Dose Encounters of the Third Kind

As you may recall, we finally decided to try medication with Stella.  Her pediatrician recommended a very low dosage – 5 mg – of Focalin.  Like anyone, I was hesitant to medicate a 5 year old kid, but after Stella herself indicated she’d like to try it, I submitted.

Loving on her brother and Showerhead Precious

Loving on her brother and Showerhead Precious

First off, I will absolutely concede this was probably the best/worst time to try this.  School was ending, family was in town visiting, we were going out of town, summer camp was rapidly approaching.  Any/all kids would be off-kilter.  Ideally, school staff would be available to track any changes during the weekdays.  This hasn’t been much of an option, although to be fair, any “feedback” from the Harpy would have been the equivalent of pigeon shit on a windshield.

We noticed a difference immediately.  She was more “present” during conversations.  She wasn’t as fidgety or twitchy.   She herself said she felt calmer.  Every day around 4:00 when the meds started wearing off, she’d start to unravel a bit.  That is when you could really tell how much impact the Focalin was having.

After almost a month, we went back to the doctor to discuss and to get a new prescription.  We decided to try a higher dose – 10 mg, since the 5 was so low and there was still some hyperactive-type behavior persisting.  We started the 10 mg dose on Monday.

It definitely is hitting her system harder.  I can’t tell right now if I love it or hate it.  I was able to take her to see a movie in the theater for the first time ever – Angry Birds in 3D.  That would have been largely unthinkable a month or two ago.  She did great.  But she isolates now.  She mainly wants to hang in her room and play on her computer.  She may have done that for 30 minutes before, but then would come right back out to the living room with me and Felix.  Now she isolates for hours.  Her appetite has taken a huge hit as well.  I knew to expect that, however.



What’s hard to know is if this isolation is just her coping with all the changes in the past month or a result of the meds.  Selfishly I love the quiet.  It’s so much easier managing just one kid on top of dinner/laundry/baths.  But I miss the racket, the busyness.  I can’t believe that she just wants to be alone for such long intervals.

Really focused on the vegetables from the garden

Really focused on the vegetables from the garden

We ask her what she thinks, how she’s doing.  She doesn’t protest taking the meds.  She says she feels “good” or “fine.”  But as smart as she is, she’s only 5.  I’m not sure she has the emotional vocabulary to really talk about this.   I know it’s only been a handful of days and that we need to let her get used to the new dose and then settle into summer camp next week.  I know we can always revert back to the 5 mg dose.  I guess I’m just afraid she’s locked in her mind somehow, screaming, but just doesn’t know how to tell us.

Anyone out there have experience with this?  Thoughts?IMG_8324


About larva225

Working mom. Is there any other kind? Geologist. Nerd.
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10 Responses to Dose Encounters of the Third Kind

  1. NickyB. says:

    Does she still seem happy? When I had my son on a small dose years ago, it was actually horrible. He changed SO much, that it scared the crap out of me and I never did it again. He just wasn’t smiling anymore and it really hurt us. From the looks of this picture it appears that she is still happy. I would give it some more time before you make any changes

  2. stomperdad says:

    Interesting. I’ll definitely be watching your space to see how she does over the next little while. Our son (8) was just diagnosed with ADHD – more for his inability to focus than for being hyper. The doctor mentioned medication but we are reluctant to go that route yet. I would be a bit mystified, too, with the sudden desire to be alone for extended periods of time.

  3. Anxious Mom says:

    Not much experience to speak of here since LM is pretty new to his medication and it’s not a typical med, but I wish you guys well. I know that’s gotta be so hard on you all. I wonder how Stella feels about being able to focus more on computer and other things? LM was starting to beat up on himself for not being able to focus very well and was relieved at the (however slight) improvement.

    • larva225 says:

      I think she does like the meds. I’m just not sure about the higher dose. It also may be that she’s just exerting her independence by doing her own thing. She’s all about the “I’m a big girl/first grader now.”

  4. Cookie says:

    I wish I had some advice to give you ere, friend. The only thing I can tell you is to keep talking to her and trust your motherly instincts. YOu will know in your gut what is right. Don’t ignore your inner voice!

  5. joey says:

    Pay attention as you are now. You’ll know if something’s not right.
    My son had to change meds after about a month, because he wasn’t big enough to have his appetite suppressed. Sometimes the food is energy…you know? Anyway, just keep an eye out. Isolation may be because she’s sad, but it may well be her ability to focus longer and enjoy things more.

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