ADD dopers, let's talk medication

Several people in the week 1 thread wanted to know about others experience with taking medication - did it help, did it not help, does it interfere with creativity?

So, if you have tried medication, or are taking it now, tell us about your experience. I would also like to where on the Hyperactive/Inattentive scale you think you fall?

If you don’t take medication, do you take stimulants? (e.g coffee)
Here are some articles I ran across this week that y’all might find interesting:
Is ADHD different for men and women? This article mentions a condition called SCT(wikipedia). The wiki article does mention that people who are primarily inattentive do better on medications like Adderall as opposed to Ritalin-type medications.

A third article I found interesting: Hand Movements May Give Clues to ADHD Severity

I have only tried Ritalin, from when I was 10 or 11 for less than a year. It suppressed my already small appetite to non-existence and made me feel like a zombie. It didn’t make me any more productive (with chores or school); the opposite really. My friends complained that I had no ideas or energy. I was never a kid who wanted to watch much tv but on Ritalin it’s all I wanted to do.

So, that was shitty. But a very limited experience.

Thank you much for that info! I’m 100% inattentive so it makes sense that meds designed to curb impulsivity (I have the opposite problem) aren’t good for me. I want to try Adderall or equivalent.

So, have we already lost interest in this? :slight_smile:

I went through the teaser thread and compiled this:

longPath - 80 mg Lisdexamphetamine.

Phouka - 10 mg amphetamine

nymysys - 200mg Wellbutrin, Adderall as needed

KinkiNipponTourist - Ritalin, 90mg
I’d really be interested in knowing how these are working for you, and what your ADD style is.

I’m on Adderall (d-amphetamine) 10 mg 2x daily.

It works wonders for me, I’m far more inattentive than hyperactive. Was unmedicated for years, had a very difficult time managing multi-phase projects or handling anything that involved long-term multi-tasking and time management skills.

I use it in conjunction with mindfulness practice and in the 9 months I’ve been undergoing this treatment, my productivity and ability to follow through has skyrocketed. (to the point that my adult mother - a professional educator who refused to have me tested in the 80s due to the stigma of ‘hyperactivity’ then - has told me numerous times that she’s very sorry she didn’t explore this 20 years ago.)

I would give my right boob for some tasty Adderall.

I’ve been on Ritalin for at least 6 years. When I first started it, I lost a metric ton of weight (being me I didn’t realize it, and kept thanking people for insisting that I’d slimmed down!). I’m about 130lbs now, and I was easily below 100lbs.

Then that effect went away entirely. It is far from perfect, but it’s better than nothing. It works better if I go off it for a day or two.

I used to think it was a good litmus test for ADD–it’s a stimulant fer cryin’ out loud, but when I take it, I feel relaxed and can focus. No high feeling. But now I’m hearing that the mechanism of action isn’t quite that cut and dried.

I also tried Strattera and Provigil; not so much as a fart, alas.

picker, your story is impressive! Congratulations! Your satisfaction comes right through in your post.

Now send me some! I keed, I keed…

I’m on 10 mg 2x/d Adderall too, and was also unmedicated for years.

What is the “mindfulness practice” you speak of? I’m intrigued.

Diagnosed ADHD inattentive in the fall of 2008. Didn’t start medication until the fall of 2010. I’ve been on Celexa 60mg daily for years for depression and anxiety. Now I take 5mg Adderall on an as-needed basis. I’m currently a SAHM and part-time student, so when I notice that I’ve been slacking around the house (like today!), I’ll take one pill, form my mental game plan for the day while in the shower, and rock it out all afternoon. Or, I take one when I have a lot of homework to do or a midterm/final to study for. Makes a HUGE difference. The first time I took one pill, I cleaned my boys’ room for three hours straight. My husband was gobsmacked. Makes a world of difference in my ability to focus on one task and see it through to the end. Therapy also helped me develop more realistic thoughts about what can be accomplished in one day/at one time and not feel so much like “if I can’t do it all right now I’m not going to do it at all because if I get started and don’t finish it I’ll get discouraged and never come back to it and feel like a failure.”

My daughter has a bunch of nonspecific issues that manifest as ADHD (anxiety / depressive-type; tests show it’s not pure ADHD). She tried Adderall in 5th grade and it appeared to help her focus, but also made her more prone to outbursts. It was a worthwhile experiment but the outbursts outweighed the benefits so we stopped.

We tried her on Strattera next. Since it’s a non-stimulant it doesn’t cause the outbursts. And it has some mild anti-anxiety effects so it’s a good choice for her for that. I can’t say that I’ve seen it help her concentration any, though.

I don’t have ADD/ADHD but I was once prescribed Provigil for concentration problems arising from chronic pain/chronic migraine and hoooooooooooly shit. I spent 4 hours crafting a 3 line response to an email. And that was just the most outrageous of the things I did. I only took it for a couple weeks, because seriously, I would take 2 hours to decide WHAT PAJAMAS TO WEAR TO BED and things like that! I wish I’d reacted to it better because I can definitely see how it’s helpful, but it was a bit too much for me. I can see why it’s an attractive drug though, I felt awesome while I was on it.

I was diagnosed ADHD-PI in Dec, and I started taking 20mg Adderall XR at the beginning of January, it works great but it wore off too quickly, so at the beginning of February my psych raised it to 30. It lasts longer now, but I’m still not happy being limited to when I take it, because my schedules for work, school and life in general can be pretty variable, to say the least. I will ask her about switching to the instant release form, or at least getting a booster dose for later in the day, because I need more flexibility in dosing. My partner was diagnosed ADHD-mixed around the same time and takes 20mg Ritalin, the instant release form, as needed. It has made a tremendous difference for her.

ADD, diagnosed in 2005 at the age of 47.

ADD was first suspected five years before that by a therapist when I told her that the very day I stopped smoking (I was a 2-pack plus for 26 years smoker) I also lost the ability to read fiction. After a lifetime of reading 1-5 novels every month, I have read ONE novel in almost 11 years since I quit smoking.

This is also the fact that has convinced every skeptic in my life that I am not kidding myself or anyone else about whether I am really ADD or not.

I have been on 25mg of Adderall 2X day for five years. It was very effective at first, but has been less so as my body becomes accustomed to it. I have been tapering down recently for a variety of reasons, not least in hopes that if I can stay minimally functional forawhile on a low dose, I can go back to higher doses and good effect. (Since nicotine was obviously a highly effective drug for me, more so than any other, I talked to my shrink about trying it in a patch form… but I jsut cant’ bring myself to risk triggering the urge to smoke, so I muddle through…)

As for where I fall on the scale of ADD? After years of research and increased understanding of how it really operates and what the problem really is, as opposed to what people think it is (Russell Barkley is the man), I think I am the poster child. The only thing I don’t have is the fidgety parts or difficulty with language that is sometimes seen. In every other respect, it’s hard to imagine anyone having a worse case than my own and still being able to function at all.

And that has a great deal to do with factors outside my brain exacerbating the problems; computer use, working at home, having no accountability… but that’s another day.

So…who prescribed your ADD meds? Do you need to get a psychiatrist to, or do GPs prescribe ADD meds too?

I have a shrink who prescribes my meds, and that’s really the only sort of doctor that should be prescribing them, or at least, a psychiatrist should do the diagnosis, then I suppose your GP can prescribe what the shrink says they should.

It derives from Buddhist meditation practice. It’s also been shown to help clinically with impulse control issues, in particular with smokers but also some evidence that it helps with focus and concentration. I actually do sit zazen daily, and strive to be mindful regardless. My doctor actually recommended it not knowing I already practiced it, but mindfulness for therapeutic ends is certainly different from the pure buddhist concept in practice. End result is the same though. Basically, BE HERE NOW. (and be aware of it)

The book that started me on it. Thich Nhat Thanh is an amazing teacher and really brings the concept to life
basic ideas

As a child I clearly was way over on the hyperactive side. For grade 3-6 I was on Ritalin and it completely changed the course of my life during that time for the better. Suddenly I was able to connect with people socially and I actually felt smart when dealing with school work. These were the days before extended-release ritalin, and the comedown was harsh. My parents didn’t want to give me another dose in the afternoon (they didn’t like the idea of having me on meds the entire day) so afternoons were hell for both me and my mom. They took me off meds after grade 6 out of fear that it would lead to drug abuse or addiction as I got older.

In college I got through my first year using high doses of caffeine and ephedrine. The next couple years I switched to crystal meth. Finally, in my final year, while getting my degree in psych and specifically studying ADHD, I decided to get treated again. Since then I’ve been on dexedrine.

Dexedrine is the only thing that seems to work. Adderall makes me strangely detached. I actually also have tried Desoxyn (methamphetamine) but I’m not happy with it.

My life simply does not function without the dex. It’s absolutely incredible how, once the dex kicks in, I suddenly can break a task into manageable steps and accomplish what I need to. And for the life of me I can’t figure out while I’m on it what the heck was so difficult about this just before.

(checkin’ OP questions)

Creativity - I’m a musician who performs in an avant garde style which relies heavily on improvisation. In fact, it’s 100% improvised when I perform, which means that I’m actually creating on the spot. In my experience whether my performance is successful or not seems to depend almost entirely on whether the meds have kicked in in time. The dex for me not only doesn’t hinder my creativity, it gets my brain functioning correctly in a way that allows my creativity to work effectively.

Hyperactive/inattentive scale - undoubtedly hyperactive as a child. But I’m not sure how this works as an adult. It seems to me that simple maturity in adulthood resolves the hyperactive symptoms. I don’t think anybody who knows me would describe me as hyperactive now.

We’re currently putting discussions/anecdotes about people’s experiences with meds in IMHO, so I’ll move this thither.

twickster, MPSIMS moderator

I had mine prescribed by a psychiatrist, because I got lucky and didn’t have to wait 8+ months for an initial appointment. My partner was able to get hers from her primary. Psychiatrists are in very short supply in central WI.

Nice to see you on the boards, picker; hope you’re well and musically active.

Speaking of mindfulness, I certainly use **yoga **to manage and enhance my ability to focus and control impulsive behaviors…

Interesting. I don’t know if Buddhism is really my thing, but the idea of fully participating in every moment of life and increasing one’s awareness would definitely be a step in the right direction. Thanks for the links.

Meditation is a tool. Buddhism is a school of spiritual thought that uses this tool. There are other spiritual schools of thought - and NON-spiritual schools of thought - that also use meditation as a tool.

The purpose of meditation - as a tool - is to establish a steady place within you - a place where you can pay attention, receive all of the reality coming at you and not freak out OR act without thinking. It fosters a self-awareness and ability to stay present that, ultimately, is the one thing you can control - any further control one develops over, say, impulse control, emerges from the ability to stay present.

To me, therefore, yes, it can be helpful with this type of situation…