I'm on ADHD medicine and I feel guilty
June 22, 2023 7:33 AM   Subscribe

Just started ritalin and the difference in my life is stark. I'm having trouble grasping why.

I was only dx'd with ADHD a couple of months ago. I'm a 36 yo woman and I've always struggled with what I think is executive function type stuff. Procrastination, never pay my bills so they all go to collections, house is a mess. But I've worked in a fast paced-job for years and I rarely struggled to complete or manage tasks at work - my brain is wired that way, I guess?

So I just thought I was a lazy person who couldn't get a handle on my own life. Then I had a routine physical and I mentioned to my doc that I was having trouble with my memory. We got into a longer conversation and she suggested that I might have ADHD. She started me on adderall and it didn't do much, so I didn't refill it. Then I talked to her again and she prescribed ritalin.

I've been on Ritalin er 20mg for two weeks. I've taken it eight times. It works really, really well. I am clearheaded and can just.. be an adult, I guess. I can keep a conversation. I can message friends back. I can get my mail and sort through it. I can do the dishes. I can play with my son, make dinner, and give him a bath in the same night. Do the laundry.

I'm not scrubbing the floors with a toothbrush or anything. I'm going to bed at a reasonable time. It definitely decreases my appetite on days I take it but I just have been having a big dinner after it wears off a bit.

Without the med, after school/work I usually just sit on my couch and put the TV on for my son and play on my phone. Give him snacks when he's hungry. Get to bed way too late.

I guess I didn't realize how shitty I was living my life before meds and it makes me feel guilty. My son came home from school yesterday and said "mama, our house looks so clean!" We played legos for 20 minutes, that's something I used to really struggle with. He loved it. I responded to a text thread with dear friends for the first time in months.

I promise this question is asked in good faith - but are people actually like this without meds? My mind is boggled. I truly cannot imagine it. Why can't I be like this without meds? What exactly is wrong with my brain that the med corrects?

I assume I will build up a tolerance quickly. Is 20mg already a big dose?

Finally - does anyone else with ADHD relate to these feelings of guilt and inadequacy?

I do have a f/u with my doctor next week.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (28 answers total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
I can't answer the why, but I can say with confidence that you are not the only one on this struggle bus and that yes, there are people whose normal is a close approximation to your medicated experience.

Don't feel guilty about the before. You didn't know what you didn't know. Now you do. Look ahead to the years of your brain working on a way more compatible with the life you lead. Living in the moment is a great skill to cultivate.

As far as tolerance goes, take less or none one or two days a week. I can't say it will definitely work for Ritalin, but it definitely works for many other meds at slowing the decrease in effectiveness some people experience.
posted by wierdo at 7:42 AM on June 22, 2023 [8 favorites]

Congratulations for finding a solution that seems to be having a dramatically positive effect. It's not uncommon for people to be uncomfortable with the extent to which a medication can affect their cognitive and/or emotional well-being. It's a reason why some people stop taking them even when they're working as intended. But I'd encourage you to take the win, feel good about it and enjoy your new life. In a sense it's no different from taking medication for hypertension or insulin regulation.
posted by slkinsey at 7:46 AM on June 22, 2023 [12 favorites]

Mod note: Comment removed. Please make sure AskMetafilter comments address the main question being asked, thanks!
posted by Brandon Blatcher (staff) at 7:59 AM on June 22, 2023

I felt something similar when I started medication for anxiety—“are people really just walking around, feeling ok???” I also felt something similar when I got glasses for the first time—“wait, people are just walking around seeing like this???”

Consider how you’d respond to someone you loved who felt guilty wearing glasses because “my stupid eyes should just work!”
posted by theotherdurassister at 8:19 AM on June 22, 2023 [48 favorites]

Why can't I be like this without meds? I don't have ADHD and can't speak for how the Ritalin works, although I have taken various forms of antidepressants during the course of my life. It might be that the drugs work because you have an organic issue that the meds correct. There's a stigma (well, many) in this society about mental health issues, and people somehow think if only you behaved in X way, you'd be fine.

I have severe chronic asthma. Or rather had, before it was controlled with a steroid inhaler. No one has ever acted as if my taking the drug was anything other than a solution to a physical problem. After starting the inhaler, I could do things that I couldn't do before (like, breathe without issues). It was kind of amazing to think that there were people who could just breathe, with no issues.

(on preview, I had the same experience as theotherdurassister with glasses)
posted by Gorgik at 8:22 AM on June 22, 2023 [6 favorites]

I can’t speak directly to ADHD drugs, but I’ve had a similar experience with antidepressants. How many opportunities did I miss because I wasn’t functioning at what I now think of as a normal level? What good could I have done for myself and others?

I’m more disappointed than guilty, but to suddenly discover that I had all the machinery but the ON switch hadn’t been flipped was a jarring experience.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 8:25 AM on June 22, 2023 [2 favorites]

does anyone else with ADHD relate to these feelings of guilt and inadequacy?

Yes, very much so. I used to grieve the friendships I could have kept, the career I could have had, the tidy home I could have welcomed visitors to ... but I now realize that I can't get those back. There's a lot of dealing with being for years the smartest (yet most slipshod) guy in the room, and then not. Because my recall hasn't always been good, I'm easily undermined by doubt over shared memories.

Dealing with my ADHD has been, on balance, massively positive: I'm now able to concentrate more on what I want to do, and be able to listen to others and advocate from an informed position. I'm able to be contented now. But 40+ years of baggage doesn't slough off with the first pill. Congratulations on starting the journey. Being a normal person feels so weird, right?
posted by scruss at 8:31 AM on June 22, 2023 [21 favorites]

>>are people actually [productive and able to get things done] without meds?

Right? Those productive people I've known can just do that and don't have to work HARD to remember what they should be doing and actually getting their body to start, stay focused, and finish them? I think the answer is yes, some people can just do things, without a lot of effort and without taking medication! Crazy, right?

>>Why can't I be like this without meds? What exactly is wrong with my brain that the med corrects?

(Sorry, not a doctor and probably not really helpful, but:) You have ADHD!

In my experience, I see it as an awareness that it will take energy for me to be aware of what I want to be doing, stay on task, and actually complete that thing. And, because it takes that energy, my overall ability to accomplish things is less than I would expect (or less than someone who does not need to spend that energy).

>>Does anyone else with ADHD relate to these feelings of guilt and inadequacy?

For a long time, I had guilt and shame around being lazy, procratinating, forgetful, unable to complete projects. Becoming aware of ADHD allowed me to accept that those traits are equivalent to the color of my hair, my height, or my favorite color. It is a fact, not a choice. Having a hard time with those things is not a character failure. It is not something that bears judgment. It just is. I try not to judge myself anymore for those traits. I try to accept that they exist and just plan/live accordingly.
posted by bruinfan at 8:31 AM on June 22, 2023 [7 favorites]

Why can't I be like this without meds?

Because evolution works by throwing random splatters (in the form of tiny mutations) at the wall until one of them works. 99.999% of the time the mutation does not help things and instead a person needs glasses, or insulin, or their wisdom teeth pulled, or in your case a small adjustment to turn on a facility.

You just got a bad roll of the dice on this particular mutation. From your description of a high functioning work life I’d guess you have some other very beneficial ones as well.

But that’s, quite literally, life.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 8:55 AM on June 22, 2023 [11 favorites]

My specific disabilities are different but I likewise take adaptive measures (a medication in one case, a physical assistive device in the other) and, yup, periodically it still just blows my mind that other people are out there just living their lives like this. Mostly it's all been a part of my life long enough that any guilt/inadequacy stuff is in the past for me, but that takes some time, and if it continues to bother you you might want to spend a little time with a therapist. (Hell, you might want to anyway - you're going through some big changes in how you live your life and maybe you want someone to bounce that off, help you develop any new strategies, etc.)

One thing that may or may not be helpful for you - it helps me, but I know not everyone - is to consider that actually a lot of other people going around living their lives this way are also using some sort of assistive or adaptive help, or are well supported by other people in their life, to enable that. We don't know what's going on in other people's lives but a lot of us have one form or another of invisible disability.

But also: your son sounds like he was loved and fed and cared for before you took meds, and still is on the days you do and don't take meds. You were supporting yourself at your job. You have friends who like you and message you even if you're not a super-speedy responder. Maybe you didn't have as much time for Legos as you'd like, or your place wasn't tidy, but you weren't living a shitty life before, as far as I can tell! You were doing the best you could with the tools you have, and now you have another one.
posted by Stacey at 8:57 AM on June 22, 2023 [11 favorites]

ADHD here, diagnosed and medicated as an adult after a grad-school induced mental breakdown. Not a doctor in anyway but have spent a lot of hyperfocused time learning about ADHD. Info dump below:

I was also a long-time high performer at work as long as work was fast-paced and structured. I think that getting that kind of job is a pretty common unconscious ADHD coping mechanism. A job with no time to faff around or get paralyzed by indecision and/or where you get pretty immediate feedback and/or where you're dealing with legitimate emergencies can subdue the ADHD monster at least temporarily.

All that said, I didn't realize how much (physically and mentally) that was taking out of me, how much effort I was expending to do the bare minimum of human activity outside of work, how much I was berating/shouting at myself inside my head, and how low-grade miserable I had been for how long until I was medicated. And yes, my understanding is that "normal people" are walking around on a regular basis functioning like this without meds.

It's not all great, but in the early days after my diagnosis I found a lot of reassurance and support on the ADHD subreddit (r/ADHD) even though I mostly lurked and didn't post. I also chatted with my therapist a lot about feeling like a fraud/feeling weird about taking meds to be a regular person/how much of what I think of as my personality, or my flaws, is just the ADHD/mourning all the years I spent being in a semi-functional haze, etc.

As for the meds - I've never tried Ritalin as the Adderall worked for me. I have heard anecdotally that some people do better with the methylphenidate class (Ritalin, Concerta, etc.) and others do better with amphetamines (Adderall, etc.) so if one doesn't work they recommend you try the other. It sounds like that worked for you!

Most doctors start you on the lowest adult dose if you've never taken the meds before and it also sounds like 20mg Ritalin is the normal "entry-level" dose, not anything wildly high. I similarly started on the smallest adult dose of Adderall and after a couple months realized that it was not lasting as long as I needed it to and went up one dosage strength, which is where I've stayed for several years.

I believe everyone tends to have an individual dosage level that they can dial in and then generally stay at for the long term although YMMV. As for building up a tolerance - I find that it's not so much that the meds stop working, but that you re-acclimate to a new normal of being more functional and the shiny excitement of fixing your life wears off. But the meds are still working away in the background and the benefits will stick around.

Some doctors recommend "tolerance breaks" or meds vacations but mine specifically did not. I struggle with ADHD on the weekends and holidays as much as I struggle during the work week - part of why I finally got help was because I lacked the executive function to force myself to get up and do things I legitimately enjoyed and looked forward to. My doctor said that if they aren't affecting your appetite or sleep, it's OK to take them every day; I do skip if I'm sick or occasionally if I'm planning on a very lazy day of lying around at the pool napping or something.

I haven't gotten magically better at my job, or become a magically better person, and every day isn't great. But, overall, everything is just easier. I'm so happy and relieved that you can also have that experience as well and again, just wanted to say that everything you're feeling is normal and OK.
posted by sparkling at 9:11 AM on June 22, 2023 [13 favorites]

Adding to the chorus, yes. It really is like this. I'm late 30s dx as well and the difference is night and day for me.

It's normal and okay to be mad, sad, etc. that you didn't get this experience before now. Unfortunately, it's a big club you're part of now.
posted by miratime at 9:35 AM on June 22, 2023 [4 favorites]

a similar thread popped up recently, if any of those comments are helpful:


posted by adekllny at 9:38 AM on June 22, 2023

These are questions a lot of people with invisible disabilities have, the questions have the same answer as visible disabilities, even if the answers don't seem as obvious.

Imagine, for a moment, that your legs were amputated, and you got around everywhere in a wheelchair. You probably wouldn't ask "do other people just get from place to place without a wheelchair?" or "why can't I go places without a wheelchair?" or "how is it most people go up stairs effortlessly when I can't?" because the answers would be pretty obvious: "yes", "because you can't walk without legs", and "wheelchairs can't go up stairs but legs can" respectively. You might feel all sorts of ways about those differences, but you wouldn't have to wonder what the difference actually is.

Now suppose instead that you had two functioning legs but a muscular disorder so that walking distances more than a quarter mile caused severe pain unless you followed a pretty rigorous pain-management regimen, and even then you don't have their stamina or strength. You see other people out and about walking quicker than you and further than you and you might wonder how they push through the pain so easily, or if they don't have pain at all, or what, and how they do all that without any drugs at all. The answers are basically the same, but less visible: neither your pain nor their lack of pain is visible, so both your understanding of their experience and their understanding of yours is limited. Intellectually you'd know those answers, but emotionally the answers to "why can they do what I can't?" wouldn't be as available and the nagging thought that you could be the same if you just pushed yourself harder would contribute to a sense that you had some sort of character flaw rather than a physical difference from others.

Now come back to imagining you as you. The questions you're asking are very similar questions, and as in the previous example the differences are invisible, but instead of a physical difference, it's a mental and behavioral one. Non-neurotypical mental states have the same "invisibility" issue but as invisible physical disabilities but also have a history of beling belittled. This is not a nice thing, but it's a thing a lot of folks, probably including you, have internalised, and your brain is telling you "just be normal!" louder than even people with invisible physical disabilities. But you're allowed your necessary adaptations and inabilities, the same as they are.

The tl;dr is that feeling this way is pretty common but that it's not fair to you. You wouldn't ask a wheelchair user why they don't just walk around instead, and you don't need to ask yourself why you can't just act the same way as neurotypical people without tweaking your brain chemistry.
posted by jackbishop at 10:04 AM on June 22, 2023 [10 favorites]

I definitely struggled with guilt like this when I was taking adhd meds in grad school, because they made it possible for me to actually do what was expected of me but these were drugs that people would buy without prescriptions in the same field so that they could perform at a higher level (or, more often, to finish work faster so they had time to do things other than write and study all the time). I've transitioned to a role where things move fast enough and my focus changes enough that I manage without the meds, which started to interfere with my sleep, but I still often want to go back on them, since while I perform well in my job, I fall behind on everything else (like responding to friends, remembering that I started a load of laundry... days ago, and left it in the machine, closing kitchen cabinets, finding my keys and wallet, remembering *any* appointment that I'm not being blasted with notifications about, remembering 20 minutes later that I was just about to take the trash out because I got distracted by cleaning something else and then had a thought about a book I wanted to read and had to go look for it and oh yeah wasn't I going to call my mom? ooh, it's a nice night, I'll take the dog for a walk. well it's probably time to go to bed (wakes up at 5am to the sound of the garbage trucks, oh shit!). etc.

Anyway, I don't feel guilty about wearing glasses so I can see, you shouldn't feel guilty about taking meds so you can live.
posted by dis_integration at 10:22 AM on June 22, 2023 [1 favorite]

I don't have an ADHD brain and just in the last year have really dug in to better understand those that do (to help me do better at my job and with my family). I can't overstate what a complete and positive perspective change it's given me. I used to constantly think, "why can't x just do y like me, it's not that hard and takes seconds to do and it feels great when it's done!!!" But now it's abundantly clear my own brain is specifically structured to 1) Quickly learn and perform certain types of tasks on autopilot and 2) FEEL GOOD about doing and completing certain tasks, therefore I have my own built in rewards system for these kinds of tasks!!! Some other brains are specifically structured to1) Not be able to easily or quickly learn certain tasks and 2) FEEL BAD when thinking about, attempting, or completing certain tasks, so it's like a built in punishment system!! Either way it reinforces more of what you're brain is already programmed to do. I'm no doctor but I assume the drugs help reprogram built in rewards systems temporarily? And if it makes you feel any better, my type of brain structure means a fine line between performing executive functioning tasks appropriately vs as a coping mechanism for other brain issues, haha! And I definitely still struggle to play things like Legos with my kid!!!
posted by wannabecounselor at 10:30 AM on June 22, 2023 [1 favorite]

I’m happy for you that you found something that works for you. That’s a good thing.

At one point, a doctor prescribed something for me that made a big difference. I was in the middle of a busy time at work, a time that had previously been very challenging for my mental health, and I realized hey - the meds are working. I’m okay. I’m not perfect and there are still things I’m struggling with but I can manage those things. Instead of having a baseline mood that hovered between good and The Bad Place, my mood no longer dipped that low. It stayed between good and not good.

Why did my mood dip that low before meds? I don’t know but I think it’s the same reason that some people are diabetic or near-sighted and such. The human experience is wildly different from person to person. Sometimes it bums me out to think that life is just easier for other people but I’m not convinced that it is. Everyone has some type of cross to bear.

I also tell myself that having been on both sides of life pre-/post-meds is, in some ways, a good thing. I know what The Bad Place looks like so I’m in a better position to recognize it when I’m heading in that direction. Maybe I’m in a better position to see it when others are headed there too. Maybe I can help a guy who falls in a hole. Part of me wishes that my brain just worked but maybe I can make empathy my super power.

Feeling guilty and judging yourself isn’t productive. If you couldn’t hear without a hearing aid, (I hope) you wouldn’t beat yourself up for being dependent on a hearing aid. I can’t go back in time but I can make the most out of what I have working for me now. I hope you can too. Good luck.
posted by kat518 at 10:32 AM on June 22, 2023 [1 favorite]

Others gave the glasses comparison, and my first thought was back pain or knee pain. So many people have years of pain when they can see a chiropractor or get a cortisone shot, or PT or whatever and help them with their pain. I felt the same way as you when I had back pain for months and finally started seeing a chiropractor and felt better almost overnight. I was kicking myself for not going earlier, and I do have to go for a month or two every year to keep my back from hurting, but it's like night and day. I could think "why can't my stupid back work on its own?" But everyone's got something like that, don't they?
posted by never.was.and.never.will.be. at 11:07 AM on June 22, 2023 [1 favorite]

It's pretty common for people who start ADHD meds to go through a period of mourning for the years they didn't have them, and I wonder if that's part of what you're experiencing. I was seeing a therapist when I started ADHD meds and it was really helpful for working through those feelings.
posted by lunasol at 11:09 AM on June 22, 2023 [8 favorites]

It's a PED. Your performance is being enhanced.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 11:28 AM on June 22, 2023 [1 favorite]

I absolutely know how you feel. As happy as I have been with the results, I have also been terribly sad about the things I never accomplished, wondering if my pride or ignorance are to blame. (After all, a therapist did mention the possibility ten years earlier, but I thought that a teacher's pet like I was couldn't have ADHD, and ... anyway.)

But that's a job for therapy. I work with the therapist every couple of weeks on accepting the past, which includes accepting sadness as well as a sense of self-forgiveness for what I could not have known. Adult ADHD and ADHD in AFAB people -- these are both live fields, with a lot of catchup in the past few years. Both professionals and lay people have only recently been becoming aware of how they manifest.
posted by Countess Elena at 12:09 PM on June 22, 2023 [4 favorites]

Chiming in to say that everything you're saying resonates with me and my experience with anxiety meds. Why didn't I do it sooner? Wouldn't my life have been better if I did? I've been there.

Echoing what others have said. You've made some changes, you've seen great results. Some bodies and brains just have ways they need help. Fortunately, there are medicines, and assistive devices and adaptations that help. And that's awesome!

Yeah, there are some people who are like this without meds. But... maybe fewer than you think? There's a lot of people out here, in MeFi land and beyond, struggling, and needing some help to cope.
I'm excited that you've found something that works.
posted by SaharaRose at 12:59 PM on June 22, 2023 [3 favorites]

Hi there, a few points:
- Just because Ritalin works for you, it doesn't necessarily mean you have ADHD. See if you can go to a psychiatrist who's skilled at this sort of thing who can do a proper differential diagnosis.
- Many people experience a honeymoon period with ADHD medication where their symptoms magically disappear completely. Just be aware, your symptoms may come back as you continue taking the drug, and may not disappear completely if you up the dose. What can help is developing habits / structure so you have something to fall back on should the medication cease to be effective.
- ADHD is often comorbid with anxiety, depression, etc. due to the stress of ADHD brains living in our current society. It may be useful for you to seek talk therapy to help you work through your feelings, and as part of your overall treatment plan
posted by sid at 1:15 PM on June 22, 2023 [1 favorite]

Obviously you can do a deep dive into these feelings later if they still warrant it, but I will suggest that you give yourself like a month or so to just have messy weird feelings about this without judgement because you've just had a pretty significant Life Event.

Lots of people don't make the right amount or quality of neurotransmitters and hormones for the - well, I was going to say "for the stuff we do" but actually I mean "the world we have to live in". What you're feeling right now is a really normal diagnostic shock - why would my body make this tumor, why is my pancreas a little shit, why won't my eyes just see stuff and stop screwing around? - but once the shock passes you will very likely feel more like "huh, it sucks that I went without this for so long and I might need some serious therapy about my past in this new context but also yay for modern medicine."

The (possibly slightly stimulant-exacerbated) intensity of these feelings will fade as you get used to your new normal. I started on a super low dose of vyvanse and crept up so I did not have that sort of DING!!! as everything snapped into instant clarity but I definitely had kind of a "DAMN IT" response.
posted by Lyn Never at 2:33 PM on June 22, 2023 [2 favorites]

I don't have the diagnosis, but I'm pretty certain I have ADHD. I found out a few years ago when my daughter got diagnosed. I pretty much shrugged and didn't do anything about it because I've been getting by so long as-is. As it turns out I've been getting by with caffeine (lots of caffeine) all these years.

Recently I started learning more about ADHD and it's been a light-bulb moment for me. It's like Harry Potter finding out who is actually is and why he has the scar on his forehead. So much of what works for me and what doesn't suddenly makes sense. All the feelings of failure, of not being together, forgetful, and everything else is suddenly not a mystery. And now that I understand how it works I can engage in more coping strategies instead of just thinking I'll just try harder next time.

Anyways, this youtube channel HowToADHD has been really helpful for me. It's upbeat and full of info on how ADHD works and how to live with it. The presenter has ADHD herself and shares some of her own challenges and strategies.

Also I really liked this video on ADHD relationship troubles. The presenter is a psychiatrist whose husband has ADHD. She talks about 11 relationship issues that come up with ADHD and I had 8 of them or so.

By the way, it's inspiring to read of how much the medication helped you as well as all the great replies here. It makes me want to actually try getting treated and see what that's like (I can't handle as much caffeine as I used to, which is kind of a problem). I'm glad you posted!
posted by DrumsIntheDeep at 9:21 PM on June 22, 2023 [3 favorites]

Yes. I had a period of more intense mourning type feelings which express themselves in all sorts of thoughts.

I find r/ADHDwomen has really helpful discussions and what you're describing is very commonly expressed there.
posted by lookoutbelow at 11:54 PM on June 22, 2023 [2 favorites]

Hi, you're me, give or take a few details.

Why can't I be like this without meds?
That's part of what makes them medicine instead of recreational funtime drugs. Your brain just doesn't interact with things that way. It's likely that you can find ways to adjust your environment or modulate your emotional responses to certain things in a way that will get you closer to what comes easily when medicated. Exclusively non-drug interventions are often effective, with cognitive behavioral therapy showing the largest positive effect so far.

What exactly is wrong with my brain that the med corrects?
I'm not an expert, but my understanding is that ADHD is currently described as a neurodevelopmental disorder with some genetic factors and some likely environmental factors. One of the results is that some of the pathways involved in transmission of dopamine and norepinephrine are dysregulated (for a couple of likely reasons), and unfortunately those pathways are involved in how we process things like wanting stuff, enjoying stuff, feeling rewarded by stuff, deciding to do stuff, physically being able to do stuff, building associations between stuff we're learning, and feeling aversions towards stuff that's unpleasant. That means our responses to things aren't considered "normal." Methylphenidate, as far as seems to be understood right now (neurotransmitters are hard to study), stops our brain from slurping up these neurotransmitters, which are already in short supply, which increases the amount available for use in areas of the brain that need it.

I assume I will build up a tolerance quickly. Is 20mg already a big dose?
The current maximum recommended dose of methylphenidate (Ritalin) is 60 mg per day, whether instant or extended release. I take 45 mg per day, at 15 mg 3 times a day. Tolerance is a tricky one; some tolerance may be a softening of effects that leave medication still effective. The studies on methylphenidate I know about show a range of timeframes to develop tolerance, sometimes days, sometimes years. I take days off when I know I don't have things I "need" to do and that works for me. This is a YMMV thing that's good to discuss with whoever is treating you.

Finally - does anyone else with ADHD relate to these feelings of guilt and inadequacy?
Misplaced guilt and shame are a hallmark ADHD experience. Other posters have given really apt metaphors related to disability, and I absolutely agree with them. Would it be nice to have found out earlier, or to not have these symptoms at all? Sure, but we're here now and it would be pretty mean to scold someone with any other disability for not functioning "normally" just because they didn't receive treatment or accommodation sooner.
posted by wakannai at 5:46 AM on June 23, 2023 [2 favorites]

>>assume I will build up a tolerance quickly
I've been on the same dose, different ADHD drug for 7 years, and I haven't had to increase my dose. The psychiatrist who first prescribed it said that tolerance builds up ONLY for those who don't need it to improve brain function. I visualise it as: my brain has a hole in it the exact size & shape of my daily dose, and it works as planned. For those who use it recreationally, I imagine they don't have that special shaped hole, so the rest of the brain builds a resilience against, and the drug has to be multiplied to get through that defence.
posted by b33j at 8:44 PM on June 28, 2023

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