View Full Version : My journey on Strattera


Gryphonfyre
02-21-16, 01:55 PM
So, I thought I would share my journey on Strattera.

A few months ago I was given a slew of tests by a Ph.D. psychologist. He thought there may be issues similar to those of ADD/ADHD, but he did not determine them to be clinical. We have transferred to a different area and I have seen a D.O. psychiatrist. He thinks there needs to be supplemental testing done to get a better idea of what may be going on, so he is going to have me work with a neuropsych person -- that will be discussed at my next appointment. He says the first doc may not have noticed the issues because I have come up with ways to adapt, which I have, but they only last so long. At this appointment, I had decided to write down all of the areas where I am having issues -- something I didn't do for my first appointment.

About me:

I'm a 40-year-old female.

Although I never studied when I was in school or college and I was able to maintain As and Bs in school, I have experienced the following:
poor concentration;
having to re-read sentences to get their meaning (seriously takes me forever to read anything);
interjecting words into people's sentences when having conversations;
and many, many, many projects started; books unfinished; degrees sought but not completed; thoughts not conveyed because I would get stuck on a word; birthdays with no cards sent because I waited until the last minute; wallets, cell phones, keys misplaced.

Today is my first dosage, 40mg of Strattera, and I have a follow-up appointment March 6, where the doc will determine if I need to have more testing done.

My hope is to come back here every day and explain what I'm feeling -- good and bad, unless someone tells me that's too much posting.

Pixelatedmind
02-21-16, 04:09 PM
Good luck on your journey!

I have a little note, based on my own experience, do not focus on how you are feeling but rather on how you are functioning and behaving. Focus on whether your symptoms Improve. Unless you feel apparent adverse effects, and don't focus too much because you'd be dividing your attention/energy between functioning and observing.

Instead of judging daily, make it every other day, look back at the past two days and make a conclusion of whether you have improved or not, whether something unusual happened or not.

I sensed from your will to daily judge your feelings that you might be tense which might affect how you actually improve, but again that could be just me :)

I hope you get good results from the medication, Looking forward to follow your updates!

Gryphonfyre
02-22-16, 02:17 AM
That's a good idea. Thank you. Who knew I'd be hyperfocused on my results. Lol.

Day 1 -- no noticeable results or side effects whatsoever, as expected, considering it is documented that it may take awhile to start noticing.

Gryphonfyre
02-23-16, 01:40 AM
Well, I know I said that I would try to only come every other day or so, but I had to post today. I also just want to caveat: The things I post about my day, I really have no idea if those experiences are related to the medication or just coincidence.

Day 2 on Strattera:
Started my day at 5:30 this morning and took the Strattera at about 6:30. I was really surprised to be up so early and functional. Normally, it doesn't matter what time I go to bed, I simply can't seem to function until about 7:00.

Throughout the day I felt like my hands were shaking, but when I would look at them, they weren't. I guess, for the most part, I felt jittery.

Toward the morning hours, I was able to sit and actually complete a job without having to set a timer, although my mind still wandered a LOT, as usual. I also noticed more cottonmouth than usual and I was hungrier than normal.

As I got toward the afternoon, I was running an emotional gamut back and forth between wanting to cry and throat punch someone. Around 4:00 I lost it. I was just sobbing, thinking about how many mistakes I continue to make over and over and over again:
I'm going to be 41 this year and still have not actually completed a degree. I'll be 43 and starting a new career. Who's going to hire me in an entry-level position at 43?!
I've sold all my furniture to live in an RV with my son and move to be closer to my daughters while my husband is deployed. Now I simply can't live in this thing another month, so I'm looking for a house, and guess what, I'm going to need furniture. We wanted new furniture when we were ready to buy a house, which was going to be at his next duty station, but I'm not ready to spend the money we don't have on furniture that I'll be picking out by myself.
The truck I have had its Check Engine light come on. No idea how much that's going to cost.
The money we got back from taxes is pretty much gone, and I don't even know where it all went. I swear I'm going to be poor forever.
I would love to be able to call up a friend right now and talk about this stuff, but I don't have one. I wouldn't even know how to treat a friend if I had any.
I've been so busy following my ex all over the country every time he moved so that I could try to stay close to my children that I've quit every career opportunity I've had.
And why, oh, why did I believe my ex when he said, "I swear to God I'll give you custody if you get on your feet first"?
I don't know that we're ever going to get out of debt. It's really frustrating to live paycheck to paycheck and have nothing to show for the money.
When I pass away, I imagine maybe three people will be at my funeral. Is that really all of the people who I have influenced in such a way that they would want to come and say goodbye?

I think that's about all that I was thinking of during my "moment" today.

As evening drew near, it seemed as though I could distance myself, if even a tiny bit, from impulsivity. Maybe there is hope.

It is now 9:30. I would like to do some work or work on a class, but I'm really tired. Not sure I'm going to be able to.

I am confused, though. If Strattera is used for depression, what happens chemically for someone to go the opposite direction and feel worse?

Pixelatedmind
02-23-16, 08:43 AM
Well, I know I said that I would try to only come every other day or so, but I had to post today. I also just want to caveat: The things I post about my day, I really have no idea if those experiences are related to the medication or just coincidence.

Day 2 on Strattera:
Started my day at 5:30 this morning and took the Strattera at about 6:30. I was really surprised to be up so early and functional. Normally, it doesn't matter what time I go to bed, I simply can't seem to function until about 7:00.

Throughout the day I felt like my hands were shaking, but when I would look at them, they weren't. I guess, for the most part, I felt jittery.

Toward the morning hours, I was able to sit and actually complete a job without having to set a timer, although my mind still wandered a LOT, as usual. I also noticed more cottonmouth than usual and I was hungrier than normal.

As I got toward the afternoon, I was running an emotional gamut back and forth between wanting to cry and throat punch someone. Around 4:00 I lost it. I was just sobbing, thinking about how many mistakes I continue to make over and over and over again:
I'm going to be 41 this year and still have not actually completed a degree. I'll be 43 and starting a new career. Who's going to hire me in an entry-level position at 43?!
I've sold all my furniture to live in an RV with my son and move to be closer to my daughters while my husband is deployed. Now I simply can't live in this thing another month, so I'm looking for a house, and guess what, I'm going to need furniture. We wanted new furniture when we were ready to buy a house, which was going to be at his next duty station, but I'm not ready to spend the money we don't have on furniture that I'll be picking out by myself.
The truck I have had its Check Engine light come on. No idea how much that's going to cost.
The money we got back from taxes is pretty much gone, and I don't even know where it all went. I swear I'm going to be poor forever.
I would love to be able to call up a friend right now and talk about this stuff, but I don't have one. I wouldn't even know how to treat a friend if I had any.
I've been so busy following my ex all over the country every time he moved so that I could try to stay close to my children that I've quit every career opportunity I've had.
And why, oh, why did I believe my ex when he said, "I swear to God I'll give you custody if you get on your feet first"?
I don't know that we're ever going to get out of debt. It's really frustrating to live paycheck to paycheck and have nothing to show for the money.
When I pass away, I imagine maybe three people will be at my funeral. Is that really all of the people who I have influenced in such a way that they would want to come and say goodbye?

I think that's about all that I was thinking of during my "moment" today.

As evening drew near, it seemed as though I could distance myself, if even a tiny bit, from impulsivity. Maybe there is hope.

It is now 9:30. I would like to do some work or work on a class, but I'm really tired. Not sure I'm going to be able to.

I am confused, though. If Strattera is used for depression, what happens chemically for someone to go the opposite direction and feel worse?

Don't take my word for granted, but when I first got on a SNRI I used to get up early feeling excited and energized which only lasted for 5 days. I guess it was excitement with a new thing and looking forward for it to change me and help me work as much as I think I can.

I made a sheet where I logged everything, when I woke up, how I felt and how my feelings changed during the days at which times. I kept up with this sheet for two consecutive appointments until I realized that I was tooo focused on meds and how useless and consuming it was. Then I did the same when I switched to a new medication. I only got reasonable good and effective results when I let go and focused on my performance, and now my life started to change!

The thing is these type of medications take weeks to work and produce positive effects, before it works it can make you anxious or depressed, jittery, and all the adverse side effects you can find online, or it can have absolutely no side effects at all, depends on the person.

The tricky part is, when you pay too much attention you might mislead yourself. You feel hot and you think you're getting hot flashes, you get cold and you think you're getting chills, being awake, being tired, being bored, being happy, being sad... you get anxious like you'd normally do and you think it's the medication so you get even more anxious and you feel your heart race and you think the medication is going to kill you (but it's not).

Our feelings, emotions and energy fluctuates during the day or days. Normally we might not notice it or give it weight, but when we are being too observant on medication we might contribute any change to the meds, which sometimes is totally wrong and misleading and have negative consequences.

This is why I saw some resemblance, I even used the same words and did similar things.

Try to relax, forget that you are being medicated and focus on working, how are you going to handle and plan for your house? how are you going to schedule your studying and classes on a weekly basis?

I know it's not as easy as it sounds, I couldn't stop myself from being too tense and observant, so I don't expect you to flip a switch, it took me months to understand and build my experience and get positive effects. If you have to go through the same process at least bear in mind that it will only be harder and confusing at the beginning :)

Unless you notice an upsetting and apparent side effects, something you feel is new to you and unexpected, then you get to write it down and share it with your doctor. He will never be interested in your hourly diary, mine never did :D

On the other hand it's never too late, you're not as old as you think you are, you have decades to live, enjoy yourself and fulfill your potential :)

I will finish college by the age of 30, that might sound young to you, but for me I was frustrated and almost lost hope in my life, for someone who joined college at the age of 17, I feel like I missed a lot in life, I feel like I wasted the best years of my life, my twenties, on hitting brick walls and watching people come and go.

What's interesting about life is you can enjoy anything in it, a new job, a new house, a new kid, a new meal... there's plenty of experiences and time to consume in your life :) and plenty of family and friends to make and share your time with.

On a side note, why did you choose to start with Strattera? Why haven't you tried Ritalin or other stimulants as the first line treatment?

Hang in there, you can definitely do it :)

Best of luck!

Gryphonfyre
02-23-16, 09:55 AM
Wow! I'm so glad you're here. I really needed to hear that because you are absolutely right and couldn't be more on point. Thank you for your wonderful reply! I will do my absolute best to let it go.

As for medication, I went into the appointment thinking I would get something like Adderall, but when the doc said that I seem to have some obsessive tendencies, I knew he was right. They can be very consuming for me and very hard to bay. Anyway, he said he wanted to try Strattera first. Heck, what do I know? Lol. I didn't go to school and work in the industry for years. I came to him because I want a change -- I am not happy or satisfied with the way things have been going in my life because of this seemingly debilitating part of who I am.

Again, thank you. Hope you have a great day!

Pixelatedmind
02-23-16, 11:03 AM
I'm glad I could help. I enjoy following your journey because I was really in your place monthes ago that's why I felt the urge to share my experience with you.

Even worse, my first doctor even put me on antipsychotics (he couldn't have been more wrong) and my life got more miserable before I got the right treatment and the sun began to shine again. I'm studying right now and organizing at the beginning of the semester for the first time in my life. And I feel good and proud of myself :)

I too have obessional and anxious tendencies (hense the obsession with meds and reading and logging) my current doctor said they were caused by living with undiagnosed ADHD and she was right, and that was not affected by stimulants (although delayed my understanding and benefit for few weeks) but it actually reinforced my newly aquired organisation skills when I moved on.

Wait for a few weeks to see if strattera helps you since you already started, but if it doesn't please don't hesitate to try stimulants. If your doctor didn't approve even after this treatment doesn't help for the love of God see another doctor :)

I hope it works for you in a couple of weeks, I don't want to give you a negative impression but stimulants are much more helpful statistically that's why they are first line treatment :) but still some people react well to long term straterra.

Sorry for too much talking :) I really with you the best.

And consider me a new friend :D

(please keep reporting)

Gryphonfyre
02-26-16, 01:12 AM
Day 5 on Strattera:

I still seem to be on edge for the better part of the day, very snappy/short tempered. By about 8:00 p.m., I'm exhausted and falling asleep. I work from home full time and go to school full time, so I really need these hours from about 7:00 p.m. to midnight to finish up work and school.

Bouncingoffwall
04-15-16, 06:30 PM
Day 5 on Strattera:

I still seem to be on edge for the better part of the day, very snappy/short tempered. By about 8:00 p.m., I'm exhausted and falling asleep. I work from home full time and go to school full time, so I really need these hours from about 7:00 p.m. to midnight to finish up work and school.

I'd like so see how your ongoing experiment works out. How is your focus/impulse control/frustration tolerance overall? Strattera made me very irritable, as Reuptake Inhibitors to tend do (to me). I had lots of angry thoughts and urges while taking it. I think I only used it for four months before giving up. It did nothing for my ADHD.

PS: It may take four to six weeks to start working, as advertised (although it didn't for me).

Gryphonfyre
04-18-16, 07:20 PM
I'd like so see how your ongoing experiment works out. How is your focus/impulse control/frustration tolerance overall? Strattera made me very irritable, as Reuptake Inhibitors to tend do (to me). I had lots of angry thoughts and urges while taking it. I think I only used it for four months before giving up. It did nothing for my ADHD.

PS: It may take four to six weeks to start working, as advertised (although it didn't for me).

I can totally relate to that. I have felt some impulse control benefits, but quite honestly, I think I feel more irritable than not and feel like the impulse control is flippant at best.

My biggest issue is being tired, which I contribute to the Strattera since I can be doing great energy-wise, but I take the Strattera and I'm just pooped! I can focus a bit better, but that improved focus doesn't seem to last very long, and I don't think it's worth the loss in energy and irritability.

Bouncingoffwall
04-20-16, 10:06 PM
I can totally relate to that. I have felt some impulse control benefits, but quite honestly, I think I feel more irritable than not and feel like the impulse control is flippant at best.

My biggest issue is being tired, which I contribute to the Strattera since I can be doing great energy-wise, but I take the Strattera and I'm just pooped! I can focus a bit better, but that improved focus doesn't seem to last very long, and I don't think it's worth the loss in energy and irritability.

I've seen MDs who were more concerned with their own liabilty than helping people with ADHD. They prescribed me brain-melting crap like Wellburtin, Strattera and Zoloft in an effort to "treat me." I've even been misdiagnosed "bipolar" and suffered on mood stabilizer/antidepressant cocktails.

I would definitely tell your DO about your symptoms and the lack of benefit. He needs to stop wasting your time and prescribe the medicine which SCIENCE demonstrates to be effective against ADHD symptoms. Once you get on stimulant therapy, that alone is a long journey of tweaking/changing medications until you find what works for you. But I can assure you if you have ADHD, ANY stimulant is going to be a vast improvement over what you're taking now, in terms of symptom control.

Gryphonfyre
04-20-16, 10:33 PM
I've seen MDs who were more concerned with their own liabilty than helping people with ADHD. They prescribed me brain-melting crap like Wellburtin, Strattera and Zoloft in an effort to "treat me." I've even been misdiagnosed "bipolar" and suffered on mood stabilizer/antidepressant cocktails.

I would definitely tell your DO about your symptoms and the lack of benefit. He needs to stop wasting your time and prescribe the medicine which SCIENCE demonstrates to be effective against ADHD symptoms. Once you get on stimulant therapy, that alone is a long journey of tweaking/changing medications until you find what works for you. But I can assure you if you have ADHD, ANY stimulant is going to be a vast improvement over what you're taking now, in terms of symptom control.

Thank you for your input! I look forward to my next appointment to offer my experiences to him in the hopes of gaining some control over my life. Feeling really frustrated.

Gryphonfyre
04-21-16, 01:10 PM
I have typically been an even-tempered person, even as a child going through all I've gone through. Occasionally I would "snap" and slam a door or the trashcan in my room. I may hold the cat a little longer than she wanted when she wanted to be put down just because I wanted company or a companion that wouldn't hurt me, but I never hurt anyone or anything. Ever.

As I've grown up and gone through more crap, it seems I've become less tolerant, more volatile, less control over my impulses. After I was diagnosed with cancer and went through chemotherapy, radiation, etc., and my memory is shot, it seems so are my nerves. I'm trying to find medication to help me get these things a bit more under control because I currently feel very out of control and completely intolerant of anything. All of the, I don't know, "symptoms" that I've exhibited before seem to be magnified -- lack of impulse control, inability to tolerate loud noises or prolonged noises, inability to focus or complete a task.

Some of these things I could live with if I were single and didn't have children, but I'm not and I do. Although my husband is deployed, I still have my little guy to think of, and the lack of impulse control needs to be fixed. So, while trying to address that, a couple of months ago I started Strattera.

One thing I've noticed about Strattera, if I miss a day and don't take it, my emotional and mental volatility is exacerbated. All in all, I think this medication has been useless for me. I'm not even taking it anymore and am experiencing some odd behavior for me. I don't like it and I'm going to let it get out of my system. Not sure if I'll be posting any more in this thread for this medication or not.

QuasarMind
05-16-16, 12:32 AM
When I first started taking Strattera in 2004 for ADD, which I obviously had for a very long time as noticed by grade school teachers, not a doctor, I only found Strattera to have a very slight improvement in sort term memory but in the end I found it to be only about 1% as effective as Adderall. I also got no benefit from raising the dose but I did get some psychiatric side effects such as being more emotional/drawn out that were non existent when taking Adderall or Vyvanse instead.

I was just checking here to see if anyone actually was getting help from Strattera. ADD/ADHD can be caused by a lot of different biological conditions but most approved treatments work in a very similar direction and concept. I once tried to get my old doctor, the only good psychiatrist I have ever had, to explain how someone with low energy inattentive ADD and someone with hyperactive ADD could be treated with the same medication, and I don't remember his exact words, but to me it didn't make much sense. It remembered he used the words "both directions or both ways" but forget how he used it. My question was, if for me, relatively low energy, foggy and inattentive ADD, it makes sense increasing dopamine levels would alleviate my ADD symptoms, but how does someone with hyperactive ADD respond effectively by doing the same thing? I thought about it for years and my final hypothesis on the issue was by my observation that stimulant ADD meds make me/most feel more content, so it was perhaps that hyperactive people feel more content at a given moment therefore feeling less compulsion to be hyperactive.

I would also point out, I also don't understand how clinical ADD testing is accurate. In grade school, my ADD was horrible but because of my parents being life-long drug addicts (not on stimulants though), I had a phobia of controlled substance anything not wanting to fall into their footsteps. Despite teachers pleading with me, I never sought medical treatment knowing the medications were supposedly similar to illicit substances. When I was 17 years old, I started working on my pilots license and because of prior radio control aircraft experience, motorcycle racing and perhaps natural talent, I was exceptionally good at the "flying" part of things, but when it came to radio communication, situational awareness, charts and not forgetting mundane things like properly setting my transponder, I was awful. This was in spring 2001, I solo'd and got about 25 hours total time in and then got sidetracked and resumed flying again in spring 2002. From the first flight of my resumption of flying, I knew if I was going to get my license I couldn't have the deficits I had the prior year and I was able to structure a few simple but very effective ways to manage my problems and somehow I improved my deficits by about 90% by just trying to restructure my thinking in the simplest way possible. From there forward I learned to restructure my thinking in a similar to help myself for other life tasks in the future, I haven't been able to pull this off 24/7 nor do I think I could had gotten near as good results in school either. Reason is, when you find your self in a specific situation and need to perform, it is easier to temporarily pull your self together than to keep it up all day for 6, 8, 12 or 14 hours a day. Second is, to be completely honest, flying an airplane, even when you total in all the procedures, isn't very hard nor complicated. Grade school or college classes are way more complex and generally the involved parts of flying don't have a particularly long duration, such as several hours. What I am getting at, is generally, when someone is asked to do something important, they can pull them selves together if they try hard enough, in my case, even with extreme inattentive ADD. What changes in general life, is general life lasts more than 10 or 15 minutes, it's 16 hours in a row with a typical 8 hour sleep schedule. The average school day and job is 8 hours sometimes longer. Despite logging over 70 hours, my studying ability for my written test was sketchy even though I probably would had marginally passed, I procrastinated actually taking it and then doing my practical exam after, meaning I never got my license and last logged pilot time in late summer 2003. In 2004 I tried taking Strattera without sufficient success, then in 2005 I started taking Provigil with better success and then in spring 2006 started Adderall with 100% success. Unfortunately the FAA typically considers these to be disqualifying medications with only one known case being a pilot who was a medical doctor managed to after hiring lawyers and waiting almost two years getting a special waiver. When I am in a better financial position I am going to get my license for real but I am unsure of what method I will use. I have thought about this for years, I am confident I could take my final practical (oral + flying) test, completely unmedicated, and pass with the FAA examiner not having a clue I am ADD at all, then go on the next day to buy my $5.99 lunch at the local store, paying with a $100 bill and walking away without my change 9 out of 10 times in a row... That's where my ADD shows and that's also why I don't believe a proper test could be administered that could determine I am ADD at all much less my extreme level of ADD.

Now, I didn't write all of that just to boast about my flying and lack of flying experience or criticize the ADD tests, it was actually to point out a good method to fight your condition properly medicated or not. When I initially started taking ADD medication in 2004, the Strattera, I told my doctor that the little effect I did notice, a slight improvement in my memory, actually helped me familiarize completing my thinking processes better which helped even after we decided to cut the medication. While I did notice a slight improvement in memory, it was still like trying to drive a tank with a feather. When I took my prescribed (max) dose of Adderall, it was like a properly built 6'1 man trying to drive a sedan... maybe one with no mirror's, but still, vastly better. But even then, by using the ever improving cognitive method I started with the airplanes, I can now work with the actually effective Adderall/Vyvanse medication better than I with just the chemical/biological improvement the med offers.

No matter how good the medication you find best to treat your ADD works, don't forget no medication has intelligent computer code to logic out your life's tasks, the med might help you think a lot easier but it wont think for you. I have found Adderall to improve "my brain" by about 500% but if I wasn't aware of how the medication worked/felt/allowed I would be wasting a lot of its potential. Even medicated, I still have ADD, it's just a lot easier to not let it take control.

I have experienced no side effects with Adderall or Vyvanse other than occasional mild social anxiety, but anxiety, frigidness and racing thoughts are the most common. For me, speeding up my thoughts does wonders, for others it can potentially cause psychosis. I tried Concerta (Ritalin extended release) for a week and found it to be milder/less pushy, but for me, I needed the push.

Also, Welbutrin is sometimes used for treating ADD off-label. Here is how I would rate the ADD medications I have tried: Strattera 1-2%, Welbutrin 10%, Concerta (Ritalin) 40%, Vyvanse 65% and Adderall 100%. Vyvanse and Adderall are nearly identical once they reach your bloodstream (dextroamphetamine) but Adderall also has 25% levoamphetmaine which for most doesn't seem to make much difference but for me it helps "wire in" my memory better. Also, judging simply by "push" and not overall effectiveness, I would say 70mg Vyvanse is equivalent to 20mg Adderall but my doctor said it's supposed to be the same as 30mg Adderall (30mg = 10mg, 50mg = 20mg and 70mg = 30mg) and I presume his sources came from the manufacture since it is consistent with other published data I have seen. I have found a trend of claims that the conversion of Vyvanse isn't as strong as this claim but nothing in proof so far. While most people say Vyvanse is virtually the same as Adderall minus the exact dosing in miligrams, I have found a minority pattern of people saying it gives them less anxiety than Adderall, which I presume is because of its lack of levoamphetamine. But on the other hand, even if Adderall stimulates more anxiety, for some, most certainty myself, it is more effective in treading my ADD. I feel like whatever chemical reaction causes that anxious feel "wires me in" at the same time, most specifically my memory.

Best wishes. Like I said, I haven't done much research on others feedback for Strattera being an effective ADD treatment but so far everything I have seen including my personal experience is pretty poor. I don't think its complete snake oil, but I would still compare it to trying to drive a tank with a feather as opposed to nothing at all. I have never driven a tank but if a 1/10th gram feather could drive a tank I would probably know about it.