I was recently diagnosed with adult ADHD (inattentive type) and put on Adderall. I have very, very mixed feelings about this -- hopeful, because it seems to really be helping me in multiple areas of my life, but also anxious that it is a crutch that I can't use forever. Does anyone have any insight or anecdotes to help me either (1) feel better about being on Adderall, or (2) come up with an alternative plan to manage my issues?
posted by dumbledore69 to health & fitness (23 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
I am a 30 year old woman and I've struggled for most of my life with depression, severe anxiety/stress, and obesity. I've also, for as long as I can remember, suffered from the extreme inability to get my shit together, which often leads to the depression & anxiety that then lead to the emotional eating (pretty much eating for a fix) that I do.
I have always been smart enough to get by and do fairly well despite half-assing everything due to disorganization, inability to concentrate, and inability to get my shit together. For example, in 5th grade, my teacher wanted to put me in remedial math because I never did (or could find) my homework, despite my having been in the 98th percentile in the math portion of that year's standardized test. In high school, I never did my homework or studied, ever. I was in all honors and AP classes, and somehow managed to get a 4 on the AP Lit exam without having read a single one of the assigned books that year. I got into a good college and nearly flunked out both my freshman and sophomore years because I didn't study or attend class, but made it up junior and senior year by overloading classes to make up what I failed and switching majors to one that would better allow me to use common sense and BS to coast.
Now I have a good job and am a part-time grad student, but I struggle to keep my head above water. I know it isn't because I'm not smart enough or competent ... if I have a month to work on a project, I will struggle to do the research and planning at the beginning to do a good job. I will flounder for 2-3 weeks, and then panic for the fourth week, pulling together whatever I can to cobble together a passable result. Usually what I consider passable is plenty good to my employer or instructor, but the thing is that I can do so much better than what I am giving, and with so much less stress.
Not to mention that my home life is a mess. I am constantly forgetting to pay bills, losing important papers, leaving my house a mess (and not knowing where to start), starting exercise programs and then abandoning them because I am too overwhelmed with the rest of my life, budget, and work....
I've tried all kinds of methods for getting myself back on track. I am great at both implementing and making up my own systems for being organized -- schedules and charts and checklists. Oh God, I live for that stuff! But as soon as I create something and MAYBE follow it for a little while, I get distracted or overwhelmed and drop the ball and am back where I started.
And I'm miserable! I have so much to be grateful for, and yet I spend all my time being fat (100 lbs overweight), depressed, stressed, and overwhelmed. Antidepressants (celexa & trazodone) have helped, but only to an extent.
After talking with my psychiatric NP, she screened me for ADHD and found that both the results of the test and a family history (my dad & brother are ADHD) and my descriptions of my school life and adult life point to inattentive-type ADHD. She prescribed me ritalin, which I took for 3 weeks and simply felt sleepy on, and now Adderall, which truly seems to be making a difference. Suddenly I can concentrate and do alll the things I previously would think "ugh I need to do that", and then forget about or put off indefinitely.
AND. Suddenly I am losing weight.
I have been able to stick to my workout program and have felt no emotional triggers to eat over the past few weeks. I actually have almost no appetite at all during the day, which is a first, since snacks have always been the best interruption to getting anything done.
Which is great, right?
But I'm worried. I have a lot of weight to lose, and I have lost before and regained. I have read stories of people abusing Adderall to lose weight (which is NOT my purpose) and then regaining it once they go off almost immediately. I just do not want to lose weight "artificially" only to regain it when/if I go off Adderall. And I don't see myself being on Adderall forever. In a few years when I am done with school, I'd like to have a baby, and I certainly can't take it while pregnant or breastfeeding.
I am really just hoping that I can use Adderall as a tool to get me back on the right track in life. I never, ever learned to be organized, to keep my house neat, to keep my budget in check, to eat right, to do my work consistently instead of at the last minute. If I can focus now and get myself into a routine, and get my life in order, and keep it in order for awhile ... am I going to lose all that if I don't keep taking Adderall?
So, does it sound like I am doing the right thing by taking it? Am I going to have to pay later on for using this tool to get my life together now? Is there anything else I should be doing or plan to do to make the most out of this?
I'm sorry this was so long...I am just so stressed and anxious.