We already knew he had Oppositional Defiant Disorder. I knew it before he was even diagnosed with it when he started family counseling before we even knew about the marijuana. There are no medications for ODD, but when we admitted him to the program, we made them aware of it so that they would know one thing that they had to deal with right from the start. He has definitely given them an education in dealing with ODD.
He was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder. I don’t add the H for Hyperactive, because he has never had a problem with that. He does have trouble paying attention, but never to the point that anyone in the school system really thought he was ADHD. All of his teachers just thought he didn’t care and that he was lazy and that this could be corrected by attitude adjustment. So, yes, his main problem was motivation. But, the psychologist at the facility said that if parents also knew that motivation is a huge part of ADHD, they would be able to understand that their child could be helped with ADHD medications. He said to think of it as Motivational Deficit Disorder instead of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
That just explained this whole area of his problems in school and in getting anything accomplished--Motivational Deficit Disorder! Why could we not have known this 6 or 7 years ago? Just think of the help that he could have had in school, if he had been diagnosed with this so much earlier!
Would we have had the school issues to the point that we have in the past? Would we have had as many conflicts? Would he have started using marijuana?
He began taking the prescription medication, Aderal. After the first few weeks, when he was just mad that he was there and wasn’t willing to cooperate with any expectations, he began to try. He noticed a big difference in the way he works in the school classroom. He was able to get more done, pay more attention, and started getting better grades. He has been so proud of all of the A’s that he has had on his progress reports.
He is in a small classroom with about 10 boys, total and is able to get more help and attention. But, I think most of what he is doing to succeed in school right now is more because he likes how it feels to understand the work, and he feels a great sense of accomplishment every time he sees that he has earned another credit. It is awesome to see this in a kid who never cared about school at all!
However, he does not get along with his teacher very well. They clash on everything and I don’t know why. She has to have patience and understanding for kids who have troubles and problems. Otherwise, why would she teach school in a rehab center? But, she doesn’t seem to have much patience and understanding for my son and his troubles. So, to see him succeed in spite of that is another huge step in the progress he is finally making.
He has also been diagnosed with depression and has been taking the medication Prozac. This has also helped very much. It took about five weeks before we saw its benefits, but when it started working, some of his personality began to shine through. Every now and then he made a joke, or shared a feeling, or just acted like he wanted to be around us. It was a very good feeling after months of his being solitary and withdrawn.
I think that seeing the real person inside him is going to take a long time, though. There is a lot going on inside his brain. He can only start to feel like he knows who he is again and know how to live life when all of the effects on the brain from drugs begin to reverse (which could take over a year), when all of the anger at being put in rehab can be let go of, and when all of the years of not feeling successful in school and life can be overridden by every small success and accomplishment that he makes.
We also have a long way to go in repairing our family relationship.