• 8 months ago

    Need feedback please

    Hi. I was diagnosed as hyperactive as a kid but my mom pulled me off Ritalin because it made me zombie like. 30 years later I have been rediagnosed and prescribed concerta. I am a little scared to take it. I fear of being on medicine the rest of my life, I fear insomnia, I fear addiction - but I know medicine can be life changing in a great way as well. I'm back in school and have been struggling for 2 years to absorb material. I struggle daily with remembering or absorbing any conversations I have with my manager. Any feedback on ADHD medications? Anyone else have these fears? Appreciate the feedback.


  • 7 months ago

    RE: Need feedback please

    Re: Need feedback please.
    I'm so sorry that nobody has written back to you yet.
    I've only come on here today for the first time.
    However, I understand both fears. Being addicted to medication and going without and struggling.
    I am I the same boat.
    I'm guessing that we need to weigh up the pros and cons and make a decision.
    Make an informed decision.
    I'm currently weaning off Cymbalta, a horendous ordeal! worse than Heroin Ive heard. I'm coming off because it causes short term memory loss.
    Because I already suffer from ADD I cannot afford this side affect.

    I've never been on any stimulants.
    I really struggle to be motivated and do basics in running my life.

    Anyway, I'm on the same journey as you are, wanting to know which way to go.

    Hang in there and keep asking!

  • 6 months ago

    RE: Need feedback please

    If your doctor has prescribed it, then I suggest giving it a try. I understand your fear of becoming addicted. Just give it a try and pay attention to how it affects you. Know and trust your body, it will tell you if it's the right med for you. Sadly there is no fool proof method. Only trial and error. Best of luck!
  • RE: Need feedback please

    Hi danamay,

    I just joined here and saw your post. I share your concern since I really mistrust drugs, almost as much as I distrust the companies themselves, a couple of which I used to work for. To reassure you, your concerns are reasonable and very justified. I am going to share my experience with these drugs and let you draw your own conclusions.

    After being diagnosed with ADHD a few years ago I was prescribed Concerta. I started on the lowest dose (18 mg) and immediately felt the benefits of being able to concentrate better. It did not really impact my sleep too much, and by reading before bed it really tired my brain and helped me nod off. The one side effect I was hoping for, appetite suppression, unfortunately never occurred in me. I somehow gained weight. But overall, it helped.

    My psychiatrist raised the dose after a while (27 mg) and I noticed a bigger difference. Yes, I was able to really regulate my focus better at work, but I also had more trouble winding down and going to sleep at night. By Friday I felt like a coke addict that I would see in movies. But still, my appetite was as good as ever. So I used the higher dose during the week when concentrating was really important, and used the lower dose on the weekends, or even got off of it altogether just to clear the system. I know they say not to do that, but it helped me.

    I was prescribed an even higher dose later on (36 mg), but I only took that once or twice. I found that taking that made me so alert after midnight that I was ready to run a marathon while doing advanced math in my head. Of course, the next morning I was ready to sleep through my alarm and felt like a jittery zombie all next day. It turns out that I am highly susceptible to the drug so I don't really need a high dose.

    My son also has ADHD, and he is on much higher doses (72 mg). I also don't like how it changes his personality, but he swears by it and he says it helps him get his great marks. He also goes on lower doses over the weekend, and gets off of the medication completely during school holidays. Who am I to argue with success and with what he finds helpful? I support it and tolerate the negative side effects, but also continuously monitor it.

    Now for some news that you may really like. After being on Concerta for a few years I found that my sleep started getting disrupted more and more. It turns out that is not to do with the drug, but with the process of ageing. As you get older your sleep patterns just change. Concerta just exacerbates this natural process. So I went on Ritalin which I could take in the morning and then at lunch, and whose side effects would wear off by the evening. That worked, and then I found I could just get by on the morning dose. That is partly because of my susceptibility to the drug, but also because I put some good structures in place to help me live with ADHD. Eventually I was able to go off Ritalin completely. I now function well without drugs. I work in a high pressure environment and am thriving.

    My son's psychiatrist explained it all to me. She is really good. She said that as a teen, as your brain is developing, you need to go on high doses, but as you get older you can begin reducing the amount of medication you take. Your body will let you know this as it did for me. Eventually you may not need it at all.

    However, there is another thing to make sure you do. I am sure you heard by now that medication is not a silver bullet, and that is really true for me. I found that medication allowed me to take action to make changes that allowed me to live more easily with my ADHD, but that's all. The biggest benefit I received was from using an ADHD coach as well as books that helped me organise my life in a way that were ADHD friendly. I also entered therapy to help me deal with growing up with the negative repercussions of being different. I would strongly encourage you to do that, especially the ADD coach, in addition to your medication, if you decide to go that route.

    I hope this helps you.
      • I know you are answering, not asking a question, but I felt it important to respond. I hope you don't mind.

        Your problems with sleep might have more to do with co-existing depression/anxiety, which can be exacerbated by the stimulants.

        Many people with ADHD will need both a stimulant and a medication for the depression/anxiety.

        Your MD shoudl have told you this. I'm not fully in agreement with her explanation about aging and dosage. It does jibe with proper prescribing practice for ADHD.

        I am also concerned about your son using stimulants as a "performance drug." This can create problems over time.

        The idea with ADHD treatment is that it is the same every day, to promote balance in life. Not to spike during the week and don't take on the weekends, etc. That creates a real "roller coaster" of neurotransmitters in the brain. No ADHD expert would recommend this.

        Gina Pera
      • 4 months ago
        @justtryingmybest thank you so much for your post. Very informative and encouraging!
  • RE: Need feedback please

    Hi there,

    Your fears are justified. I worry more about people who take these medications casually.

    But just remember....trying a stimulant again is not like cutting off a leg. You can always stop.

    Why do you fear addiction? Have you had problems with substance abuse? Many people with ADHD find that their "addictive cravings"diminish once they start stimulant medication.

    Also, ADHD itself can make a person more prone to reacting out of fear -- and less from rational thought. Because ADHD itself makes rational thought difficult.

    One reason for your "zombie-like" appearance as a child on Ritalin might be that the dosage was too high.

    I would prefer that, as you try stimulants again, you not start with an extended-release choice like Concerta. I'd rather you start with a quick-release, shorter-acting choice, such as Ritalin or Focalin.

    By the way, Concerta contains the same medication as Ritalin (and only slightly different than Focalin). It's just delivered to the system differently.

    I usually recommend the long-acting stimulants, for more continuous coverage without the ups and downs of taking multiple pills throughout the day.

    But when you're just starting out, you might feel better trying a medication that isn't likely to last 6-12 hours.

    I particularly like Daytrana, the patch, for this purpose. It gives you more feeling of control. If you don't like the effect, just pull off the patch. The medication is, again, the same as that in Ritalin and Concerta.

    Take it one small step at a time, increase dosage slowly, and pay attention to how you feel. The doc should be doing this, but alas, some do not.

    I hope this helps. Good luck!

    Gina Pera
  • 4 months ago

    RE: Need feedback please

    I took Concerta for 7 years and the only thing I have to say is get checked often, I had ato have my dosed uped 4 times because i became used to it, insomnia is normal try taking a Walmart sleep aid from equate half an hour before bed, dont worry about addiction and just make sure you eat before you take it. An empty stomach and stress with concerta is not a pleasant feeling