What to do first?: Hi! I was recently... - CHADD's Adult ADH...

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What to do first?



I was recently diagnosed with ADHD and I am really struggling with making a decision on treatment. This may be a question that's already been posed, but what have you all found to be the best first step? Like, literally the first thing I should look into Monday morning. Medication? Coaching? Neurofeedback? Etc... What order should these be in?

I'm already exercising vigorously for at least 30 mins, 6 days a week and taking a caffeine pill to help with energy and motivation, but those aren't solving all the problems yet ;)

I feel completely lost and I would be grateful to anyone who can shed a little light on this for me.

Thanks in Advance!

12 Replies

Hi iWasSunshine,

In my experience, do investigate medication. It can be fast acting, and fast wearing off, so it's not as involved or nasty with prolonged side-effects (in my very, very recent experience).

I was diagnosed officially at 39yo. I'm a smart person I thought, I'll read about ADHD and work out what to do. In general was adverse to medications (for many conditions) as I saw them as a lazy form of treatment compared to self-work...... I made progress, yes, but not nearly enough. And as I discovered during Covid lockdown I was missing so much of what I was doing and how that affected those in my family, and how this condition has ruled so much of my life. Between 39 and 41 I read about ADHD traits and thought "I don't do that", or "I'm not that bad". I was oblivious to the actual facts.

Now at 42yo, I'm a few week into a medication trial and I have found it astounding what I now see/feel/think. With in a week of starting on meds, everything started to become clearer, and I truly see life and the past with a subtle yet significant difference.

In sort (in my lived experience), medication first. As I'm discovering the hard way, it may help make every other step you take easier.

All the best!

Thanks, Bluey8699 for your thoughts!

Similarly, I’m in the the camp of try-harder-to-improve-your-character rather than accept that this is a disorder that needs to be treated medically, but I think I’m finally at the point of acceptance now.

That’s really helpful to know that the medication gave you clarity. That’s exactly what I need to sort out my priorities and get life back on track. Do you mind me asking what medication you take?

Thanks, again!

Hi. I'm trying Methylphenidate (Ritalin), and still working out when and how much work for me. For me the first week or so was interesting in that the whole world, myself and time seemed to go slower. So it felt like a long slow week. Week 2 felt better.

I don’t have too much experience yet, but have been reading...

I agree with the other comments re medication. I was diagnosed 6 months ago and was very hesitant to take medication. I never took medication for anything else and was proud of my health. I’d rather solve the problem on my own... but at the same time I feel I have seen my wife truly suffering from my lack of attention so I was ready to do anything for her. Now I’ve been on Vyvance for 6 months and agree, it’s fast acting and stops doing anything after 8-10hrs. So my skepticism of ADHD medication has changed. I think it’s ok to try and see what you think. Just note that it will take a lot of time. You’ll probably have to take one medication for multiple weeks to understand what effect it is having. Listen to your doctor, keep some healthy skepticism and you’ll be fine.

I’ve heard of people that take medication for years than decide to stop. I imagine the opposite is common too.

So, I wouldn’t be too hesitant of trying medication right away to see if it could work for you. I don’t think the order of trying things will matter too much in the long run. Just give every approach a full honest try and you’ll eventually find a good fit. May take years, but I bet you’re up for the adventure ;)

Hi iWasSunshine!

I was diagnosed almost 12 years ago (I'm 47 now) and my suggestion is, start with a good neurologist, then they will be able to guide you with a medication that will work for you. My neuro started me on a low dose/mgs of Adderall, which I am currently taking, then adjusted the mgs accordingly. That has worked for me because it stays in your system for a good 6-8 hours and helps for what I call the "boring" hours, like work haha. Then, come weekends, you can give yourself a break and not take it. As we know, the weekends we do stuff we like and when we do that, we can focus for hours!

Medication helps a lot of people get more clear and focused. Some people get huge relief, some don’t. Just also know that there are beliefs and habits and routines that won’t be affected by medication or neurofeedback, and to live fully you will want to build strategies for them as well. So why not do all of the above simultaneously? Get meds, get a coach, do neurofeedback. For me, I have been doing the first two and have found it then both immensely helpful.

Full disclosure: after being coached for two years I gave up a financially rewarding career to become an ADHD coach myself, and love it.

Plenti42day, that is so inspiring that you’re a coach now!

Well I was 7/8 when diagnosed so my parents and doctor made the best decision. For me that was medication. While I am female I am very hyperactive, especially when I was young. So I started on Concerta and have been on it ever since (15 years).

If you are unsure about going straight to medication then you could try the other methods first. Every persons adhd is different so it’s all about what works for you and your brain :)

Thank you all for your thoughtful replies. ❤️

It’s so nice to be able to talk to people who actually “get” what I’m talking about!

Ok, so I think I’m going to go the medication route. I’ve been listening to podcasts and reading tons of articles and books on ADHD, but because of memory problems (big surprise, lol) I have a hard time implementing particular strategies and making them stick. So I figure I can get the meds and then hire a coach to help with setting up some good routines and having someone to be accountable to so that good changes can start taking place.

Does that make sense?

I just have such a hard time making decisions (especially big ones) so I keep looking to someone else to tell me what to do. My husband tells me I need to be the one to make the decision about my treatment, but I’m terrified about making the wrong decision. 😰

Mille_5 in reply to iWasSunshine

I think this is a great idea :) You can always change your mind later. If you decide you don’t want to use meds anymore. You got this!

Even if you accept the advice of others, it’s still your decision to follow through. Go for it! Btw, I give a free initial coaching if you want to talk more about what coaching is like. Best Regards, Will

Hello there!! Everyone is different. I have tried every stimulant medication there is. I was first put on stimulant medication at age 11. I am now 21 years old and even with 50mg of Vyvanse + 10mg of Adderall... I still struggle. Medication wont fix any problems. (I saw it more as a bandaid for me) I have nothing against medication (given I still take it and it does help) but I would suggest trying Coaching/CBT first. If that alone doesn't work, I think a mix of medication and therapy is the best option. But again, everyone is different! There is no right or wrong way to do it. Best of luck!!

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