Adderall, Perhaps

Lately, I’ve been finding it harder and harder to stay on task and focus. Perhaps it’s due to my new job, which is mostly desk work. I have a lot to do, but I get distracted by the littlest things. I think I do alright, but I know I could be a much better worker if I wasn’t so easily distracted. I know there are mental exercises that can help, but I can’t stay focused long enough to do them. And physical exercise is out of the question with my schedule. Eating right would be good for me. I have no excuse for that one.

Every day, for about two weeks now, I’ve been contemplating whether or not to talk to my doctor about starting Adderall again. Last time I tried it, I didn’t notice any major benefits, and it made me feel funny. At that time, though, my job didn’t demand so much focus. The jobs were straightforward and easy to finish.

Now that the demand has increased, I’m wondering if I would be able to see a bigger difference. I’m not sure if I want to, but I also don’t want to risk my position. I enjoy what I do here, and I don’t want to go back to my old duties. They weren’t bad, but they also weren’t my ideal conditions (cold, wet and windy). Inside the building is much better for me.

So what do I do? I don’t know yet. I’ll talk to my wife and see if it’s viable. She might have some valuable insight for me. She usually does.

What do you think?

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Adderall Works, AutoCorrect Doesn’t

Book photograph with flipping pages.
Image via Wikipedia

In my last post, I talked about stopping my Adderall medication. I said that the risks were outweighing the rewards for me, so I stopped taking it. I figured that I would try to overcome my ADHD with mental exercises and trying really really hard.

If you follow my blog and/or look at my calendar, you’ll notice that I haven’t been publishing posts as often as before. The first obstacle I ran into was, not surprisingly, a drop in my ability to focus. I didn’t think the Adderall was very effective until a few days ago, when I looked back and reevaluated my life after stopping the medication. I noticed that I not only posted on my blog less often, but it was actually harder for me to even get started.

Even now, it’s hard for me to write without being distracted by little things. When I was taking my medication, I never had this problem. I was able to write multiple posts without a hitch.

Now here’s the kicker: I’m not going to restart the medication. I still believe that I can overcome it with God’s help and a little willpower. It might be more difficult without the medicine, but it will be much more worth it.

On a lighter note, I’d like to tell you about a book I just finished reading. Contrary to my opinion on the effectiveness of Adderall, I think the AutoCorrect feature on many smartphones isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. I say this because of the book as well as my own personal experience.

If you text frequently with this wonderful feature, you’ll probably be able to relate to some of the situations throughout the book. If you have a chance to buy the book or check it out from a library, I highly recommend that you do. It’s very entertaining and only takes about 1-2 hours cover to cover. Be advised, though, because it does contain adult language.

Adderall Scare and Mensa Results

Picture taken by myself of my Adderall prescri...
Image via Wikipedia

I haven’t taken my Adderall for almost a week now, and for good reason. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post about my side effects while taking the medicine. I had a couple of issues, but nothing seemed serious enough to convince me to go to my doctor.

Then, on Wednesday, I was on my way to work when my left bicep started hurting. I know it’s not the shoulder area that the heart attack warnings focus on, but it was close enough for me to decide that I needed to stop taking the medicine until I talked to my doctor.

I scheduled an appointment as soon as I could. Unfortunately, the earliest appointment wasn’t until today. I went to the appointment this morning, and she said that it didn’t sound like my issues were related to the medication. She said that it was up to me to decide if I should stop taking the Adderall, depending on whether the risks outweighed the benefits, so that’s exactly what I decided to do. I feel like the medication is hurting more than helping, so I’m going to see if I can find another way to overcome my ADHD.

Perhaps I’ll try to focus on brain games and mind exercises and see if that helps–a sort of Mind-Over-ADHD, if you will.

Mensa International
Image via Wikipedia

Now, for the second half of my post: On Friday, I got an email from Mensa letting me know that they had received my test. My excitement grew when I read the email, because it meant that I was one step closer to finding out if I qualified for membership. The email basically said, “We received your test. Now wait 5-10 business days for us to score it.” It wasn’t amazing news, but it did cut my waiting time from 14-21 days down to just 5-10 days.

On Saturday, however, I received another email from Mensa. Without even reading the title, I knew it was the results. My phone shows the first few lines of my emails, so I didn’t  have to open it to discover the verdict. The word “CONGRATULATIONS” was all I needed to see. The excitement rushed through me like a tidal wave. I had achieved one of my biggest life goals! I had to contain it, though, because I wanted to slowly introduce the topic to my wife before springing it on her.

After telling her the news, she congratulated me and told me how proud she was. When I told her how much my membership would cost ($84/year), she responded with, “Just knowing you qualified should be enough, right?”

I laughed and said that I really really wanted to join. She reluctantly agreed, but said that I could only join for a year. After the year is up, we’ll reevaluate our situation and my interest in the organization. Unfortunately for me, I have ADHD, which means that long-term interests aren’t my forte.

Hopefully this one will be one of the few exceptions.

Adderall and Me

Adderall
Image by Arenamontanus via Flickr

Note: From this point on, this blog is going to be a regular recap of my life and how my ADHD affects me. I want to post once or twice a week, unless something occurs to me that either prevents me from posting or inspires me to post sooner.

I’d like to start out by saying “Thank you!” to my wife for contributing to my blog. Most of what she wrote was stuff I already knew, but there were a couple of points that gave me some insight that I never had before. I’m still amazed at how the smallest outside perspective can have such a large impact on someone’s way of thinking.

So, what is this post going to be about? As the title implies, this one is going to be my personal evaluation of my medication.

I know it’s been a couple of weeks since I started this blog, and I haven’t really said much about what’s happening now. I was trying to bring you up to speed and give you a little back-story, so you can understand me a little better. Every relationship starts with an introduction, so I wanted to give you a solid one.

When I started this blog, I had just started taking Adderall. I was three days into taking it, so I still wasn’t sure what the full effects were going to be. Since I’ve been on it for a while, I feel like I can give you a better evaluation.

First, I’ll tell you exactly what I’m taking: Amphetamine Salts, 20 mg tabs, once daily.

When I started taking it, the hardest part for me was to not focus on all the side-effects I had just read about. Every little abnormality set off a red flag in my mind. The side-effects that have been consistent until now are (in order of prominence):

  • Fidgeting
  • Faster movements/speech
  • Reduced appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Occasional liver pain

Some of these aren’t side-effects that are listed on the paper I received, but they seem to occur while the medicine is still active. The last one is the scariest, but I believe that’s part of my body’s reaction to the new chemical plus my lack of hydration—something I need to fix. The other side-effects are ones that I can work around and deal with, so I don’t see them as a big problem; however, I will be bringing up all of my side-effects with my doctor. I may not see them as a big deal, but I also don’t have a medical degree.

On the bright side, I am able to do more while on the medicine. For example, I was able to write and edit my “About” page and my first two posts in one night. I think some of that was from the Adderall, but I also think it was due to the excitement of starting a new blog mixed with a large amount of information.

Overall, I can see the benefits and the set-backs that Adderall can bring. As of now, it’s helped me in some ways and affected me negatively in others. The ratio between benefits and hindrances is about equal.

Trials: Part 2

I wanted to compose a part 2 to fill you guys in on my views about how the medication has affected Ryan. He used to be tired all the time, and therefore, somewhat withdrawn. The medication has definitely given him more energy, which makes him seem more present and interactive. His memory seems to have improved since taking the medications. He’s now able to retrieve information that was not readily available before. Prior the medication, if something was forgotten, its chances of being retrieved were slim to none. Now that’s almost reversed completely!

On the downside, it’s lessened his appetite. Ryan was never a big eater before, so to take his appetite down even more makes me nervous. He has to force himself to eat sometimes, and I worry that he’s not eating enough some days. Also, the drug is addictive. Ryan doesn’t have a history of addiction, but I still worry about that. One of my biggest issues with the drug is that I don’t see a clear plan of how he’s going to improve enough to get off of the meds. I don’t want him to be dependent on medication for the rest of his life, but I also don’t want him to have to live with the negative symptoms of ADHD. I haven’t heard of any real steps to be taken to better his memory skills or other cognitive issues. I feel like the cognitive exercises aren’t helpful to him, because he’s always excelled at tests and has no problem learning patterns, schemes, and scenarios.

With all that being said, I still say there’s nothing wrong with my husband. He has a setback that he deserves treatment so he can have an easier life, but with or without ADHD, he’s still the most amazing husband and father in the world.

Thanks for letting me post a couple of entries to give my side of the story. Please continue following my husband’s blog – he’ll surprise you with his thoughts and revelations!