Niacin Helps Relieve ODD, ADHD, & Bipolar Disorder
Niacin Works for ODD, ADHD, and Bipolar Disorder
I don't want to keep you in suspense for this long article, so I will tell you what I have discovered right away. I have stopped all symptoms of ODD and bipolar disorder in my 7-year-old son by using non-flushing niacin (vitamin B3). 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 now prior to writing this article. Below, I've included a reference table to see what dosage he was receiving at 50 pounds.
My Son's Supplement Regimen
Niacin (Vitamin B3)
This article should not be misinterpreted as medical advice and is not meant as such. I am not a doctor, and only wish to relate my personal experiences with my son and our use of vitamins to offer hope to others. Always consult with your physician for the best method of treatment.
Our Story: My Son Was Born a Healthy Baby
Wyatt was born normal: no drugs, no alcohol, no “problems” during the pregnancy. He was born two weeks late, and he was a beautiful 9 pounds and 1 1/2 ounce baby boy. I was the lucky mother of a perfectly healthy baby, or so I thought. The funny thing about autism and mental illness is that 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 into your life that everything changes.
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, and 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 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 his 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 until you put him down on the couch and propped up his bottle to eat. He never spit-up when you burped him. Never.
At 8 weeks old, he would sleep 8 or more hours a night. When he woke up he wouldn’t cry; he would play with his toes and wave his arms around to entertain himself. He would do it for 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 get upset because you had restricted his movement. So, we taught him to crawl at five months of age. This happened before he could sit up without falling over. He was independent and on the move from the very get-go of his life.
My Child Began to Exhibit Problems at 18 Months
The problems started at 18 months 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 not a 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 1/2, he couldn't fall asleep at night. If I fell asleep before him, he would try to leave the house and unlock 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 9 pm; 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 until 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 at 11 pm 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 "The 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
Wyatt became extremely moody. He was happy as a clam and laughing one minute, and 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 he was stoked by surges of adrenaline, and if you looked in his eyes, he wasn’t there. His eyes would be hollow, dead, and scary. I swear there were times he seemed possessed with the strength of three 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, and trashing whole rooms at a time. I started having to physically restrain him during these rages. Wyatt was a small kid, but at only 50 pounds, he could fight like a wildcat; 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 to prevent him from hurting himself, hurting me, or destroying 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.
The Challenges of Being a Working Mother
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 and my head would stop swimming from the lack of sleep. I would have to choose every day between a nap or getting groceries and diapers that we needed because 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, Wyatt was a flight risk. What are you supposed to do when you take a violent 3-year-old and an 18-month-old baby to the store by yourself and the 3-year-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 peddler fair when we went out with some family members. 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, which kept my child safe and me sane.
I started praying that one of those insensitive, judgmental people would actually confront me so I could get in an altercation. 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 to describe 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 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 only had a bachelor brother living in the same town as us. He was understanding, but unknowledgeable and inexperienced. He tried to help me 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.
Getting Professional Help
I finally was able to get the boys onto the state health plan and started taking Wyatt to see the pediatrician to tell the doctor about some of the extreme behaviors we were experiencing: backflips off of 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 consensus of Wyatt’s behavior. Over the course of three separate appointments, we finally had an answer. Three answers actually. Wyatt was diagnosed ADHD, bipolar disorder, 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 gave him our diagnosis and begged him to help us make a normal little boy out of Wyatt. He gave us Depakote and Clonidine.
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 until about 7 in the morning. The Depakote helped a little at first, but we had to increase it a lot until it worked really well. Suddenly, I could actually breathe again. I had been holding my breath for over two years with no relief. No medical or social help. No hope. In just one appointment a psychiatrist saved my sanity and my family. This was the beginning of our 3 1/2 years of trying all manner of psych. drugs, looking for the “fix."
Trial and Error With Medications and Serious Side Effects
All in all, I have tried 18 different drugs on Wyatt. I learned that there are first and second tier medications to use on his bipolar disorder 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 medication and/or had to be at the upper limits of each medication in order for us to see positive results. Every two weeks to a month, it was back to the psychiatrist to up his medication or change it. There are pros and cons to each one and side effects that you choose to live with. None of the medications seemed to be able to control the extreme obsessiveness. None of the medications could stop him from falling into his 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 medication, 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. The first time it happened in Wyatt, it paralyzed his face 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 medication 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. He figured out what was happening and told us that it was a medication reaction called dystonia and that his throat wasn’t really closing. That was immediately comforting, but the symptoms were still progressing and more and more of his body was contracting and stiffening every minute.
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 a catheter in him about an hour before while he was still able to put up a fight. Now, he was all but stiff as a board with muscles contorting his limbs oddly, and he started to arch his back and go into a seizure. Just then, the doctor ran up and injected intravenous Benadryl into his arm. Within 10 seconds it stopped. About one minute later, his body relaxed and he looked normal. I couldn’t believe it. It was the most amazing transformation I’ve ever seen.
Synthetic 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 until you can find a vitamin or homeopathic alternative that works for your situation. Not all drugs will work the same for all people, and I believe that you also have to experiment with vitamins until you find the right combo for you. Vitamins are often much safer, too; 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.
Wyatt Was a Safety Risk to Himself and Others
As time went on, and Wyatt would grow a little here and there, the meds would have to change with him. The changes were adding up to years of hell. Finally, things got out of control about a year ago, and I had to 5150 him. 5150 is a police code which means to commit him against his will because his behaviour is harmful to himself and/or others. He spent three weeks in a children's psychiatric 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, 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.
The vehicle 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, emotionally and physically drained. I had literally fought a battle that night. I went home and laid in bed crying and sobbing until 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. 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 and making a grab for his head to slit his throat.
Wyatt had been hallucinating, both visually and auditorily. He was still raging and now also showing homicidal tendencies. Committing him the second time was not any easier than the first. This time, I told them I wanted him med-washed, which 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, these are still the only "drugs" he takes.
Niacin May Help People With Mental Health Disorders
While Wyatt was away this time, a friend who is into homeopathy turned me on to the writings of Abram Hoffer, M.D.. I learned about Hoffer's clinical trials which showed evidence that niacin, when used on schizophrenics, "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.
How Niacin Relieved My Son's Mental Health Issues
I started with 500 mg 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 1,000 mg for the first day and increased it by 500 mg every 24 hours over the next few days until we were at 2,500 mg. That first day of taking 2,500 mg, 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 2,500 mg level for a week or two to 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 an 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, too. It's 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 are being replaced by this sweet boy. Niacin saved my son and returned him to me—I would shout it from the mountains. Thank you, God! Thank you for your mercy which 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 which, I believe, support the actions of the niacin and support brain health. Wyatt also takes 2,000 mg of vitamin C a day and 2,100 mg 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.
There Is Hope for ODD, ADHD, and Bipolar Disorder
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 tied to their mediocre medications. There is hope! There is hope! There is hope! This November 2009, my son will be free from the symptoms of ODD and bipolar disorder for a year. I am praying that I will find a vitamin cure for ADHD. Until then folks, you can be sure I will keep looking. Good luck and God bless all those who are searching.
My Son's Current Supplement Regimen
Niacin (Vitamin B3)
Update: November 7th, 2010
This week is my son's two-year anniversary of using megadoses of niacin and being free of bipolar and ODD symptoms (see above). He also takes Methylphenidate (generic Ritalin) and Clonidine for sleep. Wyatt is still sweet, happy, and healthy, and has not required antipsychotics for psychotic or violent behavior since we discovered niacin. We are living our lives instead of surviving. Thanks for all of your wonderful comments and I wish all of you good health and God bless.
- How To Cope With Your Child's ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder)
This is for the parents who live with this disability, day in, and day out. If they are lucky, maybe they catch a break on the weekend, (depending on whether you are a single parent) if not, then unless a...
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
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© 2009 Willow Mattox