Reply To: PLEASE HELP! On the fence about meds…

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Hey friend, I am a young adult who has been medicated for my ADHD for about three months now. I might not be the exact person you’re looking for response from, so feel free to disregard this if so, but I know my parents largely disregarded any chance of me having ADHD as a kid, and getting diagnosed and on medication is honestly the best thing to happen for my mental health and ability to have productive days.

1. How old was your child when diagnosed?

I was 20 when I got diagnosed earlier this year, though I had suspected I had ADHD since I was 17.

2. Did you decide to medicate right away, or did you wait?

I sought out diagnosis for the purpose of getting medicated.

3. If you waited, what was your final reasoning for opting to medicate vs going with other methods of treatment that don’t involve meds?

I didn’t wait to get medicated once I was diagnosed, but as I had suspected it for a long time, I had come up with coping mechanisms that helped me not fail as much. This was anything from always putting things in the same place, to color-coding my calendar, to keeping easy foods on hand and a water bottle with me so I didn’t forget to take care of my basic needs.

4. Does your child also participate in therapy? If so, did they ever have therapy sessions before medication and did they seem to help at all before you added meds?

I had therapy for other reasons (depression & anxiety) for about 6 months about a year before I sought a diagnosis for my ADHD. At the time, I had a terrible group of friends and felt very isolated. So while that therapy helped with those, I had never brought up ADHD things, so we never worked on anything there. That said, once I learned about RSD, it took a weight off my shoulders of all of the times I knew I had overreacted but couldn’t control it.

5. Which med does your child take, and at what dosage?

I currently take generic adderall. My doc basically gives me my script and says ‘hey, you’re an adult. don’t sell these, but you know what you need for dosage best. see you back here in a month to make sure you’re not abusing these!’
I typically take 20mg in the morning, within an hour of waking up, and then about 4.5 hrs later, I either take another full 20mg, or 10-15mg depending on what I need to do. About 3.5-4hrs later, if I still have meetings to go to, I’ll take 10mg more, mostly to make sure i don’t get a blazing headache and can be at least semi-productive. (I tend to get headaches if I don’t take my next dose shortly before the first wears off.)

6. Do you notice a negative difference in your child with meds vs without?

I told a couple friends that I was going on meds before I did, and I told them the potential side effects I was worried about (loss of appetite, irritability). I told them to keep an eye on me and let me know if I was doing those things. I have noticed the loss of appetite, and lost around 30lbs (though, I was slightly overweight and this puts me back at the weight I was at when I was working out daily). I have not been told that it has affected my irritability.

7. Are you glad you decided to introduce medication as a treatment option? Do you have any regrets?

I am so glad I am medicated now. The difference is incredibly noticeable for me. Once my meds kick in, it’s so much easier to quiet my brain down and focus on my tasks and it’s easier to pull myself back to what I was supposed to be doing in the first place when I do get distracted. I absorb information better and honestly the biggest difference for me is that I’m not tired all the time anymore. Before medication, whether I slept 12 hours or 4 I was the same amount of tired- and it was an exhausted, get-me-back-to-bed-right-now kind of tired. When I would finish classwork, I would want to go home and sleep for three hours before doing anything else. Now, I am an amount of tired actually based on how much sleep I got. When I am finished with classes for the day, I can actually be working on classwork for a few hours before I shut down. It’s great. I feel like an actual human being. It’s also easier for me to have conversations with people without constantly interrupting them or dominating the topic the whole time.

tl;dr I personally would at least have your kid try it. If they really don’t like it and the side effects are horrible, you can always talk to the doc and figure something else out. These meds have changed my life, quite frankly, and if they’ll help your kid, I think it’s even worth it if they only take it before times when you know it’ll be especially hard for them to focus. (school, tutoring, long car rides, etc)