View Full Version : The Concerta Poster Girl


Powderbucket
06-29-15, 03:30 AM
Background

About two years ago, I started a desk job. Before that, I was a teacher and a student Ė so lots of movement, freedom and activity. After becoming despondent in that job, I came across these diet pills that contained a chemical called Phentermine. Itís a power chemical, similar to amphetamine, with some strong effects. Needless to say, I was quite hooked after the first pill. You need a prescription for them, so I illegally got them through a sports website (at such a damn cost too). My aggravation, boredom and restlessness were fixed, and I generally felt great throughout the day. However, the side effects were AWFUL, and I started to think that I was becoming a junkie. I canít actually explain the come-downs Ė they were just nasty. So I stopped them after some months, but then went on a whole range of supplements in an attempt to ďhelpĒ myself. Long story short, these also messed me up a bit and made me slump into a total depression. I then decided to see a psychiatrist who would help me understand why I felt I needed medication to help me move through life. I was diagnosed ADHD ďthrough the roof!Ē The best from my psychiatrist: ďYou are the definition of ADHD, not of addictionĒ. My ADHD was picked up very late because I was a smart kid and achieved quite a bit in life (painfully though).

On 5 May 2015, I started medication Ė Ritalin 10mg IR and Concerta XR 36mg.

UPDATE: Having just seen my pdoc for our last session for the next six months, I was called "the poster girl for response to ADHD medication".

Work Life

Work has become enjoyable for me. Even though my work always promised creativity and learning, I spent all my days doing everything else other than work. This started to show when I messed up a few important things. Iím an Analyst, so when I get something wrong itís pretty bad. Anyway, I enjoy work now. I put passion into my tasks and I enjoy going the extra mile. I donít feel bored or fatigued at all. Also, very importantly, Iím a lot more confident and can hold myself well. I listen in meetings, I contribute and I argue where I want to. I donít think that treatment has had any negative impact on my work life whatsoever. Seeing as though I spend 8 Ė 10 hours in front of a PC, this medication has changed my life in making work a nicer place to be. I am also earning a lot more respect, and applying myself better (brain can do fetch and use information!!).

Health:

Iím an exercise freak, always have been. However, I used to go berserk if I did not get my run in for the day. Now, exercise is far more relaxing and more enjoyable. If I miss my gym session for the day, itís all good and I donít get irritated. Iíve lost maybe 4kg or so due to appetite suppression, and I really try to keep up my weight by eating very fatty or protein-laden food. Sometimes I just canít eat dinner, but Iíll get the breakfast and lunch in. On the bad-side though, I canít really run like I used to. My heart rate jumps up quite fast and I sweat like a gross pig. When I exercise now, I have to listen a lot more to my body and ensure I do exactly what it says, otherwise I really donít feel great and either want to pass out or vomit. Thatís about the only bad health-wise. Exercise is more ďrelaxingĒ as I said, and I donít put so much pressure on myself anymore. I also find that exercise assists with the come-down of Concerta, and picks me up when it wears off. I had my blood pressure taken the other day. It used to be about 108/68 and now it is 130/88 (eek). My pdoc says this is normal and not worth worrying about. I donít notice it, unless I am angry for some reason Ė then being angry is slightly more angry than usual.
Furthermore, I now take quite a lot of vitamins, just because I do eat less and Iím worried that the meds do make me weaker in some way. I take Folic Acid, multi-vitamin, Vitamin K2, Chlorella, Fish Oil (3 6 9) and Selenium. I also used to suffer from IBS Ė thatís completely disappeared!

Relationships

Iím going to say it up-front Ė Concerta has affected my mojo. I have gone from being a version of Austin Powers to a bit of a Donald Trump (meh, yes?). This is not ALWAYS the case, but I really have to try harder and definitely be in the right place emotionally and mentally. Also, the Concerta makes me pretty tired, so by the time Iím all in bed, all I want to do is pass out (my poor partner is greeted with a comatose body). In order to get around this, I have spoken with my partner and weíve agreed to work on it and be open about it. I need to make an effort and they need to understand that itís going to be tough for me. Also, on days I havenít taken the pills, the mojo is back in massive swing Ė so I really know itís the pills! So far, our agreement to ďwork with this little problemĒ is paying off. It takes a lot of willpower, but itís helping our relationship a lot.
Also, by the time I get home from work, Concerta is wearing off or has worn off, and I can be iffy and fatigued slightly. My partner sees all of this, and they do not always get to see how I am during the day on the medication. Iím not always in a bad mood, but I can be grumpy and offish. I seem to get angry, but itís easy to know that this really isnít me, and then control it.
Emotionally, Concerta has helped my relationship. I listen more to my partner now, and respond meaningfully. I donít get irritated as much, I donít want to fight and we generally have good times. I used to get irritated really fastÖ.. Oh, I also help with chores more, and I actually enjoy cooking. They are extremely supportive, and this whole process has certainly strengthened our bond. It does, however, take some open conversations and understanding. As much as medication is a huge thing for me, it affects them hugely too.

Day-to-Day Life

Some other benefits include the following:


I donít get as impatient or short tempered anymore, at all. Iím pretty relaxed.
Studying is amazing, and far less stressful. Iím now working full time and studying part-time and not as half stressed as I used to be.
I enjoy playing sports a lot more, and find that I am performing better.
I look forward to the day. In the past, I was hating life.
I sleep so much better now, although the first month on the drug was a roller-coaster ride with regards to sleep.
I communicate with people a lot better, and I get along with people more. Iím more sociable, and have a lot more CONFIDENCE.
I notice things more now, I take things in, I process them, then understand them.
Anything I do is more pleasurable, from making music, to watching TV, to cooking, to cleaning, to showering Ė everything.


Some other bad stuff:


SO TIRED sometimes, like when the medication wears off. I usually treat this with a run or I go to bed early.
Taking Concerta on a tired brain makes me feel unpleasant. I can feel my heart beating more than usual and the come-down is obviously worse.
I forget to be affectionate and considerate sometimes, but only when itís wearing off.
I sometimes still struggle with sleep, but I think this is more me than the pills because I would always struggle to sleep on Sunday nights, for some reason.


To conclude:

I hope this helps someone who is also going to be starting Concerta. If I can reiterate something, itís that Concerta is NOT a miracle drug and it is not going to make life perfect. For me, it gave me a massive sense of control over myself, and has picked me up out of the distracted, dark place I used to live in. It has opened my eyes. Yes, I still get distracted from time to time. Yes, my mojo is struggling. Yes, I get tired. But it is WORTH IT, and I can control all of these negatives very easily.
Just listen to your body, and bring yourself towards yourself.

chivalrouspal
07-09-15, 11:11 AM
I Hope that everyone would do a bulleted guide like yours (but keep it updated over the next weeks). i`ll do one provided that i reach a rigid ground regarding dexa.
Hope it goes well forever for you. i really feel positive when i find someone is happy with how medication helps him with life.

Powderbucket
07-13-15, 10:43 AM
I Hope that everyone would do a bulleted guide like yours (but keep it updated over the next weeks). i`ll do one provided that i reach a rigid ground regarding dexa.
Hope it goes well forever for you. i really feel positive when i find someone is happy with how medication helps him with life.

Hey a response! :p

Thank you :)

Things have, luckily, gotten even better. I'm now taking 1.5 grams of evening primrose oil at 4pm every day to combat the come-downs and low-libido issue and it's working wonders. I'm so relieved. Hang in there and hope all goes well for you :)

Skydiver
07-19-15, 09:38 PM
Its lovely to hear what a massive positive effect medication can have, especially on this long road of finding the right medication/dose :)

sarahsweets
07-20-15, 05:22 AM
Regarding the tiredness. This could be the result of too high or too low of a dose. Dosing is a tricky issue. If this persists it may be worth a trip to the doctor.

Powderbucket
07-21-15, 06:16 AM
Regarding the tiredness. This could be the result of too high or too low of a dose. Dosing is a tricky issue. If this persists it may be worth a trip to the doctor.

Yeah, so I have read. I'm taking Evening Primrose Oil now and then going for a jog straight after and it's worked miracles. It's like I don't feel Concerta wearing off and I'm happy old me later on in the evening. I hope it stays like this :)

However, if I don't get a good sleep the night before, I find I'm hammered the next day after being all productive thanks to Concerta. Like really hammered...

SQUIRREL!!
07-23-15, 10:33 PM
I just picked up my first prescription of Concerta, 36mg. I am not starting it right off though, as my doc would like for me to be on a higher dose of my mood stabilizer, lamictal before I do. I am taking this all as a grand experiment, having been diagnosed late in life, and hoping to get good results with this combination.

I would be curious about your running though. I am a long distance runner, marathons and ultras. Are the side effects you described common? How has the impact been on these activities? I stopped strattera in the past because among the side effects I experienced was a lack of desire to run at all. That wasn't the only negative impact, just the straw that broke the camel's back. My hope is to find as many runners with ADHD as I can, and discuss the impacts of the different meds on performance.

I hope you continue to do well with your treatment path!

Powderbucket
07-24-15, 02:41 AM
I just picked up my first prescription of Concerta, 36mg. I am not starting it right off though, as my doc would like for me to be on a higher dose of my mood stabilizer, lamictal before I do. I am taking this all as a grand experiment, having been diagnosed late in life, and hoping to get good results with this combination.

I would be curious about your running though. I am a long distance runner, marathons and ultras. Are the side effects you described common? How has the impact been on these activities? I stopped strattera in the past because among the side effects I experienced was a lack of desire to run at all. That wasn't the only negative impact, just the straw that broke the camel's back. My hope is to find as many runners with ADHD as I can, and discuss the impacts of the different meds on performance.

I hope you continue to do well with your treatment path!

Thank you Squirrel. It really does get better every day. You just have to give it time - you will go through ups and downs but finally I find myself settling into the state of consistent good.

Now regarding the running, I run an average of 3km at a time but want to train to run up to 10km. I enjoy being speedy more than enduring. I have a mini-marathon coming up in September, and I will NOT be taking Concerta on that day. I will probably have a day's break, and then also take a day off the Concerta on the day of the run. This is because Copncerta raise my heart rate and my blood pressure, so I'd prefer not to have that. Not that I really feel this, but I'm looking out for my body.

Also, Concerta is considered a "banned" substance when it comes to sports. So if they find it in your system after you've won a race then you'll be disqualified (I'm guessing). Luckily, Concerta gets out of your system very fast, in like 24 hours (hence the breaks I will take). I'm not worried about this, but if you are a serious sportsperson then it's somethign to think about. I sometimes play squash and playing squash on Concerta is AMAZING, and I perform much better, so I see why they'd want to ban it :)

But with regards to training, there have been some differences. Concerta lowers my blood sugar level so I do sometimes feel sick during a run, or if I'm training hard. The feeling "sick" is probably the strongest change.... But it doesn't always come around. I think it's important to stay fed and to supplement yourself so that you don't get this feeling. And that being said, I am running better than I ever have in my life, and I'm very healthy, but I have had to make slight adjustments - like breaking up my exercises more, not pushing myself too much and eating more. Eating can be hard sometimes because Concerta kills my appetite, but I drink healthy protein shakes and they work well :)

What you can do is train in the mornings, before you take Concerta. I train later in the afternoon when the Concerta is wearing off because I find that it helps with the "tired" feeling I get as Concerta starts wearing off. I wouldn't want to train when Concerta is peaking in my system.

My best advice would be to listen to your body, and maybe take a break from the pills if you have a big race (but only for like two days). You can definitely still be a sportsperson with this stuff, you should just be prepared to make a few changes here and there so that you keep yourself healthy.

Powderbucket
07-31-15, 08:19 AM
UPDATE on Concerta treatment

So an update on how things have progressed since my last update one month ago. Things have definitely changed!

>> The tired thing is much better. I'm not sure if I've gotten used to feeling tired, or if I've built a tolerance, or if I'm being more positive, but the tired thing is about half as bad as it used to be. I have started taking Evening Primrose Oil at about 4pm every day, and maybe that is contributing to this.

>> The libido thing is better. Sadly, it's still not what it used to be, but it's less of an issue. I think this must be directly linked to the tired thing.... I mean, no one is going to be interested if they feel dog tired. Talking to my GF and helping her to understand my feelings has also been a key ingredient in getting over this bump.

>> Work is even better than before. I received a mini-promotion the other day, because I've been showing my colours pretty well apparently. I'm happy at work overall. I still have down days, or bad days, but who doesn't?

>> I wrote five exams in June for my Math degree and I passed each one of them and got a distinction (A-grade) for three out of the five exams. I also stress so much less for my studies. I enjoy studying more, even though I still feel like it takes time away from me.

>> I'm far more positive about life. In general. I have the "OOMPH" to get out of bad moods and into fantastic moods. I feel like a kinder, better person.

>> Last, but not least, when I take a break from the pills, I don't turn into manic ADHD queen so much. For example, today I'm taking a day off because of a big work function tonight and I'll the opportunity to taste some very rare wines. I want to taste the wines and not feel sh** afterwards. Sitting here now, I have worked well the whole day, been sociable and just had a good time in general (it's also Friday though...).

Concerta has made my life what it really should be.

However, now I don't want to touch Ritalin. I took it as a booster the other day and felt like ten tons of horse shennanigans. Hells no. Don't have time for that.

aeon
07-31-15, 09:33 AM
Concerta has made my life what it really should be.

However, now I don't want to touch Ritalin. I took it as a booster the other day and felt like ten tons of horse shennanigans. Hells no. Don't have time for that.

That shows just how important the delivery system and its associated dose-response curve is when it comes to efficacious treatment, given that Concerta is time-release methylphenicate (Ritalin).


Cheers,
Ian