ADHD medication is a major help for adults who need to get things done! Without these stimulants many of us wouldn’t be able to maintain a job, relationships, a schedule, our sanity, and many other things no listed here.
I’m no longer a regular user of ADHD stimulants. I found that after a couple years, they no longer had any noticeable benefits. With an increase in dosage my ability to focus returned, but again, after a while the medications began to lose its effects.
I don’t like to tell people that I go through periods of using ADHD medication to help manage my symptoms; primarily because there are still a number of people I encounter who don’t believe ADHD exists or falsely believe that everyone who uses stimulants are drug addicts in disguise. There are also those who think stimulants are a weight loss drug; this has never been a side effect for me. I have never lost weight on any of the adult ADHD prescriptions. The only thing it has done for me weight wise is help me not to unconsciously stuff my face all day, but I have never lost a single pound as a result of stimulant medication.
I recently tapered off of the medications and within a week I became aware again of my non-stimulant behaviour. When I am not on ADHD medications I tend to be more free spirited, I talk more, I laugh often, and the sarcasm returns (not the mean type of sarcasm, it’s more of a self-depreciating type of sarcasm). To be honest, I have no idea exactly what ADHD medication for adults is supposed to do. I can’t really tell when it’s “working” or “not working”. All I know is that for me, the difference is in how I express myself. On medication I am serious, super serious. When the stimulants kick in I am no longer a multi-tasking master, I focus on one thing at a time, and prioritize. When the stimulants wear off I am more frazzled and grow tired. An after work nap is almost a requirement for me. I won’t even attempt to describe how my sleep is severely interrupted due to medication. However, I have sleep problems even when I am not on stimulants, it would be unfair to blame my lack of sleep on medication.
Most of the adults that I have personally encountered who have ADHD don’t take medication for it. These individuals have found they don’t need them. Some of them are correct, as for others, I feel like saying, “You might want to give stimulants a try. Not just for your sake, but for the sake of the others who have to put up with your symptoms.” Of course I wouldn’t say that to a person because I believe that taking medication should always be the individual’s choice.
When I ask adults who do take stimulants what differences they notice when they are on medication, they often say, ‘It helps me focus.’ Or ‘It helps me to stay organized.’ I’m not sure if I am really different from other adults with ADHD, but I notice more than just an ability to focus or be more organized. I find that my outlook on life improves; I’m better able to remember what I’ve just read or studied; I’m less frazzled and anxious; my anxiety decreases; I’m a more serious person; my personal boundaries are healthier; and many other positive results that time and space don’t allow for me to record right now.
I am thankful for all the positive results of taking medication, but I do miss my free spirited behaviour that only makes an appearance when I take medication breaks. I wish I could take stimulants AND maintain my free spirit, but then that would mean the medication wasn’t working and I wouldn’t be able to enjoy the benefits I listed above. When off of medication I no longer walk around singing happy songs, I don’t dance around, I am no longer playful with others. Even the songs on my Spotify playlists change when I’m off medication (bring on the dancehall remixes and anything by Tiesto).
I don’t know how medication affects you, but I highly encourage you to take some time to think about the differences in how you behave and your outlook on life when you are on or off stimulants. Do you notice a major difference? Do you actually feel different? What are the differences?
Internet Resources About How Adult ADHD Medication Works:
Adult ADHD Humour: