View Full Version : Anyone succeeded to manage ADHD without MEDS?

01-17-12, 11:08 PM
Just curious....

01-18-12, 01:16 AM
Define succeeded to manage, please?

Space Sphere
01-18-12, 02:49 AM
depends. I'm on the same crusade to make the ADHD manageable without meds.

I have found lately that skipping meals and starving myself (due to stress) makes memory issues and short term memory completely abysmal.

01-18-12, 03:38 AM
I spent the greater share of my life OFF medication. ADHD went away with puberty. There was nothing to manage... except my own failure of a life that only I was responsible for. I was diagnosed when ADHD would magically go away with puberty. I'm looking hard at 50 and still waiting for the magic.

I have been back on meds this time for less than 2 years. I took every supplement, religiously followed diet and exercise regimes, meditated, did brain training, and EVERY OTHER D*MN THING I possibly could.

I failed. I failed miserably.

Can you manage? Sure. As long as you don't mind being homeless and losing everything. How do I know? Personal experience. Can you fight your way out of it? I did. Why would you want to put yourself in that position?

I spent most of the thirteen months between my husband's diagnosis of terminal cancer and his death off medication. My inability to manage in that time haunts me to this day.

If you want to do this without meds, by all means... do it. Your solution will be unique to you. There is NO CURE for ADHD. The only thing that has been even marginally universal is medication.

01-18-12, 01:14 PM
I love you Tig, but I need to offer a different example.

31 year of age and never been medicated. Maybe I'm much milder than Tig, who knows?

I do alright. I've had some interesting jobs, currently lucky enough to find one that pays the bills for part time hours. No career though.

Currently going back to school. Could not have done college in my twenties, managing part time at 31 just fine, doing well in my classes (that I take slowly and one at a time)

Never been homeless, but I've had a couple of close calls. Have also lived in some nice places. Right now in a nice 3 bedroom townhome (with roommate) in a middle-working class area.

Lucky to have free health care in my country. Therapy etc ...

Couple of long term relationships, longest was 5 years. No husband though.

Travelled a bit around North America. Cheaper than travelling abroad ad we have a pretty landmass here.

Contribute significantly to my spiritual community, blogs, forum, podcast, magazine articles, public outreach and rituals. Have contributed to books and such. (bet ya didn't know that I'm an author and priestess?)

Volunteer at the humane society, have worked or volunteered in animals rights for years.

Long and short of it. Managing off meds means catering to the ADHD. You CANNOT live like an NT by NT standards if you don't medicate. If you want to be a hippy chick like me, or some alternative, slacker, lifestyle, you can live med free. Maybe, depending on your survival skills, your therapist, and how severe your symptoms are.

Ain't easy though. Lost my smartphone yesterday. Out about $400. sheesh. Nothing I can do but accept it. My choice to live with ADHD med free means I choose to have things like lost cell phones happen way more than other people.

So far, I do consider my life a ADHD success. You might think not. After all, I don't have a house that I ow, or a husband or a career or a degree. I don't have that ****.

Except for the not having a husband and that I still haven't made it to Burning Man. I'm reasonably happy.

Not everyone can do that though.

I allow for the possibility that one day I might have to try meds.

01-18-12, 05:24 PM
Love you, too, hon. I was hoping that you would present a counter-point.

The best answer is the one you started with- what does "manage" mean? The next reasonable question might be, how do you define success?

Medication is such a personal choice. The value of what it brings to the table is something that only the individual can determine.

(((hugs))) hon. In my eyes, you are a success just as you are, BECAUSE you are just as you are.

01-18-12, 06:23 PM
Ladies, your opposing points of view give me a very good perspective. However, I wished meds for ADHD was as simple as straightforward as taking PEPTO BISMOL for heartburn. I don't want a choice ! Our lives are too subjective to begin with. It's too personal of a choice.

I had tried Adderal, Adderal XR, Vyvanse, Focalin - none which I liked because of side effects. For six months I am on these guys, they all worked to some degree but not to my level of satisfaction.

If you have read my previous posts, I am bearly hanging on, on all fronts: jobs, marriage, finances, fatherhood, health. If it weren't for the support of my spiritual community, family, friends, and this forum, I wouldn't be standing at all. So a stable, accurate, efficient way of treatment is what I need at the moment. Meds... still not sure. ARRRrrrgggghhh !

01-18-12, 07:10 PM
(((hugs))) Leo. I honestly wish it were simpler. Medicating isn't an answer for everyone. There is a percentage of ADHDers that don't respond at all to meds, ever. Others are so sensitive to them that the sides make the whole thing a disaster.

Coping strategies are good but highly individual. I know what works for me- a 50 year old widow, disabled, living with cats. Would the same tools work for you? Some might, others not so much... but it will take time and effort at a minimum to figure it out.

The way to deal with this is to look at what tools you actually HAVE. Your wife is supportive... but needs to have support of her own so that she doesn't crash/burn. If you don't have it already, get Gina Pera's "Is It You, Me, or Adult ADD?" The book explores the ADHD/non ADHD relationship and helps to find the coping strategies that support the partnership. Russell Barkley's "Taking Charge of Adult ADHD" takes a broad look at the impact of executive functioning deficit, asks you questions about where your difficulties lie, and goes on to suggest strategies that speak directly to those things.

The most important tool you need though is belief in yourself. I'm not saying that you should go through life believing you are perfect. I'm telling you that wearing the failure crown is part of the problem you are dealing with. You are NOT failing. You are NOT a failure. You are seeing places that you want to improve.

Leo, I really wish that dealing with this wasn't so d*mned HARD. I wish that my handy Staples "Easy" button would work for you. What I KNOW is that it isn't impossible. You have tremendous drive to fix this, you just need direction. That's what WE are for.


01-18-12, 07:18 PM
I wasn't diagnosed until I was in my late 40's but lived well, so I'd have to say I was successful by most societal standards, and was, obviously, unmedicated. Relationships were long and generally good and dating was fun. I knew I didn't like administrative tasks at home or at work so I made my career around avoiding that stuff and at home got the better half to do that stuff in exchange for other things. At one point my mentor at work, SVP and then President of one of Canada's (and the world's) largest banks, told me I had to take a staff position if I wanted to progress to the top. I declined because I knew that I would hate it and probably fail and that was the end of my stint in the bank's succession planning program. We have to know ourselves well enough to understand what we can and can't do well and make decisions based on that, not on what the 'usual' path or thing to do is.

I think ADD'ers need to really self examine themselves well to know these strengths and weaknesses and have a little (or a lot) of extra determination, and then we can do it!

01-18-12, 08:04 PM
Leo, my husband does not take meds. He did for a bit as a child, but the directions his mother was given were, "Give him a pill and some extra spankings to get rid of his adhd." No surprise with 'help' like that the meds didn't work well enough to continue them.

We met when we were 10 years old and started dating when we were 12, so we basically shaped and moulded each other into the adults we are today. We both help each other and compliment each other-after many many years of rubbing together we kind of made grooves we both fit snugly into.

We never consciously decided to handle his adhd, or even that his problems were because of his adhd. There were just certain things he couldn't do, no matter what. Finances are one of them. He just can't do them. So I do them.

Home repairs/maintenence-not happening on a regular basis. It took him 10 years to put in floors upstairs-10 years of the floors in boxes in the hallway. They became shelf space. We now have ALL the bedrooms done and half the hallway done! The stairs are still plywood. The lightbulbs in the stairwell have been blown out for 11 years. We have no wall just bare studs next to the fridge. (when we got the new fridge and it didn't fit into the exisiting space he tore down the wall with his bare hands. Punched it, hit it with palm heel strikes and ripped it out. He was P I S S E D!)

Wild crazy temper tantrums- yes he does have them. We have had holes in walls, holes in the headboard on our bed, smashed kitchen cabinets, smashed stove, numerous tools flung across the yard and lost/broken (one was a chainsaw-THAT was an interesting tantrum)

He works out of the house mostly. So no set time he has to be dressed and out the door and at work. He works in his pajamas. He takes breaks during the day when he needs to. He does travel, less now that he is a regional manager vs a territory manager.

He HAS to work out on a regular basis-for him it's krav maga/dts. He is getting back into his fish hobby, (with promises that this time it will NOT be a business but a true hobby and he will limit himself.....not holding my breath on that one)

So basically he has structured his entire life around his adhd instead of trying to do things his adhd makes nearly impossible for him. I don't care about things like what the house looks like, or the yard or his temper tantrums as long as he doesn't throw things at me.

I don't care that he leaves everything he's finished with in the exact spot he is in when he's done with it. I don't care that he can NOT keep track of how much money he's spent or remember to put the receipts where I can handle them. (Thank GOD! for the internet and online banking!)

For his job, he is able to get his stuff done because he sets the pace. Yes he's missed deadlines but his company is most concerned with the sales number at the end of the month, and he can sell sand on the desert. He has so many pages open on his laptop at any given time, and each one is his current thing he has to deal with, so he keeps track that way. He is very good at his job- he is an excellent manager.

Making sure he has outlets is crucially vitally important. For his mental and physical health.

When anything changes in his life it sets him off. He will be fierce and angry and more prone to have a tantrum. For example our daughter came home for Christmas break and even though he was THRILLED to have her home, he had a few meltdowns over tiny little things while she was home.

Some would say that no he isn't "successfully managing" his adhd because he cannot pay his bills, control his temper or have his house tidy and maintained. I say none of that really matters. Some things really get him down and make him feel terrible. I feel like it's one of my jobs as his wife to make sure he sees what he DOES accomplish and that his kids adore him even though he loses his cool.

It is all about perspective. How YOU feel about your life and what you can and can not do.

01-19-12, 02:43 AM
Tigger, thank you for your recommendations and hugs. I read Barkley's book, it's the application that's troublesome. I am reading Gina's book - appalling how wives have to suffer. My wife has expressed her frustration, but not to the degree that these wives do on the book. I am flaberghasted (spelling?). Therefore desperately need to continue my treatment.

Luv, we meet again - but same topic looms. How do you keep on staying with your husband? I know in my head that I need to straighten up. I am pretty much same as your husband. I cannot imagine how my wife feels, she is so strong and doesn't express herself much. Instead of using my fears to motivate myself, I start worrying about her associations with her male friends and start ruminating (it's a good old habit of mine). I am pretty good at negative imaginations.

I just need to do all those things Barkley's book describes. I am sure you read Gina's book. Off to do some exercise now instead of too much time here on the forum, which I enjoy (or addicted to).

01-19-12, 02:50 AM

Success = making my wife happy = stable job, stable income to support family, paying full attention to my kids when I am with them and not daydream or ruminate, daily aerobic exercise of 30 minutes, not on meds, not shaking with fear and insecurity in front of successful males, having long term friends, smile each day, having the motivation to buy my wife a nice Christmas/Valentine's day present, making my parents proud and not have to worry about me financially, having energy to play sports and board games with my 8 year old son, not worry about unreal danger, able to help other when they are in need instead of worrying about my own problems, studying/learning new things, not needing to spend time to find my own stimulation, doing laundry and dishes that's clean when they are out of the dryer, not having to have a balance on credit cards, etc... etc... etc.

01-19-12, 02:54 AM
It depends what you mean by managing. I suspect we all found ways to manage the best we knew how before we knew we had ADD or in some cases, even what that was. I did the best I could, is all I can say.

01-19-12, 11:17 AM
[quote]Luv, we meet again - but same topic looms. How do you keep on staying with your husband?

Because he is f' ing AWESOME and I love him! The same could easily be asked how does he keep on staying with me?

He is 100% responsible for supporting our family-it is a tremendous heavy burden. Even when the kids got older and were in high school, I still did not work a 'real' job outside the home. (I traded making dance costumes for dance tuition and competition fees). Now I take care of our grandson. His has been the only paycheck for 21 years.

I am bithcy and moody.

When he has a fit I used to yell right back at him, sometimes I still do.

Our house is a mess because I don't spend much time at all cleaning it. My mental health is a fragile thing too- I get depressed and overwhelmed and spent almost 2 years of my life in a chair in my bedroom reading.

I don't cook either. He does, and very well, which is why he does it. He does the grocery shopping too because I HATE! leaving my house. And because he says I spend too much money on junk food.

He cleans the kitchen most often, usually so he'll have a spot to cook in.

NO ONE is perfect! People are annoying creatures with irritating mannerisms, habits and quirks.

All those problems I have and my husband has are just tiny bits of our life. They are not our WHOLE life. We do not dwell on the negatives but celebrate the positives. For him that is not easy and something that took years and years and years to be able to do. He still struggles with it.

He is not only "the glass is half empty" he is "the glass is half empty because there MUST be a crack in it".

We all have to focus our energies on something and I choose to not waste mine on negative things. Life is too short! Spending time on negative stuff means there's much less time to spend on the positives, and I WILL enjoy the positives to their absolute fullest!

I know in my head that I need to straighten up. I am pretty much same as your husband. I cannot imagine how my wife feels, she is so strong and doesn't express herself much. Instead of using my fears to motivate myself, I start worrying about her associations with her male friends and start ruminating (it's a good old habit of mine). I am pretty good at negative imaginations.

You seem to have identified the issue within yourself, and I think that's amazing! I sure hope you give yourself credit for that!:yes:

My husband's self destructive thought patterns were different, he never had them about our marriage but about his job.

Once he was able to identify them for the desrtrictuve things they were, it was much easier for him to begin the process of changing them. Again, not easy and took much time. He is now able to set aside personal feelings, accept what he can not change and put the job aside at the end of the day. It took about 11 years to get to this point. It was a gradual shift. He is still very productive and successful at his job, which was the goal all along. :yes:

Don't shortchange your own worth as a huband and father and son and as a human being. You do not NEED to be perfect. You do not NEED to be able to completely alter your brain and be rid of your adhd to be worthy. :grouphug:

Your wife sounds awesome!

01-19-12, 10:10 PM
I haven't, but my dad has (mostly without having a choice...he wasn't in a generation where things like this were treated).

As a child, he was hyperactive to the point where his parents kept him on a leash (which was o_O in the 1950s) when they were in cities so they wouldn't lose him. He hasn't had an easy life in a lot of ways (lost his dad at a young age and had to take over supporting his family), but he has managed to get through without turning to substance abuse like many in our family have.

The way he manages his life is just like what Luv said - around the ADHD. Because he needs so many things to focus on, he has multiple businesses that he runs and takes on new projects regularly. We live in an economically impoverished area, but because of his innovative tendencies, selling ability, etc, he does very well providing for my family. Off the top of my head, he has held no less than 2-3 jobs at any given point (even in college), and has worked in over 10 different fields. He is very fortunate to have a good business sense.

If you were just to look at how "successful" he has been - you would never see that my mom is holding him together most of the time as his structure, that he has been in several vehicle accidents due to his distraction or carelessness (some where he almost died), that he often makes terribly impulsive financial decisions (that somehow work out for him), that he can't stay still even when on hospital rest orders, he forgets everything, lacks organization, and absolutely loves chaos. But, he makes that work for him and my mom (bless her heart) is able to keep up with the whirlwind.

01-20-12, 03:55 AM
I don't think I ever personally succeeded with or without meds. I just fail.

01-31-12, 02:50 AM
I got a 3.5 GPA last semester, my first semester away from home and on my own. Personally, I'd say that's successful.

01-31-12, 04:19 AM
Not me, but my Mom did. She's got skills.

01-31-12, 06:10 AM
No,I have not succeeded very long at all without meds!
Dont ever want to go back to that unless I have to because I get pregnant or am breastfeeding.I have been without meds for about 25 years (before I got the diagnose) and that is a scary thought to me.
I have tried different therapies and diets and brain trainings.