Reply To: Questions about medication.

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Kimberly Armstrong

After medication trials, i’m Using the adderall/dexadrine class of medications. For me, Ritalin-type meds did bad things. Some people are fine on either type, some people find that they react badly to one and not the other. It’s a bit of a process. For me, i’m Currently taking adderall, because it lasts all day and seems to work with my daily rhythms. Vyvanse, the longest-lasting med in this class I found to be too steady. For me, it kept me at an artificial ‘on’ that was out of sync with my natural energy cycles. I also take meds every day rather than just in certain situations because I need help focussing across the board and because I am breastfeeding and don’t want to throw off my small’s exposure (amphetamines cross the placental barrier and are excreted in breast milk, as are ssri meds, which I also take, so as baby weans it’s a natural withdrawal process. I am under the care of a medical specialist who is monitoring the process.)

What the meds do for me is they increase my ability to focus and to think things through. What I mean by that is that I am better able to get past the initial ‘problem’ and see not only what can be done about it but also that something can be done about it. So I suppose it helps with filtering thoughts and input. It helps me be more productive and makes my thoughts feel more connected and grounded.

What the meds don’t do is address any learned behaviours, thought patterns and coping skills that are unproductive. That stuff has to be dealt with another way, through things like education, skills learning, therapy (talk, cognitive behavioral, etc), mindfulness, coaching…lots of options.

So medication helps me function and it makes it easier for me to implement skills and practices I’m learning that also help me manage my ADHD and anxiety.

I also take vitamin d, magnesium, omega supplements, and a multivitamin, and try to get some exercise and outdoor time every day because that also helps. If I miss sleep it really impacts my ability to function in a negative way. A meditation practice is also helpful, although i’m not as regulat with that as I’d like to be.

It’s a journey and a process, and there is no quick fix, but it’s also not something that has an expiry date. There really isn’t a cut-off point for when one can start, or restart, working on learning to deal with the condition and oneself. I really encourage you not to give up. There is so much more knowledge now about ADHD and medical and non-medical treatments now than there was only a few years ago, and who knows what we’ll learn in the future. It’s never a lost cause.

Hope this is helpful, and good luck!