View Full Version : Desperate. Severe adhd, tics, and can't figure out the right medication

08-01-16, 06:58 PM
I'm just about at my wits end. I am 27 year old female. I have had add my whole life but only diagnosed a few years ago. I've tried every single stimulant out there and they slightly help.. They mainly just give me enough energy to attempt to accomplish a task. I'm currently on adderall which I've settled as the med that helps the most. The problem is I can't take more than 10mg at a time and I start this blinking tic like crazy. There are a few less interfering tics that flare up too. I can only take the adderall 2-3 days and I have to take a break because the blinking get so incredibly bad. I get the worse headaches at the end of the day. I told my doctor at one point and he added Wellbutrin which come to find out made things even worse .
I don't know what to do anymore. I have to take adderall or my life falls apart. I asked about Strattera but my doctor acted like it was a useless drug. I've read a lot of negative about it too. But I'm so desperate. I'm stay at home mom of 5. My life is chaos. I can't organize. I can't remember anything. I spend most of my life trying to find things and make it to places on time. It's really bad and I want to be the best mother to my kids, I'm desperate for advice

08-01-16, 08:22 PM
Wow! Being a stay-at-home mom to 5 kids is enough to create chaos, even without ADHD. Add ADHD to the mix, and whoo-boy! I would imagine that "down-time" is non-existent for you, especially during the summer when the kids don't have school. :grouphug:

It sounds like Adderall has been the most effective of the stimulants you've tried, but at higher doses it triggers your tics and causes headaches as it's wearing that right?

Some people on the forum (and I'm not one of them) have found that they tolerate Dexedrine (which is dextroamphetamine) better than Adderall (which is a mix of dextroamphetamine and levoamphetamine salts) and have fewer side effects from it. It comes in both short- and long-acting forms and a generic. I'm not sure if you've already tried Dexedrine, but if not, that might be something to discuss with your doctor.

Another possibility would be to try the non-stimulant medications clonidine (Kapvay/Catapres) or guanfacine (Intuniv/Tenex). These are approved to treat ADHD in their extended-release forms, and they have been used for many years in people with tics/Tourette's as well. They are also used to reduce blood pressure (which can be good or bad, depending on your current blood pressure). They can cause sleepiness in some people, which may or may not go away after taking the medication for a while.

I personally take clonidine in conjunction with methylphenidate, and I find that the clonidine helps me a lot with physical restlessness. I also had a problem with compulsive behavior/movements, and it has helped take the edge off that to some extent. The stimulant seems to be more helpful to me in terms of focusing on work. I have found Strattera to be the most helpful medication in terms of initiation of tasks (getting started/not putting things off) and generally keeping my day-to-day life together, but it wasn't as helpful with concentration or physical restlessness, and I think it made some of the compulsive stuff worse for me. (As you can see, my luck with medications hasn't been great, either!)

Anyway, I would suggest having a frank talk with your doctor about meds and tics and your need to function. If your doctor is a general practitioner, rather than a psychiatrist, or doesn't have a ton of experience with medications for ADHD, it might be worth getting a consultation/second opinion from someone who's a specialist in this area. When you have tried several medications without success and/or with problematic side effects, sometimes you need to call in an expert.

Meanwhile, I wonder if there might be some "assistive technology" that could help you with organization/memory. If you have a smartphone, there may be some apps that could really help with getting places on time by providing reminders in advance to start getting ready and then to leave.

Big visual calendars (desk blotter size, about 2' x 3') can also be useful in providing a single place to keep track of everyone's appointments, activities, chores, when bills are due, etc. I have found that color-coding things helps me tremendously.

I don't use a smartphone, but I am in front of a laptop much of the day, so I have a calendar there with everything on it, color-coded depending on whether it's a work thing, a family thing, an appointment, travel, etc. I can set alarms to remind me 15 minutes or an hour in advance of an event, or even to remind me to pay a credit card or utility bill. I also use it to remind me to take my medications. (Hopefully I will get a smartphone that I can sync with it for times when I'm not in front of the computer.)

Organization is my Achilles' heel, too. If you have enough money to hire a professional organizer, even for a single session, that can be a tremendous help (dollar for dollar, better than therapy, in my experience!). It would probably work better if the kids are at school/napping/etc. If parts of your house are a disaster, clutter-wise, it can be really, really helpful. Some organizers are big on setting up "systems", which seems like a lovely concept, but it's never been something I can maintain for more than a few days. But I've been very happy with the results when I've hired a professional organizer (with experience dealing with people with ADHD) just to help me find the horizontal surfaces in a room and sort/get rid of old paperwork that I don't need (insurance statements, old bills, etc.). Just being able to walk through a room without tripping over stuff or knocking over a pile of paperwork is a real relief.

I don't know if money management is part of your difficulty with organization and time management, but I've found that a combination of setting alarms to remind me to check on credit card statements, and setting up automatic bill pay, has been helpful in reducing late payments.

Hmmm....I think that, and a virtual hug, are all I've got at the moment, but hopefully other members will jump in and/or this will spark some ideas.

Best wishes!

08-02-16, 04:53 AM
When my son was young and on stimulants he took clonidine to help with tics like throat clearing.

08-03-16, 11:34 AM
Thank you so much for taking the time to reply to me. It means so much.
I see my regular doctor for my meds and I have long thought about seeing a specialist. I feel like I'm constantly just telling him what I want to try and he's writing the prescription. I don't feel like he really knows a whole lot about the add meds.. I have mentioned the tics before and he kind of acted clueless..
I go back tomorrow and I think I'm going to ask to give Strattera a try. I've been thru every stimulant, so maybe Strattera will work well for me. I feel like I have nothing to lose. If that doesn't work I'll ask to be put back on the adderall with Clonidine added.
I'll update after being on the Strattera for a few weeks. Keeping my fingers crossed that this will be the answer..

08-14-16, 11:14 PM
Thought I would post an update.
So I talked to my doctor about getting on Strattera which I started 2 weeks ago. Not sure if I notice much yet. I think I feel less stressed and a little more "together" so that's good, I've had no negative side effects besides being a tad tired the first few days. I've read all the horror stories but honestly it's gone really well.
I saw my doctor again and told him how severe my add is and until Strattera works I need to keep taking my adderall. He agreed to let me try Clonidine with the adderall. Yesterday was the first day and honestly I'm amazed at the difference. I had ZERO increase in tics on adderal yesterday or today. The speedy anxious feeling I normally get with adderall wasn't there, and there was much less of a crash. It was like a calm focused. It was like Clonidine took all the negatives away from adderall but left the positives! The Clonidine didn't make me overly tired like others say which I assume was because the adderall but by bedtime I fell asleep very easily, which was nice. I'm feel extremely hopeful that things are going to be looking up:)