ADHD medication for children
February 7, 2018 5:40 PM   Subscribe

Parents of children with ADHD, how did you decide that medication was the way to go? What effects were you worried about before your child started medication and how did that change after they started taking it? Does anyone have experience giving this specific medication to a child?

My son has been diagnosed with ADHD and anxiety. He's been seeing a therapist for about a year now but he's still having a hard time. The therapist is with a pediatric mental health center so referred us to one of their psychiatrists who prescribed 5mg dexmethylphenidate er. I see how he struggles and how it effects his self esteem and I want him to be his best self and I want him to be happy. I've checked it out and I know that this medication will most likely help rather than hurt but I still worry. His psychiatrist says this is a low dose and won't build up in his system but I have reservations. I'm really nervous about giving this to him. I've seen a lot of people here over the years say what a difference the right medication makes and I'd have no problem taking anything myself if I needed it. It's hard though because he's my child. If it matters, he's 10 yrs old, 5'1", 149 lbs. Please help me feel better about this.
She did ask me how I felt about treating his anxiety with meds but I'd rather see how he does after his ADHD is under control.
I'm sorry if this all came out really weird but I'm having a really really hard time with this.
posted by smashface to Health & Fitness (22 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Just quick: does your son have an IEP or 504 plan at school? If not, I'd speak to your guidance counselor or the head of the Special Education department to start the eligibility process. I think he certainly would qualify if he isn't already receiving services. That way you'd also have a whole team of teachers, administrators, counselors, school nurse, and more creating a support plan together. Also, if you haven't told your son's teacher already, I'd speak to them ASAP so they can check on at school and let you know if they see any changes, both good and bad. I'm a teacher and I'm always glad to know and then support students and families with this. If you have already done all of these steps, good for you and good luck! If not, I would start setting it up so your son can get the additional support he deserves.
posted by smorgasbord at 6:08 PM on February 7, 2018 [1 favorite]

So. A couple of things:

Meds are not permanent. You can try them for a day or a week or a month and see what happens. If they help him and you don't see any awful side effects, keep going. Some stuff to watch out for - an increase in anxiety especially around the time they wear off (set a timer the first few weeks to remind yourself that this could be what's happening in the afternoons. For me, the anxiety lessens after I've been on it for a few weeks (I've had to switch prescriptions and go off and on a lot this last year because of stupid insurance.)

And insomnia - it happens with me but not with my kids when I take a certain type of ADHD drug.

For me, when I realized I had it, I immediately felt two things: "it's not me" - meaning that all this time of getting lost going to a place I've been to a million times, always being late, forgetting important stuff, it was likely due to ADHD. And, man, did I beat myself up for that stuff without even knowing it. My second thought was "I want drugs". Then I laughed because I had been doing everything I could to keep my daughter from taking the same drugs. I realized that if she felt even a little bit of the guilt that I feel from these things then it was not very helpful to withhold something that could really help her.

I truly believe that dealing with ADHD comes down to two things: skills and drugs. You need to learn time management and project management, how to motivate yourself, how to prioritize and a million other things but a lot of times you simply can't because your brain is going a million miles a minute. Drugs don't mean you're cheating. They calm the chatter in your brain so that you can learn and apply the skills.

Going back to my daughters - one went to Montessori school through 4th grade and for her, it was a great place to learn the skills she needed. She went on to public school for middle school and was great at taking care of her schoolwork herself. But in 7th grade she said she'd like to try the drugs because sometimes the classroom was overwhelming with all the sounds. And I notice that her social skills cause her to have some trouble with friends because her impulse control is lacking. She has the skillset but the drugs just help her stay on track and do the things she wants to do.

My younger daughter has ADHD so bad that if I forget to give her the pill in the morning, I get an email from her teacher saying, "Hey, what was up with Petunia today? She was bouncing off the walls." For her, she can't learn the skillset without first having the drugs. And it's a matter of mood too. She has a super short temper off the medicine and when she takes it, we all have better days.

It sounds like you're doing a great job getting him the resources he needs. Drugs can be just another tool in the toolbox for dealing with all of this. Feel free to memail me if you have questions or want to talk more about it!
posted by dawkins_7 at 6:28 PM on February 7, 2018 [10 favorites]

Hey, I'm you (albeit with a smaller kid) and even consulted the green a few months back about the same thing. We've tried two medications and have seen a pretty vast improvement. My kid is still just as goofy and creative on the meds as he is off, but now he can focus and has much less untethered energy (he still has plenty of energy...oh god please send elephant tranquilizers).

The nature of ADHD medication is that they move through the system fast. You can literally do A/B tests throughout the week. They're really fast acting that you'll notice a change within hours not days. Some kids only take their ADHD meds during the week. Some take them everyday. A dose will likely start to wear off around dinner time, which can actually be a little tough on parents because you kind of see the mini-crash (in behavior and attention sometimes) without seeing the benefit. You can tell his teachers that you'll be trying some medications, but you don't tell them what days exactly. We asked his teacher to keep a log of problem behaviors to try and track them with meds. The fact that you're kid is older (and just has more mass) means that you can trial really small doses on up until you hit the right balance. We were hemmed in by a smaller kid, so we only had certain dosages we could try.

So, yeah. you get to worry. You're a parent, that's kind of part of the gig. The fact that you're worried is a good thing, but don't let that worry get in the way of giving your kid the tools they need to cope. ADHD medication might not fix everything with the anxiety. The anxiety very well could be exacerbating the ADHD. Who knows. Brains are weird.

Brain meds are hard. We're really shitty at predicting how they'll agree with individuals, so if kid has a bad experience with one, switch it up. Unfortunately, with our current levels of technology, this is largely a trial-and-error field, so don't let the errors (and hopefully they won't happen) get in the way of that one med that works. Granted, this is for a different set of problems, but I went through almost 2 dozen medications finding something I could tolerate for PTSD related symptoms.

If you have any specific questions, feel free to memail me.
posted by furnace.heart at 6:46 PM on February 7, 2018 [2 favorites]

As the child of a parent who refused to medicate my adhd, please don't let your kid suffer the way I did.
posted by poffin boffin at 7:45 PM on February 7, 2018 [14 favorites]

I am not a psychiatrist or qualified to give medical advice, but I do have adhd, kids with adhd and past partners and friends with adhd and the general consensus is: do not medicate children.
We all seem to have come to the same conclusions by and though observation and experience: Those of us who were medicated as children all developed substance addictions as adults, those who were not, didn't.
I'm personally firmly against habit forming/high addiction potential medication for anyone who's brain is still under development. For women this is around age 22, for men age 28. There is really just not a whole lot of positive supporting research on brain development of children/youth under the influence of narcotics. Which, don't let your doctors statement fool you, adhd meds are. Now to address that part...
"His psychiatrist says this is a low dose and won't build up in his system."
I don't understand this statement. Did you ask this question specifically to them, or did they state it? If the latter, they either are trying to ease you with a false arguement or don't understand the drug itself. No amphetamine will "build up in the system." They can't be detected in a drug test after about 5 days. But all amphetamines will create tolerance in all people who take them.
"I have reservations. I'm really nervous about giving this to him."
I'd listen to your gut here. He's only 10... of all adhd treatments/relief I've found for myself and others, it's strenuous exercise for 20-60 minutes a day. You might save money, peace of mind, and heath by trying an evening sport class of some type or even getting him a small beginners weight/barbell set and watching some youtube videos together on how to do it correctly.
I started to really struggle in school in about grade 9 due to my adhd but I'm still happy my parents never medicated me. They did my sibling and he's unfortunately an active addict of the same class of drug. This is anecdotal evidence, yes, but I've too many other people in my life who's experiences mirror this to call it just that.
Today, with a diagnosis of adhd, children are allowed extra time on tests and given the option of taking them in seperate rooms. Many teachers are now allowing these students to doodle/use figdget devices etc. as well. This likely would have been sufficient to ease the disability aspect enough that I could have performed adequately sans meds.
posted by OnefortheLast at 8:31 PM on February 7, 2018

I am not a psychiatrist or qualified to give medical advice, but I do have adhd, kids with adhd and past partners and friends with adhd and the general consensus is: do not medicate children.

This is not in line with current medical advice, for individuals with diagnosed ADHD. Current peer reviewed science tells us that, unfortunately, individuals with ADHD are just at a baseline higher risk of having addictive behavior. We don't know why. Individuals who take ADHD medications have a lower instance of addiction, this has specifically been studied in children: Cite, cite, and cite.

There is really just not a whole lot of positive supporting research on brain development of children/youth under the influence of narcotics. Which, don't let your doctors statement fool you, adhd meds are.

This is not true. There's an incredible amount of peer reviewed support and research on the treatment of ADHD on younger populations. This is well worn territory; a meta-study indexes other studies which the prerequisite for is having enough studies on the base subject to index. ADHD medications are not narcotics, most are stimulants (both of which can be habit forming), a different class of medications entirely. There are some medications that are used in the treatment of ADHD that are not stimulants (or narcotics). There are several medications used off label for the treatment of ADHD.
posted by furnace.heart at 9:06 PM on February 7, 2018 [23 favorites]

In addition to strongly seconding furnace. heart, I would like to add that it is also not at all true that tolerance develops in "all" people taking "all" amphetamines. In fact, my psychiatrist, an adhd specialist, said most people don't develop a tolerance and can stay on the same dose indefinitely. And if tolerance does develop, it can usually be reset with a day or two off. I can't say whether this is true for everyone, but my own experience agrees with the experts here. I've been on the same dose for years with no change in efficacy.

It's unfortunate that some people have had bad things happen in their lives after taking meds,whether caused by them or not. It's easy to forget that not taking meds has direct consequences too, including potentially deadly ones relating to recklessness and spaciness as well as the more minor ones like ruining your chances to get into a good college. I don't know whether you should medicate your kid, there are pros and cons that only you can weigh, but just keep in mind that choosing not to do something can be just as harmful as choosing to do something.
posted by randomnity at 9:38 PM on February 7, 2018 [4 favorites]

yeah as a further data point, i started using drugs when i was 13 and didn't stop until i realized that as an adult i could just go to the doctor for adhd meds on my own, which was over 10 years later.
posted by poffin boffin at 11:12 PM on February 7, 2018 [4 favorites]

I'm a high school special ed teacher and the resident district expert on ADHD and teach a mandatory course for new staff in my district about best practices for ADHD. Think of ADHD as a superpower and an amazing cognitive way of being, not a disability, because the research is that ADHD offers far more benefits than negatives. The problem is that schools are not run to encourage this type of learner.

I'm also the parent of a young adult who was diagnosed with ADHD when he was your son's age. I have a LOT of thoughts. In my kid's case, the meds and appropriate school services turned him from a F student to a B student which obviously changed his perception as a kid who COULD learn, who could "do school," who could try and often do pretty well.

He developed perseverance and grit when he took meds. Without them, he felt hopeless.

I work with far too many teens who hate school because they're really terrible at it. And they're terrible at it because they've never taken meds and they literally never learned any academic skills. Every day is a nightmare of being unfocused and going on walks and getting water and not being able to retain much of anything beyond hands-on activities, which get fewer as the kids rise in the years.

A lot of these kids have tried to self-medicate with weed, Xanax and whatever else they can score, so then they come to school wasted which really interferes with their ability to learn anything and obviously creates a whole new set of issues.

While meds can help a kid learn, they're only part of the work. The other part HAS to be teaching the kid study skills and setting timers to focus and learning what work is inherently motivating and what isn't, then figuring out strategies to attack work they are not motivated to do. Kids with ADHD are generally super smart and they seriously lack initiative for non-preferred activities based on years of school failure, but on meds, they can learn those skills.

Without teaching strategies, you're essentially treating a diabetic with insulin but not teaching them healthier lifestyle choices that will also help them. You gotta do both.

In my educational experience, IEPs and 504s will offer accommodations like extended test time and smaller spaces for testing, but they rarely teach kids skills to succeed with their ADHD. They're not strength-based and instead try to fill in gaps of things an unmedicated kid can't do as opposed to drawing upon the strengths of the ADHD learner (social, highly verbal, hyperfocused at times, great peer leaders, etc).

One way to think about this is that your son can try the meds and then be taught learning strategies. It's not forever and it's possible that after a few months of internalizing student skills, the meds can stop.

I know the common advice is to not tell the school meds are being trialled so teachers don't give biased reports, but the truth is that teachers are stretched REALLY thin, and we also feel like parents don't trust us or value our professionalism when a week into a trial they ask for feedback, and the truth is we have a million things going on in class and may not have been watching your child as closely as you'd like. Just let them know the trial has started and ask them to note any changes.

Lastly, just like an IEP or 504, meds do not have to be forever. ADHD meds generally run through the system quickly and there's no withdrawal (I mean, there IS often an afternoon crash and headache so you may want to prepare for that) so your kid can go cold turkey. It's not a long-term commitment and it is worth your kid's educational future to try them if he's really suffering in school.
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 2:49 AM on February 8, 2018 [8 favorites]

Let me counter those who are saying that individuals who are medicated for ADHD as children will become drug abusers as adults: my son was medicated for ADHD as a child and doesn't even drink beer socially now as an adult, at college, let alone do any other drugs. And yes, I trust him on that. It's not "him" if you know what I mean.

We had tried everything for him before we decided to try medication. After the first week, I asked him how he felt about it. His exact words: "I like my medication because it makes the noise in my brain stop so I can think." He started making friends (he was in third grade and didn't have any friends), he started performing up to his ability academically, and things at home got so so much better. He was still himself, still goofy and wonderful and smart and silly and loving.

He decided when he was in high school that he wanted to stop taking his meds. We supported him so he gave it a few months. He decided to go back on them when his grades and social life took a huge dip.

He's now a junior in college and hasn't taken medication for ADHD for a couple of years. He's learned how to manage without them, thanks to all of the therapy he received along with the medication regimen, and also with maturity. He'll happily discuss his ADHD and what he thinks worked for him and what didn't. I just asked him about this question, actually, and he said, "I'm really glad you guys decided to try meds. I'm positive I wouldn't be successful today without the meds when I needed them." He's open to taking them again if he ever feels like he needs them.
posted by cooker girl at 5:57 AM on February 8, 2018 [6 favorites]

Our son has been on a super low dose of adderall (5 mg), since he was 7. No one likes the idea of medicating their child...especially when you believe their brains are fine as is. But school (even awesome, creative and alternative schools like our son’s) requires a skill set that ADHD just doesn’t support. So we went ahead and tried it since it is in and out of their systems quickly. We did it because our son was starting to negative internalize the fact that the other kids could get things done and he couldn’t. We all knew he had the intellectual chops to do it,but he could not execute. He is much happier now.

Our son’s adhd is “mild” in that we do not feel he needs the meds on non school days (although some days the lack of focus a home is so frustrating for us that we wish he was on his meds at home). Good luck with your decision. You know your kid best and will make the right call. I feel we did for ours by being open to every possible solution and not being closed minded. Best of luck!
posted by murrey at 6:49 AM on February 8, 2018 [3 favorites]

Start with regular strenuous exercise and meditation first if you haven't already tried those.
posted by aniola at 8:11 AM on February 8, 2018 [1 favorite]

I know you're looking for info from parents but will you consider a data point from an adult who wasn't diagnosed until she was 30?

I wish I had been diagnosed as a child. I wish I had been medicated. I might have been able to graduate from high school. I might have been able to go away to a real college, instead of taking community college classes in my mid-20s and dropping out because I got bored or overwhelmed. I might have had a career that I loved instead of a job that was better than nothing.

ADHD meds like Adderall and Ritalin aren't permanent and they don't have to be tapered like antidepressants and drugs like that. He can take the pill once and if he has a bad reaction he never has to take it again. But please, at least let him try them out. It might make all the difference in the world.
posted by elsietheeel at 9:03 AM on February 8, 2018 [4 favorites]

My daughter, age 11, is on a different medicine for ADHD. We just started at the beginning of January, and so far I can see a huge difference. She wasn't focusing before and had trouble getting her work turned in, even though she's very bright. She was failing or close to failing several classes because of zeros or incomplete work. We just got her her report card and the lowest grade was an 87. She takes a pill in the morning on days she goes to school; skips weekends and holidays. We really can't tell any difference in her, except she's able to get her work done now and she's back on the path to an A honor roll. (My particular kid also had severe depression, and is on Prozac for that, but even with the depression managed, the focus problems persisted.) I understand the pressure not to give medicine to young children, and we waited until we had exhausted every other option, but so far we are really happy with the results.

I'm not a doctor; our kid isn't your kid, YMMV, etc., but at least in our case it's been great seeing the instant turn-around in school performance. She is happy too--she can tell the difference.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 10:31 AM on February 8, 2018

My son takes the med you are specifically asking about, Dexmethylphenidate ER, for his ADHD. He is 9 years old and takes the 10mg dose.

I totally understand that you are having huge concerns about medicating your child - we did too; it was an agonizing decision for us (who barely take Advil when we need it). As murrey said so eloquently above: "No one likes the idea of medicating their child...especially when you believe their brains are fine as is." It's a very personal choice and I hope you don't let anyone guilt or push you into either option.

For my son, the difference was dramatic. It allows him to actually focus on whatever he's trying to learn. On days when we forget to give it to him, the teacher notices immediately. About a year ago, my son asked to stop taking the meds so we let him. After 2 days, he asked to start taking them again because he just couldn't do what he needed to in school. His whole attitude towards school - and towards his belief in his own intelligence and capabilities - has vastly improved.

The only side effect we have noticed is a significantly depressed appetite. Which is a concern for us because he's pretty skinny, but we work on that in other ways. He only takes the meds during school days.

Feel free to memail me if you'd like. I have lots of thoughts on this, but basically they sum up to: we came to realize that we would be doing him a huge disservice asking him to fend for himself in school since he is unable to succeed in a school environment without the help. Period.
posted by widdershins at 10:49 AM on February 8, 2018

I'm a former high school teacher and also have ADHD, not diagnosed until 33 years old because I'm female and it often presents differently.

I want to second what yes I said yes I will Yes said above. Especially the part that says these kids are often very smart but end up hating school/learning because untreated ADHD keeps them from reaching their potential. I taught honors classes, and I was an honors student myself. I did very well in school even untreated, but at the same time I was frustrated because I *knew* I could be doing better or doing as well with less stress, but for some reason I could never make it happen.

A question I'd like to ask you: what does your son think?

Obviously as the parent you make the final decision, but I think it could be really beneficial to tell him the different options and ask what he thinks. Then when you've decided, explain to him what your considerations were that led to the decision, and leave it open that you want to check in with him as you go along to see if you need to take a different path.

The only thing I would add to the medication and study strategies combo is building up strategies and skills for self-advocacy. I think it's good for ALL kids, but this is a good time and reason to start teaching him those strategies and explaining that it is a goal for him. So for right now, it's you asking to hear his voice and thoughts, then you build to helping him do that at school (such as through the IEP process), so that eventually when he is out on his own he will be able to do it himself because he'll have had lots of supported practice with you.
posted by scarnato at 10:52 AM on February 8, 2018 [2 favorites]

Oh, also, you don't have to do the IEP/504 just for the ADHD. You can include the anxiety in there too, asking for accommodations that match strategies he and the therapist have come up with. I had a student who started having panic attacks and we did a 504 plan that allowed her to have a hall pass and leave class when she needed to. (Most teachers would have done that for her anyway but it was good to have it documented for the one or two holdouts.)

As a general education teacher the IEP/504 was very helpful to me because it gave me the opportunity to learn about conditions affecting students and the particular things that helped each student.

(To add to my self-advocacy comment, I just remembered an example. I had a student who was deaf in one ear and in my seating chart had placed him on one side of the classroom with his bad ear toward the class and his good ear toward the wall. He never said anything, and never tipped off his parents to email me, and I didn't get a copy of the 504 plan until a few weeks into the school year. I did a general seating re-arrangement and put him in a better spot!)
posted by scarnato at 10:58 AM on February 8, 2018

How did I decide medicine was the way to go? My daughter was bouncing off the walls in first grade in a Montessori school. It was looking like she would fail first grade. The teacher could not control her. I was at the end of my rope.
I went to our pediatrician, the most crunchy-granola pediatrician I have ever heard of, and told him the problems. He became a bit upset - why? because, he said, he had been trying for years to find alternative therapies that worked, i.e., diet, supplements, etc. He had failed.
He wrote a prescription for meds similar to what you describe.
Result? A virtually instant 180 on my daughter's part. She is now making Honor roll in a pretty tough middle school STEM academy. It was in her, but she could not do it. I've sat with her at night when she forgot to do homework, she cannot concentrate to do the homework after her meds wear off in the evening. Even with me sitting there directing her back when her mind wanders.
In first grade she was taking a 5 mg dose, she weighs over twice as much now and takes 10mg. So I don't see any sort of tolerance developing.
She doesn't particularly like having to take meds, but she knows what happens when she doesn't, and so sometimes reminds me to give them to her in the morning.
She only takes the meds school days, and days when there is something happening where the ADHD would be a really bad thing - flying by herself for the first time, visits to special museums, etc.
posted by rudd135 at 3:55 PM on February 8, 2018 [1 favorite]

Two of my three kids have adhd (10 yr old and 7 year old) and the older one has anxiety as well. It’s a tough combination. I’m a nurse so I am open to meds, but I didn’t feel my child was struggling enough to need them until she began expressing to me that her behavior was not the real her and that she wanted to behave differently. I could see her distress of her undeveloped executive function, of her wanting to perform well and behave compliantly but not be able to actually do it. That was the tipping point for me. I was concerned about her perception of taking medicine, weight loss, stomach upset, and coming off the med (we tried every stimulant out there and ended up on Concerta). She was absolutely for trying it; she did lose a little weight but not too much; stomach upset was worse at first and she would skip breakfast but that has now passed and she eats well; and we tried enough meds to find the one that gave the best effects with the least severe rebound. They all are very different. She is now able to go to school (she was refusing attendance for a while), can pay attention and can complete much more work than she was previously able to. She’s a completely different child, there are still struggles but it has been life-changing. The thing I love about stimulants is they are so short-acting that it’s very easy to tell if they will help your child immediately. They don’t usually affect personality or “change” the child, and you can hold them on weekends if your child doesn’t need them. We did just start my 7 year old on the exact same med and dose as your son two days ago. This was his first med trial and he does not have anxiety, and for him it actually increased his emotional liability and he had more difficulty on it, bursting into tears, being overly frustrated, etc. Again this is the beauty of stimulants. We will likely try another stimulant but I suspect that for him he will respond better to a nonstimulant like Strattera. NO two ADHD kids are alike. Best of luck to you and memail me if you like. It’s a journey and you are doing a great job.
posted by sealee at 10:18 PM on February 8, 2018

We chose medication (with therapy) at 9 because we knew we had to leave his current school and the school that accepted him would do so only with a treatment plan for the ADHD. We did Ritalin (started low dose long acting, upped it, added some later boosts), it was OK, but Quillivant (same stimulant, different delivery mechanism that is more even with far less of a crash) has been much better. Or it could be moving him out of hyper-competitive school #2 and into very small school #3 that has an art program he LOVES. Quillivant has only one problem: the supply is running out.

We see the difference, both with him on the stimulant, and between Ritalin and Qullivant. He could not focus enough to finish a writing assignment without something. We've suggested iced coffee drinks to sub for the Ritalin, and he's gone for a small, short acting Ritalin dose.

A good friend's son cannot take any ADHD medications, and she does a lot of occupational therapy and gives him a five-hour energy drink if he needs to be anywhere and focused (like my mother's funeral). It is very hard. It was hard to find a school that could work with him, and she is now homeschooling.

I don't know how bad your son's anxiety is. Mine has some anxiety, that we have not been suggested to medicate. What seems to work is a non-competitive environment, and feeling like things are going well. Success breeds success. Writing is still a mess, and we've got to look at that, but he's excited to go to school.

Our big side effect has been lack of weight gain, but even in summer when he's not taking it, he doesn't eat much. I cannot wait for the late teen boy who eats everything in sight.
posted by JawnBigboote at 12:27 PM on February 9, 2018

Thank you. I marked all of these best because they are all the best. He does have an IEP and even though I think his school could do better, they still do o.k. He does get lots of exercise and we mediate together and he eats clean for the most part. We'll continue his therapy. We'll try the medication this weekend and see how it goes. Thank you. Really, thank you.
posted by smashface at 7:49 PM on February 9, 2018 [1 favorite]

For everyone who gives their children medication breaks after school and on weekends -- please keep in mind that the medications aren't only about productivity.

I wasn't diagnosed until I was 41, and I grew up to be socially awkward with miserable social anxiety and trouble making friends. With medication, for the first time, I can stay with a conversation and not space out repeatedly, and I can get through a sentence without going off on 10 tangents, and I don't repeatedly forget what I was about to say when it comes to my turn to talk. This has been helping immensely with my self confidence because I'm interacting with people better -- but I sincerely wish I had been diagnosed and medicated as a child because we learn how to do social interactions as children, and when you're constantly spacing out and can't express yourself well it impedes your ability to develop social skills. And a lot of that socializing happens after school during extracurricular activities, and on the weekends.

Also -- having a constantly racing mind is miserable in itself.

And as a counterpoint to meds leading to addiction: since I've been on meds I haven't been drinking (I never had a problem, but I'm not even drinking socially anymore). For some reason I feel like crap after even half a drink when I have adderall in my system, so I just stopped. Although I think I'm unusual in this.

I also smoked for a bit during college, and I realize now it was self-medication for my then-undiagnosed ADHD (nicotine increases dopamine in the brain). I still remember the mental calm I got from smoking that allowed me to talk to people. So yeah.. if I was getting that from legitimate meds maybe I wouldn't have felt the need to use something that could give me cancer.
posted by antinomia at 6:45 PM on February 10, 2018

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