Guilt for treating my ADHD with medication

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    • #40271
      Penny Williams

      This discussion was originally started by user ColbyS in ADDitude’s now-retired community. The ADDitude editors have included it here to encourage more discussion.

      Hello there.

      I am a 28-year-old working mother. Today I finally took the leap and worked with a physician to figure out a medication regime for beginning treatment of my previously diagnosed ADHD. The doctor prescribed 10mg of Adderall twice daily. I am very excited to finally get on track but as soon as I told my husband and mother I immediately received extremely negative feedback. They claim I could get addicted and will lose a bunch of weight. Should I feel guilty? I really just want to feel normal. It is extremely exhausting trying to be “normal.” Even my husband constantly complains of my ADHD habits. It is so obvious I struggle constantly.

      Also, I plan on starting my medication over the weekend. Will this medication impair my ability to drive?

    • #42469
      Devon Frye

      This reply was originally posted by user janeev in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      I think that it’s a hard thing to do — to do what we think is right for us. Our natural sense is to doubt ourselves. I believe there is always the chance that our medication can turn on us and we can have issues from it — but if you work with your doctor to stay connected, if you have other people who you can talk to that will support you, there will be less of a chance of the negative effects taking over. Do what you can to be there for yourself — remember to give yourself the credit for it too. You will find a way to keep the best and leave the rest. I made the decision to take medication in order to keep a job; it paid off in many ways and my family (children) were better off for my choice.

    • #42482
      Devon Frye

      This reply was originally posted by user CaptainOblivious in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      If you had some other physical illness that involved, for example, a lot of pain, would it be reasonable for them to hassle you because you might get addicted (which you won’t if you follow the doc’s instructions to your meds) or lose weight?

      Hey. They object to the problem, and they object to the solution. Doesn’t that say something about how reasonable they’re (not) being?

    • #42492
      Devon Frye

      This reply was originally posted by user Bob from Cootamundra in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      When I started on meds — Dexamphetamine — my wife objected.

      She insisted that I talk to a school principal we knew, and a psychiatrist friend of ours. They knew nothing useful.

      My doctor told me that I would be a safer driver when using the meds. My work productivity improved a lot. With some work, my output was doubled.

      I am not addicted. I never have been addicted to anything. I have to set reminder alarms to take a pill!

    • #42506
      Devon Frye

      This reply was originally posted by user Notwaving in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      I am really pleased to have found this thread — as the parent of a teen and wife of an adult with ADHD. My daughter started on medication at 11 years — two years at least after diagnosis. I overcame my doubts at the time by thinking of the damage being done to my daughter by the endless negative feedback from school, including peers. She had decided she was ‘dumb’ by age five. In her teenage years she has shown resentment of medication and been supported and encouraged to give it up by a school counselor and school house matron (no experience or knowledge of ADHD between them). She and they blamed her ADHD-related anxiety and disordered eating on it. She failed her exams as a result.

      I continue to feel high levels of guilt and continue to read as many research papers on aspects of methylphenidate as I can.

      It seems to me that the research evidence is huge and hugely persuasive — very few studies find negative outcomes.

      I applaud your efforts — if they persist, ask your family to look at the research evidence. For yourself, I wonder whether it’s worth considering keep a short diary of days off and on medication. Look at the number of negative episodes — of all kinds — that you experience on and off the meds. And make your own mind up.

    • #42510
      Devon Frye

      This reply was originally posted by user whizinc in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      I’m hoping you can talk to your husband again and get his support. You’re trying something new to gain control of the ADHD symptoms and how they affect your life. This is not a forever choice. Try the meds for the 30 days. Ask your husband to notice whether he thinks they are helping. At the end of the month, discuss what you liked and didn’t like. Many people, with their doctor, have to figure out what is the right dose, the best time to take the meds, and which med works best. I am an older working mom. I’ve been taking 10 mg of Methylphenidate twice a day for nearly 7 years. It doesn’t fix anything, but it does help with focus and concentration. I do feel like my body chemistry is off if I forget my meds for a day. But I just take them the next day and it’s ok. Please do not feel guilty. You are taking steps to be a better Mom, wife and worker. That is an admirable thing. I hope your husband and Mom can get to the point where they understand that. As for the weight loss…I wish… =)

    • #42513
      Devon Frye

      This reply was originally posted by user miko+ink in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      Hi ColbyS,

      You have decided to go forward with the medication, nice. Here are some tips that worked for me. Go slow, keep a journal of your moods, eating, and sleeping habits. Trust your instincts and make your own adjustments then share the results with the psychiatrist. This is a conversation that will help you to trust your decision making.

      In regards to your family, well they will always have something to say. Listen, be polite, and make your own choice, voice it, give them an opportunity to help. If they choose otherwise, so be it, you are not responsible for their feelings. Every time I am unsure of a direction, I look at the facts, the pros and cons, and the outcomes for me and the people close to me. Talk to your husband, show him your research and your potential for better health through a plan of action and ask him to help. Ask him what he needs from you, consider it — is it achievable? If so, commit to working on it, if not find a Plan B with him. This is hard but can be surprisingly affirming and hopeful if both of you see this as an opportunity for something new, a clean slate.

      If you feel an emotional overload coming on — step away and find a way to release it with minimal damage to him or you. Prepare yourself for which way he chooses. Know that if he decides to be unsupportive, fine, if he starts to put you down… this is abusive and will only get worse. Tell him how these behaviors make you feel — if he comes around great, if not — then start pulling away to protect your health so you can get better. Remember this is a rough patch, go slow, once they see the changes in you, they may come around. What matters is that you find stability in being yourself.

      Hope this helps.

      Take care,

    • #42521
      Devon Frye

      This reply was originally posted by user adhdmomma in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      You may or may not lose weight. You have to try it to see if that will be an issue. And you are more likely to self-medicate and get addicted in that way than to become addicted to ADHD medication.

      ADDconnect Moderator, Author & Mentor on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

    • #42533
      Devon Frye

      This reply was originally posted by user Mitzi McPike in ADDitude’s now-retired community.


      Congratulations on making the decision to take medication.

      One rule of thumb is if the medication improves your symptoms and you feel better you are on the right track.

      When I was diagnosed 5 years ago, my PCP prescribed Ritalin and within the first 15 minutes of taking it, I felt better. I felt a sense of inner calmness that I had never felt before. Finally I understood why I lived my life like a Bugs Bunny cartoon character (Tazmanian Devil).

      I finally understood that I was powerless over the way my brain worked. It was stuck in overdrive and I just raced through my life. The right medication allowed me to feel more grounded and centered in my body which reflected in me feeling more empowered in my life.

      Only you can decide what is right for you. You do deserve to feel a sense of “normalcy” and the right medication could do that for you.

      Good luck with your Adderall. Just remember you may need to raise the dosage to get the therapeutic results you need. I had to raise my Ritalin after a few weeks.

      And if you feel after a period of time that it isn’t giving you true relief from symptoms, please be open to trying something else.

      You and I both know how exhausting it is to try to be “normal” with ADHD.

      The right medication is a great helping hand to live your life the way you want to.

      P.S. Both Adderall and Ritalin are stimulants. If you are racing on the inside either will most likely calm you down. I never had to worry about becoming “addicted” — I took my daily doses and lived my life. People don’t understand that stimulants have the opposite effect on someone with ADHD.

      Good luck! 🌺

    • #42537
      Devon Frye

      This reply was originally posted by user gothceltgirl in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      Don’t worry about the objections. When they see how much more productive you are they’ll change their tune. I sure wish I had meds again.

    • #47890

      no guilt no – that is unkind of them to make you feel like that and more or less ignorant too – don’t mean to be hard on them but people without ADHD just don’t understand how hard it is to live with it and be like this although i have also learned to love and laugh with it.
      do what you need or want to do


    • #51321

      Provide educational material for them to read and talk about it a lot. Do you know that ADHD is not a mental disorder? It is, in fact a chemical imbalance in the brain. Would they object to you using insulin if you were diagnosed with diabetes? In the meantime, unless you have to have their permission first, start on the meds without telling them. See if they notice any improvement in a month or two and keep a list of improvements you notice to share with them when you disclose your “experiment”. My daughter has not been supportive of me after diagnosis to the present time. She claims I use it as an excuse to be able to get away with things that she, a neuro-typical, would never think of doing or saying. I work harder at figuring out the right way to say and do as to not offend than she could ever imagine. I oftentimes fail but drag myself up off the floor and try again. That would not happen without my medication.
      Good luck to you personally and with your family. It’s so easy to sit in judgement if they have never been in your brain

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