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ADHD and Crohns

Hi, I'm new and looking for advice from others with kids with Crohns. My son Reece is 8 and was diagnosed with Crohns when he was 2 1/2. He is pretty well controlled at the time on Remicade, 6MP, Flaygl, probiotics, calcium, fish oil and a multi vitamin. It has been a long road to get him to this point, we were getting Remicade every 4 weeks for a very long time and still having problems frequently. Now the school feels that he has ADHD and we are considering medication but I am scared to death that it will affect his Crohns. Anyone out there have experience with both issues??

Any advice or experience would be helpful.

I'd get multiple opinions on the ADHD from more than one specialist. In my opinion it's one of the most over-diagnosed conditions in the country and the school doesn't always know what they're talking about. Not only that but the drugs used to treat ADHD are habit forming and once a kid becomes dependent on them they can exhibit the symptoms of ADHD if they ever go off of them whether or not they actually had it to begin with.

I'm not a doctor, but my wife is a psych nurse and we're both very critical of these diagnoses.

Anyway, sorry for that tangent. I'm really not well versed on what the complications or contraindications of ADHD therapy might be for Crohn's. I wish you all the luck in the world, though. It sounds like your road with Crohn's has been tough enough already.
I agree it's way over diagnosed and we have been seeing problems in him for a while. We kept blaming it on steroids, bad teachers and him just being a boy. I'm an occupational therapist who sees a lot of pediatrics and my husband is an administrator at the school so we do have some experience in the area. I've put this off for awhile but now he's falling behind in school. We've beenworking with a psychiatrist at the school and are going to pediatrician who manages a lot of kids with behavior issues Friday to see what he thinks.

It's so frustrating, my poor guy has enough trouble from Crohns and now he has to deal with school problems.
I'm with muppet. Physicians diagnose because they want people to leave them alone. Schools recommend because they can't handle active kids, and want them sedated. It's totally disgusting.

BUT... ADHD or ADD are often treated with stimulants. For some reason, patients with ADHD and such respond to stimulants as if they're depressants. Normally, a stimulant would, well, stimulate the central nervous system. But with attention disorder patients, stimulants seem to depress the CNS. Ritalin, which so many kids are given, is actually a stimulant. I don't know if they know why, but it should help wean out the hyper kids, and the ADHD kids. Normal children would be stimulated. ADHD patients would be depressed.

My point being: it's really difficult to tell whether or not the diagnosis is legit, but you could atleast try it. Unless of course, it does interfere with the Crohn's or other medications.

Good luck.


Super Moderator
How old is your son and what are the behaviours that led to his diagnosis?

Does he only act out at school and if so what does he say about it?

Dusty. xxx
I would just like to say to be VERY careful! My oldest son was ADD...he had terrible side effects from stimulant and none stimulant medications. He lost weight...hid under tables...and cried at the drop of a hat. He even started hearing voices...and when I asked him to explain....it took me forever to get it out of him. He said the voices were telling him to drown himself in the bathtub! Whoa...that was it for me!! We stopped all meds...and I just poured myself into helping this kid succeed on our own. He is now 19...has a great job...and is buying a house! Now... College Scholar he will never be...and he will need a very patient wife someday...but he is doing well and is happy!

Medications were not our best option....but every case is different.

Good Luck....it is a hard decision to make! If things aren't severe, I would be hesitant!

Hi Cpowers. I am also an OT who sees a lot of ADHD children. Both my sons use Ritalin. My oldest son has moderate to severe Crohns. His Ritalin did not affect his Crohns though some of the symptons are stomach related, like abdominal pain and loss of appetite. My youngest son started Ritalin in Grade 2 but had side effects. Agression and deppresion. I home schooled him for 4 years and he coped well after that without R. He tried Ritalin in college again and then had no side effects.

Ritalin can be a wonderful drug for children who really needs it. They can reach their full potential and it can save them from low self esteem and related emotional and relational problems. BUT it can cause serious side effects in some children. The only way to know is to put a child on a trial period.

It must be very difficult and frustrating watching your son struggling with both.

Good luck. I hope you find a solution.
Hi, I'm 28 and have been on meds sence 1st grade for my ADD and found out at 23 that I have crohn's. I have never had any problems with my meds mixing. I know its not the same but I hope this helps a bit. Good Luck!
Thanks for the words of wisdom.

DustyKat- Reece has always struggled somewhat in school. He rarely stays in his seat or is able to complete an assignment Illy. We have tried lots of behavior charts and other modifications in the classroom with minimal success. We switched schools this year and right away they noticed problems. According to the observation and testing they have done he is only on task about 50% of the time. He cries easily and has started talking back to teachers when frustrated. He seems to have trouble controlling his emotions at times. He also seems as if he is off in own little world alot of the time. His handwriting and organization skills are lacking also. When we started looking at the checklists and symptoms of ADD we could see almost all of them in Reece. I think we have not wanted to see the problem and tried to explain it as other issues for quiet a while, now he is falling behind in school and not performing at grade level.

We see a very active child at home who never sits in one spot. He is very loud and runs everywhere. He struggles to do homework and gets bored very easily. He also is very easily frustrated.

We will most likely do a trial of meds along with some adjustments at school and see how it goes. I've been on the phone with his GI and my pharmacist friends to help determine if there are any drugs we should try to avoid or ones the feel are better to try first so that I am informed when we go to his appointment on Friday.
He loves computer and video games, Star Wars and legos. He gets frustrated quickly when the legos are too hard. He frequently gets one thing out then moves on to something else. He also has a hard time keeping up with things. He can play on the computer for quite a while.
Well with much hesitation from me we are going to try medication. Starting 5mg of focalin. Crossing my fingers that it wont mess with his Crohns