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» Three Top ADHD Medication Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them

Three Top ADHD Medication Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them

ADHD Help, ADHD Treatments & Medications    September 28, 2011

CapsulesOne of the most effective management strategies for minimizing the challenges and symptoms of ADHD is medication.

This might not be the most popular statement I have ever made, but research over and over again has shown that ADHD medications can “level the playing field” for both adults and children with ADHD. Medications can be effective in helping people with ADHD increase their focus on less interesting tasks, reduce impulsivity of actions and words and calm inner restlessness. I often hear clients describe the experience of being on the right medication as similar to having “the fog clearing”, “the water globe settling” or a “light switch being turned on”. They feel more focused, energetic, calm and productive. However, many people never have the chance to experience the full benefits of ADHD medication due to three problem areas that I call “ADHD medication pitfalls”…the wrong medication, the wrong dose or taking medications at the wrong time.

Medication Pitfall #1

The first of these ADHD medication “pitfalls” is that many people with ADHD are not on the right medication. For good or bad, there is not a lot of variety in medications used to manage ADHD symptoms. In fact there are really only three. Stimulants, non-stimulants and a handful of “other”. The good news is that with such limited options these medications have been studied over and over again for the past 60 years and we know the short term and long term effects. The bad, is that there is a very limited choice of medications when it comes to treating the core ADHD symptoms.
Even though stimulants have been found to be the most effective in decreasing the key symptoms of ADHD, many people tend to avoid these due to real or feared negative side effects of the ADHD medication. Medications in this category include; Ritalin, Adderall, Dexedrine, Vyvanse, Concerta, etc. In a previous blog post, call “How ADHD Medications Work”, I describe how ADHD medications are designed to “stimulate” the dopamine neurotransmitters of the brain; the key neurotransmitter that seems to be functioning ineffectively or in insufficient amounts in the brains of people challenged with ADHD. This category of medications is typically very effective in decreasing hyperactivity, distractibility and impulsivity. The second category of ADHD medications is non-stimulants. These include such medications as; Strattera, Wellbutrin and Effexor. These typically increase the levels of norepinephrine and serotonin in the ADHD brain and can help increase the mood, energy and motivation of people with ADHD. The third category is what I call “others”. These include such medication as: Clonidine, Tenex or Provigil. These ADHD Medications are typically prescribed to reduce ADHD symptoms such as impulsivity or to increase alertness (as in the case with Provigil). Each of these categories of medications works differently to help manage symptoms of ADHD. Discovering the right medication for you or a loved one normally requires trial and error.

Medication Pitfall #2

The second pitfall is not taking the right “dose”. The experience and symptoms of ADHD is different for everyone and people’s experience of taking medications is just as individualized. There are guidelines prescribers follow, but the dose that is right for you may not be right for someone else and visa versa. If you are on too low a dose of medication you will not get the full positive benefit of the medication. If you are on too high a dose, you may experience more negative side effects than you have to. The goal for taking ADHD medication is to find the lowest effective dose. A dose has positive effects, like increased focus, decreased impulsivity and decreased hyperactivity with minimal or no negative side effects.

Medication Pitfall #3

The third pitfall is “wrong time”. You can be taking the right type of medication and be on the right dose, but if you take it at the wrong time, you may not be experiencing the most benefit. Some medications work best taken when we awake to help get us started with the day. Some need to be taken multiple times a day at specific intervals to get their full consistent benefit. And finally, some medications, when taken at night, may help people with ADHD even sleep better!
When you are trying to find the right ADHD medication for yourself, it is important to work with a prescriber who is knowledgeable about adult ADHD and ADHD medications. Not all of them are. This may sound simple, but it’s not. You want your prescriber to work with you so you understand how your ADHD medications work and support you in understanding your choices.

To help yourself and discover what ADHD medication is right for you, at what dose and taken when so that it provides you the most benefit, keep a consistent daily ADHD medication log (You can download your personal copy of the ADHD Medication Log here). Keeping an ADHD medication record will help you determine what medication works best, at what dose and at what intervals. It is also designed to help you track the positive and negative effects of the medication as you are finding the right medication for you.

Let me know what your experiences are with ADHD medications by responding to this blog!

77 Responses to Three Top ADHD Medication Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them

  1. kris     December 7, 2011    2:43 pm    Reply

    I have used both the stimulant and non-stimulant kinds and nothing seems to work. I have eight projects at work, three from a previous position that I am always “almost” done with, and two new ones outside of work but within my field. I have such a hard time keeping things organized that it takes me hours sometimes to find the data I am looking for. I am constantly oscillating between genius and foggy just enough to put more work on my plate, which I love, but I love my husband more and I have no time (or energy) for him. I would love a natural proven alternative to meds as well as an ADHD boot camp type intervention. Unfortunately, meds are the only thing I can afford.

  2. Laurie     December 11, 2011    7:43 pm    Reply

    HI Kris! Thanks for your comments. After “knowing as much as possible about your ADHD”, medications are perhaps the second most effective way to help you manage your symptoms. ADHD medications are just as “natural” as using “insulin” for someone with diabetes or “get glasses” for someone who has poor eyesight. I am still trying to figure out why when it comes to the brain, which is just another organ of our body, like our pancreas (diabetes) or eyes…we feel we can’t treat it with the same amazing science we use for those. Just like trying to constantly focus with poor eyesight, the strain is draining…When people are on the right medication, the right dose and taking it at the best times for them…that fogginess often is reported to go away and people also report experiencing more energy to spend time doing what your love…being with your husband. I encourage you to seek out a really good prescriber who is familiar with ADHD and your options. Also, consider joining our ADDult ADHD support group. I started this group recognizing that I wanted to be able to provide more options for supporting people in the ADHD community. We meet twice a month..the first and third Wednesday of the month. It is a very cost effective support! Please keep in touch. You are not alone…

    • Vicky Cody     March 31, 2014    6:33 am    Reply

      I don’t believe that a man made medicine is a true natural remedy. Its true we use science to help our eyes and to give us insulin, but just like all insulin isnt natural neither is all ADHD. There are some meds out there that are natural, like the insulin they gave me while I was pregnant with both my children. It came from a pig, but not the same with ADHD meds, you have to admit that the meds used to help us with the symptoms of ADHD are mostly man synthesized and don’t have a basis in nature at all. Its something that man has inventented and we are putting this in our bodies and our children’s bodies just because a doctor said its safe. How can we be sure that it is safe for us and our kids.

      • Pecan111     May 8, 2017    9:35 am    Reply

        As a former therapist I can assure you of one thing. Medications do have their place. The social fallout alone from so many ADHD that I worked with is devastating. If u haven’t lived with it there is no way to fully comprehend the challenges these individuals face. When I consider the diff between what u r suggesting I can’t help but fall on the side of medication. I think u would easily make a decision if u saw on a daily basis then before and after. Not perfect by any means but the esteem issues, the sense of fear of failure and anxiety that so many experience. Meds r worth trying!

        • laurie     July 3, 2017    7:24 pm    Reply

          Hi Vicky…thanks for your response. I appreciate your sharing your thoughts. Stay in touch ~ Laurie

      • Roger     August 24, 2017    1:36 pm    Reply

        It seems like you never seen a child, especially your own, benefit from these medications for ADHD. My wife and I agreed we would wait as long as possible to put my daughter on any medication. We agreed when it started effecting her progress in school and her teachers highly recommended. We took her to a pediatric psychiatrist and the difference was like night and day. Took away her anxiety, depression, and social awkwardness, sleep etc..their are different philosophy’s in the medical field especially psychiatry. You have to be open minded

    • Jonathan     August 23, 2015    1:36 pm    Reply

      Here is what a person lacking knowledge and awareness says: “ADHD medications are just as “natural” as using “insulin” for someone with diabetes or “getting glasses” for someone who has poor eyesight.” Don’t be that uninformed person. Fact: The cause of most cases of ADHD is unknown; however, it is believed to involve interactions between genetic and environmental factors.

  3. Liz     May 7, 2012    12:08 pm    Reply

    Hello, I am very frustrated right now. 🙁 My 9 year old son has been diagnosed with ADHD after a horrific 3rd grade. He has been struggling keeping his focus, staying in his seat, controlling his impluses, among other things all have had a negative effective on him socially and academically. When I took him to the doc the asked about family history. I told no one diagnosed… but my son IS ME in the 3rd grade to a t. My parents never pushed for the school evaluation like I did for him. I got labeled immature and lazy and was separated from the class. I might as well have had leprosy.

    I have gone to my own doc and received that same diagnosis and started on 10mg adderall once a day. Been on it less than a week. I take in the am along with my son taking his meds and the fog lifts from my brain and the “buzzing” in my head stops and for the first time in gosh years I can think straight. The problem comes are 2 in the afternoon. Seems the medication starts to wear off and the fog and buzzing returns. Should I go back to the doc so soon? My hubby is frustrated too. He comes home in the evenings and I am irritable (not new since meds, he has said for awhile I am short with the kids and impatient, and every little noise bothers and distracts me) and he sees ZERO change in my symptoms…BUT when he was home this weekend he could see the change in me during the day but noticed as the day went on the symptoms would return tells me lives with the dog from the movie “Up”.

    I have sought treatment because threw my son I see the chaos the untreated ADHD has caused my family. Now I am just not sure how to proceed from here… I see the doc in 3 weeks but honestly has much as the meds help me when they are onboard…. the effect is not sustained throughout the day and it is frustrating me.

    • Kristy Salvas     June 13, 2015    11:30 am    Reply

      Wow this is my exact story. I had the exact same issues when I was smaller but my parents didn’t want to go the medication route because I was getting by academically, also didn’t have the evaluations they do today. after having my children I was explaining how I felt to my dr and was placed on anti depressants. I didn’t feel I was depressed with my life but figured he knew more than me. I just became a zombie and was not myself so they tried every one you name.. and finally was asked if I’ve been diagnosed with ADHD and was put on vyvanse 20mg. I couldn’t believe the change in my life!!! I’ve always had so much energy and all the potential in the world.. but couldn’t use it the correct way to be successful. the only thing is I had the same problem as you by time afternoon came.. so they started me on another 20mg early afternoon and I’ve been perfect since!! I can still sleep good and have no side effects:)

      • Candice     February 22, 2016    12:43 pm    Reply

        Good point – anti depressants are often prescribed instead of being screened for ADHD – moreover, a doctor with whom I spoke has attested to this common issue with treatment.
        On the other hand – depression and adhd can be comorid (occur together) and difficult to properly diagnose – often it is diagnosed as depression more than adhd.
        There is another issue as well – ADHD had no definitive test – therefore it is a crap shoot in the efficacy and /or dosage and time of day as the article proposes. Adding two medications without definitive diagnosis confuses how to treat because the diagnosis is unclear.
        SSRI’s also have an added issue – the therapeutic dose in which they affect neurotransmitters has to be accounted for. As a secondary issue, to miss the exact of the dose of anti depressant can and usually results in – what is known in more common support forums as “withdrawal”. This is due to the shorter half life in many of these SSRIs – especially effexor. Prozac has a longer half life – but all of these come with black box warnings and these warning are not just for kids and young adults!
        The adhd meds typically advance dopamine – which by mid to late day, can cause the crash we often experience. The answer? Most doctors add a quick release stimulant to counter balance the crash associated with dopamine depletion. Consequently this also impacts seratonin.
        I think it is wise to understand that there is NO WAY to measure seratonin levels in the brain. IT IS NOT POSSIBLE. And most of our seratonin comes from the GUT where most of it is located in the body. It is important to consider this when taking ADHD stims as they can cause sluggish bowels and this may impact seratonin availability. Therefore – be sure to drink water with stimulant based meds.
        It is well documented that SSRIs are based on a THEORY of action and not from measuring outcomes. Part of this is evidenced in the way some people becoe zombies on the meds.

  4. Laurie     May 7, 2012    7:47 pm    Reply

    HI Liz! thanks for your comment. It may sound odd, but I want to congratulate you on pursuing a diagnossis and treatment for your son and yourself. It is often necessary after starting a new medication that an adjustment needs to be made in the dose and frequency to find the righ dose for you. It sounds like you might have escaped pitfall #1, “right medication” because you had such positive response to the medication…”the fog lifting” ,etc. You might be stuck in pitfall #2 and #3. Right med but not right dose. Also, it sounds like from your classical description, that your medication is wearing off at around 2 pm. Feeling irritable with an increase in ADHD symptoms often indicates your medication is wearing off. I would encourage you not to wait the three weeks to see the doctor/prescriber, but call and let them know the positive results you are experiencing, but that the medication seems to be wearing off sooner than you need it to (sometimes it is hard to remember that parenting is an ALL day job for which we need our wits about us!). People commonly try a longer acting medication or add a second dose in the afternoon for just what you describe. Let me know what happens! Sincerely, Laurie Dupar

    • Austin Wilson     March 13, 2015    10:49 am    Reply


      The Good: focused, calm, less hyperactive

      The Bad/side effects: foggy headed, unable to think clearly about things, anxiety socially & generally, trouble with Speech (repeating words or mixing up words, slurring some words),

      The very first time I ever received treatment was about 15 years ago. The doctor prescribed me Strattera for ADHD, and prescribed me Clonidine for a sleep medication. The Strattera worked well and really helped me in school and outside of it. A few years later I stopped taking the Clonidine because I was able to fall asleep on my own but continued taking Strattera. Then a couple years later after that I decided to stop taking medications completely.

      I eventually went back to the doctor about 10 years later and got put on IR Adderall which worked pretty good for 6 months, but I later asked the doctor if there was a medication that would be longer lasting & smoother that I could take instead of taking Adderall. He told me about Vyvanse and later prescribed me it that next month to see if it would work out better overall.

      The Vyvanse worked great and helped me a lot for a little over a year until one day I started experiencing some side effects that I’ve never had before since I started taking it or any other medications that I’ve taken in the past. My anxiety increased a lot and I also started getting this crazy brain fog every time I took the medicine that literally restrained my thinking. I went back to the doctor to talk about it with him and he decided that I should try lowering the dosage down gradually until I stopped feeling any of the increased anxiety and brain fog. I ended up lowering my dosage down gradually until I reached the lowest dosage of Vyvanse but the Anxiety, Brain Fog, and Confusion would not go away! I asked my doctor if I could just take a medication break for a while and so I didn’t take anything for a couple of months.

      About 3 months later I went back to talk with the doctor again and asked him about trying Strattera since it really helped me as a kid taking it. He started me on the “18mg- 80mg Packet”. Each dosage as I was moving up was really affective and worked well! The Strattera seemed to clear my anxiety up and all other side effects until reaching the 80mg dosage. After a few days of being on the 80mg doses, several side effects started popping up. I started having anxiety problems with people such as trouble conversating, socializing, and communicating face to face with people. So I went back again to talk with the doctor about it and he ended up deciding to let me try Adderall again, which started giving me the same side effects/issues as Vyvanse did and the Strattera 80mg.

      So About 1 month ago I went back into the doctor to see about trying to restart Strattera at a lower dose this time and moving up at a much slower pace compared to the packet. The first 6 days of taking it worked great and I didn’t experience any issues or side effects, besides from the common sleepiness which I’m past already. I’ve been on it almost 3 weeks now and I’m already having trouble thinking clearly, feeling foggy minded, and having trouble talking to people. I’m honestly just really lost and confused and don’t know what the next step is to take. If you’ve been through a tough or similar situation and have any advice or know of anything that might of helped you please let me know how you overcame the situation. I honestly have no idea what else to do and literally feel like falling apart right now

      • Jessi B     June 17, 2015    9:09 am    Reply

        I’m sorry that you aren’t able to “get right”. I am not a medical professional but I am a 40 yr old young woman. I have hypothyroid and your symptoms sound quite similar to mine. Just a thought? Maybe this will be helpful. Take care.

  5. Liz     May 8, 2012    10:59 am    Reply

    Thank you! It has most certainly been a journey. I did go back to the doc this am. She immediately said I needed a second dose, so the pharmacy and the insurance co is battling it out.

  6. Liz     May 8, 2012    11:00 am    Reply

    opps… did not mean to post. She also said once we figure out the necessary dose for me, then we will try the XR so the levels in my system are more stable versus the roller coaster.

  7. Teena     May 28, 2012    10:01 am    Reply

    Thanx4 your info. As far as I know I don’t have anything like that but it is in the family as is Bipolar. I’m on Klonopin4 different reasons such as trying2sleep4more than 2 hours in a row w/o waking and to help curtail foot and leg cramps. Sometimes effective and sometimes not. A lot of the time I might not wake with a cramp but as soon as I try to stretch, that’s when those cramps or spasms may come. Another point is a lot of people I know should be on meds but can’t afford them. Don’t we have an obligation to make sure people can take care of those who need this help?

  8. michelle     September 24, 2012    6:59 pm    Reply

    When I was young and in school, I failed 1st grade. I’ve been on adderall for 3 months now. At first, I thought it was really helping me be able to get myself back together. I can’t even watch a movie and tell you what it’s about half the time. The problem is, it seems like all of a sudden the adderall doesn’t even affect me at all. I’m scattered brained half the time again. I’m kinda confused cause I thought I had the answer first when I first started the meds. I take 30mg in morning and 15mg in afternoon. I don’t know if and what I should even tell the doctor accept it just doesn’t seem to work now all of a sudden. I also have no insurance to pay for it. My medical pays for other medications, but that is not 1 of them.

  9. Laurie     September 25, 2012    4:00 pm    Reply

    Hi Michelle!Thanks for your comment. Your initial response to adderall sounds like a positive response…which is good. It is not uncommon to have to continue to adjust the dose within the first year. I would definitely suggest you make an appointment with your doctor and let them know what you are experiencing. I also would have some information available for him that would be useful in helping to make sure you are not only on the right dose, but taking it at the right time. Before you go, you might want start to record specifically what you are noticing that your medication doesn’t seem to be as effective. I have created a medication log that you can download for this use at: https://www.coachingforadhd.com/medicationlog/You will specifically want to be noticing if you had a good reponse (i.e. more focus, memory) in the morning after the 30 mg dose and not as good in the afternoon on the 15 mg.? Are both medications short acting, meaning they last about 5 hours or are they long acting, lasting around 9 hours? These different “types” of adderal are active in your body for different periods of time and kick in and wear off differently as well. When do you take the morning medication…how long until you notice it is working? When does it wear off? When to you take the second dose? When does it start working? When does it wear off? When you are trying to the “hardest” things for you? Is it when your medicaiton is wearing off perhpas in the evening or in the morning before your medication kicks in? You also mention that it isn’t working as well…what specifically are your noticing? All of this will be very useful not only for your doctor in helping you find the lowest effective dose, but will help you know how the medication is specifically working for you so you can take it as it best suits you. If your insurance is not paying for it, generic is always less expensive so you might be sure that you are taking that. Keep in touch! ~Laurie Dupar

  10. lindsey     October 16, 2012    6:16 pm    Reply

    my son is 11 and has ADHD and ODD. hes been on lots of different meds and nothing works. he seems very angry and gets frustrated easy. he is extremely impulsive which is what gets him into a lot of trouble. PLEASE CAN SOMEONE RECOMMAND A MED THATS HAS WORKED WITH THEIR CHILD. i dont know what else to do.

    • Laurie     October 31, 2012    6:41 pm    Reply

      Hi Lindsey! Thanks for your comment. Impulsivity with ADHD can often show up in the ways that you describe for your son. It may be physical impulsivity as well, but it also is emotionally as well. My guess is this is why he seems angry and frustrated easily. With ADHD some people can’t “sort” thier emotions, so they show up quickly and overwhelm easily. When I see this in my clients, I realize that what the anger typically is, is a way to try and stop the overwhelm. To get whoever or whatever is overwhelming to go away so they can get back in control. Some people are what I call “imploders”, meaning they sort of collapse in on themselves and might seem to give up and get very emotional. Others are “exploders”, meaning that with their overwhelm, they lash out to make whatever is happening stop. In both cases, the inability of the executive function to sort and minimize the overwhelm is the cause of the behavior. As always, I encourage you to seek advice from either your son’s psychiatrist or pediatrician. One medication that is commonly used in conjunction with other ADHD meds to help minimize the impulsivity is guanfacine. You might ask your prescriber about that. In addition to medication, try helping your son find a way to calm himself down before things get out of control. Trying to discipline at this time is often futile and can be followed up on after he has a chance to calm down. Ideally, your son can start to recognize for himself when he is starting to feel overwhelmed and remove himself from the situation to calm down and then come back to face the situation again from a place of being in control. I hope this helps. Keep in touch. Sincerely, Laurie

  11. Sarah     October 24, 2012    11:16 pm    Reply

    About 2 moths ago I was diagnosed with severe anxiety and ADHD. I was prescribed gabapentin at first. This worked very well for about a week then it just stopped working. After consulting with my doctor, I was prescribed Addrell–intermediate-acting–on top of the gabapentin. I just started taking it yesterday, but I’m worried about the almost conflicting jobs these medications have. I felt it worked really well, but it has only been a day, but I was wondering if you could enlighten me as to why this medication combination is working or would work. Honestly, I’m just afraid of taking so much medication, as I am also on Prozac for post-partum depression. I am also prone to addiction and very hesitant about taking a simulant. I’m just hoping to get more information and education about all this so I can belay my fears and make the best choices.

  12. Evelyn     October 31, 2012    3:36 am    Reply

    I was diagnosed with severe ADHD last week and was put on 1 x 18 mg concerta per day. I took 1 capsule thursday and friday at 6.30 am. It wore off by noon. Noticed big difference in my mood. Have not had an intergalactic meltdown since started med. Things that made me loose my temper make me laugh now instead. On Saturday morning I took a capsule at 6 am and forgot I had taken it and took by accident a second one at 8 am with my coffee… got scared first when I realized but noticed I felt even more organized and focused. Had a big birthday party for my twins that day and family said they noticed a huge difference for the better in me. I am waiting for my doctor to return my call since I have been taking 2 in the morning instead of 1 as prescribed. I am 44 yrs old and have wondered all my life what the hell is wrong with me. Now I am much more forgiving with my self. My husband and I run our own business and nearly shut it down because of my problems. Now we see light at end of tunnel. What is the normal dose of concerta for an adult? I take 2 x 18 mg and they wear off by 1- 1.30 pm. My day at the business starts at 8 am and finishes at 5 pm. Grateful for answers from people that do not abuse drugs.

  13. jody     November 8, 2012    7:24 pm    Reply

    I have been on the medicine(concerta) for a month. First dose 35mg. Second dose 56mg. What am I suppose to be feeling? When will the anxiety be gone? I am sleeping normally now as of a week ago, however I have been told I’m not myself. I’m also taking wellbutrin for depression and anxiety. Can you please help me?
    Thank you.

  14. Tony     January 30, 2013    7:14 am    Reply

    This is a very interesting article. I am 55 yrs old and in good physical health (gym 4 times wk) No one would know to look at me but I am an ADD sufferer. Officially diagnosed less then 2 weeks ago. Have always had the symtoms but always too afraid to take meds. Finally they became unbearable so I sought help. Started out with generic version of Addorall XR which is m.amphet salts(20mg) First 3 days were incrdible. Immediate relief, fog lifted and on the 3rd day decided to write a journal to track my progress which ended up being 3000 words towards a book I decided to write. I was so happpy to feel so good and so sad that I have wasted my potential and going through an internal hell, it actually made me cry. Day 4 was very strange. I felt weepy, speech was slurred, talking slow, and basically, a walking zombie. Couldn’t get a thing accomplished. Day 5, same results. Have you ever heard of getting such results like this? Now doc has me on generic Ritalin 10mgs daily. I am in my second day and feel no positive effects. I do however, feel very edgy and bummed out. Don’t know if that is becasue I had such high hopes becasue of my 3 day experience and I am desperately searching for that again or the meds are making me that way. Now I am in conflict to increase dosage or switch meds again. Anyone have similar experiences? I need the joy back in my life again.

  15. joe killian     February 20, 2013    7:13 am    Reply

    I am 61 and have suffered through years of failing grades in school and work issues. I was prescribed strattera and it worked, but had sexual side affects and subsequently was prescribed adderall. However, after taking 5mgs daily with no benefit for five days uped the dosage to 10mgs results were good had significant increase in bp 145/94 with the first dosage so discontinued. Can anyone give me help?

  16. Laurie Dupar     February 26, 2013    5:39 pm    Reply

    HI Joe! Thanks for your comment. From your description, it sounds like the 5 mg did raise your BP and the 10 mg did. I would encourage you to talk with your doctor about the possibility of a dose between 5 and 10 mg…7.5 mg? And be sure to be checking your BP frequently. I am curious what your BP was before the Adderall? Also, could there have been other reasons for your high blood pressure besides the Adderall? Finally, what symptoms were you hoping to manage? That might open it up to different medication options. I look forward to hearing back from you! ~Laurie Dupar

  17. Casey     March 3, 2013    8:01 pm    Reply

    I was diagnosed approximately 2 years ago. Was
    Started on Vyvanse. Horrible experience!! Thought I was going to have a heart attack! Then tried Ritalyn. Found myself more tired than anything. Gave up. Recently spoke to my dr. about trying to get this under control again… He prescribed Adderall 10mg daily to start with… Felt okay at first but then started having rapid heart rate, headache, jittery- not nearly as bad as the Vyvanse though!!! So do these side effects subside in a few days? I really want to do this and get my ADHD under control but I give up the first day when I have the slightest side effects!!!

  18. shane cornelius     April 8, 2013    1:14 am    Reply

    I am on vivance 50 mg i took it at 10 am this morning and for the past few morning its 4:11 now and i haven’t gotten any sleep i feel energized and ready to get back to my jobs around the house i dont understand what is goin on please help i cant keep not sleeping

  19. Laurie Dupar     April 10, 2013    4:50 pm    Reply

    HI Shane! Thanks for your comment. The first thing to do is to contact your prescriber, tell them what you are experiencing and find out if there is anything they would recommend. Even though Vyvanse is supposed to work for up to 16 hours, some people do experience the effects of the medication longer. I also wonder if you have previously had difficulty falling asleep. Nearly 90% of people with ADHD do experience problems falling asleep even before starting to take medication. They just weren’t paying attention to it. If you are taking it early in the morning (at least 16 hours before bedtime), it is less likely to be interfering with your sleep. Sometimes, when people have started taking medication for their ADHD, feel motivated and energized by the new ability to get things done, it is hard to turn that off. I wonder if this is partly what is happening with you. I would also make sure you are “preparing” yourself for bed, meaning that you are turning off computers, stopping whatever is stimulating to you at least one hour before you go to bed. Then, be sure to create a routine or some habits that let your body know it is time for sleep, such as taking a warm bath, deep breathing, reading, etc. Let me know how it goes. Sincerely, ~Laurie Dupar

  20. Taylre     April 15, 2013    7:34 pm    Reply

    I was diagnosed with ADD when I was very young but we refused treatment because we knew some friends who had bad experiences with it. I tried meds once in junior high and it was horrible, because I was not on an antidepressant and I have comorbid anxiety disorder and depression. It is my senior year of high school and my therapist finally convinced me to go back to the psychiatrist. He put me on 36mg concerta and cymbalta (because I also have arthritis in my neck–I have a lot of health problems for my age, but we think its because I was extremely premature at birth). I finally felt like a functioning person!! Until the nausea came, and wouldn’t go away even after three weeks. Which is like hell on earth for me because I have a really extreme phobia of vomitting. And then I went off the cymbalta and he put me on celexa instead. I don’t experience side effects, but I actually feel like the concerta isn’t working as well now. It doesn’t seem to last past 430 in the afternoon (and I take it at 730), and even when it is working it doesn’t have as much of an effect as it did in the beginning. The celexa does very well for improving my mood (though sadly I still have to deal with the neck/head pain). My IBS, which I’ve lived with my whole life, has somehow even went away completely (which it never did when I tried imiprimine and vivance–I’m not sure which medication could be causing this awesomeness) Could it be that the Cymbalta helped my ADD more than the concerta? Or do I just need more concerta? Or Adderall? Or something? I just don’t know. I wish I had started treatment earlier and gotten this ironed out, because I am totally desperate now. I can’t handle all of the responsibilities that come with getting older in my unmedicated state. But at least this will hopefully work out before college.

    • Laura Waters     December 19, 2019    12:55 pm    Reply

      Did you ever reach a resolution for this? I am also on Duloxetine for neck issues, and been on a rollocoaster ride of ADHD meds since I was diagnosed 6 months ago. I came off the duloxetine and tried concerta which helped at first, but then I felt emotionless, tried elvanse which again helped but didn’t last long, added back in duloxetine and now what ever I try for my adhd I feel like a brain fogged space cadet, it’s doing the opposit to what it is supposed to.

  21. Jaime     June 28, 2013    7:58 am    Reply

    Hi, I’m 36 and was diagnosed a few months ago with ADHD. I am super sensitive to medication and often find myself fighting through side effects. I am now on a 4th trying up find something that will work. I started herbal with St. John’s wort and that was a nightmare. It made me feel disassociated and disconnected. Then we tried the non-stimulant Straterra at the lowest dose. I did not recieve an benefits from this one. It made me drowsy and tired. I stuck with it for 6 weeks hoping for a change. The we tried concerta. Almost immediately after the first dose I felt like I was high on drugs. The second time I took it. I just felt medicine heady but would get very aggressive and agitated quickly. After 5 days of pure irritability and snappiness, I stopped taking it. Now I’m on short acting Adderrall so I can adjust the dose. I took 2.5mg(split the pill) yesterday and felt a little medicine heady. Most of 4-6 hrs I just felt irritated. I have no idea where to go from here. I am a stay at home mother of two girls, 8 and 5. I can’t spend my days feeling irritated and short tempered. I have been going through this since February and was really hoping I would have answer by summer break.

  22. MaryBeth     July 16, 2013    12:13 am    Reply

    After my son was diagnosed going into 3rd grade,I realized that even though I had joked about having ADD in the past, I really did have symptoms. When I started taking meds it was like the difference between setting out to have a picnic on a windy day and on a calm day. Without meds its as if your plates, napkins and tablecloth keep blowing away. With meds it stays in place and you can enjoy the experience. You have all you need in both cases, but when it doesn’t move all around unexpectedly you can have success. I’ve been an art teacher and see lots of kids. I’m very sensitive to the ones who obviously have ADD and ADHD. I was tickled to see you use the eyeglasses and insulin analogy because I’ve said the very same thing for years! That we wouldn’t use behavior modification if a kid couldn’t see the board or take their bike away for a week if their blood sugar wasn’t right. Since it is a treatable medical condition, it needs to be treated and its sad if it’s not.

  23. Michelle     September 23, 2013    9:58 am    Reply

    How and when do you know when it is time to increase the dosage. My son is 14 and just started freshman year. He takes 30mg of adderall xr. Socially he is doing great. He is losing focus academically. He forgets to turn things in or doesn’t complete assignments in full.

  24. Ty     October 1, 2013    8:13 pm    Reply


    I was diagnosed with ADHD when I was just 5 years old. I was the kid who the teacher chased around the room because I was acting like a frog jumping away from her. Well I was medicated for the condition all the way until I was 13, It was my choice, I noticed I had less cares when I wasn’t medicated. When I was on medicine, I was quiet, unmotivated, boring, and secretly depressed. ALWAYS depressed. I just never showed it because I never knew how to express myself. I still don’t know how to do that… and Im now 18. I was on concerta. WORSE MED EVER. Anyways,by the time I turned 15 I was put on wellbutrin. I LOVED IT. The cloth was lifted, I was now human. Well, It ended in a trainwreck. The drug quit working. I dropped out of school, lost alot of my friends (Stupid things I did). Im 18 now and i’ve had a few med trials, Concerta again(2 weeks, Its just pure evil) Adderal(Felt like an alien) and Zoloft (ADHD went Hawire.) So now im back on Wellbutrin. It still doesn’t work… Im less depressed off of it then on it. My ADHD is a little better, but only the “H”. I still think like a 3rd grader on red bull. And the thing is I can’t get it raised because I get REALLY foggy and stupid. I CANT TALK. Its like something in my brain is blocking out the voice. All I think to do is Yeppppp. Like WTH. So im now at a lose. Im doing good, I have a job and can work and concentrate enough to function.. But I cant keep friends or relationships because I don’t have a personality…. I don’t know what to do.

  25. Julie     October 3, 2013    11:22 am    Reply

    My son use some medicines like intuniv, focalin, metadate CD, Concerta, all one a day but these medicine don’t work for him. The only medicine work for him is Ritalin 15 mg 3 times a day. He needs short acting release each four hours.

  26. laurie     October 20, 2013    1:38 pm    Reply

    Hi Julie! Thanks for your comment. It helps people realize that it really is about fine tuning it to individual response! ~Laurie Dupar

  27. laurie     October 20, 2013    1:46 pm    Reply

    Hi Ty! Thank you so much for your comments and very frank description of what you have experienced with trying medication…I admire frankness in sharing your trial and error and your desire to get it right. I can hear your frustration with what you have gone through. Some people would settle for the job…I am glad you still want the relationships and are open to finding answers. Thank you for reaching out. Someone with such perseverance deserves to get answers. I would like to invite you to email me at to schedule a time to talk personally. I hope you take me up on my offer…some questions need more than a quick response :)~Laurie Dupar

  28. Mark     October 21, 2013    3:12 pm    Reply

    I’m a Male 57 year old professional,after visiting two different shrinks with 2 unique type practices, it’s clear I have ADD. I am taking Wellbutrin XL 150 mg, at 1 per day.
    3rd week started, whereas last week I actually had enhanced feeling, for the last few days I feel almost impotent. What’s that all about? Also a bit weaker during my workouts at the gym. I am just as hungry as ever, and although I’ve had some added focus, I feel more fatigued now. Not sure if this is the right medicine or not. Is it too early to tell?

  29. Vicky Cody     March 31, 2014    6:21 am    Reply

    I have ADHD when my son was 3 or 4 (now he’s 13) I found out that what was called a reading and learning disorder when I was in Elementary school was now ADHD I decided to take an online test for it. I took the results to my doctor and put me on stratra. This was great at the time cause I was more focused and organized but when I stopped taking it to get pregnant with my daughter, I realized that the meds had taking something close to my heart away from me. My creativity, I no longer wrote my stories or had the desire to do my crafts and things like that. My daughter is now 7 and I have been wanting to start back taking something cause my house is very disorganized and I don’t like it but I just can’t get a handle on things. Is there anything that I can take that will help with ADHD but let me keep my creativity?

    • laurie     July 19, 2014    5:22 pm    Reply

      HI Vicky! Thanks for your comment and sharing your story. There are many options that you have still not tried with regard to ADHD medication. I always encourage you to go back to your prescriber and share with them the way that the medication affecting you. Ask them for alternatives that will help decrease the distractability and help you focus better. Let me know how it goes! ~Laurie Dupar

    • Mark     February 23, 2015    5:03 pm    Reply

      Meditation. By the way, the people who find this hard to start with are the people who benefit from it the most.

  30. Joan     April 25, 2014    5:39 am    Reply

    I was diagnosed as an adult with ADD (although I have had it all of my life). I was unable to use concerta and adderall due to teeth grinding. I also have sleep apnea and have had an awful time getting adjusted to my cpap machine. I feel awful in the morning-a double whammy. My pulmonary physician ordered Provigil for me and I immediately noticed a difference in my ability to concentrate. I am able to split it into 2 doses because I work shift work. It has made a big difference in my quality of life.

  31. Halee S.     May 1, 2014    6:36 pm    Reply

    I am 22 years old and have suffered with what I had thought up until now to be anxiety and depression. A friend of mine with ADHD told me that the symptoms I’ve been experiencing all my life sounded a lot like what she went through before she was diagnosed and put on Adderall. So, I took and online screening test. Based on my answers it is clear that this is what has been going on. Its a relief in the fact that everything I’ve struggled with finally makes sense and it is treatable. I have a small problem though. My family doctor is really hard core about not prescribing “candy.” In fact a few weeks ago when I went in for something for my anxiety, (I couldn’t handle feeling terrible anymore,) He immediately listed every benzodiazepene and informed me that he would not prescribe those because of the abuse potential. I hadn’t even asked for anything like that. All I wanted was for something to help me. He put e on Buspar 10mg x2daily. It has helped slighty with my anxiety so that is alright. I’m afraid to even go in to see him about this and request adderall, because I have a feeling he will Immediately assume that I am drug seeking which I am NOT. What’s worse Is I work at the same hospital his clinic is attached to. So, If I were to go to any other doctor in our clinic I fear that It would seem even more like I am drug seeking and that could cause me a lot of stress at work that I dont need more of. I feel like I really have figured out why I have never been able to focus, make decisions, stay on task, and control my emotions, but I now feel hopeless that I will even be able to get any help. I can’t aford to go anywhere else because I live on minimum wage and my insurance only fully covers my visits to our Clinic. I don’t even know how to approach him on the matter. I don’t want to feel this way for the rest of my life! I need some advice pronto.

  32. Sarah     May 17, 2014    5:53 pm    Reply

    I have Struggled with ADHD since I was a Child and they shoved every medication they could think of down my throat and it never helped me as a kid and I hated it. But when I turned 15 I was able to refuse the medication. Then when I was 23 I got a good Job at a Bank and almost immediatly my ADHD symptoms were shining through and I was mortally embarressed about what I was doing which was interrpting people, constantly talking, talking really loud, going off on random subjects and getting off of topic. So I sucked up my pride and went to the Dr. So she prescribed me with adderall 30 mg a day of IR. after about 6 months I upped my dose to 40 mg in the morning of IR because 30 mg was not working for me. which 40 mg was the perfect dose for me. Adderall had changed my life for the good. I was able to actually act like a normal person and I was very successful at my job. then 1yr 1/2 later I got pregnant and of course I stopped taking it. and OMG during my 10 months of being pregnant I thought I was going to get fired not only did my ADHD symptoms shine through but they were 10x worse because I was pregnant and the only reason why I probably didn’t get fired was because I was pregnant. So I started back on my medication after I had my baby and went back to work and it STOPPED WORKING. I just don’t understand why it would stop working. I didn’t understand why it wasn’t working for me because I had not taken it in a year so I shouldn’t have any tolerance to it. in fact if anything, it should work even better since I was off of it so long. So my Dr “ who has no idea what she is doing “ just upped my medication and it still isn’t working so now I am on 60mg a day and its actually having the opposite effect its making me zombie like and is very foggy and I actually feel more UNFOCUSED then ever so I don’t know what else to do I asked my dr what she thinks it could be and she does not know I even tried to get my estrogen level tested and its normal so PLESAE DOES ANYBODY KNOW WHAT IT CAN BE I FEEL LIKE I FINALLY GOT MY LIFE BACK TOGETHER THEN I GOT PREGNANT AND MY MEDICATION JUST STOPS WORKING. I FEEL LIKE ALL MY HARD WORK I DID TO BECOME A TOP EMPLOYEE IS DISAPPEARING BEFORE MY EYES

    • Sarah     September 2, 2014    9:22 am    Reply

      Wow sarah! Im a sarah too and have the same issues! Waiting to hear from the admin on what to do :/

  33. Jonathan     June 5, 2014    6:41 pm    Reply

    Klonopin is not the same thing as clonidine. Clonidine, not klonopin, is the substance that may help treat ADHD. Please fix this error in your article. It is important not to confuse these things.

    • laurie     July 19, 2014    5:45 pm    Reply

      Hi Jonathan! Thanks for your comment! You are absolutely right! All fixed. Thanks for catching that again. ~Laurie Dupar

  34. Sarah     September 1, 2014    9:08 pm    Reply

    Hi I am experiencing some issues with my ADD medication. I was diagnosed at the age of 7 with ADD. I finally understand my disorder and took charge 2 years ago and went on Adderal. It changed my life! So much posotive has come out of treatment with stimulant medication. I have changed/upped my dosage a few times, now im on 30 MGS 3 X A DAY 90 mgs total of the XR. I just recently started completely feeling exhausted all the time taking my pills the same as always. I know I have a severe case among other things but I feel a little defeated. 90mgs is a lot and its not doing anything. I am so afraid of switching to another stimulant because I have no idea which one would work for me, if ins. Covers it ect.. what would be my options here to start a new medication? I am needing advice.

  35. janina     September 4, 2014    12:29 pm    Reply

    I have a questions and I’m hoping someone can help me. I recently got diagnosed with ADD at 22 years old. I tried Ritalin, and Adderall and both seemed to give me terrible headaches knowing that this could possibly be one of the side effects I didn’t pay attention to it. Until my doctor kept going up on the doses I started to feel some sort of a “rushing/hurrying” feeling so that’s when he decided to prescribe me wellbutrin. He started at a 100 dosage a day, and told me I could go up to 400 with this medicine. There’s no right dose or medicine, each individual is different, I just don’t understand why he always wanted to go up on the dosages every time when I was on Ritalin and Adderall. At the time I was off from school so I really never payed attention to my meds. I wear glasses which I just got since I’m back at school, didn’t have time to go back to my doctor. I had some Adderall left over and I’ve been taking it for the past 2 days, and I have not felt the headaches (which I’m thinking I was getting them due to not having my glasses at the moment) and also no rush feeling! Which I’m concerned on that part because I felt that the first time I was trying Adderall. What should I do if I’m suppose to be on wellbutrin?

  36. Can you help me? I am trying to figure out my vyvanse. The new Dr. I have doesn’t believe in stimulants. I am now trying to figure out what dosage works without her. She has flat out refused to help me and even told me to prepare myself to stop taking it. It works! I know there are so many downfalls but it really works and that is really good?????

  37. christina     September 21, 2014    2:17 pm    Reply

    I was recently diagnosed with ADD I had been struggling for so many years staying focused and organized. I now have a 7 month old son and I want to make sure I am on top of my game for him. My dr perscribed me concerta at 18moshe said if I didn’t feel a change I could double up. The problem is I don’t really feel a change I just feel more drowsy then anything. I have tried to dobe up and even triple and again not a huge difference. My sister in law has add as well and was perscribed adderall at 20 mg and she gave me one to try I felt like my mind turned on for the the first time in 25 years. I felt lile I could accomplish anything. How do I go about letting my doctor know that?

  38. Elizabeth     October 20, 2014    8:06 pm    Reply

    I was diagnosed with ADD in 3rd grade after I started falling behind. My mother was hesitant about putting me on medication, since not much was known about it at the time. My doctor said to have me take Concerta and not tell my teachers and see what happens. My teachers saw amazing results and told her that whatever she was doing to keep doing it. Concerta helped me but there were some issues. Concerta made me not want to eat, it’s hard to explain. I was hungry but at the same time when I tried to eat something told me I wasn’t. I became underweight and I am still underweight to this day. The doctor said I should only take it during the week in order to hopefully eat more on weekends. The problem is when I took it on Monday when I got home I would have a splitting headache. Mondays I spent the entire evening in my room waiting for it to go away. A new problem started arriving in high school, or maybe I just started to notice it. I didn’t feel myself on the medicine, I felt as if I was underwater and had difficulty being social. At lunch when I should be eating and talking I was a zombie staring at my friends and talking very little. My junior year I was taken off it due to my weight, and refused to go back on it. I am in college now and I am struggling, and it’s not just attention it’s also my motivation. I am still underweight due to the fact that I can’t eat a lot in one sitting because of my past eating habits, I am more of a grazer. But no one has time to slowly snack all day, that and I believe I have a high metabolism. I worry about my grades, but I also worry about my health and social life.

  39. Elizabeth     October 20, 2014    8:06 pm    Reply

    I was diagnosed with ADD in 3rd grade after I started falling behind. My mother was hesitant about putting me on medication, since not much was known about it at the time. My doctor said to have me take Concerta and not tell my teachers and see what happens. My teachers saw amazing results and told her that whatever she was doing to keep doing it. Concerta helped me but there were some issues. Concerta made me not want to eat, it’s hard to explain. I was hungry but at the same time when I tried to eat something told me I wasn’t. I became underweight and I am still underweight to this day. The doctor said I should only take it during the week in order to hopefully eat more on weekends. The problem is when I took it on Monday when I got home I would have a splitting headache. Mondays I spent the entire evening in my room waiting for it to go away. A new problem started arriving in high school, or maybe I just started to notice it. I didn’t feel myself on the medicine, I felt as if I was underwater and had difficulty being social. At lunch when I should be eating and talking I was a zombie staring at my friends and talking very little. My junior year I was taken off it due to my weight, and refused to go back on it. I am in college now and I am struggling, and it’s not just attention it’s also my motivation. I am still underweight due to the fact that I can’t eat a lot in one sitting because of my past eating habits, I am more of a grazer. But no one has time to slowly snack all day, that and I believe I have a high metabolism. I worry about my grades, but I also worry about my health and social life.

  40. Andrew     November 12, 2014    4:55 am    Reply

    I used to be on Ritalin and it was working for a while, then out of nowhere I started getting some of the bad side effects and I couldnt stand it so i stopped taking it. I later went on to Strattera and after about 2 months i didnt feel it working so i stopped but now i have finished school and didnt get much out of it and am trying to start a carrer somehow but i think i need to go back on to the medication but i really dont want to go onto anything that gives me those bad side effects again. any suggestions?

  41. gabrielle     January 21, 2015    9:07 pm    Reply

    I was diagnosed with adhd at age 30. As a female i was not targeted as a child because i was not hyperactive. I was diagnosed as a child with a reading comprehension problem. I always have struggled with the symptoms of adhd. I alway would try and hide ot… but once i hadchildren and a hisband it was wuite difficult to hide it any longer and was causing me alot of difficulties with daily activities as a full time mom. I findly seeked help. Dr was great on listening to my problems i was having and new right away i was adhd. He decided to prescribe me 10mg 2x a day for two weeks then 20mgs 2x day after the twp weeks…. i was very excited to start something that could possibly help my scattered all over the place brain. I spoke too soon. The first couple days seemed to help me. But after 3 days or so it caused a major sleep effect. Like a ttranquilizer dart. I thought maybe i needed to up the med…. after a week and a half i went up to 20mgs, it made me feel even mpre sleepy….. now the dr wants to try 5 mg twice a day. He says it sounds like i have a sensativity to the adderall. He says if that doesnt help then we will try Ritalin. Isnt 5 mgs a small dose? I start tomorrow on the 5mgs. The adderall helped with focus and not freaking out over every thought but im paying attention more to the uncomfortable feeling and drowsyness effect i am getting… do you know more about this? Do i have hope? Have you heard of people taking 5mgs and it working great?

  42. April     January 27, 2015    11:57 am    Reply

    I was recently diagnosed with add at 27 and knew I had it all my life. But long story short the doctor started me on straterra 40mg and in one week go up to 80mg day one was kind of OK I guess and day two was terrible stayed in bed all Day tired no motivation started feeling really depressed state crying for no reason I’ve had a bad experience with anti depression meds before so is it to soon to tell my doctor I think the straterra is going to have the same effect and I need a new medicine??????

  43. steph     April 11, 2015    9:36 pm    Reply

    I realize this blog was written years ago, but I am having an awful time with my adhd meds. I’ve been on concerta for years, when I was pregnant they lowered my dose by ab 2/3. 6 months after having the baby I started my career, not just a job, but the profession I went to school for. Basically the concerta doesnt even seem to work half if the days. ..when it does it wears off. We have adjusted and adjusted and adjusted but it just does not seem to be working like it did/should. Is this commen? Is it commen to switch meds after ~4 years?

  44. Michelle     July 15, 2015    4:42 pm    Reply

    Hi, I’m 46years old & only diagnosed with adhd a couple of years ago. I’ve tried concerta, adderall & been on vyvanse for a good year which has been the best but not perfect. I constantly have to play with the dose, reducing it as I get toxic after a few days due to constipation/slow motility issues (I’m currently getting tested for sibo).
    My problem with vyvanse is that I constantly fidgety & pick – skin & nails which drives my hubby crazy. He says I wasn’t this bad before I went on meds. It does help with my focus, not brilliantly but better & definitely the emotional management piece.
    Dr Barkley has spoke of combining vyvanse at a lower dose with a low dose of Strattera to get a broader coverage of all symptoms. Do you have any experience of this and what dose do people typically reduce to – I know e are all individual & would need careful discussion/monitoring with my GP but just looking for a little bit of guidance! Thanks, Michelle

  45. Lizzie     July 17, 2015    3:25 pm    Reply

    I’m just finding this post and I know everyone reacts differently to medications and this is mainly for ADHD/ADD related posts but since ADHD/ADD and anxiety often go hand in hand I thought I’d see if anyone could help. I’ve just started adderall 10mg xr and I’m not seeing any benefits at all. Actually it makes me kind of sleepy from about 30mins-1 hour after I take it and then I just return to normal. I also have social anxiety/generalized anxiety and mild depression so I’m also on Wellbutrin xl 300mg and hyrdroproxyzine pam 25mg when I feel I need it. I have never had a panic attack but my heart races almost painfully when I am put into situations where it affects my social anxiety and I’m afraid that just means I’m on the verge of a panic attack. None of these medications seem to be working for me, are the doses too low or am I just on the wrong medications? The hydroxyzine doesn’t seem to do anything for my anxiety but it does help keep me asleep (I also have insomnia so that’s only once I fall asleep but at least I’m getting a decent amount of hours with it). I have experimented with taking two of the 25mg hydroxyzine to see if that would help calm me down but that offered the same results (nothing just a better nights sleep) but with a stomachache. I’m a whole mess of problems in one person and it’s so frustrating to know I’m not at my full potential. Has anyone had similar problems and has found the medications that work for them?

  46. Stef K     September 30, 2015    8:41 pm    Reply

    I’m 38 years old and have just been diagnosed with bipolar/hdhd. After years and YEARS of trying to convince doctors that I was not in fact depressed and that antidepressants did nothing but take away my sex drive, turn me into a zombie and take the edge off of my creativity (I’m a professional photographer)…I feel very blessed to have finally had a wonderful and very “legit” Doctor study me and help me to figure out what was going on. It’s the same old story…the manic behavior, the highs and lows, the impulsivity, the lack of concentration and the inability to never quite reach my full potential. I would get on an antidepressant…let it deep in and then pretty much be SO fed up with who is was NOT allowing me to be (which by the way I love and so does my family), I had just had it. I stopped even trying to peruse medical help and instead relied on my Faith, Friends, Family and the occasional therapy. But, in the wake of some pretty tragic events…I knew it was time to seek medical help; once again.

    Very recently I had a friend who knew me well and had an encling that I may benefit from her ADHD meds. Nothing weird. She just gave me one, I broke it in half and was floored at how much better it made me feel. I immediately booked an appoint with her doctor and bared my heart to him. He started me off on Ritalin, which to be honest helped for maybe an hour but had side effects that I was not expecting. Like stomach issues and made me fairly lethargic. I went back.

    Now my doctor has me on 20 mg of generic adderall twice a day. It’s helping so much. The only problem is that now I feel the need to take just “a little bit more.”

    Is this a normal feeling? I’ll take 20 in the morning with my coffe, another one about mid afternoon and then bc I edit shoots all night (not to mention your typical crazy life with husbands, kids, cleaning and in-laws), I find myself wanting to take another right about 6 or 7 pm. How can I bring this up to him without sounding like a junkie? And more importantly, how can I chill out on them?

    I still have the entire bottle of Ritalin. Would it be wise to just take my 40 a day and then if I felt like I needed an extra pep in my evening step, I could take one of those?

    I just don’t want them to become a problem. I’m also noticing that once I FINALLY get in my bed, I’m having to take a couple of klonopin or Xanax to ease me down. Is this normal?

    Thanks in advance for any info!

  47. Christina Balcer     October 21, 2015    6:48 am    Reply

    I am a mother of a 6 year old boy who has ADHD And ODD. He just started 1st grade. I have tried natural supplements, removing dyes, sugars and tried Adderall for him ONCE. Never again! I am in desperate need of a supplement that will not have crazy side effects ( like him looking like he is on drugs till 1am) I have been reading up on Buspirone, Wellbutrin, and stratera… As anyone had any luck with these? I am so desperate…

  48. Pam     December 10, 2015    5:42 am    Reply

    Hi i was wondering about straterra I just started taking it and was wondering does the side effect of drowsiness wear off after a while if taking it i and 50 years old have add and in college trying to get my focused back under control can someone tell me how long the drowsiness my be before my body gets used to it please and Thanks

  49. Amy     January 7, 2016    6:04 pm    Reply

    I just found your article and had to ask my question(s). I was just diagnosed with ADHD at age 41 in the last 2 months. I tried Vyvanse and it worked beautifully for
    Me. The only downfall was that I have long days waking at 5:30am and not being able to go to sleep until 10
    or 11pm. But by 2 or 3 pm the good effects started to wear off. I asked my doctor if it was possible to do a 2nd dose later in the day of a smaller amount to get me through he said he could split the entire dose in 2 but I declined and said I’d like to try Adderal instead. I really wanted to keep using Vyvanse and didn’t think my request was too crazy. I think 30 mg in the morning worked wonders for me so I didn’t want to take less in the morning for fear I would get as much benefit out of it. I tried Adderal and hated it! I tried the extended release and it made me paranoid, nervous, short fused, and I don’t want to take it again. What is the best way for me to get the Vyvanse working longer for me? I am thinking going to a better doctor who know more about these things instead of a family doctor but maybe I take it too early. I take it right after waking so around 5:30/6am.

  50. Lindsay     May 11, 2016    7:03 pm    Reply

    I’m 16 years old and was diagnosed with ADHD at a fairly young age. The past year or so I’ve been on 30 milligrams of Adderall daily and I don’t know if my body is becoming immune to the drug, but my brain never stops running. Should I try a non-stimulant? I took Vyvamse when I was younger, but I think we switched to Adderall because it was unaffective as well. I’m practically to the point where I want to double up and take two Adderalls a day, but 60 milligrams makes my heart race. I’ve probably already revealed by inability to stay on one train of thought. Ha, please. I feel like I’m going crazy.

  51. Laurie Dupar     May 12, 2016    8:56 am    Reply

    HI Lindsay. Thanks for your message. Often time the answer to the right ADHD medication is in the details. Are you on a short acting or extended release Adderall? Extended release will typically have an “XR” on the bottle. What time do you take the medication? When does it kick in? When does it where off? Do you take it everyday or only on some days? Do you drink any type of beverage or food that has caffeine in it? Let me know and we will go from there 🙂 ~Laurie

    • Elizabeth P     January 12, 2017    12:10 pm    Reply

      I have a question also. I’m not sure if now 20mg is too much for me because I felt horrible today. I was taking Adderall 10 mg and it worked but then I felt like it was not working after a while. So I was bumped to 20 mg in August 2016 and it was working. Now I started taking it again because school started up this week after not taking any for a week or so, and I was fine until a few hours later at work. I became extremely shaky, jittery and my heart was racing. It felt awful! I had to take a small piece of a sedative pill to calm down or else I would’ve had to leave work. Why is this happening now? Do I have to go back to 10 mg because I took a break? I take Adderall XR 20 mg in the morning and during the semester I take it every other day, but today was coming back from a break. I did not drink coffee or anything like that.

  52. Lindsay     May 12, 2016    1:52 pm    Reply

    Thank you for responding. I take an Adderall XR every morning at 5:55 am and it may somewhat last until 9:30 maybe, but after that my brain goes back to spinning. I guess it kicks in 30 minutes after taking it. I don’t really see the effects it has on me. I’m not compulsive all day if I’ve taken Adderall, unless compulsively procrastinating counts ha. I don’t drink sodas and drink coffee on the weekends. I take Adderall everyday. The symptoms of ADD I have above else are my inability to focus, my (recently) lack of ability to hold on to a thought for more than 5 seconds without it disappearing, and sometimes I shoot off at the mouth without regards to what I’m even saying. So yes, impulsive in some sense. Thank you, thank you, thank you for getting back to me!

  53. Ashley     September 21, 2016    6:50 am    Reply

    My son is almost six and has been diagnosed with ADHD he has been on different medications he is now on 18mg in the morning 5mg in the afternoon and then has to take a sleeping medication for at night! I believe this is to much medicine for an almost six year old, not only that it doesn’t seem to effect him as much at first it helped for about a month or two and then it was like his body got use to it and now it doesn’t seem to help him as much he is very hyper and very emotional, it doesn’t matter what I say or how I say it either he gets very angry or cries and I don’t know what else to do. His doctor that we see doesn’t really seem to care I have asked to try a non stimulant and he won’t even consider it and he is going to therapy to try and help with his adhd but they just keep prescribing stimulant medications and higher doses and more medications! Someone please help I am at a loss here and don’t know what else I can possibly do!!

  54. Linda     October 10, 2016    6:34 am    Reply

    My 10 year old daughter started talking 30mg methylphenidate last year. Now, this year it seems that her mood is down, and sleep problems have increased. Is it normal to have to decrease dosage w age?

  55. Jason     February 23, 2017    11:50 am    Reply

    I am on ADHD medication. Been on many different medications to no avail… Concerta, Stratta, etc… you name it, but my condition is pretty strange. At first, I was being seen for stomach problems because in the morning I wake up bloated, and belch a lot. I have to actually gag in order to reflex vomiting to release what I call a bad omen. It sounds silly and weird, but it helps me relieve the tension built up during the night. I just don’t get calm relaxing sleep. I am always dreaming of everything and anything, but all vividly real life dreams with real life people, so I feel like I am not sleeping. I feel night time is a continuation of my awake life, except one is real, and the other is dream. So when I wake up I feel exhausted and stressed out. I am always stressed. I am a 35 year old man in great shape aside from that. I have a wife and two kids and we live in a suburb in a bungalow house. I have a successful job, and did well at school. So, back to my side effects. My heart is always racing… doctors think I have high blood pressure, but as we all know BP fluctuates throughout the day. But I can feel my heart beating all the time. no one else can. So, after being treated unsuccessfully for my stomach.. again I would almost force puke in the morning as I had a tummy full of gas or air and I had to release the pressure somehow as it was causing my heart rate to accelerate. So, I was then seen for anxiety, took a bunch of anti depressants and even had consultations with a psychologist. You know I took every step necessary to get better. My wife is fed up with my behaviour, my constant lack of focus and what not, so she supports my treatment options, but they just don’t work. then I thought maybe I had ADHD, which we’ve always assumed I had but was never diagnosed as a child for my parents own reasons. So I finally got diagnosed with it by my GP, and now I have been on two different meds with varying doses, stimulants I take in the morning. It sounds weird to take stimulants when I am already very stimulated, but I guess fight fire with fire, right? I do not like nor I have ever liked the way I feel on medication, and it doesn’t even make me feel or act any differently, so as far as I am concerned, I just don’t see the benefits. Maybe I am not “sticking” with the regiment long enough, but I am suffering here. I am not stupid. I am not going to continue going through with something that is hindering me, right? At this point I am at wits end, and to make matters worse, these good drugs have always lowered my sex drive… Normally I have a healthy if not hyper sex drive, but that is normal when you have ADHD. So, when I release myself though sex or masturbation, I get that endorphin rush with medicates me. This is serious stuff, look it up. This release of endorphins calms me down and thus medicates me. So I guess you can prescribe me sex, sex and more sex… but I am not kidding here. It does make me feel a whole lot better even if only temporary. But when I am on these so called meds, I can’t even get erect. Do you know how that makes me feel considering I love sex and I love the effects of sex. I feel imprisoned and hopeless. Why oh why would I continue taking meds that do this to me.

    Tonight I stop…

    Anyone out there feeling me or have any optimistic thoughts to share with me.


  56. Laurie     April 1, 2017    10:32 am    Reply

    Hi Jason. Thank you for sharing your story. It is very compelling and aside from some of the gastric symptoms, has elements common to so many people with ADHD. I would like to invite you to schedule a complimentary consultation with me when it would be easier to address your concerns. You can schedule this by emailing and my assistant Meg will help you get to my online calendar. I look forward to speaking soon.~ Laurie

  57. Cami     August 11, 2017    1:20 am    Reply

    I have a 17 yr old son who is on 30mg of Vyvanse. He has told me that he is not as social as he used to be and this really bothers him. He is a senior and wants to enjoy this year. I think before he was very impulsive and of course, the class clown–a sweet one as he is a good kid, but very impulsive (which scares me as he is a boy and 17). I told him we should talk to the dr about it. He doesn’t want to stop meds cuz it makes all the difference in his schoolwork and grades. Any suggestions as to trying another med? It may just be that he is in the awkward teenage years, although he has always been very popular, but once he started meds he isn’t as engaged socially. Any help would be very appreciated as I feel at a loss to give him good advice. Tonight he asked me if he will one day be able to go off and when will he know when he is ready. I have talked a lot about routine and all of the things he just doesn’t do, but needs to do to be successful without meds. Help!!

  58. Laurie Dupar     August 17, 2017    10:54 am    Reply

    HI Cami. Thanks for the response and your question. The answer to this is not simple. It would be important to have some specific details of the medication your son takes and also…talking with him 🙂 to be able to provide you the information or answers you are needing. His Vyvanse dose is on the low side, and reading what you wrote, it must be working somewhat if he is experiencing a more reserved approach. l would want to know what his experience has been when he explains about the change in social situation. It is not uncommon for students, once through their academic years, to readjust and sometimes stop taking the ADHD medication. This happens because after “school” young adults or adults are able to compensate in new ways for their challenges, are hopefully engaged in an interesting lifestyle for them, and have created long term systems, strategies and routines that work for them. If you have more questions about medications, I would be happy to talk with you personally. Please email my assistant and and she will help us find a day a time to talk. ~ Laurie

  59. Magdalena Ortega     May 14, 2018    11:33 am    Reply

    Hi Laurie!
    I have been using your log a little, I am 33 and recently diagnosed with ADHD and Bige eating, my doctor has me on Vyvanse 70 mgs and it seems to help but Im lacking still in motivation and now he prescribed Vyvanse 70 mgs and Wellbutrin 150 mgs to help with dopamine, I am worried since I have alsp read reports on how Wellbutrin blocks 2D6 and that ja not good for stimulants…I am worried this may be a bad idea.

  60. Melissa     June 5, 2018    3:17 pm    Reply

    Hello, I have been on Vyvanse for a year. When I first started taking it I felt wonderful and was up and going and actually accomplishing things. Slowly over time it has had to be adjusted. In April I felt completely like myself. I had no issues whatsoever. Then the end of May I found out my husband was having an affair. Since them I feel like the medicine isn’t working at all. I can’t seem to get motivated even though I try. I am scared of becoming the person I use to be before the medication. It just seems that all this happening I have found that I can’t cope. Not sure what to do or where to turn.

  61. Susan     July 9, 2019    7:38 am    Reply

    I was diagnosed with Adult ADHD – severe but had this condition since school. I was put on Ritalin but found this medicine to work perfectly for depression and anxiety. In less than a month I was completely out of my Adrenal Fatigue. This is very interesting. I think it’s a pity that they only focus on this med for ADHD when it has so many other benefits. I think this med is demonise unnecessary, it literally is life saving. Perhaps I’m just truly dopamine deficient but I do believe this should be looked at for a wider purpose.

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