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Irritability and Adderall
Q: Both of my kids are taking Adderall -- to help my 16-year-old son with attention and my seven-year-old daughter with hyperactivity, even if she is great in school. They seem extremely irritable in the evenings. Is this because of the medication? Since they are from different marriages, could they have inherited this problem from me? Do they outgrow it at some point?
A: Irritability can indeed be a side effect of Adderall. You should talk to your doctor about the behaviors you are seeing. He may suggest a change in dosage or a different medication altogether.
The evidence is not in yet about what causes ADHD. We do know, however, that not all children with ADHD inherit it from their parents. You might want to have a look at Mary Fowler's wonderful article about ADHD and its causes at FamilyEducation.com.
Do kids grow out of ADHD? We used to think so. Now, however, we know that anywhere from 60-80% of kids still exhibit symptoms after puberty. Sometimes, the symptoms may change, as kids get older. For example, someone who was hyperactive as a kid may lose that overt behavior, but still show signs of impulsiveness and inattention as a teenager or an adult.
For more information, you might also want to go to the Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Disorders (CHADD) website at http://www.chadd.org. You can also find out about local support groups for parents who have children with ADHD at that site.
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For more than 20 years, Eileen Marzola has worked with children and adults with learning disabilities and attention deficit disorders, and with their parents and teachers. She has been a regular education classroom teacher, a consultant teacher/resource teacher, an educational evaluator/diagnostician, and has also taught graduate students at the university level. Marzola is an adjunct assistant professor of education at Teachers College, Columbia University, and Hunter College of the City University of New York. She also maintains a private practice in the evaluation and teaching of children with learning disabilities and attention deficit disorders.