What Does Adult ADHD Medication Feel Like?
A reader recently asked me a really great question: how do I know my adult ADHD medication is working? I love this question! I'm going to take it in two parts. First, how I knew that ADHD medication was right for me and, second, what it feels like every day. This could be very different for other people, of course, but this is how medication makes me feel.
My Life Before Medication for Adult ADHD
When I was a sophomore in college, I was sitting in my psychiatrists office and I told her how I was unable to read well. Whenever I'd read a sentence, it would make me forget the one I had just read. I had a hard time focusing and I had only read a handful of books in my life (and four of those books just might have been Berenstain Bears ...). She had an "ah-ha" moment and took out her prescription pad and wrote me my first script for Concerta.
The next day, I went to the pharmacy and returned to my dorm room to take the ADHD medication. I didn't notice an immediate change, but when I began and finished a book in the same day, I knew something felt right. It was right around the time of fall semester finals and I felt so capable. I think that was the big change. I felt like I could do whatever my professors asked of me. You want me to read an entire book in a day? Sure. You want me to write a thoughtful 20-page paper? Okay, why not? I had the focus, and even more so, the drive to do what needed to be done. Yeah, I was the one that had to do the work, but Concerta gave me the extra umph needed.
Before and After My Daily Dose of ADHD Medication
I still take Concerta for adult ADHD and I can now feel the change between pre- and post- dosing everyday. I wake up at around 6am each day, shower, and take my medicine. Around the time my wife is driving me to the train station, at 7am, is when I usually start to feel the medicine working. I feel a fire in my chest start to burn. I feel slightly anxious to start getting some work done, but it's not an overwhelming anxiety. I can keep it at bay if I need to, say, wait for my train before I can start studying. I definitely want to get going, though! I feel quicker of thought and smoother in my movements than I do on days when I take my "impromptu medication holidays." I feel surer of myself.
Taking ADHD Medication Didn't "Change Me"
I can speak forever on this subject, but there's one final (I think) very important thing to touch on about this. When I'm in the mood to goof off and I take my medication, it can often lead to me goofing off really well and in a really dedicated manner. When I am in a mood to work hard and just don't have the motivation and I take my medication, I am able to work hard and keep it going. For me, ADHD medication seems to allow me to focus in a natural way - either I'm really good at goofing off or I'm really good at hunkering down and working. This makes me feel sort of good, because I know it's not "changing" who I am - and that's a fear a lot of people have.
Any thoughts from my favorite peanut gallery ever? Any questions? How does it make you feel? More to come on this in the future, I promise!
Prager, E. (2013, May 13). What Does Adult ADHD Medication Feel Like?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, September 18 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/livingwithadultadhd/2013/05/pre-and-post-adult-adhd-medication-what-does-it-feel-like
Author: Elizabeth Prager
Virtually everyday of my life I have woken up and hated myself for being lazy. This goes back to early school where the teachers would give me hell for not paying attention and messing about. I tried but I just couldn’t get in the zone like everyone else around me.
Fast forward 30 odd years and I often sit in work trying to focus on the task at hand yet always seeming to drift off and not get stuff completed. I am not hyper anymore in the physical sense but my mind pings from one subject to another without any real control of focus. I get confused when multi tasking and if you ask me to go back to what I was doing before you distracted me, you had better give me a good few minutes to get my head together. For me, I have always looked at myself as lazy as I avoid tasks that require extended periods of concentration even though I have every intention of doing the best I can. It was this polarised thought process that lead to the self-resentment and poor self-esteem which eventually landed me in front of the Doctor for depression which I had probably struggled with for about 15 years. The pills for that have worked to a point and I can bounce back from the little things in life which happen which used to send me into a pit of despair. But the ADHD though……
I am sure I have it as when I was born I suffered a serious birth trauma. The cord was wrapped around my neck twice and I was born emergency caesarean which I understand is closely correlated with ADHD in people with no genetic history of the syndrome. I have been told that I nearly didn’t make it and my mum nearly went to. None of my family have any signs ADHD, in fact they are mostly academics and have jobs that involve extreme focus and attention to detail.
Anyway, here I am wondering what the future holds and if one day I will be able to realise my potential at work and in life in general. The effects the drugs have sound amazing and if it allows me to stay in a focused zone and take it all in without my mind pinging about and drifting off then it would be the day I have wished for, but never thought would arrive.
For me, it has taken both a therapist and a psychiatrist who are on the same page to get the diagnosis. We have gradually been testing medications. Though not a miracle drug, they have helped so much. There have been difficult times with the meds, but when they are an appropriate prescription and dosage, they give me hope about what I can accomplish.
Having a coach or therapist is also very important, in my opinion. Feel free to continue to check in with HealthyPlace's 'Living with Adult ADHD' blog for more conversations about ADHD. Best of luck with everything!
To start off, it is the year of 2016 and I don't know if people still get on here but I really wanted to comment. I was just recently diagnosed with ADHD (hyperactive-impulse) type.. My whole life, I knew I was different. Lilia, you hit it right on spot. I'm not lazy or stupid.. I am SO impulsive and it defintely shows. I speak/act without thinking, such as, blurting in appropriate things out, fidget, not be able to focus (first semester I earned a 1.9 GPA) and what I am so ashamed to admit, spit on people. Its like I can't help the impulsiveness!!! I'm 19 and I have yet to meet someone (friendwise/relationship wise) who can understand "my ways" and love me for who I am, but I know if I didn't get help soon, I was going to live my life in regret and misery. Everyone says I lack commons sense and I'm too goofy (coping method for always being "off") .. I finally went to see a therapist a couple weeks ago, I see her every Friday at 4:00. I can't wait till I get through the long week just to see her. I'm so anxious to get better and be able to focus, work towards being a better person and being able to say I love who I am because I fought to be that. My therapist is so loving, and I can tell she genuinely wants to help me. I still haven't been put on medication, but I am really excited for this journey. I just wanna get better. I pray and ask God for guidance everyday. Even thinking about recording this journey. I HOPE EVERYTHING IS GOING WELL FOR EVERYONE! Remember, God blessed us with this gift to help others. It's not going to be easy, but it will be worth it!
(Here I go over talking lol, I'm good for it)
Thanks for reading...hope to see everyone at the top!
we'll I have to say I knew I had adhd most of my life and especially growing up, but my parents thought I was just craz, so I had to deal with it and it has been a struggle. But As Of Today I Received My First Dose Of Vyvanse And I Have To Say I Can Already Tell The Difference I'm Way More Focused Than Before, And I Guess I Noticed Right Away Because I Went Untreated Most Of My Life I'm Am 31 Yeah Old And Have Do Much I Want To Accomplish, But JUST Could Not Get There. The Treatment Really Gives The Boost I Needed And I Can't Wait To Share Treatment With Others Who Have Gone Diagnosed For Hears Like ME And Hopes To Inspire Them To Do So. Thank you for this blog!
Thank you for this!!! I am in Canada, so I'm not sure what will be prescribed, but I'm really excited to get it started.
Thank you so much for that. Before I read your blogs I had a hard time finding much on the internet where people came right out and stated the before and after differences when they take their ADHD medication. I have struggled for several years on if ADHD was even real or if medication would even make a difference so I am so glad to hear about how if does work and it does make a difference. I look forward to seeing what a difference it makes in my life when I start taking my medication. Thank you for sharing!