View Full Version : My Medication Break - Worthwhile?


Powderbucket
06-18-15, 04:26 AM
Hi all,

So after being on Concerta for a straight month, I decided to have a 5-day break from the medication. My main reason was because I just finished exams, and wanted to let-loose, have a drink and just be myself without any added pressure for a little. My psychiatrist said that a break isn't a bad thing, and is encouraged depending on what you're trying to achieve, but I will certainly "notice" my old ways coming back.

Well she was definitely right about that, and I'm also left thinking if these "breaks" are even worth it.

Most surprisingly, I did not experience any tiredness or fatigue at all for all 5 days. I thought I would, because of added "energy" or whatever that this med gives me, but nah, nothing of that sort. What I did notice immediately, however, was that I did not enjoy functioning as much. At work, I did not do a stitch of work and I got irritated. My moods went very up and down, and I was super happy and energetic at some points and then fell into a slump very quickly if something annoyed me. I had no desire to do work, or any chores. I was more sensitive and emotional, and I felt that I could not control myself. The only positive thing I noticed was that my libido was back to normal - I have found that Concerta kills my mojo slightly, and it is now considered a bit of a problem in my relationship.

Anyway, so the medication holiday - worth it? I don't know. I didn't actually enjoy it as much as I thought. I'm now back on my medication, and I'm happy and in control and just feel BETTER overall, about everything. It's really not only about chores and work, this medication benefits so many spheres of my life, and now I'm not sure of when it's ever appropriate to "take a break". The mojo has flown out the window since being back on them, but it can be worked on, with effort and understanding.

What I would recommend, however, is a break if you're going to drink. I feel like a pile of maggoty meat when I have a glass of wine on a day I've taken Concerta. However, I had a bottle of wine on the first day I was off Concerta, and it was great! No maggoty feeling, just chilled and happy.

How do you guys feel about medication breaks?

sarahsweets
06-18-15, 04:58 AM
I know this subject gets debated every now and then and this is just my opinion and my doctor's opinion. Breaks for me are NEVER good. I have adhd 365/24/7 and my unmedicated self is a bad deal. I drive dangerously and my level of distraction is a hazard. Meds do more than give me focus. They reduce my anxiety, help clear my head, help me to sit still, help my mood, help my motivation etc. Without them, my life unravels fast. There are a few reasons from my point of view that people take breaks. Some people dont like themselves as much on meds and like to have that fly by night personality thing, so even though they know they need meds, they take breaks. Some people have uniformed doctors who insist its a necessary form of treatment to somehow "give the body a break"; diabetics dont need breaks, bipolar people dont need med breaks so I dont follow that one. Most people get all worked up over fear of tolerance and think that taking a break somehow resets them and makes the meds work well or better again. Sure, they may "feel" the med more when they resume but they dont actually work better, they just feel it after a break for a few days and somehow equate that with working better. My doctor very plainly said I shouldnt take breaks. She said that I am prescribed these meds for a good reason, because my level of functioning is so severe, that I need medication to bring me closer to "normal" ( i hate that word, sorry). Any break Ive had has either been because I was so sick I only had to worry about laying in bed, or I have had some kind of medical procedure where taking them would be useless. I am also hesitant to advise anyone to take a break for the purpose of drinking. Why would having a glass of wine or two or three trump your need for symptom control? To me, its just not worth it.

Powderbucket
06-18-15, 05:44 AM
I know this subject gets debated every now and then and this is just my opinion and my doctor's opinion. Breaks for me are NEVER good. I have adhd 365/24/7 and my unmedicated self is a bad deal. I drive dangerously and my level of distraction is a hazard. Meds do more than give me focus. They reduce my anxiety, help clear my head, help me to sit still, help my mood, help my motivation etc. Without them, my life unravels fast. There are a few reasons from my point of view that people take breaks. Some people dont like themselves as much on meds and like to have that fly by night personality thing, so even though they know they need meds, they take breaks. Some people have uniformed doctors who insist its a necessary form of treatment to somehow "give the body a break"; diabetics dont need breaks, bipolar people dont need med breaks so I dont follow that one. Most people get all worked up over fear of tolerance and think that taking a break somehow resets them and makes the meds work well or better again. Sure, they may "feel" the med more when they resume but they dont actually work better, they just feel it after a break for a few days and somehow equate that with working better. My doctor very plainly said I shouldnt take breaks. She said that I am prescribed these meds for a good reason, because my level of functioning is so severe, that I need medication to bring me closer to "normal" ( i hate that word, sorry). Any break Ive had has either been because I was so sick I only had to worry about laying in bed, or I have had some kind of medical procedure where taking them would be useless. I am also hesitant to advise anyone to take a break for the purpose of drinking. Why would having a glass of wine or two or three trump your need for symptom control? To me, its just not worth it.

Don't worry, I know what you mean by "normal". I equate it with "functioning" :)

What you say is very true. I'm one of those people that have been concerned about my tolerance level building up. Since my medication has been working so well, I really have a fear that they might stop working because my body has built a tolerance against them. Also, SO MANY people talk about med breaks, so it kind of feels like "the right thing to do". There's also a level of "I want to not be dependent/addicted to these things", so I'm trying to prove a point to myself. There's also the, "Who is the real me? Medicated me or unmedicated me?" that plays a role in wanting to take the breaks.

Sigh. Reading those sentences again does make my thinking seem a bit out of place, and a bit negative.

My doctor was quite iffy about the breaks, but she encouraged it only if it makes me feel better in some way. She's of the opinion that if something makes you happier without harming you, then whose to say stop it? I really like her attitude, but of course, I'm wondering if these breaks are just making things worse than they should be.

And yeah, it's so much more than just focus. It's almost like the whole "focus" thing has become secondary, and all the positive motivational and emotional impact its had on me is the top thing.

I think I've just been feeling claustrophobic in a way, that I'm trapped in a brain that's not always my friend, and is dependent on controversial medicine to be more of my friend. My partner says that my thinking is very negative, and that I should rather be celebrating that there is a pill out there to make me be the "me" I've always wanted to be, and was always meant to be.

Abi
06-18-15, 06:01 AM
dependent on controversial medicine

Just a quick observation - stimulants aren't really controversial except in ignorant and uninformed circles.

someothertime
06-18-15, 08:04 AM
Practically.... there are lifestyle constraints with breaks ( work and relationships..... personal fluctutaions interfering with those )..... there are neuro pro's and con's..... allowing ones chemistry to rest / reset / recover.... ( depending on med / person / dose / diet etc. this varies hugely ).... and as such..... this 're
setting" may be approached in many ways...... or even not necissary..... and in some cases....... have negative repercussions...........


On the behavioral side... negating negative kickbacks from breaks..... my epinion is that once every two years min...... one can have 2 - 4 weeks.... ( whatever time is necissary to purge and see dawn again from altered eyes )...... to see just how much they have changed / haven't ........ goals.... behaviors..... materials....... spirituals.... life in totality i guess....... I guess that could be a bit of a catch 22 in ways unmonitored....... where one may make core decisions / changes / directions..... wherein.... perhaps their "totality" is not present........ not saying they are wrong....... more "blinkered".......

So yes.... breaks or no breaks........ and occasional stepping back......... and an occasional "reset"....... IMO are very very pertinent.

Powderbucket
06-18-15, 08:46 AM
Just a quick observation - stimulants aren't really controversial except in ignorant and uninformed circles.

Agreed! But I mean, just Google it and you see the amount of rubbish articles that come up on the search results page. This is what everyone sees, so everyone builds a certain opinion based on this bombardment. Then, when you have all these voices and opinions going into your head, you have to constantly remember that it's rubbish, and need to convince yourself that you know better. It's unfortunate.

Powderbucket
06-18-15, 08:53 AM
So yes.... breaks or no breaks........ and occasional stepping back......... and an occasional "reset"....... IMO are very very pertinent.

So the goal is not to necessarily take a medication break then - more to just get a different perspective, or a breath of fresh air?

Sounds like I should just go on holiday then, with or without meds - doesn't matter.

I mean, the whole past two months have been crazy with the diagnosis, treatment, medication, lifestyle changes, etc. Maybe my desire to take a break from the medication is more for me to take a break from these life things.

Abi
06-18-15, 10:48 AM
How's Josie these days? I lived there briefly some years ago, hated the place, gave me a mental breakdown :)

Powderbucket
06-19-15, 02:14 AM
How's Josie these days? I lived there briefly some years ago, hated the place, gave me a mental breakdown :)

Jozi bru :p

It is what it is! Obviously, everyone would prefer to live by the sea, but it seems to be changing into something more diverse and metropolitan. There's just so much to do here now, but obviously, it all costs something. I actually almost got a job in Umhlanga the other day, but I really need to stop job hopping, so I'm sticking it out here for now.

Traffic is a b****, and the taxis are absolutely mad - I thank my medication for the calming effect it has on me during the rush hour mornings :mad:

I can see why you would have half a mental breakdown here. People are pretty negative and stuff, but the trick is to stay positive and just keep smiling. We try to get out of town as much as possible, just to refresh and "reset".

Pilgrim
06-19-15, 08:55 AM
I try to not take breaks if I can. I see the old ways returning, and especially thinking and certain behaviours. Unfortunately I'm awesome on Sex, I mean Dex.

Powderbucket
06-22-15, 07:26 AM
I try to not take breaks if I can. I see the old ways returning, and especially thinking and certain behaviours. Unfortunately I'm awesome on Sex, I mean Dex.

Yeah, I'm starting to think that my mistake was taking a break for 5 days straight.

I had a day off on Saturday, and it went super well. Continued medication on Sunday, and also really good. Seem to be finding what I can work with.

Seeing the doctor again tomorrow for another follow-up and will discuss this with her.

chivalrouspal
06-23-15, 08:21 AM
Hi there powder,
So we got the diagnosis/medications almost in the same timing and i was really curious how did it go with you. The thing is i got Dexa and not Meta based medication.
Basically, i felt looking in the mirror :) seeing the chain of worries when everything's going fine and the drug is cool and you are happy but, your intelligence and logic jumps to what if scenarios (tolerance if you keep taking!)
So i did that also stopped two days and was totally bad /foggy but after those 2 days the next day i increased my dose (i met the doctor and he told me to try 12.5 and even 15 (max) on a single dose) and the increase was the best i`ve ever had.. excellent focus (but still the scatter is there and dexa isn't really directly affecting that) and most importantly Enjoying Socializing and conversations, hopefully wasn`t a euphoria though cause it lasted for many hours.

Yeah, I'm starting to think that my mistake was taking a break for 5 days straight.

I had a day off on Saturday, and it went super well. Continued medication on Sunday, and also really good. Seem to be finding what I can work with.

Seeing the doctor again tomorrow for another follow-up and will discuss this with her.

I think that as well. And if you are a caffeine addict (completely stopped on dexa! lol) go back to it that day.. for me it worked and if it won't its just a day.
What i really wanna know though is about motivation..how do you find that helping? red much its the main difference between Dex/Meth... are you better?? and the scatter in when you need to focus on 1 is it gone? Dex doesn't motivate me but it have some kind of snowball/longterm (go and do stuff) so as you mentioned, all in all i`m BETTER me.
I wrote a 4 page resume/cover letter (technical and hard) it took me 3-4 days with procrastination (with dexa on and the other day off)

Good luck with your doctor visit, best of results god willing.

Powderbucket
06-24-15, 02:13 AM
What i really wanna know though is about motivation..how do you find that helping? red much its the main difference between Dex/Meth... are you better?? and the scatter in when you need to focus on 1 is it gone? Dex doesn't motivate me but it have some kind of snowball/longterm (go and do stuff) so as you mentioned, all in all i`m BETTER me.
I wrote a 4 page resume/cover letter (technical and hard) it took me 3-4 days with procrastination (with dexa on and the other day off)

Good luck with your doctor visit, best of results god willing.

Thank you :) The pdoc appointment went super well. She called me the "textbook example of a before-and-after ADHD female". O.O

I don't feel the need to "get up and do things" on Concerta - but I like this. I don't really know how to explain it, but everything just becomes a lot more pleasant on the stuff, so then it naturally makes me want to work or cook or read or exercise or play video games etc etc.... I think a better way to put it is that it gets rid of demotivation, it does not necessarily spark me with a ray of energetic do-goodness.

I'm not sure if I'd like the more amphetamine-based medication. I like the control I have over myself on Concerta, and I like the gentle come-on and come-off effect. Of course, I can't say too much since I've never tried an amphetamine-based pill, but I do think Concerta is just fine for me for now.

Sickle
07-02-15, 02:15 PM
I took a break for a few months and went back to Ritalin based meds because of the patch form, which I prefer even though I use a short acting in the morning because they take forever to work and I went back to my old self right off. Argued with everyone. Couldn't leave voicemails without it beeping and having to re-record. I ended up flooding my apartment because my toilet clogged and I didn't pay attention to it. Losing things. The daydreaming while walking and almost getting hit. Practicing conversations while walking in public and looking schizophrenic to people etc. The nonstop talking etc.

I don't see benefits in doing that myself. I regret it but I won't be going back to dexedrine until their patch comes out so I am back from my break. I also hate the initial side effect thing when I start them again so I prefer to stay on them.

tinybike
07-04-15, 07:36 AM
My Dr told me not to take breaks for the same reasons that have been outlined here - it's a daily medication for a daily impairment. I can get to the point where I forget my medication does anything because it feels like nothing, though - especially when I am on a school holiday, and I'm not trying to do homework 10 hours a day lol. It really does keep my impulses in check though!! My hyperactivity/impulsive behaviours are my biggest impairments IMO.

chivalrouspal
07-09-15, 08:52 AM
I had to share this with you, and the results were surely good.i was feeling blue (in australia, migrant, job searching, worried about money etc.) so i had to try a break because i felt medication on its best dose for 5 continuous days had the following:
*Started to almost give nothing of effect at all. (12.5 mg IR Dexa X2)
*While blue i felt it Inflated the emotional feelings while blue
* stopped for 3 days in which i was still blue but didn`t feel any drawbacks for stopping.

When i came back to medication i was HAPPY and motivated! again i don't know what is a euphoria but this LASTED for almost the whole day with me. and left me without the blue feeling of the previous days.

I have to say that i have been on this 12.5 X2 for like 10 times. (new on dexa for 2 months already and elevating dosage to a max of 30mg)

IN both times i took a break, i was not sleeping since the day before (trying to fix my sleeping that always gets wrecked by my restlessness, and the insomnia on the med.)
I can`t really understand why when i don`t really sleep i`m more calm, having no social anxieties , and above all medication kicks in hard and for the full duration.

Anyway, yesterday i also didn't get the medication , and again, today i was good relatively on the 1st dose.
With the medication continuous, i just feel it accumulates, and side effects accumulate as well (heavy insomnia, and increased hard beats even 10 hrs after last dose)
I`m happy with this, and beside all, my doctor repeated this advice twice to me that i gotta break off (like 15-20% of times on it when i'm relaxed at home with no need to focus) and looks its working.
But also my last worry is that i might just be getting tolerance for the med, and breaking counters that.

Nabil

MusiciansWish
10-18-15, 07:13 PM
I have ADHD with some vicious impulses/mood swings/high energy/anxiety...yadda yadda. I take Concerta and Ritalin. When ever I take a drug break, it makes me feel as if I am giving my brain a break, but downside is that my impulses and other symptoms get out of control. My Psychiatrist knows what I am doing and approves of it...but he does get concerned about the fact that it's extremely easy for me to loose my marbles at the drop of a hat and how I am prone to meltdowns at work. If taking a break helps you, then keep doing your thing....but if not, take your meds as directed. My doctor (after telling him how I flip out off of them) told me to start taking them more....I still have my breaks.

Powderbucket
10-22-15, 05:31 AM
I have ADHD with some vicious impulses/mood swings/high energy/anxiety...yadda yadda. I take Concerta and Ritalin. When ever I take a drug break, it makes me feel as if I am giving my brain a break, but downside is that my impulses and other symptoms get out of control. My Psychiatrist knows what I am doing and approves of it...but he does get concerned about the fact that it's extremely easy for me to loose my marbles at the drop of a hat and how I am prone to meltdowns at work. If taking a break helps you, then keep doing your thing....but if not, take your meds as directed. My doctor (after telling him how I flip out off of them) told me to start taking them more....I still have my breaks.

I'm doing more breaks lately. I find that it helps to clear my head a little sometimes when I get too "focused" on things. I also don't enjoy the mood swings though...