Day 17: 31 Ways to Make ADHD Medication Less Scary Before Halloween

I hear horror stories about ADHD medication

Hi. I’m Dr. James Wiley with Focus MD. We’re over halfway to Halloween, so it’s time for a good old-fashioned horror story.

We hear horror stories about medication all the time at Focus MD, and one of the ones that I tell most frequently is the Concerta 36 story about the child who was doing beautifully on Concerta 18 milligrams. And then the teacher informed the parents that the medicine wasn’t working anymore, and the dose was increased to first 27 and then 36 milligrams, trying to help the patient.

The mom had called the doctor, and the doctor increased the medicine on two occasions after discussing the situation with the nurse who was talking to the mom, who was supposed to be talking to the teacher.

The problem is that nobody ever asked why the teacher thought the medicine wasn’t working. And by the time the child was on 36 milligrams, she was not only a robotic zombie during the day, she was an emotional train wreck in the afternoon with mood changes and meltdowns and tearful behavior in the afternoon.

When we finally saw this child and asked why the medicine had been increased, the parents went back and asked the teacher, and it turned out that she was having a behavior problem in the lunchroom. That’s not a good reason to increase medicine. That’s a good reason to increase discipline. And so when we decreased her medicine back to 18 milligrams of Concerta, she did beautifully. Her mood problems went away. Her school performance improved, and the behavioral problems at lunchtime were dealt with routine parenting and discipline.

It’s important to know why someone thinks your child isn’t doing well on the medication and not to increase medication for behavioral problems which may not be due to the ADHD at all. That will help prevent having to listen to horror stories after Halloween.

This information should not be relied upon as a substitute for personal medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Use the information provided on this site solely at your own risk. If you have any concerns about your health, please consult with a physician.

James Wiley is the founder of Focus-MD. Focus-MD is devoted to the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD and related problem patients. They provide objective testing, medical treatment as well as behavior modification strategies to help or patients transform from frustration to focus. To find a Focus-MD clinic visit

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