View Full Version : The ADHD Depression Trap


pineappleman
12-20-16, 01:07 AM
How's it going everyone? I'm a 24 year old adult who's been diagnosed with ADHD since 15 even though I was so clearly ADHD even moreso as a child. My parents didn't want a diagnosis to limit me or end up with a prescription for stimulants and I thank them for that. I've been prescribed stimulants since 15 but the ones that actually work are Adderall and Dexedrine.

Anyways I work a job in business to business sales at a very well known fortune 500 compsny. It's a job where a day is no less than 9 hours long and there is a high expectation for a certain amount of work that needs to be done. Here's how ADHD plays a role in my depression:

My skills and college degree pretty much only allow me to have a job of this nature.
The job is high stress and the expectations are set high so that everyone is working at maximum output to barely meet said expectations.

The work is very unfulfilling but it still requires a lot of thought and concentration to get done correctly.

For a normal person this is pretty doable but for someone who has trouble focusing while simultaneously having a tendency to hyperfocus on the wrong things it's quite the challenge.

In order to get this job done at a satisfactory level I need to take my medication every day. I take 30mg of dexedrine a day. Out of all the stimulants I've tried, these side effects are the lowest but they still are unbearable at this point.

Because I have to take my medication every day I have headaches, jitteriness, I can't eat much, and a lot of muscle tension. On top of this physical pain, my job is still a challenge and even with the medicine I have to work extremely hard to meet the metrics and keep my job.

TL:DR I spend most of my life at a job just so I can pay my bills, ADHD is a handicap in a competitive corporate environment, the medicine I take to level out the playing field makes me feel quite terrible every day. Because of this, I feel like my life consists of mostly pain and very little pleasure. I am depressed. I am very depressed.

Anyone else with ADHD and depression notice a similar connection in their own lives?

sarahsweets
12-20-16, 05:59 AM
Have you considered taking multiple smaller doses to total 30mg a day? Like 2 10's or 2 15's? This would give you the same amount but would spread it out over the day so that its more even.

Little Nut
12-20-16, 12:27 PM
Pine, You indicated comorbid depression, but I did not see your symptoms of depression. In any event I wouldn't be surprised that dexedrine does not treat all of your symptoms of depression by itself.

If you can't accept the side effects of dexedrine, you may need try something else. With some trial and error you and your Doc can likely find the right combination to treat your ADHD and Depressive symptoms. It may not improve your job satisfation, but will improve your overall satisfaction with "things".

GL, -LN

pineappleman
12-20-16, 01:02 PM
Have you considered taking multiple smaller doses to total 30mg a day? Like 2 10's or 2 15's? This would give you the same amount but would spread it out over the day so that its more even.

This is solid advice for everyone who takes dexedrine. Yes, I have 3 10mg pills that I evenly space out and this definitely prevents an extreme crash and also helps in making it last longer

pineappleman
12-20-16, 01:07 PM
Pine, You indicated comorbid depression, but I did not see your symptoms of depression. In any event I wouldn't be surprised that dexedrine does not treat all of your symptoms of depression by itself.

If you can't accept the side effects of dexedrine, you may need try something else. With some trial and error you and your Doc can likely find the right combination to treat your ADHD and Depressive symptoms. It may not improve your job satisfation, but will improve your overall satisfaction with "things".

GL, -LN
Unfortunately, I've tried every single stimulant on the market and dexedrine is the best as far as side effects go. I've read up that desoxyn has even less peripheral nervous system side effects than dexedrine but when I brought that up my doctor told me that "it's not indicated for treatment of ADHD because it's very addictive".

I could tell you my symptoms of depression, but I'd just be complaining. That's one thing I do to cope: talk about it as little as possible. Accept that I feel this way, reframe my negative thoughts, take everything one day at a time.

Thanks for the reply!

Little Nut
12-21-16, 05:13 PM
Pine, My thoughts were that you may need to focus on treating your depression. Some of your depressive symptoms, poor job satisfaction, and perception of overly demanding job duties may be related. Maybe you need to focus on treating the depression first and then follow up with treating ADHD. Maybe you end up w/ a TCA or a TCA w/ an ADHD adjunct.

Not trying to treat you just pointing out a different approach to focusing on just ADHD.

Again, you are at the point w/ Dexedrine that you either accept the side effects or try a different med. HTH, -LN

cwf1986
12-22-16, 05:32 AM
I was having a similar problem with adderall. To reach the therapeutic level to effectively manage adhd symptoms, I had to deal with sides and a bad come down at the end of the day.

To keep my adderall dose lower, my P-doc increased the levels of the tricyclic nortriptyline I was already taking which is a fairly potent NRI.

It worked. In fact, not only were the sides easier to deal with overall, but it was more effective in managing adhd.

Of course, ymmv and your doc may wanna try something else.

someothertime
12-22-16, 05:47 AM
your doing well pineapple

your stressors are primarily external. it may be in the realm of depression.... though i feel i may also be just as likely boredom, laced with frustration...

this reframing has got you far.... use these methods to latch onto your deep desires.... use these methods to latch onto a passionate interest or persuit.... movements there, could quite possibly lift your perspective ;) the challenge is persistently moving this realm whilst juggling life / prof etc.... .... .. .

and once again.... well done.

ToneTone
12-24-16, 05:42 PM
So are you being treated for depression? ... as in separately from being treated by ADHD? I take my ADHD med (Adderall XR)... but I wouldn't be able to function without also taking an antidepressant (in my case Wellbutrin XL), and I go to weekly therapy with a therapist I used as coach to help me through the ups and downs and to heal the old stuff that pulls me down.

Depression makes everything worse ... even if the cause is ADHD or whatever, treating it aggressively usually make sense. The right antidepressant (assuming you can find a good one and a good dose) will increase your ability to handle stress, will lower your stress, will help you stay more positive. With the antidepressant doing some of the work you are now doing yourself, you can free up your mind and find the energy to do more long-term and strategic thinking.

It seems a good goal for you might be to find a job similar to yours but better tailored to your skills and your interests? Depression will always try to convince you that there are no other options. Don't trust that thinking. When we get stuck in survival mode, we can't really imagine getting out of that mode.

Also a counselor who is sharp might help you think through your situation and think through how to move towards a different job.

Strange as it sounds, you really can't assume that the ADHD is what is causing the depression. The research is unclear about that ... and there is a school of thought that says people with ADHD simply are people who are prone to depression. I can get depressed even when I'm not under ADHD-induced stress. My brain will make up and generate stress. My brain and system are just more sensitive to life and more fragine than other people's brains.

The paradox is that even if your ADHD and external stress is causing the depression, an antidepressant and therapy can still help. The right antidepressant (again there is some luck involved and trial-and-error just as with ADHD meds), you can think more clearly, with less anxiety, you can recover from mistakes faster ... you can learn better and overall just treat yourself a lot better, have more motivation and on and on.


Good luck.

Tone

finallyfound10
12-25-16, 12:24 AM
Hi Pineappleman,

Your description of your work situation being hampered by ADHD is very much like mine even though I'm a nurse on a busy hospital unit. How I react physically, mentally and emotionally to the job stress leaves time or energy for really nothing else. I also deal with Depression which has never really been successfully treated so that plays a huge role in how I feel on top of the work stuff so I really do feel your pain. I think that Concerta for sure and Vyvanse to a point made my depression worse.

I did a starter pack of Straterra which helped with my Depression and maybe a negligible amount with work so my pdoc and I decided to put me on Strattera and Wellbutrin which I'll be starting soon so that should help.

Also, to keep my sanity and raise my already low self-esteem that takes a beating every shift, I must get a new job that is a better fit. This is a really bad fit and I knew it would be but it's a necessary evil in nursing to start as a floor/bedside nurse for a few years. Could you use your degree/experience in a different way in your field or in a different in a different field that is more "ADHD- friendly?" Going to work everyday to an ill-fitting job is not sustainable long term for anyone but especially for us with deficits coming in.

Look on ONET out of the Dept. of Labor to get some ideas. A lot of degrees seem very limiting but may not really be in reality.

ToneTone is right about getting the Depression control and get into therapy with someone who has experience working with ADHD adults and it can be really helpful. CHADD is a good resource to find therapists/coaches. I need to get back into therapy myself but I think with someone new.

Welcome to the Forum, good luck and keep us posted!!!

blake0415
03-09-17, 02:16 AM
Pineappleman,

I definitely relate to your problem. I also used to use the "not talking about it / out of sight, out of mind" approach to dealing with my depression. After a year and a half of trying to deal with my depression on my own, and thinking I was doing a good job at it, a close family member opened my eyes to the truth that I had changed more than anyone else in the family over that period of time. I finally decided to reach out someone which led to me to go see a doctor and eventually a therapist. I found in these sessions that I took the whole "not talking about my depression" strategy way too far and it would have been much better for me had I acknowledged my depression when it surfaced rather than pushing it down further and further.
I know there is probably more to the story than what you chose to share here, because I have been through the same thing. I initially tried to treat the fact that I had depression, not what caused it, as well. If that is how you are feeling, then I want you to know that in time you will find someone, be it a therapist or a close friend, who can see through all the walls you have put up and get to the part of you that you don't want anyone else to see. They will lift you up and help you not only get back to the self you used to be, but also get to a better version of that self.
I'm pulling for you man, and I wish you all the best in your journey ahead of you.

dvdnvwls
03-10-17, 02:42 AM
I seem to have been saying this over and over these past few days, but here I go again...

If you're having any caffeine, try blaming it for your Dexedrine problems. Completely quitting caffeine may take away most of those things you used to think were Dexedrine side effects.

dvdnvwls
03-10-17, 04:25 AM
I wonder whether what I'm about to say has any validity. It might be just hot air.

I think maybe succeeding when not "in your element" - in an unsuitable job or a difficult environment or both - has higher costs to you than it does to your non-ADHD peers, and that for that reason (among others) we with ADHD need to take greater than average care in limiting those "tough job" costs to a manageable level.

lexmark10
04-12-17, 12:51 PM
I did hundreds of hours of different types of therapy (psychotherapy, clinical hypnosis), as well as a dozen alternative methods (transformational breath, meditation, etc...) but still i'm doing what i did all my life since i'm 18 - working at an unfulfilling job to pay unwanted bills, having to take medication to be able to do the job.

I'm quite sure there are some types of personality that aren't meant to work in a modern, strict business environment. Last summer i got the opportunity to reduce work time for some months, no medication, no depression, i was healthy and feeling great. A few months after that: depressed, on medication.

It's kind of a strange thing, knowing that it would just take some adjustments to my finances and amount of worktime in order to be healthy. But instead suffering from trying to keep everything as it is because of beeing anxious to do the changes.