spot? Feel that? It's not real soft and beautiful like a woman's hand. But that's OK because men do different jobs than women because they are stronger. You will one day have more muscle than the girls your age. One day, you may get married and your wife may need you to change a tire on a car or cut some wood for the fire place. Girls don't like to do that stuff because they aren't as strong, so it's good for us guys to be strong so we can take care of the girls and protect them. That's just some of the differences between men and women that God made so that each job would get done the right way. " (kid is getting bored, so you will have to regain his attention). "OK. We're almost done. Let me ask you a question. How old do you think she is in this photo? "... "Now, look at this photo" (pick a photo of a women between the ages of 50-70 or google to find out how old Mary Kay might be in that photo ahead of time). "Which woman is prettier" (she's prettier). "That is because she has healthy skin. Do you know why I'm telling you all of this?" (no) "Well, because I've noticed how much you wash your hands. I don't know why you are washing your hands that much, but it drys out your hands to wash them and wash them. If you are trying to have healthy skin, what you can do is put moisturizers on your hands. Professional moisturizers are the ones that cost more money than regular moisutrizers. They are made with plant oils. Regular moisturizers are made with animal oils. But you want to put these nice moisturizers on your skin if you're wanting it to look better, and if you can't afford a nice one, a regular one. What it does is it keeps your skin cells from separating, keeping them tight together, so you don't get wrinkles. I can explain the separating of skin cells later to you. That part is a little bit confusing, but do you see this, here? This is a wrinkle. That's because the skin is not as tight right there as say this part right here. It's moisturizers that keep is tight. Does that make sense?"
Another thing you can try is cleanliness, obviously. What you are doing is finding his hang up.
There is a movie that has no words that is just the story of four babies from the time they are crawling to - I don't remember what age. It is just images. There is one baby is Africa. Another in a big city. And two more. I don't remember, exactly, but one baby has essentially nothing, other than flies, to play with. No shoes, etc. One of the baby's comes from a rich home. It's amazing to watch this movie. You learn a lot. You could watch it with him and ask him what he thinks about it.
Do some research on cleanliness to find where it says that too clean is not good. My mom let us play in the mud when we were kids a lot more than other mothers. Why? To build our immune system. Try explaining to him that he doesn't need to be SO clean, or he runs the risk of getting sick. That if he's trying to be CLEAN, he needs to be part of the earth as well. That that is part of being CLEAN. His body needs to sometimes have dirt on his hands.
"Stop being so OCD" - when he washes his hands too much. He's got to eventually cut down cause your nagging will him crazy
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