Need realistic expectations - CHADD's Adult ADH...

CHADD's Adult ADHD Support

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Need realistic expectations

Wreckingball2020 profile image

I’m new here. I am a 42 year old female and I was diagnosed with ADHD combined type when I was 39. I have tried taking Ritalin, Vyvanse and Adderall and I try to learn and practice strategies to deal with the symptoms but so far it feels like a losing battle. I just recently realized that I’m not sure how much I should expect out of Medication. Is the medication mainly just supposed to improve my ability to focus or is it supposed to help at all with impulsivity, issues with time management or procrastination, terrible memory or anything else that ADHD causes? I’m not sure if a little improvement with focus for a few hours means my meds work or if they should be more helpful than that.

5 Replies

I would also like to know the answer to this question!

I’m seriously considering medication as the starting point for my ADHD treatment, so asking for realistic expectations is a great idea 👍🏻

I was diagnosed as a teen but did not start managing it until I was 35 (I am 39 now). Medication is incredibly helpful for me. However, it is not magic.

The key factors in my life that work with the medication are:

(these are things I did NOT do before I was 35)

- I understand the disorder better and how it manifests within me, personally. It is important to really get a grasp on what in your life is ADHD and what is not.

- I stopped getting into relationships with people that weren't willing to accept that I am a bit different. You need a partner that considers ADHD as a legitimate condition.

- I have a marriage where we have been open about mental health since our first date.

- I also treat ADHD as a legitimate condition instead of some character flaw. I spent much of my life believing the terms I heard often like: "Lazy", "disorganized", "selfish", etc.

- I continually look for ways I can improve on things. You cannot do it all at once, but you can gradually tweak things.

- I also accept things I may not be able to control and work on things I can.

I tried medication for a brief period in my late 20's but my life was a mess. I was working for myself and kept no regular hours. When I added the medication, it helped me get more done but also increased the irregularity of my schedule. So in the end it hurt more than it helped and I stopped taking it.

When I turned 35 I decide to take an office job as I was working on making my life less of a mess. The 9-5 schedule was very difficult for me because of how our minds work. I could not always be "on" during that span. So, I sought help again instead of falling back into my chaotic lifestyle. This is where the medication finally "clicked". The medication allows me to be "on" during the time I need to be most.

It does not directly solve all of my ADHD related problems. However, it does solve many of my troubles with work. The begins a chain-reaction. My work life gets better. It starts to eliminate the anxiety and stress in my life outside of work. That frees my brain up to do a better job in my personal life.

I want to stress the relationship part though too. My wife puts in the effort to understand me and trust me. In return I am honest about what is difficult and what I could improve on. I am also honest about how my brain works and make sure to be aware when I need to tell her that my behavior has nothing to do with her. For instance; if I get hyper focused on something for more than a day; I try to catch it and acknowledge it. Just saying, "Hey, I know I am really wrapped up in ______. Do you need anything?" She know that is me saying, that I have not forgotten her, I will totally shift gears if you need me too, but if not, I would like to travel down this brain rabbit hole until I get to the end.

Thanks for taking the time to respond rtistics! That is very helpful! It sounds like you have a great wife too. Glad you two found each other. 🙂

All good things from rtistics! One thing I am trying to do is keep a daily log of changes I notice (is something better today, worse today?) to see if there are patterns. Maybe your food is having an effect- both what you eat and when. Maybe your menstrual cycle is making symptoms worse, even with medication (this is a huge issue for me). Maybe supplements can help and logging what you take with a quick note as to how you felt that day might help ID which ones work for you.

I don’t always keep up with the log or even remember to take supplements every day, but it’s a work in progress that I found helps me track what’s working and where I have gaps.


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