Disclaimer: This is my own personal experience with ADHD meds. I am not endorsing any specific medication. Please consult your psychiatrist.
Each person responds differently to ADHD medication, this is what my psychiatrist told me the day I received my diagnosis It is quite common for ADHD’ers to try different ADHD medication until they find the one that works best for them. I’m currently taking methylphenidate immediate-release tablets 10mg twice a day.
Starting ADHD medication
Minutes after my Dr spoke the words ‘This is your formal diagnosis for ADHD combined type”, we started to discuss medication.
My Dr asked me how I felt about medication, I told him I was a bit apprehensive. He gave me a sheet of paper which listed the treatment options and a very very long list of side effects against each one. I was pretty taken aback when I read ‘psychosis, tics, palpitations, angina, etc’ as possible side effects.
The treatment options listed in the table were:
Methylphenidate Immediate-release (Ritalin, Medikinet)
Methylphenidate Modified-release (Concerta XL, Equasym)
I was pretty overwhelmed. So many thoughts ran through my mind; which one do I choose? Should I go for the one with the least extreme possible side effects? Should I start medication at all?
Luckily, I had a great psychiatrist who gave me a walkthrough of all of the meds and then asked me about my day to day life to figure out which meds would be best to start on. We discussed my working hours, activities I do after hours and which ADHD traits I struggled with the most. We settled on Methylphenidate Immediate-release 5mg twice a day.
After my appointment, I went to the hospital to get a full blood workup done and also an ECG/EKG. For those of you who haven’t been diagnosed yet, this is required once you start ADHD medication.
Do you remember what it was like when you first took your meds? I remember that day clearly. I was sat at my desk in the office and I took it around 9 am. I thought that once the meds kicked in, I was going to feel unstoppable like the man in the movie, Limitless. Well, it didn’t feel that way at all. It did feel like my brain somehow activated itself and I entered hyperfocus mode for a couple of hours. I felt excited and uplifted. It was the release of dopamine into the synapses of my brain.
About 2 weeks later the meds wore off. At my next appointment, I told my Dr that I needed to increase my dosage. He was not surprised as I started on a very small dosage. I switched to Methylphenidate Immediate-release 10mg twice a day. This worked a lot better. I was able to manage my ADHD traits of Procrastination and Innativenenss. I also dreaded things less and felt really eager to take on tasks.
However, I’m now at a stage where I feel like it is not as effective. Drinking cups of coffee these past few weeks have been more stimulating than my meds. Back to square one.
Learning to manage
I now want to either try a different ADHD medication or increase my dosage of Medikinet once again. The trouble is, all of my appointments are on hold because we’re in lockdown; I can’t switch meds or increase my dosage until then - which really sucks!
In the meantime, I’m going to try to learn and apply some coping strategies. This is going to require me to really put the work in and to make an effort. Oh boy!
Medication is the easiest treatment in that it only requires a prescription, a daily reminder, and some water. - Dr. Kirsten Milliken
Here are the strategies I’m starting with:
Use post-it notes to jot things down. I’ll be placing these on my computer screen.
Set alarms as reminders
Create a list
Meditate via the Headspace app
Go for walks
Approach tasks with excitement and optimism
Do things that I find fun! For me, its occasionally playing games on PS4.
Please send any tips you have in the comment box or to my twitter account, @AdultingADHD.
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