I am a adult that has been diagnosed with ADD for over 5 years, I also have a background in psychology and pharmacology. I was first diagnosed with ADD at age 16 after going to the doctors and telling him about a lot of the issues I face in my day to day life. A lot of people, including my teachers in high school didn’t believe I had a attention issue because I never talked a lot and always kept quite. That doesn’t mean I had a lot going on inside my head. I would daydream then daydream about dreaming, get lost in my own thoughts, never stop thinking, always was more interested in all the things going on around me than the actual lesson, and when I knew I wasn’t paying attention I would try my hardest to regain focus but could never do it. That’s my first point. A
DHD and ADD are both attention deficits but they’re very different. I have ADD, meaning that while I seem calm and don’t talk much or move around a lot I get lost inside my own head and my surroundings. ADHD is basically the same thing except for someone with ADHD presents the symptoms in a more extrovert way. Now moving on, so how do you know if someone really has ADD or ADHD? To start, not being able to sit still in school or consciously choosing not to focus is not ADD or ADHD. Being stuck in a building for 8hours a day surrounded by the same people, the same lessons you don’t want to hear or have no interest in is obviously going to make you not focus and want to move around.
The environment creates that situation. Real ADD/ADHD goes beyond school. You start things and never finish them, start 10 things at one time and never finish them, start something you’re interested in and never finish it, your brain is constantly running at high RPM, you get lost in your thoughts, you begin to daydream a lot, you feel that being able to focus is out of your control, no matter how hard you try you just can’t do it, you sometimes say things without thinking, you constantly forget things even after you reminded yourself 10 times to get that thing, you wake up in the morning and as soon as you open your eyes your brain is already fired up and thinking about everything, you’ll sometimes stutter when you speak because your brain is going to fast, you get stuck on thinking loops where you keep thinking about the same thing over and over again, you might have insomnia because you can’t shut your brain off, you might develop anxiety because your already constantly thinking and now your constantly thinking about the future and where your life is going and the endless possibilities that the day brings, you may develop depression because once again you’re already thinking all the time and is something bad has happened in your life now you’re thinking about the past and going down a rabbit hole of regret and or sadness.
The last few points I made are the big ones I want to talk about. ADD/ADHD is known to bring forth depression and anxiety. Both of which I currently am diagnosed with. Lets say you have ADD/ADHD and something upset you, lets say.. A relationship has ended. To a person without ADD/ADHD they would be sad for a while and then eventually move on. However.. People with ADD/ADHD usually feel a lot, emotionally that is. Something as simple as a relationship going bad can tear us apart. With our beautiful but dangerous fast paced minds we tend to think about that relationship, how it went wrong, can I fix it?, what do I do now?, why did this happen?, and then we fall down into a black hole of thinking about the past and maybe even thinking that our ADD/ADHD is the reason why the relationship fell apart to begin with, then we start to daydream about maybe seeing that person again, daydreaming about what it’s going to be like to never see or speak to that person again, or how things would of been if none of this would of happened.
We overthink. That’s what leads to depression and anxiety. Now this doesn’t have to be about a relationship, it could be about anything negative that happens in your life. Your brain just starts to spin out of control and this is something that a lot of people don’t really consider when they talk about someone having a attention problem and it’s defiantly something that I believe everyone should know because it’s very common among children and adults who have ADD/ADHD. Now with that said, medication. Should you put your kids on meds? Well that’s up to you, first make sure that they really don’t have control of there focus and that it’s impacting there life outside of school or outside of work and remember the depression/anxiety that I talked about. If you believe that you or your child has real ADD then medication could really improve you/their life.
I’m currently taking 60mg of Vyvanse a day along side 10mg of Paxil to help with my Depression and anxiety. I’ve never been a big fan of medication until I finally decided to give it a go. I first started off taking Concerta when I was first diagnosed at age 16. While it did somehow manage to make me do better in school I started to feel angry and would often find myself getting confused a lot during the day, not to mention the high heart rate, sweating for no reason, high blood pressure, and minor anxiety. But that was me, everyone’s different and that goes for all the medications I’m going to talk about. I then switched to Adderall XR when I was 17 and the first week I felt almost euphoric, which is common because Adderall XR being a mix of amphetamine salts is known to cause euphoria.
After a week that subsided and I began to feel more alert, more clear headed, it felt like my thoughts were slowed down and I could actually think, I would begin to ask questions in class, and outside school I would tend to do all the things I needed to do for the day. Now the problem I ran into with adderall is, after taking it everyday for a long period of time you begin to build up a tolerance really fast. I went from 15mg of Adderall XR once a day, to 25mg of Adderall XR once a day, to 30mg of Adderall XR once a day, to 15mg of Adderall IR three times a day, and then to 30mg of Adderall XR once a day and 30mg of Adderall IR in the afternoon to avoid the crash(medication wears off, body gets tired, anxiety kicks in, feel depressed, motivation eliminated, all because your dopamine levels are actually dropping back down below baseline).
I was taking the highest dose possible to manage my ADD and with the increase in dose the side effects became worse, the crash felt much worse, I was at the point where when the medication wore off I would sometimes get suicidal. Adderall can be a great medication but to me with my background in pharmacology I see it as almost a scam and unsafe. They take dextroampthetamine which is mainly a CNS stimulant and combine it with levoamphetamine which is a PNS stimulant. Levoamphetamine really has no purpose, all it does is make you feel uncomfortable and almost “tweaked” for lack of a better word. Levoamphetamine is basically is what causes the random sweating, jitters, confusion, restless leg syndrome, the burst of energy, and the teeth grinding. Again though, this is just my thoughts on Adderall. I know many people who’ve taken it and have had no issues. There are just the facts of Levoamphetamine and my story with Adderall which I also know a lot people can relate to.