I think everyone’s medication experience is different, and often people try a variety of different medications before they find the right one.
For me, I first tried Wellbutrin to help with focus and concentration. It seemed to work, but eventually I stopped it due to a side effect. After I went off it things went back to the chaos that I had known before and I asked my provider about alternatives. That’s when he officially diagnosed me with ADHD (he had suggested it before) and started me on Vyvanse.
My experience with Vyvanse has been life changing. It has helped calm some of the internal restlessness I had, help me be able to complete a project from start to finish, lowered my anxiety, helped me sleep better, helped me maintain conversations, allowed me to be more organized (at times) at work, and has generally improved my mood. I didn’t realize how much I had been struggling until I took the medicine.
It’s definitely not a “high” and definitely not a focus pill. It makes things easier. I really like the analogy of “ADHD medication is like putting on a pair of glasses.” I actually felt a sense of sadness when I first started on it because I felt sad that I hadn’t gotten to experience life the way everyone else without ADHD had.
The medication hasn’t taken anything away from me. I don’t have any side effects. I would say that my mind is a bit less creative during the day when it’s working, but I’m also on other medications that may impact that. I’ve been on and off medications enough in the past to know that I’d rather stay on them and lose a bit of creativity than go off them and invite the train wreck, depression, and chaos that follows.
I think it’s important to ask yourself a couple of questions when looking into medication:
- What are you expecting the medication to do?
- What symptoms are the most problematic for you that medication might help?
Taking ADHD medication brings on a new set of challenges including stigma, difficulty obtaining it, and other concerns. It may also take time to find the right medicine for you. Typically medications are effective for roughly 80% of people. Sometimes if you don’t respond to a stimulant you may do well with a non-stimulant. Some doctors start with the non-stimulant option first.
If you have fears, questions, or anxieties, definitely talk with the doctor about all those before you begin. Make sure to write down your questions and make sure that they give you time to address each one.
ADHD meds aren’t a quick fix in my experience. They will make some things easier, but the ADHD will still remain. It’s important that while you’re on medication you’re also doing other things like relying on past coping skills, staying engaged in therapy or coaching, learning new tools and new skills, and seeking support from people in your life when you can.
Whatever happens, good luck on this journey!