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ccmitche 06-24-2010 05:14 PM

New to ADD. Questions about Adderall.
[SIZE="3"][/SIZE] [COLOR="Magenta"][/COLOR]
I am 33 y/o and have been in counseling for 6 months. I finally took my therapists advise and went to a psychiatrist. He prescribed me Adderall. I have the generic which is called Amphetamine Salts 20 mg. I took my first dose 1 1/2 hours ago since I just got it at the pharmacy. He told me to take one in the a.m. and one at lunch time.
I know I took it too late, but wanted to try it while I'm at home. I didn't want to start this for the first time while driving or something.

I've struggled with ADD my entire life. I am also dyslexic. I was diagnosed as dyslexic when I was in junior high. However, they had a different name for it then. Then I went through testing in college due to troubles I was having on the standardized test they required. I could get through the college classes that I was interested in by listening. However, I struggled with keeping up with reading and the written assignments. If the classes were boring or distracting I had trouble listening.
Some how I made it even though it took a long time. I graduated college when I was 30 y/o. Which was huge for me. I was told by some family members and my ex that I wasn't smart enough and could never get through college. People really thought I wasn't smart because of my learning disability. I can't spell but luckily now a days we use the computer and it underlines if it's spelled wrong and theres spell check.

Okay, enough of my background. I thought finishing school would solve my problems. I thought that was my only difficulty. Now I struggle so much at work. Once again, people laugh at me or they think I'm careless etc. Some think I'm lazy or don't try.
I take my job very seriously and want to do well. I work for CPS as a social worker. I can't keep up with my administrative duties. I have forgotton about court(and didn't show after being subpoenaed), lost files, am always delinquent with turning in cases, my office looks Hurricane Katrina hit it, and so on. I feel like crying when I think about it. I know I'm good at what I do. I do well with my clients and I'm very intuitive and can tell when people are lying to me. I do well with figuring out the investigative stuff like if a child was abused and how etc. I just suck at the rest.

I also am the parent that always forgets to sign my kids report card, or other papers. I have also lost those things. I get my kids to school late and forget about specific school projects etc. My youngest is just like me and I feel like a failure because I can't help her keep up with her stuff. I can't even keep up with mine. I have forgotton to pay bills and/or lost them etc. My youngest daughter is also dyslexic. I paid a lot of money to put her through a program to help her. I am supposed to follow up with it at home but can't seem to keep an organized schedule to accomplish that plus her homework and cook dinner and complete laundry. Before I know it it's 11 p.m. and I have a mess surrounding me and my daughters in tears cuz its past her bedtime and we didn't get her stuff done.

I really am sorry for this long post. I'm just feeling extremely depressed. I feel like the biggest failure and looser. Everything in my life is in such bad shape and I'm the cause. My finances, my job, my home, my kids, and I can't get control of it. I can spend a day focused on organizing my life. I've written schedules, budgets, and even make it on excel documents. I print them and put them on the fridge. ....I just can't seem to follow it or I loose it or I get off track without realizing it until it's too late.

I do this at work too. I will stay there late one night or come in on a weekend and organize it so I can do better, but before I know it Katrina came back and destroyed everything.

I still wonder if I really have ADD or if I just am really inadequate? Could I really just be careless and lazy or a flake? Could I be in denial or could I doubt myself due to the way my family views me? I am afraid to take Amphetamines due to it being addictive.
I took my first one today and I felt light headed about 30 minutes after. It's now been 1 hour and 40 min ago and the light headedness has warn off for the most part. I'm a little sick to my stomach, but I didn't eat before it like I should have.
I have never used drugs and I don't drink alcohol. I should say I rarely drink alcohol. Once in a great while I will have a drink...and usually don't even drink an entire drink on those rare occasions. I grew up with alcoholics and drug addicts and swore I'd never become them. I'm the only one who went to college and obviously the only one who graduated. I have a Bachelors degree in social work. I know addictions can be hereditary. I am worried about taking ADD meds. I don't think I'd get addicted because I don't like taking any meds and I don't like the light headed feeling I get when I do have alcohol....hence why I don't finish my drink.

Is the light headedness something that will go away as my body gets used to the meds?

I am sure I sound crazy now with this mega long post and I'm sure no one will even bother to read it. I just needed to get all that off my chest to people who may understand and not laugh at me.
I know that I am really not a flake or air head. I also know that I am intelligent regardless of how I come across to some. I really want to appear intelligent and I want to look as though I'm in control and have myself together. Not just look that way....I want to be that way. I want an organized and structured life for myself and my children. I'm not doing well at providing that to them and not showing them how to do it either. My 12 y/o helps I loose my car keys daily. I have them in my hand with out realizing it and set them down without realizing it. She pays attention now and picks them up where I leave them and puts them in my we aren't running around the next morning looking for them.

Anyway, if you actually read this...thanks and sorry.

addprogrammer 06-24-2010 06:51 PM

Re: New to ADD. Questions about Adderall.
[QUOTE=ccmitche;4272880][SIZE="3"][/SIZE] [COLOR="Magenta"][/COLOR]
I still wonder if I really have ADD or if I just am really inadequate? [/QUOTE]

You have ADD. You are not really indequate.

Could I really just be careless and lazy or a flake?

Absolutely false. Shrinks call it a false belief. Stop believing a lie.

Could I be in denial or could I doubt myself due to the way my family views me?

Yes you do doubt yourselt due to the way your family views you. With all due respect, your family is ignorant.

I am afraid to take Amphetamines due to it being addictive.

Amphetamines are not addictive unless abused. In contrast, opiates and benzos (Valium) are addictive at therapeutic doses if taken too long. Amphetamines are NOT addictive if used as prescribed.

How can you know I'm right. You just described me and most everyone else that lurks around this board. We all share a similar pattern.

Medication and therapy will work wonders for you. You have a medical problem, not a personality disorder.


janewhite1 06-24-2010 08:29 PM

Re: New to ADD. Questions about Adderall.
Yup. Classic ADD all over.

If the medicine is right for you, you shouldn't feel much different, but you should have an easier time staying focused, returning to task when you drift off, etc. If you give it a week and it does nothing, or if there are nasty side effects, try a different medicine.

Also, you might benefit from an ADD coach to help you figure out how to get your office and home in order AND set up a system to KEEP it that way. Also, you can learn how to keep a day planner, organize the mail, etc. Coaching isn't therapy. Therapy is about feelings--and can be very useful--but coaching is about doing. Some coaches are licensed therapists, some are just organized, helpful people who understand the ADD mind.

Technology can be your friend. Paying bills on time? I never pay bills. The computer takes care of it all for me.

addprogrammer 06-24-2010 09:28 PM

Re: New to ADD. Questions about Adderall.
[QUOTE=janewhite1;4272989]Coaching isn't therapy. Therapy is about feelings--and can be very useful--but coaching is about doing. Some coaches are licensed therapists, some are just organized, helpful people who understand the ADD mind.[/QUOTE]

An enlightening differentiation between the two. I visited a psychologist. He focused on helping me replace ADHD induced bad habits that result in a life of chaos with with healthy habits that result in organizing, scheduling, and planning on a daily basis. Replacing our old ADHD self-defeating habits with healthy habits takes time and lots of set backs to accomplish, then an ongoing battle to maintain.

Did we talk about feelings? Not that I remember. You guys are my therapists. Here is where I talk about my feelings. How inadequate I am. How I feel like the consummate perpetual screw-up. Feelings can sabotage. "Nothing ever works for me" turns a temporary setback into self-fulfilling prophecy unless someone enables me to see that it isn't true.

Some of us need a coach and many therapists - the support of a group.

Good stuff, Jane.


Thunor 06-25-2010 12:52 AM

Re: New to ADD. Questions about Adderall.
Well, I wrote a huge reply, but at the end it just felt superfluous. Bob and Jane have things covered pretty well. But just because I'm me, and I like the sound of my own voice, I'll throw in a couple of cents.

Let's see. Can't keep up with reading? Can't concentrate on the boring stuff? Can't stick to a schedule? Forget about appointments? Can't stay organized? Can't keep track of time? Everything takes longer than you think it should? Lose the car keys on a daily basis?

Yep, that's ADHD. Want to know the difference between kiddie ADHD and adult ADHD? Untreated, the adult kinds generally sends your life into the crapper sooner or later. I can relate to everything you posted here, because I've experienced the same thing, I could literally do an item by item comparison. I'm turning 38 this week and I have ADHD in a big way. I've known for a little over two years, and I'm starting to get things together. The reason it's taken me two years is because I thought medication alone would do the trick for me, and it's simply not the case. Get help, whether it be a support group, therapy or coaching, outside help will make all the difference.

Funny, I apologized at the end of my first post here too, a marathon read that Bob, Jane and others managed not only to wade through, but also to answer in a supportive way.

One more thing we have in common:
[QUOTE] I also know that I am intelligent regardless of how I come across to some.[/QUOTE]

Don't lose that faith in yourself. You [B][I]are[/I][/B] intelligent, and once you manage to get your ADHD under control, everyone will see it.

As to your Adderall questions: 40mg of Adderall on day one is way too much, it's no wonder you're lightheaded. Your doctor should have started you at 5 or 10mg and stepped you up over a matter of weeks to allow you to adjust. The lightheadedness will subside, and if it doesn't, you need to talk to your doctor about a lower dose. Also, be careful about taking it late in the day, too much Adderall or taking it too late will make for an awfully restless night.

As Bob said, Amphetamines are simply not addictive if not abused, never take more than prescribed, no matter what, and you don't need to worry about dependence or addiction.

Adderall will likely take your appetite away, make sure to eat regularly anyway.

So . . . we actually read it, we don't think you're a flake, and we'd love to have you come back with other questions, issues, fears or complaints. We might not answer right away, after all, we are all ADHD, but I promise we'll never ignore you and we'll never think you're crazy (at least no crazier than we are ;)).

Best of luck!

ccmitche 06-25-2010 06:55 AM

Re: New to ADD. Questions about Adderall.
Thank you for all your replies. means a lot that you all don't and wont think I'm crazy. Thanks all for making me feel welcome.
Once I get everything off my chest my posts will be mush shorter.
I wrote in All Caps at the bottom what my main questions are....since it seems to be a little disorganized. And you may not have time or the attention span :) to read through all this! That won't offend me cuz I don't know if I could read through it all. ;)

I have gone to quite a few counselors in my life. Many dismiss what I would say and others would say I'm just overwhelmed etc. I have been told I'm irresponsible. The worst is when my family would call and say, "I just don't understand how you live. You have got to get yourself organized" and so on. I would snap back at them and feel myself getting very angry.

I have a couple more questions.

First of all, my 10 y/o daughter is just like me. I was told and believed that she is this way because she learned it from me. My family told me this. Is it possible for her to pick up some of my negative ADD traits? I feel really bad for her during the school year. Her teacher will tell her over and over to bring her Social Studies book home to study for her test. Guess what....she comes home with no book and forgot she had a test all together. She's the kid who shows up to class everyday without her supplies. She's lost her pencils, pencil sharpener got left in the car, homework...oops what homework? She even went to school without shoes once. She climbed in the back seat and drove them to school and she got out of the car and realized she forgot her shoes.
Luckily she is in a good Charter school now that is very big on hands on learning. She does not get in trouble for this stuff at her current school.
K through 3rd was horrible for her. 3rd grade was it...I went in there and caused a scene and withdrew her and my other daughter that day. I guess that was my ADD at play because on the way home my kids asked what they were going to do the next day and I had no idea. That was a complete impulsive move on my part.
I was so fed up with them. I will call my youngest daughter Susie on here. In first grade Susie had to go to restroom and teacher wouldn't let her. She had an accident. Teacher noticed her puddle at her chair and her pants all wet. Teacher asked her if she had accident and susie said no due to embarrassment. Susie then got in trouble and got her folder signed for lying.

2nd grade Susie forgot to bring her lunch with her to lunch everyday. Teachers started refusing to let her go back and get it. They also wouldn't help remind her. I would remind in her the morning but that left her brain by the time she got to school.

3rd grade she didn't hear, listen, or understand her instructions. She did something wrong on her paper...and her teacher wadded up her paper and threw it in the trash in front of the entire class. Many more issues in between all that but that 3rd grade thing was it for me. My child was in tears daily begging not to go to school. She was miserable!
She begs me to help with with these things. We will sit and talk about it and come up with solutions to help she and I to not forget her stuff. I always screw it up and forget to remind her and she forgets.

Kindergarten...she'd play with her shoe laces at circle time. She even tied her shoes together several times. Her teacher would tell her to stop doing that and pay attention. Susie did stop and within minutes she was doing it again. Sure enough she'd get her folder signed.
I talked to susie about that and her response was..."I did stop when the teacher told me to". I reminded her that she turned around and did it again...and susie said, "I forgot that I wasn't supposed to do that". I know my child and I know she really forgot and didn't realize she was doing it again.
For the first time ever she loves school. She just completed the 4th grade at this new school. In fact she got so interested in reading that I'm buying her a chapter book one to two times a week cuz she reads them so fast.
Her spelling is still very jacked up but I know that's the dyslexia. I'm thankful she can read now.
I always knew she was very intelligent. Even at the age of 3 she used large vocabulary words that typical 3 year olds don't use. She couldn't read in kindergarten at all, and 1st grade she didn't read much. I worked with her and she'd end up doing headstands and flips off the back of the couch. Now I know those words were moving all over the page and she couldn't read.
Give her a social studies or a science book to read...and we are in big trouble! She cannot do that. I tried reading to her and within minutes she's trying to tell me a story or she's doing Kartwheels on my living room floor, or she's thirsty etc. No attention span with those books.

Even though she loves school now she still becomes very upset when she shows up without her supplies or homework. She does cry over it and causes her grief.

My older daughter who I will call Mary has other problems. She's been talking about killing herself since she was 4 years old. She would actually try to run into ongoing traffic. Long story..but bottom line I took her to doctors and counselors and was criticized by my family and the kids father. I was told it was my fault. I got her a neuro psych exam at the age of 5 and was told she had PDD NOS. She was in the NICU for a month following birth. After all the critisism I stopped taking her to docs and just did counseling.
Now Mary is 12 years old and no better than she was back then. A few weeks ago she mentioned suicide again and I finally said no more. Now she's getting to an age where she could actually do something. And I don't want my daughter to continue suffering. I have an appt. for her to see a doc next week. Counseling hasn't helped. I have a new therapist appt. set up as well.

Between the 3 of us we are really a train wreck. Several weeks ago when I made the appt. for Mary I realized I need to make one for me. My counselor dxd me with ADD 5 months ago. I knew then that I have to be serious about getting Mary help and I can't help her when I'm all over the place and can't remember what day it is. ALso, my temper has gotton out of control and I have had no patience in dealing with my kids. I've been yelling at them more than usual and said things I shouldn't have said.

I reached my rock bottom. I felt like I wanted to get in my car and drive far away from everything. I can no longer deal with my life alone. I cannot have the added stress from bills not being paid, being late to work, late taking them to school, loosing important papers at home and work, and just living in such chaos. I can't do all that and be patient, consistent, understanding, and focused solutions for my kids problems.

I looked at myself and realized I'm just as self destructive as my mother. Only I am not a drunk and I don't do drugs.
Yes, I need therapy to help me cope better. I learned coping mechanisms to help me survive childhood that no longer serves me. My counselor worked with me on new coping strategies..but I would forget what they are when I came home. I wasn't able to impliment them before. I hope I can now with my ADD treatment.
Also, sitting in a quiet room with my therapist is hard at times. My eyes will start burning, my body feels stiff and uncomftorable, and I can hear the sounds of nothing in the air and my counselors voice in the background. At times it's tough for me to sit there and listen to her. I focus on my burning eyes and stuff. Then I fight it so it doesn't appear as though I'm bored or uninterested.

I need noise in the back ground and it's too quiet there.

Anyway, I promise I will not make all of my posts so long. I feel relieved that there are others like me and understand. I am feeling so relieved that I can get my life in order.

I did hire a financial coach in April. I haven't followed the budget as I should. IN fact I can't find it but I have another copy on my work computer.

Due to my financial mess I don't know that I can afford a life coach. My counselor told me that because I lack inner structure I need to find external structure. There is no external structure in my home. I don't know where to find it as I'm limited financially. I'm a social worker and a single mom...that alone is a reason I'm broke. But also, I'm behind on all my bills.

Okay, I'm about done.

I do have a problem with drinking excessive caffeine. I understand now that I was unknowingly looking for stimulants. My therapist told me months ago that ADD/ADHD people tend to drink a lot of caffeine, and smoke due to needing stimulants and something to do with their hands etc. I also smoke.

I would stay up late at night and drink coffee. I also fidget with my hair, my nails etc. I never considered myself hyper. In fact sometimes I feel lazy. I can't make myself get up and do things...even though I need to.

However, I can't stand to stay in one place too long. This is what i like about my job. It's 75% local travel. When I feel like I can't stand sitting at my desk any longer I go outside and smoke. When I stop and think about it I really don't even care about having a cigarette. I just want to go somewhere.
I also get fidgety when I'm driving and smoke then.

I can already tell with this medication I don't need to drink caffeine and would love to stop smoking. I have quit many times. However, now they are habits I've formed.

How do I stop these habits that I no longer need? I'm sure it's not even healthy to drink caffeine while on a least not the amount I'm used to drinking.

I did eat something before taking my meds this a.m. and I don't feel as dizzy as yesterday when I didn't eat first...maybe after a few days of taking it and eating the side effects will subside.

I am very sensitive to medications anyway.

Okay, I'm done.

[B][U]IF YOU JUST WANT TO SKIM THROUGH THIS...MY MAIN QUESTIONS ARE: [/U][/B] [SIZE="3"]How to stop the habits I've formed to help me and no longer need...i.e.caffeine and smoking

Could Susie really have ADD/ADHD? Or could she have picked up my bad habits and ways.

Also, any info regarding kids and ADD meds you can share? I am worried about giving my child a stimulant.

I don't know if Mary has ADD or not...but she was born with heart problems and I would never feel safe giving it to her. Although, she no longer has a diagnosis of a heart problem. She was said to be fine when she was around 7 yrs old. I almost lost her at birth and don't want any more medical issues.


janewhite1 06-25-2010 07:21 AM

Re: New to ADD. Questions about Adderall.
Oh, man, what you're saying about your younger daughter is really so much like what I went through at that age. Every single day of first/second grade, I went to school and was in trouble. A lot of the time I literally did not know what I was being punished for ("You know what you did!") and almost all the rest of the time I hadn't done it deliberately.

I was one of those rare girls with true hyperactivity. My mother swears my first word was "Up!" as in, "Mommy, ungate the stairs and let me climb up them!" Hyperactive little boys get away with being called "rambunctious," at least for a few years. Back in the mid-1980's, hyperactive little girls were obviously severely emotionally disturbed and came from bad families. I could read at age 4, but I wasn't really ready for the discipline of a regular school classroom until I was about 10.

I'm not saying ADD kids shouldn't be disciplined, they absolutely need consistent appropriate discipline, but the expectations should fit their capabilities. Sending a kid to time-out for punching a classmate: Good. Sending a kid to time-out for not following instructions she didn't hear because coloring was just so INTERESTING: Bad.

Direct answers to questions:

Yeah, Susie probably got it from you. That's because it's genetic. The other things you can give her are lessons in how to manage it, both from educational resources and by example.

Mary honestly does not sound ADD to me. Not sure what's going on there.

Quitting bad habits: It's entirely possible that with appropriate doses of Adderall, you just won't need the coffee or nicotine as much anymore. Still, one thing at a time. Maybe try to change one thing in your life per month, and possibly quitting smoking should wait until other things are a bit more orderly. What do you think the biggest problem you have right now is? Keeping track of time? Keeping track of stuff?

Coaching doesn't have to cost a lot, and with the right person, you may be able to make progress in just a few weeks.

Just remember that you are doing this for your children, and don't let anyone's judgmental ways stand between your family and the help you need.

Thunor 06-25-2010 09:20 AM

Re: New to ADD. Questions about Adderall.
I'm going to try to avoid answering the same questions Jane did, because she's entirely right. I do have a couple of things to say though.

First, take a deep breath and a mental step back and understand that getting your ADHD treated is absolutely your number one priority. Fire your financial coach, because unless he/she is knowledgeable about ADHD, you'll just end up frustrating one another. Use the money you were paying the financial coach to look at an ADHD coach. An ADHD coach will teach you to build that external structure at home. They know ADHD and can help you learn to pay your bills on time, get to work, do the laundry and get the groceries. They can also teach you how to accept yourself so you can stop feeling guilty and worthless and use your time to make life better for you and your kids.

Forget about everything else for now. Keep the bad habits if you still need them, take the meds, take care of your kids and work on this ADHD thing.

Your craving for caffeine and nicotine is absolutely self medication. As an ADHDer, you're short on the neurotransmitter dopamine, the neurotransmitter responsible for the feeling of satiety, among other things, and when you don't have enough of that, your brain craves it desperately. Coffee and smoking release dopamine, thus making your brain feel and function slightly better. There are other ways to self medicate: I always did so with food. Overeating releases dopamine, and that's how I subconsciously chose to do it, leading to the inevitable result of chronic overeating. Others get their fix through extreme behaviour, illicit drugs, alcohol, and all kinds of other self destructive ways. I think you did pretty well just drinking a lot of coffee and smoking. Obviously you do want to quit those, but take things one at a time.

I'm going to bold my next sentence, because it's extremely important for you to understand. [B]The simplest way for you to undermine your progress is to expect too much too fast.[/B] I fell victim to that one, no question. Take your time, don't heap too much on your plate right away, and no matter how hard it is, don't get discouraged if things don't improve as fast as you would like. Early on with the medication treatment, you're likely going to experience euphoria. You're going to find that you have more energy, more focus and more will to get things done. You'll be excited by this and feel that everything's all better. It's not. There is still a lot of work to be done. It's not easy, overcoming a lifetime of undiagnosed ADHD and learning to function, but it's absolutely worth it.

A couple of little suggestions that might help, might not. If you're really worried about your caffeine intake, have you thought about switching to decaf, at least for your late-day coffee? That will give you the comfort of still having your coffee, but cut back on the late-day stimulant which can absolutely interfere with getting decent sleep (lack of decent sleep, of course, will magnify your ADHD symptoms, so you want to sleep as well as you can).

As far as forgetting to bring things along in the morning, something that's worked for me (when I remember to use it, lol) is a checklist. I literally made up a checklist in word and printed it out and check everything off before I walk out the door. Is the garbage out? Do I have my keys, my wallet, my phone, etc? You can make one up for the girls as well, and make something of a game of it, like pilots preparing for takeoff.

I've also put a little bin on the kitchen counter where I throw everything when I get home. My wallet, my keys, my ipod, my cell phone (obviously not everything stays in there, but at least I know where it is at first). This keeps everything in one place and I know where it is. Other people have hooks near the door to put their keys on.

If you have time to read, pick up the book [I]You Mean I'm Not Lazy, Stupid or Crazy?![/I] by Kate Kelly and Peggy Ramundo. This book lays out what ADHD is, how it manifests and some strategies for working around it. I promise you, when reading the first half of the book you'll have plenty of 'Oh, THAT'S why I do that!' moments. You will definitely be better off for having read it.

As far as medicating the kids, they've been treating kids for ADHD with stimulants since the 1950s, and as far as I know it's a safe practice. That said, there is a lot of info on the web about the effects of stimulant medication on children, you'll probably want to check that out. I know a lot of kids don't like stimulants, they tend to make the kids feel like zombies, which is a sensation they don't enjoy. Adults don't have this problem. Honestly, if Susie is doing well at her new school, you may want to leave her unmedicated, as you get your own situation under control, you should have more success providing the structure necessary for her to thrive anyway. It's a big decision, take your time, there's no hurry, do what you think is best.

Remember you've taken the biggest and most important step, finding help, now keep things in perspective and keep putting one foot in front of the other. You're doing great.

Best of luck!

ST22 06-25-2010 05:28 PM

Re: New to ADD. Questions about Adderall.
Hi ccmitche, I'm new here also and these guys have helped me and answered my questions too :) I'm sorry if this posts 2 times....something weird happened to the computer so now I have to retype everything! I'm ok with that since I just took my adderall! Anyway, I think everyone has answered most of your questions so the only thing I can contribute is my own experience. I was diagnosed with ADHD about a year ago. I have been on 4 different meds....concerta, adderall, ritalin, and focalin. I hated the methylphenidate type drugs but adderall is going in the right direction for me. Just like you, I never thought that I was hyper either. Now that I know more about ADHD I understand where the hyperactivity part comes in to play. I felt unmotivated to do anything pretty much and I would always feel internally frustrated. Nothing could hold my interest or keep me happy. I was agitated all the time and I didn't know why or what to do. Thank goodness I finally got the idea to go to the doctor! I still fidget and stuff like that but I don't feel as frustrated as I did before the meds. Like Thunor said, you're going to have ups and downs with the medication. It's not a quick fix....more like a tool to help you get help and control over your life. I wish it was a magic pill though lol.

ADHD runs in my can imagine what my family gatherings are like! I also grew up with a single mom with ADHD. As Jane said, it is genetic but I also feel like some of it can be a learned behavior. It sounds like you and my mom have a lot in common from the sounds of it. Having kids just makes things 10 times harder I'm sure. Especially with the oldest one. My little cousin has ADHD (he is 14) and has been on meds since he was little. It did effect his growth and development mentally and physically. He still wets the bed at night, is very immature for his age, and constantly gets picked on at school. He is the sweetest kid ever, I don't know why kids are so mean to each other but that is a whole separate issue. One of the medications he was on made him steal things. He wouldn't do it in a malicious way....something about that med would just make him take stupid little things like erasers. Finally the doctor figured out the connection between the two and switched meds. I tried to find out from my aunt what it was called but she forgot. He also has severe depression from all of the things going on at school....he has also talked about killing himself. These are just some things to think about before deciding whether or not to medicate your youngest.

As for the older one.....I agree with everyone else. It doesn't sound much like ADHD. Not sure what the deal is with that but therapy would help! It's just good for anyone and everyone to talk about their feelings and issues. You aren't alone :)

ccmitche 06-25-2010 09:18 PM

Re: New to ADD. Questions about Adderall.
Thanks again for all your responses. My daughter was most definantly hyper. She is the only baby I ever saw stand up in the middle of the floor and take off. Typically babies pull themselves up on furniture and then walk accross furniture. She never pulled herself up on furniture. She just walked.

I think I will wait until I get myself under control and see if I can help her more. She doesn't get in trouble at this school for her behavior. They don't see her as a behavior problem. In fact her teachers think she's funny.

Today was day 2 of my Adderall 20mg. I have terrible muscle aches and feel stiff. I have early stages of degenerative joint disease. I was diagnosed with this a few months ago. I do have joint and muscle pain off and on that is pretty painful. I don't know if I'm just having one of my episodes or if it's related to the meds?

I also have an upset stomach.

I do feel more alert and more aware of things...does that make sense? I can't explain it but it's like a visual thing. Things actually look clearer to my eyes as if I were wearing glasses.

I also feel more depressed. I find my self in tears a lot over the last 2 days. I don't know if this is because I'm more aware of how jacked up my life is? Or is this because I don't feel like I'm any better at being organized. I still have hundreds of thoughts going through my head at once.

In some ways I feel more focused...but I am still lacking the motivation. I don't feel as irritated today. My car broke this evening on my way home from work. I had to sit in my car and wait for roadside assistance to tow me home. I wasn't the least bit irritated. It sucks but what can I do? I don't get paid til Wed. so it's gonna have to wait. I can get a friend to take me to work.

I don't know if I would have been irritated with that before the meds. I think it would depend on whether I had plans and needed my car that night. I don't have plans tonight and wasn't in a hurry as I am a lot of times.

I don't have much of an appetite.

My main concern regarding side effects is the depression and muscle/joint pain and stiffness. I was not this depressed before the meds and I don't feel depressed now. It hit me a few times today and a little yesterday and I just started crying and didn't know why.

In regards to my financial coach..its funny someone brought that up. I e-mailed him today and asked him if he would change up our plan. I told him about my ADD and explained I'm not using it as an excuse but until I get more help dealing with it I am not capable of following the budget the way it is written now. I haven't followed our current plan anyway...but have been beating myself up over not following it. Now I realize I just can't right now. I also can't afford anymore financial screw ups. I do need him but I need it done differently. I asked him if he's ever worked with ADD clients.

He currently has it set up where I mail my bills. I take a certain amount out of my account and take it another bank and put there for non-monthly expenses. I also put a certain amount in a money market account. I then take a certain amount of cash out and only use cash for groceries and maybe something else...cant remember.
That's the jist of it.

We developed the budget in March or April. I still have not even opened my non-monthly expense account or money market account. And I don't mail anything. I can never find my envelopes or stamps. If I did I wouldn't make it to the mail box and I'd end up loosing my payment.

I know myself and I know that is too many steps for me and too many errands. Knowing me if I took the cash out for the non-monthly expenses...I'd pass by a Starbucks and think oh...i'm going to get a coffee. $3 missing from this cash won't make a difference. Then I might pass a garage sale and stop to look and find something to buy....o'well whats another few dollars. The kids might ask for a new book and then I'll remember this book I've been wanting to get so we go to the book store...then we are hungry...o what the heck lets splurge and go out to eat. Then we come home and relax. If I'm lucky I'll wake up the next morning and think....oh no I forgot to deposit that money in the bank. I will then say ok we have got to go get that done. I get purse and my money's gone. I will not understand where my money went. I only spent a few dollars on coffee and at the garage sale. THose books were on sale and pretty cheap. I will have lost all concept of how the money is gone. Then I feel really bad about myself and worried about what my financial coach will think and what can I tell him? I might even snap at the kids and get irritated with them because they are the ones that wanted to go to the book store in the first place and how could I allow them to convince me of that etc etc etc...... O.k. You get the gist of what would happen with that idea. And that's if I actually took the money out and headed to that bank that I never opened. I haven't even made it that far yet.

I do the same thing with my debit card...I just spend a few dollars here and there....why is my account over drawn or empty. Did someone steel my card and empty my account???
Then I have disconnect notices in the mail from my utilities. I call them crying an beg them to make arrangements with me.

As you can see I need a financial coach....but I cannot follow that plan. I need everything set up on automatic payments. I have too much trouble paying bills over the phone or online...let alone trying to mail a check. Speaking of I haven't even seen my checkbook in months. I'd have to order more checks.

I hear you all talk about a ADHD coach. I don't believe I can do it. I feel like I need a live in ADHD coach that will follow me around all day long and make sure I'm on track and doing what I'm supposed to do. Not a friendly fun ADHD coach cuz then I'd just want to talk and socialize with them and be offended and irritated if they put me back on track.

I know myself there too. I'd go to my appointment with the coach and I would be really excited about his/her plan for me an would feel such relief that now things will be different. Then I'd get home and forget what I was supposed to do or not understand when I'm supposed to do it. So I think I'll call and clarify the next day....but forget to call. Then I can't remember when my next appt. is so I will think in my mind every day how i need to call see when I'm supposed to come back. Before I know it I've missed and now I'm too embarrassed to reschedule...or I will think of a good reason why missed and not admit I forgot.

I have written more lists in my lifetime and always lost them or forgot to use them.
I can't keep up with my calendar either.

I don't really know how I can really change this time. I've tried so many times.

I feel some difference on the meds but I don't feel like I'm improved enough on the meds to make all those changes. I don't want a higher dose because I fear these side effects will increase. I can't continue to start crying in the middle of the day for no reason and this body pain I feel is too much for me. I will get less done if I'm hurting.

ccmitche 06-25-2010 09:25 PM

Re: New to ADD. Questions about Adderall.
I don't mean to sound negative about all the suggestions...but I have tried the lists. I've also done the basket/container thing to keep stuff in.
I bought a big filing cabinet...I have the little expandable name it I think I've tried it or something similar.
I'm not saying I'm hopeless...but havent found something that works for me.

My problem is I am so unaware of even having my keys in my hand so I'm very unaware of where I put them. The last time I remember seeing them was in the ignition of my car. I didn't even realize I brought them in the house.

Now I do try to leave the keys in my car locked in the garage. Sometimes I have them in my hand and not know it.

This is with anything, my purse, my list, my shoes etc. How can I put it somewhere specific if I can't be aware I'm hanging on to it.

I've tried to be aware. I'll use the keys for another example..on my way home I am thinking to myself how when I get home I am going to leave the keys on the passenger seat so I don't loose them. I tell myself that I will make sure I'm aware of my actions.
Then when I get home I completely forget and grab the keys and put them in an unknown location.

Thunor 06-25-2010 10:20 PM

Re: New to ADD. Questions about Adderall.
You don't need to worry about sounding negative, they were suggestions, nothing more. :) It takes a good deal more than telling me you've tried my suggestions before and they don't work to offend me.

In so many ways you're me, plain and simple, we're peas in a pod. I wasn't able to function any better than you are until I was medicated, and it took a while to find the right medication. I'm just now beginning to get things together in what I hope is a more permanent way, taking it slowly this time, rather than assuming I could change everything overnight. I've accepted outside help for the first time, in the form of a psychologist, and I'm taking everything slowly in hopes of staying at it.

Trust me, I've got files, I've got mail trays, I've got bulletin boards, calendars, accordion files, daytimers, pdas, binders, duotangs, post it notes, you name it, none of it worked until I got help. I'd clean things up and get organized one day and plan out how I was going to keep things that way, and a few days later I was back to the status quo. My finances are terrible, and I'm grossly overweight because 'just this once isn't a problem, I'll be good tomorrow.' I've had cops at my door because I forgot to go to court, I've missed meetings, I've missed appointments, I've been trying, off and on, to get my bachelor's degree since 1993, and still don't have it. I had good success early on with my medication, but in true ADHD fashion, I tried to do too much, overwhelmed myself and crashed.

In my opinion, you really need to cut back on the meds. You can't jump into these meds at such a high dose. The irony of ADHD meds is that the right amount can make you much, much better, while too much can actually make things worse, they can magnify your symptoms. Take a day off from the Adderall and call the doctor to see if you can get a scrip for 10mg instead of 20. You can work up to 20 in a week or two if 10 isn't working for you. Just so you understand how much you're taking, 40mg (that is what you were prescribed, if I recall, 20mg twice a day) is the maximum recommended dosage for treatment of ADHD. The dose can go higher, up to 60mg is recommended for treatment of narcolepsy, and your doctor can prescribe more at his or her discretion, but I feel that jumping from nothing to the maximum recommended dosage not only goes against established procedures, but doesn't give you the opportunity to evaluate smaller doses.

As to an ADHD coach, I have no first-hand experience, so I'm not the right one to do the hard sell. I've been thinking of getting one myself, but I can't afford it until I'm done with the shrink. Until then, I'm working from ADHD self help books, taking my meds and working with my shrink.

Believe me, I feel your frustration. I've been in the same boat all my life. Up until I got on my current medication regime, I was convinced that I was broken in some way that was unfixable, I was wrong.

You're right, you're not hopeless. Keep working and you will get this under control. Think about what I said about the meds, too much can be worse than too little. It may be that Adderall isn't the right med for you, but it's going to be hard to tell until you give a lesser dose a shot.

janewhite1 06-25-2010 10:20 PM

Re: New to ADD. Questions about Adderall.
A real ADD coach doesn't talk to you and send you out the door. She gives you instructions in writing, calls with reminders, especially for appointments, etc.

You know what? Let's start simple. It really sounds like keeping track of finances is the a huge stressor in your life right now, and it may be the easiest one to address. Tomorrow is Saturday, you might have an hour to yourself.

Do you have online access to your bank? Go there. Click on "set up automatic payment." Set up automatic payments for:

-Rent or mortgage.
-Electric, gas or oil bills
-Cellphone bill
-Land phone bill
-Cable/internet bill
-If you have a credit card, set it up so that a typical monthly credit card payment is automatically debited before the due date.
-Student or other loan payments
-Any other recurring bills.

If these bills come from companies with electronic billing, get statements sent to an email address with nice archiving. Emails, unlike desks, are searchable, and emails don't normally get crumpled or torn.

If you do not have online access to your bank accounts, your Project of the Day is to fix that. This may require a physical trip to the bank, so start early!

It sounds like your financial advisor wants to get you to save by making it harder to access your money. If you were a shopaholic, this might be the right solution, but for you, it's more important that money be easy to keep track of.

When you finish doing that, I'll give you another project. #2 involves more fun hands-on and less boring documents!

Oh! Work tip! I got so sick of losing stuff on my desk that I took papers I refer to a lot and taped them to the walls, including monthly calendars. Whenever somebody tells me to do something, I write it on the wall. Literally. My office is so Amish, even the "decorations" are functional.

A woman at work called me organized last month. I almost fainted. (The fact that I was having asthma may also have had something to do with the faintness.)

Still, organization can be done. Set up systems that are easy to use and maintain. There may still be occasional snafus, but those happen to everybody.

addprogrammer 06-25-2010 10:33 PM

Re: New to ADD. Questions about Adderall.

I want to underscore a principle both Jane and Thu touched on.

Jane said, "Maybe try to change one thing in your life per month, and possibly quitting smoking should wait until other things are a bit more orderly."

Thu said, "Forget about everything else for now. Keep the bad habits if you still need them, take the meds, take care of your kids and work on this ADHD thing." Further on he said, "The simplest way for you to undermine your progress is to expect too much too fast. I fell victim to that one, no question. Take your time, don't heap too much on your plate right away, and no matter how hard it is, don't get discouraged if things don't improve as fast as you would like."

I made the same mistake. I also expected too much too fast.

I read or heard somewhere that it takes 21 days (three weeks) to form a habit. I just looked it up to confirm that "21 days" is the correct value. My memory did not fail. "21 days" was once thought to be correct. My source proved beyond all doubt that 21 days is a gross underestimation. My experience concurs.

Most likely, the "21 days" figure came from a book published in 1960 by a plastic surgeon. The surgeon noticed that amputees took, on average, 21 days to adjust to the loss of a limb and he argued that people take 21 days to adjust to any major life changes.

The study, my source, concluded that habits take between 18 and 66 days to form where 66 days is both a plateau and an average, that is, by the 66 day point the action had become as much of a habit as it was ever going to become and most of the participants needed all 66 days. The 96 participants felt their new habit took between 18 days up to 254 days to form.

The researchers found a curved relationship between practice and "automaticity" or habit. The participants that took the longest didn't practice regularly. Two variables account for the range of 18 to 66 days. 1) The difficulty of the action. 2) Regular daily early on practice. Missing a day or two early on was detrimental. Missing a day or two of practice later on didn't affect the chance of forming the habit. Easy to form habits formed toward the 18 day end of the range. Harder to form habits took closer to 66 days if practiced regularly especially early on.

I credit the researchers for noting a third critical variable easily overlooked. The researchers noted the much-repeated 21 days to form a habit is a considerable underestimation unless it is your only goal in life. If I lost a limb, adjusting to the loss would be my only goal. The surgeon's observation of 21 days to adjust to loss of limb is evidently accurate. His logic failed to cross the bridge to all new habits because very few new habits have such a high level of priority to demand becoming are one exclusive goal in life until reached.

I wanted to confirm "21 days." I ended up with a valuable, perhaps invaluable, education in forming new habits. The research confirms the accuracy and validity of Jane and Thu's advice.

1) "Try to change one thing in your life per month." "Forget about everything else for now." Make that one thing your sole goal in life.

2) "The simplest way for you to undermine your progress is to expect too much too fast." If you add another goal before the first has become nearly habitual, the second goal will cause a significant loss in goal 1 progress."

Make each goal specific and meaningful. I do something similar to Thu's "checklist before out the door." My checklist is my "plan of action after I'm out the door." I write a todo list that includes how to do the do's. This AM my "list" had the item, "inflate trailer tires." I prefaced that item with "get the compressor out of the back shed and move to garage." Without my "how to do" preface, I would have went to the garage, discovered the compressor missing, couldn't inflat the tires, plan stalls and brain jams. Yes, on that one account, I would have unjammed rather quickly lossing just a few minutes. I can lose most of my productive day trying to find what I need, or gathering the prerequisites needed to do the scheduled tasks from multiple small time losses. Plus usually much more time per incident is lost than my example.

May I suggest that you make a daily checklist your first goal whether of Thu's type or my type or a combined type. Let your needs dictate. My checklist or daily action plan makes the difference between ending the day with a sense of satisfaction or frustration. No other singular new habit has helped me nearly as much.

Without my med, Adderall, I would never have learned my checklist habit or any other new healthy habits. ADHD is the "why" I couldn't form healthy habits and by default formed chaos causing habits.

Adderall controls ADHD thus removes the cause. Think of it this way. A building catches fire. The firemen come and put the fire out. The cause of the damage is removed but the damage done remains. A fire damage restoration team comes in and corrects the damage done. Coaches and therapists are part of the restoration team. New healthy habits are our "structural materials" like the new walls, ceilings, and paint used to restore a fire damaged building. Those new habits will give you the structure you need.

3) Practice, practice, practice each day by completing your checklist. Just do it, don't worry about its quality. Implementation feedback will improve its quality. Practice, practice, practice, each day by completing each day your checklist. If you miss a day, resume the next day. Try hard not to miss any days for the first two weeks. Even so, miss a day, resume the next day.

I doubt if 21 days is enough for your checklist to become habitual. In reality, you can't make it your only goal in life. There are simply too many other things screaming for attention. Go a full month per Jane. Add your next goal at month's end. Your next goal may cause some loss in checklist habit progress. As soon as you see any losses, try integrating your second goal with your first. For example, if your second goal is office organization, use your checklist to help you organize your office. My efforts that produced a nicely organized office, reverted to office chaos in less than a week because I did not have a good office organization maintenance habit in place. It's ongoing. Continually putting stuff back in its place keeps offices organized.

I almost always need a written action plan to put stuff back after I'm done using it. Lots of stuff must be moved from many storage areas into working space. I have a hard time remembering where each item is stored hence have trouble putting things away.

(A discussion for another time: Since I can write down where each item goes, the problem can't be I can't remember. The problem lies in our brain's working space. It is as complex as complex gets. So another day, another time, we can chew on it. I've found a basic understanding helpful in controlling my symptoms.)


You got quite a few replies during the time it took me to research the time it takes to form new habits. Those replies plus mine should give you "the something that works for you."

ccmitche 06-26-2010 02:01 AM

Re: New to ADD. Questions about Adderall.
I feel very impatient. I don't think my meds and my dosage are effective for me. Maybe that's not something I can tell this soon.
I think a smaller dosage is worth a try. I can call my doctor on Monday and see if he will do that.

I need to figure out what goal I want to start first. I think the daily check list sounds great, but don't know if I'm ready for that. Writing a daily check list also entails planning for the day. In just imagining trying to plan for a day feels very stressful to me. I don't plan my days...other than I know I'm going to work. I can't even plan a work day....I have tried that and always loose that list.

I also have a problem with motivation and avoidance. Yes, my financial situation is very stressful and I want it fixed. Then thinking about getting on it tomorrow is scary for me. I tend to want to do things later...never now. In getting my finances in order and paying bills means I have to deal with it and see how bad it is. That makes me want to run.

For the one who mentioned missing sound just like me. I am a social worker and often get subpoenaed. I'm supposed to be a professional witness. 2 weeks ago I totally forgot about a subpeona I recieved until I got a phone call from the judge. The judge asked why I wasn't at court. It was humiliating.

I was subpoenaed today to...had to be there at 8:30 for a hearing. I didn't get there until after 9.

There was one time I was so late for court that they started the trial. I was called to the witness stand and I wasn't there. The attorneys were calling my cell phone. Luckily I was near then. When I walked in the court room it was dead silence and all eyes were on me. I was told to go straight to the witness stand.

How professional is all that? And that is only a couple court mishhaps...there is much more as you can imagine.

I know there were other suggestions but I can't remember them.

I guess those to made me nervous...the list and finances. I know I brought up the finances.

Honestly, what I really want is to not ever look at my bills and money. I want someone else to do that and then hand me my spending money, grocery money, and gas money.

The same as an organizer...I would really like for someone to do it all for me and follow me around to make sure I'm on track and don't veer off somewhere.

I know i sound completely lazy. I don't really know if I'm being lazy or if I lack the confidence in my ability to do this.

I am afraid to tell my kids anything about lists or schedules etc. They don't take any of that seriously. They've heard it before from me.

I actually did make my daughter a check list for everything she needs to do in the morning and how long she has to do it. Because I would be walking out the door to take them to school and she'd be in her jammies and laying down. I did the list thing because when she didn't know what to do she layed down instead of ask me what to do and I don't have time to watch over her to see what she's doing in the morning...since I'm getting ready for work and making lunches etc.

She used the list for a few days before we lost it. The other problem is that I over sleep a lot so she has to really move it on those days...and that list irritated me because she slowly went down the list even though I told her we have 15 min. to get ready.

I also made a list for them after school. I'm not even sure what happened to it. My kids would forget to look at it anyway, and I wasn't here to remind them. I meant to call them to remind them but didn't. I had a babysitter here but I only had her stay with them for an hour so I could save money.

I could go on and on here.

My problem is that I think too much and make it more complicated. Instead of thinking of a simple list I think of having to plan. I really can't plan because unexpected things come up and that would throw me way off track and I would feel as thought I'm not following my list.

The other thing is that I am usually all or nothing. I either let it all go or I am a complete perfectionistic freak.
The lists I made in the past were so specific. I had timed everything. Like walk out the door at 7:40; arrive at work at 8:30; start working on so and so's case at 9:00 etc. I did that so that I can manage my time better. I would tend to spend way too much time on one thing or procrastinate so much I'd not do it at all.
The thing is that if I was late and didn't get to work until 9 then I would spend an hour going through my list to change the times on everything...since I started 30 min. later everything on my list was thrown off schedule.

Bottom line...I don't know how to plan my day and make a list.

I know it sounds crazy but I don't know how to make things simple. I always think of the what if's and the possibilities that could change my plan and how do I change with out creating more chaos. I drive people crazy with this.

I don't know how to focus on simple things and block the rest of stuff out of my head.

I don't really know how to explain what I'm trying to say. And I can't believe I am up this late. I usually am up late but never this late..I didn't even realize what time it is.

Bob, I'm going to read your research more thourogh tomorrow. I couldn't concentrate on it. I got the gist but I need read it again.

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