View Full Version : How much does medication help?


Starskii
08-16-14, 09:48 AM
I was diagnosed with ADHD when I was 7 and went untreated. I am finally being put on treatment for my senior year in high school and I plan on going to college. My grades have always been around Cs. I really wanna be a Computer Science & Business Administration major (two degrees) both of which are fairly rigorous programs at most schools.

I just wanna know what I can expect when treatment starts. My problem (and I'm sure I share these symptoms with most on this forum) is that in class I will hear a conversation at a different table that sound intriguing, or my phone will buzz, or I will think of playing a game instead of studying or doing work. When I first get into class, I have the intention to do well but unless I sit by myself I never seem to be able to hold concentration. Does medication help you?

Snapdragon
08-16-14, 01:55 PM
I am on my second day of medication, I start school on Monday but have to say I can read and concentrate on the subject so much better I have high hopes. I feel like it is going to be life changing.

aeon
08-16-14, 03:18 PM
It was (and is) for me.

Darkneko
08-16-14, 06:09 PM
I'm on Ritalin and yes it helps alot. I mean when I'm not medicated I get distracted from everything like a conversation, a random thought, what others are wearing, a laptop screen or even if someone drops a pen. I'm at uni studying a difficult course with lots of techical content and names and numbers and other small details not to mention 4 compulsary math subjects. At the moment I am not doing much else for my ADD but I plan to enter therapy and make a plan for school tasks. Actually focussing helps me learn the content. Thats sorta the point.

Starskii
08-16-14, 07:25 PM
I'm on Ritalin and yes it helps alot. I mean when I'm not medicated I get distracted from everything like a conversation, a random thought, what others are wearing, a laptop screen or even if someone drops a pen. I'm at uni studying a difficult course with lots of techical content and names and numbers and other small details not to mention 4 compulsary math subjects. At the moment I am not doing much else for my ADD but I plan to enter therapy and make a plan for school tasks. Actually focussing helps me learn the content. Thats sorta the point.

That is really great to hear! As long as I can remember I've had moments in conversations where we will be talking, and all of a sudden I will remember something and COMPLETELY forget what we were talking about. I can't handle windows in classrooms. Looking at the sky > Trigonometry.

InvitroCanibal
08-17-14, 12:19 AM
I found since taking several science classes and failing at first, that a lot of adhd is psychological and only a small amount of it is chemical. When it comes to school anyways.

The thing with school is that everyone, and I mean everyone is using flash cards to memorize their textbooks, and I tried that, and I failed even with medication. Then I realized why I failed, because I was just trying to do what everyone else did which was mindlessly memorize stuff and I couldn't pull the information out.

I realized adhd individuals, or maybe just me, are deep learners, we need to understand how all the pieces work together in order to find them important enough to remember; not just mindless definitions. It sounds obvious but it isn't often done in schools, especially when you feel rushed and a test is around the corner.

An example would be that when i'm studying a sensory organ like the eye, I can't just start memorizing the names of each part. That is useless. I need to understand the function of each part and then understand how it relates to the other parts as a whole so that I assemble a picture in my head of how the whole system works.

After that I started doing well because I wasn't doing wrote memorization anymore.

I'll tell you what the meds do help with though, because i've tried school on meds and off them. I take breaks every now and then. The meds help me start doing my school work and reinforce my behavior of doing it. That's it.....

At first you'll feel like the meds do more than that for you, and maybe they do at first but you see there are many kinds of focus which is required of us

Focused attention: The ability to respond discretely to specific visual, auditory or tactile stimuli.

Sustained attention (vigilance): The ability to maintain a consistent behavioral response during continuous and repetitive activity.

Selective attention: The ability to maintain a behavioral or cognitive set in the face of distracting or competing stimuli. Therefore it incorporates the notion of "freedom from distractibility."

Alternating attention: The ability of mental flexibility that allows individuals to shift their focus of attention and move between tasks having different cognitive requirements.

Divided attention: This is the highest level of attention and it refers to the ability to respond simultaneously to multiple tasks or multiple task demands.


Meds will only help for a few of these. Namely focused attention, selective attention, and sustained attention.

They actually can make alternating attention worse, as well as divided attention.

At the beginning you will see improvements in all of them but only the three will remain after a while. The rest will be about developing your interest in the subject itself and finding ways to build divided attention as well as alternating attention by understanding how everything relates to eachother and it's general function.

Also, make sure the dose you take is a dose you can sleep on. My doc gave me that advice and that was how I found the right dose because it allowed me to get full day coverage 24/7, though I have to take four doses a day, every four hours.


Always remember that being adhd, you need to find your way of doing things that works for you


Hope that helps

Starskii
08-17-14, 05:09 AM
I found since taking several science classes and failing at first, that a lot of adhd is psychological and only a small amount of it is chemical. When it comes to school anyways.

The thing with school is that everyone, and I mean everyone is using flash cards to memorize their textbooks, and I tried that, and I failed even with medication. Then I realized why I failed, because I was just trying to do what everyone else did which was mindlessly memorize stuff and I couldn't pull the information out.

I realized adhd individuals, or maybe just me, are deep learners, we need to understand how all the pieces work together in order to find them important enough to remember; not just mindless definitions. It sounds obvious but it isn't often done in schools, especially when you feel rushed and a test is around the corner.

An example would be that when i'm studying a sensory organ like the eye, I can't just start memorizing the names of each part. That is useless. I need to understand the function of each part and then understand how it relates to the other parts as a whole so that I assemble a picture in my head of how the whole system works.

After that I started doing well because I wasn't doing wrote memorization anymore.

I'll tell you what the meds do help with though, because i've tried school on meds and off them. I take breaks every now and then. The meds help me start doing my school work and reinforce my behavior of doing it. That's it.....

At first you'll feel like the meds do more than that for you, and maybe they do at first but you see there are many kinds of focus which is required of us

Focused attention: The ability to respond discretely to specific visual, auditory or tactile stimuli.

Sustained attention (vigilance): The ability to maintain a consistent behavioral response during continuous and repetitive activity.

Selective attention: The ability to maintain a behavioral or cognitive set in the face of distracting or competing stimuli. Therefore it incorporates the notion of "freedom from distractibility."

Alternating attention: The ability of mental flexibility that allows individuals to shift their focus of attention and move between tasks having different cognitive requirements.

Divided attention: This is the highest level of attention and it refers to the ability to respond simultaneously to multiple tasks or multiple task demands.


Meds will only help for a few of these. Namely focused attention, selective attention, and sustained attention.

They actually can make alternating attention worse, as well as divided attention.

At the beginning you will see improvements in all of them but only the three will remain after a while. The rest will be about developing your interest in the subject itself and finding ways to build divided attention as well as alternating attention by understanding how everything relates to eachother and it's general function.

Also, make sure the dose you take is a dose you can sleep on. My doc gave me that advice and that was how I found the right dose because it allowed me to get full day coverage 24/7, though I have to take four doses a day, every four hours.


Always remember that being adhd, you need to find your way of doing things that works for you


Hope that helps

Hopefully that means the medication will benefit me greatly. The last two seem to explain my focus in general. I am always moving onto new subjects. Even in social conversation I jump around constantly. The first three are the ones I have extreme difficulty with. If we could step into a time machine and observe my class behavior you would notice some pretty major consistencies. Especially in math. In every math class I've ever had, on any given day, I would probably be the kid sitting in the back having a discussion about pokemon. Or possibly, politics, science, sports, or anything but what x equals. If not that, I'm the one staring out the window, daydreaming. Or the one doodling clouds on the side of his worksheet.

The only reason I've passed any math classes is the last minute cram-sessions at home. "Oh wait! You mean tomorrows the exam!?" Suddenly I'm rummaging through month-old, crumpled, war-torn study guides, homework sheets and formulas. I would spend the entire next day in the library studying, and then earn myself a C on the exam. Barely enough to pass. (considering my grade in the class was usually failing.)

However in areas that interested me I was a little different. In Civics or Economics, I was attentive. In English I was attentive when discussing world events, literature, philosophy or anything of that sort. However I couldn't concentrate on grammar. In science I was great until we got into Chemistry where mathematics and formulas took over. I got through Chemistry with a 61%.

Now here we are. Interestingly I've taken an interest to programming and computer science. I feel you can predict my ultimatum...

Options:

A). Follow your passion. Get good at math, study your heart out and prepare yourself for advanced calculus. (you need it to get a CS degree.) However, you risk failure in college or poor grades.

B). Go into English or something that is less personally challenging. However, risk a possible missed opportunity.



tl;dr: It's good that it helps you focus in those areas. I hope it helps me major in CS.

InvitroCanibal
08-18-14, 11:59 PM
Hopefully that means the medication will benefit me greatly. The last two seem to explain my focus in general. I am always moving onto new subjects. Even in social conversation I jump around constantly. The first three are the ones I have extreme difficulty with. If we could step into a time machine and observe my class behavior you would notice some pretty major consistencies. Especially in math. In every math class I've ever had, on any given day, I would probably be the kid sitting in the back having a discussion about pokemon. Or possibly, politics, science, sports, or anything but what x equals. If not that, I'm the one staring out the window, daydreaming. Or the one doodling clouds on the side of his worksheet.

The only reason I've passed any math classes is the last minute cram-sessions at home. "Oh wait! You mean tomorrows the exam!?" Suddenly I'm rummaging through month-old, crumpled, war-torn study guides, homework sheets and formulas. I would spend the entire next day in the library studying, and then earn myself a C on the exam. Barely enough to pass. (considering my grade in the class was usually failing.)

However in areas that interested me I was a little different. In Civics or Economics, I was attentive. In English I was attentive when discussing world events, literature, philosophy or anything of that sort. However I couldn't concentrate on grammar. In science I was great until we got into Chemistry where mathematics and formulas took over. I got through Chemistry with a 61%.

Now here we are. Interestingly I've taken an interest to programming and computer science. I feel you can predict my ultimatum...

Options:

A). Follow your passion. Get good at math, study your heart out and prepare yourself for advanced calculus. (you need it to get a CS degree.) However, you risk failure in college or poor grades.

B). Go into English or something that is less personally challenging. However, risk a possible missed opportunity.



tl;dr: It's good that it helps you focus in those areas. I hope it helps me major in CS.

Challenge and interest are the only two things that motivate adhd people. My doctor had told me that as well, he is one of the best and most respected doctors in the country as far as adhd goes by the way, if you'd like I can give you some links to articles he has written on addititude.com, but I don't wanna spam you with anything.


Also, alternating attention is the ability to shift from something you are engaged in or interested in or is challenging, to something else you may not be interested in.

I'll say that honestly, it doesn't help with planning, or procrastination, you'll still do those things if you do not actively involve yourself into planning and organizing and time management. These are things the meds generally don't help with. They help you sustain a task, not start it. It takes willpower and courage to start something that feels overwhelming and meds won't change that. Most people don't want to hear that though, they want to wake up and feel like a new person but you'll still be you with half the flaws, the meds will make those remaining flaws more clear to you as they take away others. High light them in effect and sometimes worsen them, and can make you depressed for it.

I'm not trying to make you anxious or nervous, because meds do help, but I feel like if I didn't warn you about their ugly side, i'd be leaving you to face avoidable future failures.

It's my personal opinion that doctors tend to over exaggerate adhd medication benefits. The meds give you the ability to focus on one thing at a time, however without will power, you'll focus on the wrong things. Meds can actually make things worse for this reason because if you focus so intently on something you are interested in you can lose track of time and therefore lose time management. This is the challenge in balance with your medication. The higher your dose goes, the more intently focused you will be, but not always for the better. You have to weigh that for yourself, where your dose should be.

I feel like the negatives of the meds are not clearly stated. In terms of what too much looks like and what too little looks like. Too much is when you completely lose the ability to alternate between tasks and manage your time. Too little is when you do not have the ability to focus on one thing at a time. You are still stuck in the multi task world of adhd with multiple thoughts running simultaneously and very little external stimulus filtration. You read a book for example and your mind starts to wander even as you're reading. But, as I said earlier, the psychological element is part of that as well, in terms of building interest in the subject.

Too high of a dose is when you also feel amped, rushed, sleepy, agitated, euphoric, foggy, etc... Most of those are the physical symptoms that doctors like to tote as being too much, but in truth I never got the physical symptoms so I had a hard time nailing down what too much looked like. It was only in the product of my efforts that I realized the results or lack there of, that I had to take a lower dose on my meds. You'll have to do the same, follow the product of your efforts, and record them at each dose on a weekly reflective journal. You may not feel anything at all on the meds and that's okay, what matters is the results.

You may also still feel some internal restlessness from your adhd but that depends on how much hyperactivity there was, both internally and physically. I titrated it on the point system, when I do something consistently that week, I give myself a point. Just writing the journal is one point, doing cleaning around the house that needed to be done each day is a point per each day I cleaned. If I organized or planned things or attempted to, I give myself a point to record. Each week I go up by 5 mgs (if I were still titrating it) and compare my weekly scores. This will save you a lot of time in finding the right dose.

Obviously, the week with the highest score is the dose you should be on, as you see the score go down when you go up, then stop and go back to the previous week with the highest score. Too much can look like untreated adhd and you can in fact sky rocket over your therapeutic dose without even realizing it. My doctor had me do something similar but his was much faster and I had to redo it slower in order to find the right dose. Ofcourse discuss this with your doctor, set up a plan of action with him and see if he's okay with this line of reasoning. Don't base the perfect dose as being the one where all your symptoms are gone, you'll probably never find that one., your only going with the MOST effective daily dose. That will generally be the dose you stay on forever, unless your doc suggests otherwise.

Many people on these forums get ensnared by these meds, it's a double edged sword, it can be the cure and also the curse depending on how you wield it. How you wield it, is dependent upon the psychological realm of things. Do not get ensnared and think your meds will fix everything. Focus more on the psychological elements then the meds themselves. Otherwise you'll be back on these forums saying the meds don't work anymore, you'll get frustrated, worn out and drained from them if you aren't careful.

That's as much advice as I can give and I hope it helps, as always.


best of luck to you