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  #1  
Old 03-13-10, 09:27 AM
Liberty Liberty is offline
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Is Adderall working?

I'm not sure if Adderall is working for me, or if because I want it to work, I am working harder at getting things done . . .
I am 44 and recently diagnosed with ADD and started taking Adderall 10mg xr . . . I felt that I was getting more done at work, but still finding it difficult to focus in meetings and reading - my mind drifts, etc . . . I moved to 20mg and that same day sat down and wrote an essay that I needed to submit for a course I am taking - usually that would take hours of going back and forth on ideas, being distracted by anything at all, no clarity, but this time was completely focused, it was simple, straightforward and in one sitting - It was amazing! . . . but generally I am still finding it difficult to focus in meetings and with reading and although I am getting a ton of stuff done at work I don't always "feel focused". I'm not sure if getting things done is because of the Adderall or because I know what has been affecting me now and I'm trying to control it better. One day I feel it is really working well and the next I'm not convinced it is helping at all. Does Adderall work better at higher doses or if it's not helping with everything at 20 will it not help at 30 or 40?
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Old 03-13-10, 10:30 AM
chronological chronological is offline
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Re: Is Adderall working?

Hey Liberty,

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Originally Posted by Liberty View Post
I'm not sure if Adderall is working for me, or if because I want it to work, I am working harder at getting things done . . .
I'm going to make a complete guess here and say it's the latter. It's not working, you're just hoping/expecting it to work and that's what's creating the ambiguously positive effect.

It's exactly my experience. I'm 45, just diagnosed. The third day I used it, I got a lot of yard work done. It was a wee bit unusual for me, so possibly noteworthy, but not overwhelming evidence of positive effect. Possibly the drug; but possibly just a placebo-like hopefulness. My experience for the subsequent week point strongly to the latter. No real effect. (Documenting it here: http://addorbs.blogspot.com)

For me, 20mg of instant release taken twice a day have no therapeutic effect. Some people have been encouraging me to be patient -- one person on another board said it could take 3-5 years! I simply don't believe that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Liberty View Post
Does Adderall work better at higher doses or if it's not helping with everything at 20 will it not help at 30 or 40?
I think there's no doubt than dosage is important. It may be as simple as that for you and for me. In fact I suspect that is exactly the problem for me. But with these drugs there are always tradeoffs against the side effects, so it may be that for any given drug the therapeutic dose is too high with respect to the side effects. I'm on the normal maximum does for IR; 2 x 20mg of IR. So it may be my doc will decide to try another drug entirely (e.g. Ritalin) rather than push up my Adderall dose.

One word of advice for you though (based, admittedly on only a week's experience -- or should I say, non-experience). Have the courage of your convictions and own observations. Yes, maybe the effects of the drug are suppose to grow slowly and yes maybe they increase so subtly that you don't really notice them for a while. But sometimes the fact that it doesn't appear to be working is BECAUSE IT'S NOT BLOODY WORKING!

Sometimes the Emperor really has no clothes.

I may try to squeeze a visit to my doc today, to ask him about this. If I do, I'll report back to the group.
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Old 03-13-10, 11:17 AM
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Re: Is Adderall working?

I've gone through a lot of different meds by now, and believe me, if it's working, you can tell it's working. Not every ADD medication works for everyone, none of them even work the same for everyone.

I know that Adderall is working for me, because once it kicks in, I can read without having to go back and re-read (sometimes over and over) the stuff I missed because my mind was elsewhere while my eyes were looking at the words. I can look objectively at my to-do list, prioritize, figure out how long each task will take, and create an agenda that can be realistically completed in the allotted time. I can tackle things that need to be done, even if I really, really don't want to do them. I feel a little physical stimulation, mostly wakefulness despite my sleep difficulties, but I don't feel hyper or anxious.

Ritalin and Concerta were like sugar pills. Vyvanse, despite being promoted as gentler than Adderall, made me an obsessive-compulsive on a 14-hour panic attack. Nuvigil put my heart rate up to over 110bpm (and feeling it acutely) for 17 hours at a time, and too anxious to actually do any of the things it gave me the mental clarity to think about.

But if you look around here, you'll find plenty of people who have had great success with each of these, and others as well. Unlike antidepressants, most ADD meds are stimulants. The effect you'll get after continued use may change, some of the side effects might lessen or smooth out, but you should feel a positive change in focus within a few days. If not, try something different.

There are a bunch of stimulant meds that all work differently. There are non-stimulant meds that all work differently. Some people find they can manage without ADD meds if they address other problems like depression or insomnia or OCD, because without those they can deal with it. There are off-label uses of other drugs that can help people who have ADD with specific comorbid conditions. Don't give up, just realize that if you're not feeling more focused, you're not concentrating better, you're not accomplishing more, then what you're using is probably not working.

Move on. Get samples from the doctor whenever you can, and don't fill the prescription until you've finished the samples, because some of this stuff is wicked expensive.
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Old 03-13-10, 12:14 PM
Liberty Liberty is offline
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Re: Is Adderall working?

Thanks - this helps. I guess I am wondering if they got the diagnosis wrong, but from everything I have read and heard I am absolutely convinced that I have it, right back to childhood - my school reports at age 5 and 6 saying I was always daydreaming, not finishing things, etc. I guess I'm confused because I see glimpses of it working. Immediately I felt a difference in that the boredom and irritation that I feel a lot was gone, I was looking for them, expecting them and they just aren't there when I take Adderall. But I was in a meeting with a ton of people this week and asked a question that had been answered already because I hadn't been paying attention!! And I'm still not able to concentrate when I'm reading - same as you had mentioned -my attention wanders and I'm looking at the page and not taking it in. But writing the essay first day I took 20 I was very focused. I guess I'll stick with it for a while and maybe try an increased dose? And if still nothing try something else.
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Old 03-13-10, 03:33 PM
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Re: Is Adderall working?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Amtram View Post
... I can read without having to go back and re-read (sometimes over and over) the stuff I missed because my mind was elsewhere while my eyes were looking at the words. I can look objectively at my to-do list, prioritize, figure out how long each task will take, and create an agenda that can be realistically completed in the allotted time. I can tackle things that need to be done, even if I really, really don't want to do them.
Thank-you. That's a good summary of the effects I'm looking for, especially the processing of ToDo lists. I also get the reading/re-reading effect. The fact that you can note it improving (i.e. it went from worse to better) is encouraging.
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