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Old 01-24-18, 12:59 AM
JellyBeanBear JellyBeanBear is offline

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ADD - Reading - Medications Help Much?

I'm curious for anyone who has problems with reading due to ADD (inattentive or mixed) - have medications helped ? and/or how much?

I have a huge discrepancy between my IQ and my ability to learn if it's solely based on my own reading. If lectures with notes and pictures, and the right professor - i will absorb everything. But i can't read a page of a textbook - not even half a page without getting distracted, exhausted, and/or falling asleep (my brain literally hurts!).

I don't have any reading disorder (that i know of) on top of the ADD (though i suppose i might) - and i have issues with writing as well (getting the zillion thoughts i have that are all related - into an organized essay or expression of thought).

I'm having to wait on medication trials until another medical matter is dealt with but i'm curious from others - have you had much help and/or how much?

Might my reading ever match my brain's desire to learn and absorb info at the rate i can if by another media??

I really want to read and I am talking about subjects i find fascinating (ie: i'm highly motivated to learn but i can't push through it - my brain just doesn't let me)...

I'm just wondering if my expectations of medications is too high and/or what i can expect with this symptom.

Thanks for any thoughts.

(and anyone think i should cross post this anywhere else - let me know - thanks)

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Old 02-04-18, 02:16 PM
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Re: ADD - Reading - Medications Help Much?

Hi JellyBeanBear,

I've always had problems with reading and writing as well, although not quite to the extent that you describe. Whenever I would sit down to do assigned reading when I was in college, I would start to get drowsy after a few pages. This has always been especially true for any kind of reading on a complex topic that requires a lot of sustained mental effort, books with long paragraphs and long chapters or where I am trying to retain and learn what I've been reading. Mindlessly surfing the Internet or reading short snippets in Internet forums is not a problem.

And writing can also be a bit of a laborious process for me sometimes, too, in terms of getting my thoughts organized and written down. Even doing something like write this post takes a bit of effort. And I almost never took notes in classes because I had a difficult time both staying focused on what the professor was saying and writing it down at the same time.

As to your question, I started taking Vyvanse about five months ago, and once I got to the right dose, it has definitely become easier for me to do sustained reading in books on more complicated topics than what it was before.

At the time that I was just starting the titration process on the Vyvanse my doctor had prescribed me to reach the right dose, I was trying to make my way through a book that came out last year by Stanford Professor of Neurology, Robert Sapolsky, called Behave: The Biology of Humans at our Best and Worst (Penguin Press, 2017). Written by a neurologist, I thought that it might be dry reading. But it's a surprisingly good book which I really enjoy reading, both because the topic interests me and because Sapolsky writes in a quirky, and often humorous and entertaining manner. The Washington Post named it one of the 10 best books of 2017. Nevertheless, it was still a very difficult and daunting book for me to read, over 700 pages long, and on a complicated topic.

Sapolsky's book basically describes how our behaviors and actions originate in our brains, starting with a second before we take an action, to seconds or minutes before, and the role of evolution in shaping our behaviors. It gives complicated descriptions of the how the brain works with lots of brain terminology that is new to me such as the amygdala, the prefrontal cortex, the hippocampus, neurons, axons, dendritic spines, action potentials, the “bed nucleus of the stria terminalis," etc. etc. (do you get the picture?). I was only able to read a few pages per day, so getting through 700 pages would have taken me forever.

But when I reached the right dose of Vyvanse for me, I was astounded to discover that I was able to read this book by Sapolsky in much longer stretches of sustained reading. It's still not exactly an easy book for me to read and I still haven't finished it, but it's definitely much easier to read than what it was before I started the Vyvanse I'm taking now. This has been a real breakthrough for me and is an important way that my ADHD have improved my life.

So, hopefully, meds will make reading easier for you, too.
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Old 04-23-18, 02:01 AM
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Re: ADD - Reading - Medications Help Much?

I've found that reading stuff that I enjoy, such as fiction, really helps with concentration. I used to be a university student (graduated with double major in engineering and chinese). Good luck with your studies.
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Old 09-24-18, 03:54 PM
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Re: ADD - Reading - Medications Help Much?

I feel good and like to spend time in library or book web sites. I'm a bookworm. I buy (impulsively) or take books really willingly. I'm interested in different fields of books. But my interest is going after a few page. I can finish books almost never or in very long time. There're a lot of unread or halfread books at my home. I can't read a book more than 10 minutes generally. Sometimes I finish a page and realize I have no idea what I had read because I read through my eyes not my brain. So I have to repeat reading the same page or paragaph. I think that's a common problem for us.
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Old 10-29-18, 05:13 PM
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Re: ADD - Reading - Medications Help Much?

I was undiagnosed while in college. Went the whole way through thinking that I was just lazy, had a moral failing, was not committed, was stupid, etc. I would get home from class and work exhausted. Put everything off until the last minute. In my earlier college years I would put things off and then crank them out last minute (e.g. write a 6 page paper the night before and make an A). However, as I got along in my college career I stopped caring and even that last minute anxiety of something being due didn't rev me into caring. I think I just burned out by year 5-6. But I hated studying and reading for classes. It was exhausting. I remember sitting and reading and reading and not processing any of it. It was as if I didn't read at all. And it took me hours! I finally graduated somehow and a year later I was diagnosed with ADHD and started meds. It definitely does help with reading and focus, but if it's something that requires focus and attention like non-fiction I still have to work at it a bit more than others without ADHD would.
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