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My personal experience. I was diagnosed with ADD (back when it was still an official diagnosis and not ADHD non-hyperactive). That was around 2003. You can ask anyone who knows me that after I started taking adderall, that my mood and demeanor drastically improved. I would get mean and angry before I took medication. With help of a counselor, I was able to determine that it was related to my over-stimulation while in interactions with people. I couldn’t keep up with most conversations, and I was over blunt and direct to the point. This was very off putting to people, as I didn’t have mental capacity to follow along to people’s stories, and in order for me to remain engaged with what they were talking about I needed them to get to the point much earlier than many would want to. It wasn’t because I didn’t care, it was because, I couldn’t maintain my attention to all of their details, and would get frustrated when also trying to do sub-processing of determining if what they were telling me was important to what they points were they wanted to convey. Without Medication, I was also hyper-emotional. I would quickly jump to conclusions and immediately react emotionally to what I would assume they were going to say. This also dramatically impacted many relationships negatively.
After taking meds, and determining the right dosage for me, my moods and relationships stabilized. My close friends and family would even comment “Did you forget your meds today?” or “You should take your meds, you are being really mean”. Stuff like that.
I noticed that I was able to be significantly more creative and artistic. I had patience to learn new things, and try new things that were difficult. Usually, it would give up early because it took too much effort and concentration to follow through with. Don’t get me wrong, there were a couple things I was really good at because I liked them, and would end up hyper-focused to the point of excellence, but those were few and far between.
I was told by my psychologist that I had an exceptionally high IQ and that I had managed (with LOTS of parental encouragement) my disability in highschool even to the point of being valedictorian. However, going into Mechanical Engineering in college proved to me that IQ alone wouldn’t help me get good grades. I didn’t test well, rarely got done with tests in time, I had a lot of trouble studying most subjects. So I would choose other activities that didn’t emotionally cause me discomfort. Thus I failed an entire semester of classes 0 gpa all F’s. During that semester, I sought answers.
Once I took ADD medication, my grades skyrocketed. I was 0.1 point from being on the Dean’s list that next semester.
I’ve seen kids growing up who were on ritalin, and other ADD meds, and they seemed lethargic, and numb. This was not the case for me. All I can do is tell my story, and hope that it can inspire others to give it a try. Some people may be misdiagnosed, or only try one kind of medication, and give it up when it doesn’t work. You only fail when you give up.