ODD, ADHD, Bipolar and Real Hope Thanks to Niacin!
Disclaimer: Please note, nothing I say in this article should be construed, or misinterpreted as medical advice and is not meant as such. I am not a doctor, and wish only to relate my personal experiences with my son and our use of vitamins. Consult your doctor for medical advice.
Nov. 7th 2010 UPDATE
I wanted to celebrate that this week is my son's two year anniversary of using megadoses of Niacin and being free of Bipolar and ODD symptoms. He weighs 65lbs. now, and takes 4,000mg of non-flushing Niacin daily, 4,000mg of Vitamin C, and 2,100 of Omega 3 a day. He does also still take Methylphenidate (generic Ritalin) and Clonidine for sleeping. Wyatt is still sweet, happy, and healthy, and has never again had to take any antipsychotics to control psychotic or violent behavior problems since we discovered Niacin therapy. We are living our life instead of surviving it. Thanks for all your wonderful comments and I wish all of you good health and God Bless.
A normal child
I don't want to keep you in suspense for this long article, so I will tell you what I have discovered right here at the top:
I have stopped all symptoms of ODD, and Bipolar, in my 7 yr. old son using non-flushing Niacin (Vitamin B3). He weighs 50lbs and takes 2,500mg daily of Niacin, 2,000mg of Vitamin C and 2,100mg of Omega 3 a day. I now have a loving, bright eyed little boy, who didn't exist before this regimen. He has been 95% symptom free for 11 months. If you want to believe, read my story below.
Wyatt was born normal. No drugs, no alcohol, no “problems” during the pregnancy. He was born two weeks late, and he was a beautiful 9lbs. 1 & 1/2 oz. baby boy. There was nothing wrong with him. I was the lucky mother of a perfectly healthy baby. Or so I thought. Funny thing about autism and mental illness, it doesn’t show up at birth. It is the silent stealer of a mother’s joy. The hopes and dreams killer. It shows up just when you think you’ve got a handle on this parenthood stuff and forever changes the course of your life. You thought life as you knew it ended when you became a parent. But it’s when this silent enemy comes that your life as you dreamed it is now over too.
Wyatt’s name means “brave warrior”. For me it was a good choice because of my religious background, I thought it would mean a brave warrior for the Lord. I don’t regret the name but I believe that it has and still will be significant in Wyatt’s life. From day four of Wyatt’s life he had a special look in his eyes. People that saw him would say “Wow, look how alert he is”. That was the key word everyone used, “alert”. Wyatt’s eyes looked like an old man trapped in an infant’s body. His eyes were piercing, knowing, and just waiting to break free from the shackles of this miniature body. He was also what I called an “angel baby”. He hardly ever cried. He developed an extreme dislike for being held while sucking a bottle. He would literally fuss and cry till you put him down in the couch and propped up his bottle to eat. He never spit up when you burped him. Never. At 8 wks. old he would sleep 8+ hours a night and when he woke up wouldn’t cry, but play with his toes and wavehis arms around to entertain himself. I caught him doing it for sometimes an hour or more before he would look for food or comfort. He was a delightful little guy who didn’t demand attention and liked to crawl around on the floor. If you put him in a swing he would be upset because you had restricted his movement. So, we taught him to crawl at five months old. This is before he could sit up without falling over. He was independent, and on the move from the very get go of his life.
The problems started around 18 months old when Wyatt no longer needed naps. No matter how hard I tried, or how late I kept him up, Wyatt would not, and could not go to sleep. He was busy all the time. He was also in trouble all the time. Baby proofing is a joke to a toddler who can climb doorways, couches, tables and anything else in his way. Locks are also no problem. Wyatt is smart enough to figure them out. In fact, Wyatt’s sleeping problems got so bad that by the time he was 2 and a half it included not being able to sleep at night. If I fell asleep before him he would try to leave the house, unlocking any lock in his way, presumably because he was bored and looking for something to do. Sleep became a battle of wills. I wouldn’t even try to put him down until after 9pm. But he would stay awake for hours. Nightlights, c.d.’s of soothing music, humidifiers, fans, aromatherapy…..nothing worked. Benadryl was always the doctor’s first and only medicinal suggestion and of course it didn’t work. One doctor told me to hold him down to the bed gently but firmly until he gave up and went to sleep. Yeah right. That was just an experiment in torture for the both of us and he would last for hours, struggling with me till I was exhausted, and he was angry. I finally was so exhausted after weeks and months of no sleep that I would close us in the bedroom together and lay on the floor in front of the door about 11pm and try to go to sleep with Wyatt playing and sometimes trying to shove me out of the way. The daycare people couldn’t get him to sleep 90% of the time either. He got more and more hyper, more agitated, more aggressive, more defiant and more dare-devilish almost every day.
Wyatt is also very literal. I used to sing Itsy Bitsy Spider to him every morning on the way to daycare. I had to stop the day he sliced his hand wide open looking for the spider up a rain downspout at the daycare lady’s house. Wyatt would also do things like hide under tables and furniture if he got overwhelmed, or just to avoid being disciplined. He has a scar on his head from diving under a table and cutting his scalp open on the metal screws holding it together. The funny thing is he didn't seem to mind the pain.
The spiral into despair
He became extremely moody. Happy as a clam, laughing one minute; a raging lunatic the next. This cycle would repeat itself umpteen times in a day. He was never stable and you never knew what he was going to act like next. It just got worse and worse. I started wondering if maybe he had multiple personalities. There were times during these unholy rages that were stoked by surges of adrenaline and if you looked in his eyes he wasn’t there. His eyes would be hollow, dead, scary. I swear there were times he seemed demon possessed, with the strength of 3 men. He fought with anyone and everyone on instinct; it was like watching a wild animal react. There was no thinking involved, just action. He started having fits of rage, destroying things on purpose, trashing whole rooms at a time. I started having to physically restrain him during these rages. Wyatt was a small kid. At only 50 lbs. he could fight like a wildcat, and it would go on for an hour or more at a time. Sometimes, if I was lucky, he would exhaust himself (not to mention me). If not, we would often go for a second round. After catching his breath he would start more destructive, dangerous behavior and I would have to restrain him all over again writhing on the floor trying to prevent him from hurting himself or me or destroy the house. This little routine would happen 3 to 4 nights a week.
I was a prisoner of this child in my own home. I could not take him anywhere or do anything else but keep both eyes on him. Not doing so would have dire consequences. His little brother was the constant recipient of violent abuse from Wyatt, who would take out all his anger and frustration on Marshall on a whim. I was a working single mother when Wyatt’s problems were all coming to a head. I would try to get home from work early a few days a week just so I could take a nap, so my head would stop swimming from lack of sleep. I would have to choose every day between a nap or getting groceries and diapers that we needed cause there was no way I could handle him at the store by myself. I have been utterly embarrassed and shamed too many times to risk a trip to any store. Not to mention that Wyatt was a flight risk. What are you supposed to do when you take a violent 3 yr. old and an 18month old baby to the store by yourself and the 3 yr old jumps out of the basket and takes off? Tell me please. I never did figure it out, I just outlived that stage. Usually I would find him across the store in the toy section completely oblivious to my angst. Although just a baby, Marshall learned to follow me around no matter what was going on with no questions asked. I did try a child leash on Wyatt a few times at events like a street peddlers fair when we went out with some family members. But the mixed looks of shock and horror from other people were humiliating. People who had no clue about our situation, or the trauma that Wyatt put me through in public situations, were judging me over the use of a child leash, that kept my child safe and me sane.
I started praying that one of those insensitive judgmental pricks would actually confront me so I could beat the sh** out of them and get arrested. I wanted to go to jail! It would be a fabulous vacation for me. I could sit in a little cell where I was responsible for no one, and sleep to my heart's content. I started fantasizing about being an alcoholic or drug addict so that I could escape this misery, and secondly I hoped that they would take my kids away. Now you might be thinking what the hell is she saying? There are no words for the depths of depression and desperation that I was feeling. Think about it. I was all alone with a wild, violent child that I had no way of controlling. He was abusing my 18 month old baby, and we were essentially trapped home alone. I could go to work for a few hours a day, but never get any rest or sleep because I was chasing him around in and out of the house and trying to protect the baby. I had only a bachelor brother living in the same town as us. He was understanding, but unknowledgeable and inexperienced. He tried to help me sometimes but he didn’t know how. No one else believed me about how crazy Wyatt really was. I was made to feel that maybe if I was just a better parent..., or I just needed to change my parenting style...., or maybe I should just take some classes. I felt hopeless, helpless and worthless. It wasn't my parenting skills, this was something I had never witnessed or heard any other mom talk about. This wasn’t postpartum depression either. But I was in depression caused by finding oneself in hell and not knowing how you got there.
I finally was able to get the boys onto the state health plan and started taking Wyatt to see the pediatrician and telling the doctor some of the extreme behaviors we were experiencing. Back flips off the couch, bolting away from me into the street, not sleeping, doing stunts on his bicycle. Of course he suggested Benedryl, which I already knew wouldn’t work. This was a waste of my time. We didn’t need suggestions, we needed answers. I obtained authorization from the insurance company to take Wyatt for an assessment by a real psychologist. We filled out forms and questionnaires and gave questionnaires to my mother and Wyatt’s daycare provider to get a concensus of Wyatt’s behavior. Over the course of 3 separate appointments we finally had an answer. Three answers actually. Wyatt was diagnosed ADHD, Bipolar and Oppositional Defiant Disorder.
I felt instant relief. Now I knew what to do, how to proceed, how to explain this to others, and most importantly how to get help. Our next stop was a psychiatrist. At our first appointment I gavehim our diagnosis and begged him to help us make a normal little boy out of Wyatt. He gave us Depakote and Clonidine. And with the Clonidine I got my mind back. Wyatt could sleep for at least four hours on Clonidine, and if I was lucky, most nights he would stay asleep till about 7 in the morning. The Depakote helped a little at first, but we had to increase it a lot till it worked really well. Suddenly I could actually breathe again. I had been holding my breath for over 2 years with no relief. No medical or social help. No hope. Now in one appointment, a psychiatrist saved my sanity and my family. This was the beginning of our 3 and a half years of trying all manner of psych drugs, looking for the “fix”.
All in all I have tried 18 different drugs on Wyatt. I learned that there are first and second tier meds to use on his Bipolar and psychotic symptoms. Most of the time we tried one first tier and one second tier together. Or two second tier drugs together. Wyatt seems to be what I call “drug resistant”. He never responded well to just one med, and or had to be at the upper limits of each med in order to see really positiveresults. Every two weeks to a month it was back to the psychiatrist to up this med or change that med. There are pros and cons to each one, side effects that you choose to live with or you change the med. None of the meds seemed to be able to control the extreme obsessiveness. None of the meds could stop him from triggering into the rages. They just gave us more time in between episodes.
The Depakote caused Wyatt to shake. His hands would tremor like he had Parkinson’s. It made writing difficult and frustrating for him. Risperdal was a good med, but then we went to Invega, a newer form of Risperdal and that combined with the Depakote caused dystonia, which sent us directly to the hospital. We have been to the hospital twice for dystonia, and once for a drug overdose. Dystonia is not fun. It is the slow spasming and paralysis of major muscle groups throughout the body and looks very freakish. In Wyatt, the first time it happened, it paralyzed his facial and throat muscles. He started drooling and couldn’t eat or swallow anything, even water. His neck muscles started contracting, pulling his head backwards against his own will. I knew that med allergies can close your throat in a type of anaphylactic shock, and I was afraid that was what was happening. I called his dad and together we ran him to the hospital all freaked out and told the staff that his throat was closing. They got us in right away, and I ran down the list of all the meds he was taking. Thank God a very knowledgeable doctor was on call that afternoon and he figured out what was happening and told us that it was a med reaction called dystonia and that his throat wasn’t really closing. That was an immediate comfort, but the symptoms were still progressing and more and more of his body was contracting and stiffening every minute. It was like watching a living being go into rigor mortis. I was freaked out inside, but I knew that Wyatt needed me to be his strength and comfort and I wasn’t going to let him down. I told Wyatt over and over just to stay calm, and that the doctors were just getting the right medicine ready to fix this little problem. They had already put an i.v. into him about an hour before, while he was still able to put up a fight, and now he was all but stiff as a board with muscles contorting his limbs weirdly and he started to arch his back and go into a seizure. Just then the doctor ran up and injected his i.v. with 2 tablespoons of Benadryl and within 10 seconds it stopped. About one minute later his body uncontorted itself and he looked normal. I couldn’t believe it. It was the most amazing transformation I’ve ever seen.
Drugs are scary
Needless to say, drugs are scary. They are necessary in a lot of cases, but very scary. I now consider them a stop-gap till you can find a vitamin or homeopathic alternative that works for your situation. Just like not all drugs will work the same on all people I believe that you also have to experiment with vitamins till you find the right combo for you. And vitamins are much safer. Water-soluble vitamins are not toxic at any dose. There are a few oil based vitamins that can cause problems if you are using too much, so do your research and find out which is which.
As time went on, and Wyatt would grow a little here and there, the meds would have to change with him, and it was adding up to years of hell. Finally, things got out of completely out of control about a year ago and I had to 5150 him. That is a police code meaning to commit him against his will because his behaviour is harmful to himself and/or others. He spent three weeks in a children's psych hospital and I was only able to visit him on weekends because it was three hours away from our home.
Committing a minor is actually a long drawn out process of medical evaluations and securing a "bed" at an appropriate facility all while going through the right paperwork and hospital protocol. For me as a parent it meant that while he was in this 5150 state I was responsible for keeping him as calm as possible in a little room in the ER of the hospital. They apparently didn't think that such a small child really needed the usual security guard they provide for adult cases. After five hours of wrestling him and soothing him and convincing him we really needed to stay at the hospital, they finally got his escort and vehicle ready to take him on the ride to the psych hospital. It looks like an unmarked police car, with locking doors and a gate to guard the driver from the passenger. It was the worst day of my life. My child whom I loved dearly, but who had tortured me for so long was sent away like an animal in a cage. My heart felt like it had been ground apart with a potato masher. I was crying and numb all the same time. I was emotionally and physically drained. I had literally fought a battle that night. I went home and laid in bed crying and sobbing till I couldn't breathe, hoping the numbness would settle over my soul.
While in the mental hospital Wyatt was also finally diagnosed with PDD-NOS, a high functioning form of autism. That answered even more questions for me. (I have written a whole other hub on this you can read next.) When Wyatt did come home things were better for awhile but deteriorated quickly. It was back to the hospital ten weeks later, when I caught him sneaking up behind his brother with a knife, making a grab for his head to slit his throat. Wyatt had been hallucinating, both visual and auditory, and he was still raging and now also showing this homicidal tendencies. Committing him the second time was not any easier than the first. This time I told them I wanted him med washed. That means to wean him off all meds except what I wanted to keep. We kept the clonidine for sleeping, and his ADHD med, methylphenidate, which is just generic Ritalin. To this day, that is still all the "drugs" he takes.
While Wyatt was away this time, a friend who is into homeopathic stuff turned me on to the writings of Abram Hoffer M.D. ,and a website called www.doctoryourself.com. I learned about Hoffer's clinical trials which showed evidence that Niacin, when used on scizophrenics, "cured" their psychotic symptoms. ("cured" as long as they remained on the Niacin) I was amazed that it could be so simple. I had never heard this from our doctors. I decided to try using Niacin on Wyatt. From the research I read it couldn't hurt him, and I was desperate to find answers. Wyatt came home on Halloween, and I started him on Niacin a week later. The rest is history.
I started with 500mg of a non-flushing form of Niacin (Niacinamide). I made a point of not asking him how he felt, because I didn't want to get a false response. I just wanted to see how he would act. That was the big test anyway. I started him on 1,000mg for the first day and increased it by 500mg every 24 hours over the next few days until we were at 2,500mg. That first day of taking 2,500mg, Wyatt pulled me aside and whispered in my ear, "Mommy, I'm not seeing things anymore!" (remember, Wyatt had been hallucinating for a few months) I was overjoyed! I almost dropped on the floor right there and cried. I held it together though and whispered back to him, "I'm so glad honey, you can tell Mommy if anything else happens, okay?" He ran off, happy as a lark. I decided to stay at the 2,500mg level for a week or two and see if the good results would hold out. Two days after this first victory, Wyatt pulled me aside again and whispered, "Mommy, I'm not hearing things anymore!" I could hardly believe it. Those were some of the sweetest words I had ever heard. I knew that from then on, my Wyatt, my baby whom I'd lost to these illnesses was back.
Wyatt has only had one small rage in the last 11 months of using Niacin. It was about 1/4 of what he used to do. Wyatt smiles now. All the time. He is no longer dangerous to himself or others. Wyatt can think clearly, and shows amazing amount of self-control and the ability to problem-solve. He is kind to his brother now (most of the time!). He is loving. Its just amazing. I have an eight year old little boy who cuddles with Mommy, and holds my hand in stores. He kisses and hugs me and tells me he loves me. All the years that were lost, I feel are being replaced by this sweet little boy that Niacin saved and returned to me. I would shout it from the mountains. Thank you God!! Thank you for your mercy that allowed me to discover the "cure" for my son. Thank you!
After my research, I have chosen to add a few more vitamins to Wyatt's regimen that I believe support the actions of the Niacin and support brain health. Wyatt also takes 2,000mg of Vitamin C a day and 2,100mg of Omega 3 daily. I personally have also started taking multiple supplements for myself and feel better than I ever have. My other son takes Vitamin C and Omega 3 too.
It's the least I can do, to write this out for others. To tell you there is hope. You must search for it. You should try vitamins and homeopathic remedies. Don't give up. Don't let them tell you that you are a bad parent. Don't let them tell you there's nothing that will help you. Don't let the drug companies keep you as a slave to their mediocre medications. There is hope! There is hope! There is hope! My son will be free from the symptoms of ODD and Bipolar for a year, this November ('09). I am praying that I will find a vitamin cure for ADHD. Till then folks, you can be sure I will keep looking. Good luck and God Bless to all those who are searching.
My favorite places
- DoctorYourself.com - Health, Naturally!
Natural health supersite with 500 self-help articles and over 6,000 scientific references. No advertising, no products for sale. Searchable archive, free newsletter, detailed treatment protocols from medical doctors. Presented by Andrew W. Saul, Assi
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