January 1, 2019 at 8:35 pm #106059damnmouseParticipant
I find so much about my ability to focus, remember things, start work, finish projects ect to be highly frustrating and I wish I could change that about myself. However I have other attributes that seem like they come from the same place as ADHD because they require a lot of energy and sometimes a lack of focus… I’m not sure I would want to take a drug that changed certain things about me I and those around me have come to like over the years.
Can someone explain to me what changed in their life after medication, and if they miss anything from the pre-medication days? Was there any difference in your personality or the friends you had? Did people stop telling you in an affectionate way “I’ve never met anybody like you?” I need to know!
- This topic was modified 2 years, 5 months ago by damnmouse.
January 2, 2019 at 8:09 am #106078Penny WilliamsKeymaster
I can’t give you personal experience, but I can tell you that ADHD stimulant medication, when prescribed and taken properly, does not change your personality or who you are. It’s meant to help you slow down a bit and be able to focus more. If it changes your personality, then it’s the wrong medication or the wrong dosage for you.
I find that learning about ADHD medication in detail helps many people make an informed decision, instead of a decision based in fear. There are two types of stimulants: amphetamine (Adderall, Vyvanse, Evekeo…) and methylphenidate (Ritalin, Concerta, Quillivant…). Almost everyone does well on one type or the other, but not both. As I said, if you feel dopey on ADHD meds, it’s the wrong medication or dosage. Read more details here:
ADDitude Community Moderator, Parenting ADHD Trainer & Author, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism
January 7, 2019 at 5:42 am #106254Lindsay GParticipant
That reply squares with my experience – and actually if anything more people say in an affectionate way they’ve never met anyone like me.
However, rather than describing it as “slowing me down” I would say I now tend to get a millisecond in which I can more often select a more helpful reaction to stimulus – rather than having no control at all over my reactions.
Perhaps another way of viewing it is that to a much greater extent, I can choose my focus. Sadly or awesomely – I still have hyperfocus in spadeloads and I still find it hard to do mundane tasks that seem purposeless.
It’s not a complete solution, but it enabled me to take a little more control over myself. (It also works less well when I’m exhausted).
I don’t think your concerns are actually valid – however they are exactly the same concerns I had before medication.
January 7, 2019 at 8:03 am #106258zack.cParticipant
I am 30 yr old male that recently restarted taking my Ritalin after a couple years off. I can tell you that I am much better now than I was before. I am more focused, able to stay on a normal routine, and still very productive. I say it’s almost like it slows me down, but it’s more like I get a millisecond to process a choice, rather than making spontaneous choices. I will say it’s very very very important to get a good nights rest. I need about 5-7 hours to perform at my highest abilities. I am not hurricane-like as much, but I still get as much, if not more done during the day. I would say the focus that I am able to obtain outweighs any of my characteristics that I might have lost, though I am not sure I lost anything. My wife enjoys me being on my meds too. I say the meds are totally worth it. I also have a great doctor who I can have open conversations with as well, which is a plus.
- This reply was modified 2 years, 5 months ago by zack.c.
January 7, 2019 at 9:48 am #106282ThorofinParticipant
For me, the medication (adderall) helps me be a better version of myself. I’m ruled less by my impulses, and I am better able to make conscious choices on how I act, what I say, what I do, etc. My friends and family benefit since I am able to be more present and engaged, and not constantly blurting or getting distracted. So not so much a personality change, as a personality fine tuning.
January 7, 2019 at 9:55 am #106284mac11b20infParticipant
When I started taking my meds, going to therapy and reading about ADHD it was like I was a new person. Everything seemed brighter, happier and my struggles made sense. Once the newness wore off I was still better, but there were changes.
Yes, like other’s have said, I now have that half of second to check myself before I react. I don’t always do it, but I at least have a fighting chance now. Unfortunately as person re-diagnosed in their mid-40’s (I was diagnosed as a very young child, but my parents never told me) I have many built-in/knee-jerk reactions that are still hard to overcome. I still struggle with impulse buying on Amazon and regret, but am more controlled when I am in a store. Therapy and going to an ADHD therapy group has helped me un-learn some habits and find tools to help moderate my daily living.
If I have one regret about the medication, it is that it has altered my motivation. The “drive” that got me start jogging, to train for a 1/2 marathon and do a Tough Mudder is now gone. Trying to find the gear to get me out of bed in the morning and charge into my day with vim and vigor is all but absent. The trade off is that I have improved my relationships with co-workers by not having the High Drive to work until I drop and hyper-focus on precision that I held them to as well. I can let stuff slide more easily. I can punch out at 5 even when there is still work to be done. I get better annual work reviews and I am not as stressed out about all the stuff I have to do at work. I don’t need to be, I have the chaos of aging parents I can be stressed out about.
There are trade-offs, and they may be different for you. If you are struggling and want to make a change in your life, get properly diagnosed, have the Dr. look for associated issues like OCD, ODD, sound or light sensitivities. Nothing says you have to stay on the same med or continue taking an ADHD med. But, give it several months and find someone you trust and spend a significant amount of time with to give you an outside perspective on changes. Go to therapy so you can to talk though the changes and concerns. Find a regular support group or even just a short term ADHD group to talk about it. Listening to others with ADHD is very enlightening. In the end the medication may do nothing more than let you be kinder to you.
January 7, 2019 at 10:07 am #106287GetittogethergirlParticipant
I understand the hesitation but I am so happy to be on medication. It reminds me of Cyclops on Xmen. When I am off my meds I have all this creative energy and enthusiasm that I can’t do anything with because I am either paralyzed by how much I want to do or completely scattered. With meds I still have the creative energy, but I can focus in on it well enough to get it started and most importantly, finished. Just like Cyclops wearing glasses to control his superpowers lol.
Give it a try. You can always stop if you’d like. For me it has been a miracle and I am still me. I will tell you the first week or so I experienced side effects (mood swings and exhaustion when the meds wore off) that made me wonder if I wanted meds after all, but they disappeared.
January 7, 2019 at 10:30 am #106295anthonyantelmanParticipant
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.
January 7, 2019 at 2:29 pm #106336CJParticipant
I am much happier on medication, and am finally able to have a fulfilling career. I have inattentive ADD, and am now able to stay more focused on what is needed and move on from the distractions that keep me from being productive. It has not reduced creativity, but I am now able to find the time to be creative. Keep in mind that it will not cure ADHD, you still need to develop tools, and strategies to cope with the daily routines of life.
I take Concerta, but in two different doses. I take small does as soon as my alarm goes off, waking up is very hard for me and then take the larger does about an hour later. This allows for a more gradual entry into the bodies system and the effects last longer so I have coverage from morning until evening.
Remember if you try the medication and you find you don’t like the changes you can always stop.
All the best with your decisions.
January 7, 2019 at 3:13 pm #106343cmkstorrsParticipant
I work with adolescents (grades 6-12), and I used to be able to pride myself on being able to tune out their conversations,(Monkey hear no evil). Ha ha. It was nice not to know all of the stupid things they did on the weekends etc. Now, I just know too much. ha ha
On the other hand, I don’t find myself tuning out when my coworkers are speaking to me. I used to have to get them to repeat themselves a lot. Which, I’m sure, was frustrating for them.
January 8, 2019 at 2:47 pm #106417amh1Participant
I was afraid of this very thing myself, which is one reason I didn’t seek help for my attention and focus issues until recently. I started taking generic time-released methylphenidate in November to help me focus on job which involves a lot of sit-still time. You can guess how tough that is on someone with attention issues. My doc and I are still figuring out dosages and even if a different med might work better. It’s important to be aware that people can respond differently to the same medication, so don’t give up if one makes you feel not quite yourself. For me, my medication makes me feel like someone just cleaned a window for me. I had been looking out a cloudy plane of glass, unable to see exactly what was out there and thus, unsure how to approach it. The meds take away the mental cloudiness and help my brain see my tasks more clearly and help me follow through. I’m the same person, just a bit more focused and less frantic (which feels great)It’s “Me 2.0!” I’m glad you’re approaching the medication issue with caution. It’s strong stuff, but it can be a useful tool if you feel you need help coping.
January 8, 2019 at 3:16 pm #106419Jillian JiggsParticipant
I was diagnosed at 36 and have been on Concerta for about a year now. (highly recommend!) It hasn’t changed me, really. However, I have had to change my habits. I’ve been doing things in an untreated-ADHD way for a very long time, and with meds I have the chance to make a different choice. It doesn’t automatically make the choice for me. This part is difficult to adjust to.
I used to suddenly find myself doing things. It wasn’t a conscious decision, I’d just suddenly be in the basement, neck-deep in some elaborate sewing project, or plan some elaborate adventure for myself and friends and kids to go on. That was really fun, and I got many compliments for being so “free-spirited” and “creative” and “relaxed”. I like doing creative things and having fun! I missed it when the sudden drop-everything-and-make-something sessions stopped, even though my habitual pre-event panic over “Ah, I’ve invited 26 humans over and they’re coming tomorrow and I need to clean the entire house and make all the food what was I thinking I wish I were dead!” wasn’t so fun.
I actually got a bit depressed because now I was doing all the homemaker/mom things pretty well. I mean, I had to try hard to meet the lowest standards, but I could manage it way better than I’d ever been able to before and it was rewarding to be able to do the. So here I was washing all the things and making the healthy food and nurturing the creatures, and I forgot to see my friends or make anything or feed my soul in any way. Unsurprisingly in hindsight, that didn’t go so well for my emotional health, and so I went off my meds for a few weeks in the summer. During an “accidental” party that I threw during these weeks, I was chatting with a friend and had a huge lightbulb moment that I have to PLAN for these things. My way has always been to work as hard as I can at every moment that I was aware of the need for work. This offset my fun escapes from real life, so that in balance, I could function okay. But now that I’m able to be more aware of the work that needs to be done, I have the ability to prioritise and decide what to do when. It’s a completely different way of functioning, and it took a bit of time to get used to it. I’m still trying to find the right balance.
The other negative thing is the lack of ability to tune people out. I’m much more fidgety in situations like a long meeting, long talker, church, family gathering, car rides, etc. I used to go off in my head and didn’t really notice time passing. Now it can get excruciating. This may be because I’m on a pretty low dose, I don’t know.
Other than that, I’m not different. I still have so many ideas floating around in my head. However, I’m in charge of them instead of them being in charge of me. I like that.
January 12, 2019 at 5:33 pm #106588ADHD Pun HereParticipant
I like myself more when I’m on my meds. I’m smarter and more creative and I feel more inspired to take steps toward achieving my goals. I hate the adderall crash because it’s like I can feel my mind slipping out of my grasp (which is probably why I abused in college). When I’m off them, I’m a lot more sociable, but I would almost always rather be on my meds and more intelligent than off them and making friends
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