I Gave Up My ADHD Medication for Lent

What our blogger noticed on a break from his regular meds — and how he's creatively coping.
Bright, Shiny Objects | posted by Stephen Anfield
Stephen Anfield, ADHD Blogger

When I’m taking my medication, I have the appetite of a bird. When I’m not taking it…watch out!

— Stephen Anfield, adult ADHD blogger

PSYCH! ...No, I didn’t.

In all honesty, I’ve not taken my medication because it’s expensive. I’ve had to prioritize between staying focused or putting food in my belly. Clearly, I chose the latter. I never realized until now how much I took my Vyvanse for granted. Being off my meds has had an impact on my overall demeanor and productivity. Here are some of the things I’ve noticed.


I don’t even think UN-productivity is a word, but I just made it one, so I’ll go with it. The level of UN-productiveness has been quite the challenge without the assistance of the magical blue pills to keep me on task. Does anyone remember which pill Neo took in The Matrix? He took the red pill, and if you’ve seen the movie, you know exactly how that turns out. If you haven’t seen the movie, SPOILER ALERT: he stays in "Wonderland," and some really weird stuff happens to him. I’m essentially living my own version of The Matrix, sans the green and black binary code and robot-looking men who clearly got lost on their way to the Men In Black set.

Fatty Power

As you know, one of the side effects of taking ADHD medication is appetite suppression. As you’ve read in another post of mine, there are certain techniques I’ve had to employ to ensure I was getting necessary nutrients early in the morning before my medication kicked in. When I’m taking my medication, I have the appetite of a bird. When I’m not taking it…watch out! I won’t share my exact weight, but let’s just say this is the heaviest I’ve been in my entire life. At the age of 32, what used to be my hummingbird-like metabolism has hit the proverbial wall, and my jeans aren’t dealing with the stress of additional inches on my waist. Yay, me!

Caffeine as a Substitute

While it’s not foolproof, it works for the time being. In combination with an increased amount of protein, it seems to do the trick…for a few hours. Since I’m dealing with the fatty issue, I tried to think of a way to consume caffeine without putting on the L-Bs — pounds, for those of you not hip to the lingo. The best thing I could come up with is MiO water enhancer. I add a few squirts to my 32-oz. Nalgene bottle of water and BOOM...instant focus...for the next 3 or 4 hours. The tricky part is not drinking it too close to bedtime because then I run into another issue, but that’s another topic for another blog post.

What’s the longest you’ve gone without taking your medication? If you’re an adult with a child who has been diagnosed with ADHD, how long have you let them skip medication? Did you notice anything different? Let me know what you’ve experienced by leaving me a comment below.

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