Failing Medication Expectations

So, I’ve been away for almost 6 months and in that time I’ve been on Adderall, Concerta, and now Vyvanse.

I had a moment when I was on Concerta where I had seriously dosed myself up on Caffeine with both coffee and energy drinks to the point where I started to get concerned I was going to hurt myself. But then, seemingly out of nowhere, things all seemed to snap into place and my perpetual brain fog cleared and it seemed as if my mind was snapping from thought to thought with little to no slowing down. It was amazing.

So, I tried to get the dose increased so that I wouldn’t have to dose myself up to that point again. Because I figured that experience was what I needed to aim for.

But now I’ve run into some issues. Every time my doctor increases the dosage of my medications to try to reach this zone of clarity, my anxiety spikes and I end up with terrible side effects such as uncontrollable stimming and panic attacks.

We switched from Concerta to Vyvanse to see if we could get past this hurdle and also because so many users here reported Vyvanse worked best for them. But just last week I hit that wall again. I was on 30mg of Vyvanse and I started acting more and more irritated. I was self-soothing through stimming almost all the time and was having increased issues with not feeling anxious in normal situations. The worst part was that the mental blocks were still there and weren’t getting easier.

So now I’m torn.

I honestly don’t know if I’m expecting too much from medication and if the strange episode of clarity I experienced is actually the goal I should be shooting for or if it was just a freak incident of me overdosing.

I just don’t know. I also have no idea just how severe my ADHD actually is. Maybe the reason I’m having so much trouble is I’m actually super high on the ADHD spectrum? Maybe I’m not just borderline ASD and that is causing additional issues?

I’m currently sitting in front of my computer after spending an hour on video games. My spouse has a sister coming into town tomorrow and the house is a wreck. I don’t have time to be goofing off. But I’ve been so bad today. I’m still on 20mg of Vyvanse. Are my habits just that terrible? Where does the medication end and my own willpower begin? I have no idea what is my fault and what is the ADHD anymore.

I’m tired of hopping around on different medications with nothing but vague hopes that they will work. I don’t even know if my expectation of what they should do for me is realistic.

Help?

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Hello Wabbajax -

I’m sorry to hear about the struggles you’ve been facing.

My own psychiatrist warned me about how stimulants could cause a spike in my anxiety levels. Though that did not happen for me, that still means it could still be a side effect that effects other people. You may want to ask your Doctor if that is a possibility of what you’re dealing with.

My own experience with ADHD is that I personally function best when I use my medication (which took me over a year to find the right dosage AND right medication in general), my weekly therapy sessions and a variety of coping strategies. Everyone has their own mix of what helps them - but I highly recommend asking around for some coping strategies on specific things you struggle with. The community is great at coming up with so many different suggestions, and hopefully one of them is the right coping strategy for you. :heart:

I would talk to your Doctor and explains how the spiking anxiety makes it impossible for you to tell if it’s even helping the ADHD at all, and ask if there is a way to help with the anxiety and the ADHD.

If you feel you might be struggling with something else beyond ADHD and Anxiety be sure to bring that up to your Doctor as well. It is not uncommon for ADHDers to have more than just ADHD.

Medication can be a long journey - like I mentioned earlier my journey was over a year. If you want to read about my experience with a medication journey you can read the novel here:

There are so many different types of medication out there and no medication is the same. Medications aren’t even same across generics (for example: Adderall XR from Sandoz is perfect for me. Adderall XR from Teva/Actavis causes heat rashes on my cheeks and spikes my anxiety. Adderall XR from Par is my back-up if my Pharmacy doesn’t have Sandoz brand in.) It’s a lot of trial and error to find what medication works best with your body. Release mechanisms can be different. Inactive ingredients can be different across generics for the same medication. Adderall IR can feel different than Adderall XR. There are SO many factors.

Just keep working with your Doctor. You can talk with your Doctor about going through all the different brands for generics and seeing if that’s a viable route to take. (Vyvanse doesn’t have a generic version yet, though.) :heart:

I know how frustrating it is especially when you’re struggling so hard. I spent so long crying and asking “why?” when I’d try a new medication and it just wouldn’t work. But keep going. In the states I know we have access to so many different medications and so many different generic brands.

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Wabbajax,

Thank you for sharing. I am definitely bummed to hear about the troubles you’ve been having with the meds/stimming you’ve been trying.

To address: “Are my habits just that terrible?” I will only be able to speak my opinion/experience here, so please, if you will, take it with whatever grains of salt you choose. How to gauge/rate personal habits/coping mechanisms will have to be (and I definitely don’t mean to deflect here) up to you and probably what you and your trusted team of advisors (therapists, psychs, etc) decide. I have been working, for 20 yrs, to remove negative descriptive words from my verbiage, and I carry that into how I describe things which I do which are bad for myself. It’s just a thing which has helped me. The main reason I do this is because I had been equating my self-worth to these negative words, and ultimately I would/can be deprecating myself in no-time. This, again, is just something which I have done which has helped me, and not advice I’m giving.

Secondly: “stimming”. Crikey, I’ve not heard that word before your post, though I’ve now looked it up. I’ve been doing that my entire life. I have had to cut back on the amount of caffeine I intake since I started taking my meds, since the combination of too much caffeine + meds caused my heart to race, for me to have dizzy spells (even while driving, and that got straight-up spooky), and for my brain to hum (I seriously think I heard my brain hum a couple of times and decided that might not be healthy). I now only drink coffee/tea to the point at which I either still feel fine and just don’t want any more, or I begin to feel unnaturally buzzy. I also don’t drink any kind of chemi-loaded drinks (drinks with sugar, added caffeine, or other added stimulants), and that’s helped me tons. I do my best to drink gobs of water, too.

I had serious issues try medications for about 9 months (during this time I was trying new anti-depressants; I know they’re not the same as ADHD meds, but the difficult time getting it right and/or regulating was very difficult). My psych and I would try new meds, I would have either adverse or no effects, I would stop taking them and go through some yucky withdrawals, then we’d try the next one. My first ADHD meds did nothing, but my second one (the second was Vyvanse), has worked like a champ from the get-go. I have only upped the dosage, by 10 mgs, one time.

I don’t know how I can be of help, other than to share what I have experienced, and to let you know that I support you and your family as you move through this to a healthier, more comfortable place. I’ll be happy to chat with you further if you choose. I hope you have good health and peace. Cheers.
-brytetyger

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