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New diagnosis- Not sure if my medication is working for me

merriemountain profile image

I was recently diagnosed with ADHD after two years post-grad of struggling to succeed with my business. My mom also has adhd and was the original one who noted I might as well. Anyways I recently started medication with vyvanse and have already been bumped up to 50 mg. I am having a hard time figuring out if I notice a difference and wanted to see if anyone had some insight.

Some days it seems like it is maybe helping a little and I get small bursts of focus (usually not on the right thing but it is a step). But other days I still feel like I cannot get myself going on the right track. I am wondering if the medication is working but I just need to find better habits and steps to be productive or if it is not and I should talk to my doctor about upping my dose.

Also curious if anyone has found great success in any sort of adhd coach or adhd therapist? And maybe how to find one that works for you?

14 Replies

Hi merriemountain, I don't remember if Vyvanse takes awhile to begin to make a difference, but possibly not, since your doctor bumped it up to 50mg. The doctor could choose to increase the dose, or put you on a different medication if that is not feasible, or tried to up the dose and it didn't work. Have you read any books about ADHD yet? That can give you ideas of some tactics to use, or counseling, or reading past posts here. Another option is to post your specific struggles and people on this site can tell you what worked for them. So strategies and tools, combined with medication, help, too. I can't tell you anything about coaching because I have never tried it.

Oops, didn't mean to hit reply. I would call the doc that put you on the medication, because focusing on the wrong thing is not what you want, I would imagine. I did just think, you could also put a reply to your post here, listing what specific goals you would like to reach, or what specifically is causing the issues. I learn just when reading replies to other people's posts! Take care!

Hi! Thank you so much for the reply. I will be updating my doc soon. I think I noticed a difference the first few days of upping the dose but I quickly went back into my old habits and such. And as for the specifics, it's really just average things like replying to emails/messages as well as finishing up projects. I can't seem to get into a day to day rhythm of just keeping up with it all. It has definitely been great reading through feeds on here but I have not read any books yet, do you have any you would suggest?

Hi, Merriemountain, Driven to Distraction was good, I think I remember. I read it a long time ago. And the same authors wrote Delivered from Distraction and Answers to Distraction, but I didn't read them, yet. I think they are supposed to have more practical help. Also If you are female, there is an author named Sari Solden who wrote a book called Women with Attention Deficit Disorder, and she also wrote a more recent book for women. I found the insight and practical suggestions in that book helpful. But some of the benefit of the books is just to gain perspective....OH! THAT's why I do that! etc... As far as replying to emails/messages and finishing up projects, it might help to have a certain time of day that you reply to emails....and you do it for _____minutes (whatever would get you through the daily amount), and then you move on. If you set alarms on your phone estimating how much time your tasks will take, it will help to have alarms going off to tell you "now it's time to do this". But it works a lot better if the medication is working for you. I have a notepad app on my phone. I label one of them "Today" and I put about five or six things per day on it....some small and some big. My app allows me to cross off the items, and later, to remove them, so I can add new items for the next day. You can also try breaking your projects up into smaller bitesize pieces and setting alarms for that, if you don't know how much time it takes you to complete it, or think you won't be able to complete it that day. There are a lot higher tech options, I am sure, apps on your phone that could help, but those are mostly what I use. If I am having a bad brain day, I might get three things done. Then I just add three items for the next day. I am going through a possible career shift, so I may need to learn new methods, myself. Hopefully someone else will see your reply and add some methods here! Take care!

I find the effects of stimulant medications like Vyvanse to be somewhat hard to miss. It's like a breeze rolling in, lifting the mental fog that hovers over the landscape of past thoughts and prevents them from serving as landmarks to guide my future. Or watching a shipwreck in reverse, seeing the scattered, floating driftwood that are my thoughts magically reassemble themselves into a fine ship, and set sail. Or having an ogre for a roommate in my brain who hogs the television remote, constantly flipping channels, and then drinking a strength potion that gives me a fighting chance of wrestling it from his grasp and finally watching what I want to.

If you can't relate at all, you might want to talk to your doctor about upping your dosage. 🙂

I agree with what DefinitionReclaimed and I love the imagery of the shipwreck and a fog. I take Adderall and it was very clear when it was working. For me, it feels like my mind is blooming like a flower. It's like a little seedling pops open, pushes up through the dirt, the stem grows taller, sprouts leaves, and then the flower pops open. All of a sudden my focus is sharper and my mental spam filters get stronger. It's a very distinct feeling. I am done with school right now and taking a break from my work for a bit, so I'm not taking it every day, but I can tell you that after taking it daily for one month and then now being off it for two weeks I can now much more clearly see how scattered and unfocused I am without it. I definitely agree that you should talk to your doctor about increasing the dose, or even switching meds if that would be a better course of action.

Thanks, MagnoliaJones ! I love your images of flowers and spam filters as well. 🙂

Why don’t you take it on the days you aren't working or in school? It seems like there's always something on my to do list that would benefit from me being the more focused version of myself. That time being medicated is precious to me, and I have a hard time imagining why I'd voluntarily stick with the fog, the driftwood, and the ogre. (Or the un-blossomed flowers and spam-clogged inbox, in your case. 🙂)

I'm not taking it right now just because I wanted to give myself a break and time to just kind of decompress after the semester without trying to be productive. I just finished my first year of grad school and I am T-I-R-E-D. 😴😴 I'm traveling next week, but once I get back I'll be back on it again as I'll be kicking back into gear to get stuff done. I definitely do realize now that I need it if I want to get mundane things done or even just clean and organize. But those are not priority things for me right now, my rest is.

Wow... That is actually a stunningly good (and relatable) answer! When I take my Vyvanse, it's like getting the magic spell from Cinderella's fairy godmother. Your brain becomes a sparkling, majestic jewel--full of life, energy, and unbroken thoughts. But you know you have but a few golden hours before the riches turn back to rags. Time and pills are limited resources, and there is pressure to make the most of them when used. You become a temporary condition, aware of its own mortality, and desperate to make something of its brief existence. And conversely, there's a sense of disappointing yourself if you aren't able to perform up to your usual medicated standards. But what if Cinderella took a self-care day, and just hung out in her comfortable rags on the couch, watched her favorite shows on Netflix, and ordered some Grubhub, instead of waving the wand daily and subjecting herself to the stress of worrying about the magic expiring at the stroke of midnight?

I think I was expecting an answer more along the lines of "medication holidays" to boost effectiveness, or wanting to save money on out-of-pocket pharmacy costs. Instead, I think you may have just inadvertently convinced me that I need to find a relaxing activity, and carve out a bit of space and time for myself to be free from the stresses of obligations and expectations for a bit. 🙂

I officially started getting treatment for my ADHD in September. I just went up to 50mg of Vyvanse a few weeks ago as well. I do find its effects to be subtle but still very effective. It's a longer release medication so don't expect to take it and be slammed with motivation and drive. It took me a while to realise that stimulant medication isn't how it's shown in media, especially for someone with ADHD. It doesn't allow you to read a whole book in an hour or clean your entire house in a day, it more so brings you up to a base level of normalcy.

It allowed to me get up and do the dishes and remember to put the laundry in the dryer ( the number of times I've had clothes go sour because of forgetting....). I can recognise certain behaviors as being a result of ADHD and then address them. I also noticed it helped a lot with emotional regulation, I won't fly off the handle or burst into tears at the drop of a hat.

Basically what I'm saying is that while it's no miracle drug and dose adjustments are totally normal, it really does help a lot. The first week or two on Vyvanse was very noticeable, but then it settled down and I started slipping into old habits. It's taken a lot of self awareness to begin managing my ADHD effectively. I found that my habits play a huge part in how effective it is day to day.

What has my diet been like? Have I only had water and tea today? Proper nutrition plays a huge part in ADHD management normally, add a stimulant and it becomes even more important. I found the biggest thing to be making sure I've had enough protein. Excessive carbs and sugars definitely don't help and caffeine is a no go these days.

Sleep and rest in general is a huge issue I struggle with and Vyvanse is also highly dependent on How tired I am. It won't do much if I'm exhausted, so make sure to rest when you need to, get enough sleep and don't overwork yourself.

Managing my ADHD is still a work in progress. The Vyvanse has definitely helped me manage my day to day life and also self reflect on what is truly ADHD and what is a habit I've developed because of the ADHD. This might be why you aren't noticing a drastic difference. This is all still new and so your habits and coping mechanisms could still be in full swing.

You got this though, this internet stranger believes in you! If you find that maybe Vyvanse isn't right for you, there's totally zero shame in talking to your doctor about changing the dose or switching medication. ADHD is such an individual experience for each person so don't worry if yours doesn't match up with someone else's.

I hope this ramble helped. There's a lot more to it but I've already written an essay. It seems like we're going through similar situations, so feel free to message me if you want to chat about it more. Best of luck with everything!

Hey! A few questions, What time do you typically take the meds?

How much sleep do you get a week? (Don’t worry most of us including myself don’t get enough)

What are your eating habits like when on meds?

All of these things including how much stress I’m under affect the way my meds work.

It’s so difficult to keep up with it but after 4 years and 3 different meds later I’m sticking with Vyvanse 30mg and tweak my day to fit it. I do drink coffee or energy drinks when it’s a busy day and I’m “not feeling it” as much as normal.

My daughter who is 19 was just diagnosed with inattentive ADHD. She was prescribed Zenedi, 30mg morning and then 4 hours. It is making her very nauseous and tired. Has anyone taken this medication? Experiences?

Im also ADHD but take vyvanse which I’ve had good results. I let her try one but it didn’t work for her.


Q: How long do people's doctors have them on one dose level before they up them to the next?

I'm dealing with 2 week steps and it's excruciatingly slow to me.....

Hello Merriemountain My experience with Vyvanse is that is seemed to take a while for me to recognize the difference, but, I was prescribed Prozac along with it, since it was determined that my condition is a combined ADD/Anxiety. The combination has worked well for me for a long time, and I mainly have problems when I begin to think I no longer need one or both of the meds. I don't like taking the meds, since I take a number of other meds for other conditions. I would discuss your experience with your treating physician. The Vyvanse does take some time to build to the needed level and it may be you are still in that initial phase. may be that there could be another similar class med that could work better for you. When first diagnosed, I began on another med, which did not work as well. They switched to Vyvanse, and it seems to be helping. Hope all works out well. As far as a Coach or Therapist, I have not had a great deal of help with this, though, in the past, I did receive a great deal of help from therapists for some trauma I experienced. As I navigate this crazy world, I have attempted to also apply a life motto to help me; "Go Slow, Stay Low, and Don't Blow". Tromboneman.

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