View Full Version : Is this really ADD? My story... looking for advice, what should I do now?


trialanderror
06-12-17, 12:47 AM
TL;DR: Tried a bunch of meds (see bold text) and only Concerta worked well. Not sure that I actually have ADD or some other condition. Currently on Atomoxetine 40mg and the side effects outweigh the benefits. What should I try next?

Assuming I have ADD, I was not diagnosed until my mid 20s. I want to lay out my history here and hopefully get some outside view of where I should go from here. I have an appointment next week with my doctor to followup on my current med. I have never been able to finish reading a book, and I could never remember what I've read after going through a chapter... this has been all my life and was my first indication that something was wrong. I enjoyed reading, only to not remember what I've just read. Frustrating.

I went to university out of high school and failed miserably. I couldn't study, focus, manage my time, or organize for projects / assignments. Took a few years off, and went back to find I had the same problems despite being excited to move on with life. This was very discouraging and I became very depressed.

Went to my GP and at the time I had severe social anxiety along with depression so I wrote him a letter about how I was feeling and that I really needed help. I was told to seek an assessment and in the meantime I was put on an antidepressant. I had a psychologist do an overall "personality assessment" and one component of it was using a computer test to check my response time and focus in a 10 minute task that required concentration to complete. This test was designed to recognize ADD/ADHD.

The test suggested that I had a moderate to severe delay in auditory and visual cues with difficulty focusing. It also showed I was more inattentive than outwardly hyperactive. Based on this my GP began to prescribe me stimulants.

Wellbutrin - Caused extreme anxiety & panic attacks when we upped the dose. The initial dose was not very effective.

Vyvanse - Caused headaches at the low dose with no noticeable improvement.

At this time I was diagnosed with Hep C. It came from a tainted blood transfusion and I then underwent 6 months of treatment on Ribevarin, Telaprevir, and Interferon. I discontinued my antidepressant. After treatment I decided to return to school, and moved from Saskatchewan to Alberta.

Adderall - This kind of worked for me. Side effects were sweats, rapid heart beat, high blood pressure, and mild anxiety. Was on this for 2 years.

Escitalopram - Back on the antidepressant because I was having suicidal thoughts as I struggled with ongoing social anxiety and lack of a social life.

Did better at post secondary passing most of my classes. Did okay with generic courses, but failed or struggled with anything involving math. Still struggled with the same things as before, only not as severely.

Decided to take a year off before I completely wrecked my chances at succeeding at this new school. I found a new (and very good) GP and began to visit him regularly to try to understand what was really going on with me.
I stopped taking the antidepressant and went through 4 months of suicidal hell until life started to become bearable again. It helped to clear my head and the suicidal thoughts started to go away.

Got an excellent job with a great employer (still with today) and it helped my depression a lot. Before I worked retail and hated my life, but now I had something to look forward to. I actually enjoyed going to work, and got lots of opportunities to socialize with people that were happy and enjoyed life... that were not always frustrated and depressed (the retail life.)

Propranolol - This helped with my anxiety symptoms, especially while on adderall but I didn't like having to take it so often. I was on this for a month.

Inderal 80mg, then 120mg - This began to make my ADD symptoms worse and I got into a car accident (hit a stationary object) which hurt my bank account significantly. I took on significant debt to fix my car. Stopped taking this immediately.

Concerta - This was the first medication that worked well for me. It made me a bit irritable and had a mild increase in heart rate, not uncomfortable. I went back to school and ended up getting 70s-90s in my courses. However, it is not covered my my schools health insurance so I asked to try something that was.

Dexedrine - This was about as bad as Wellbutrin, only the horrible anxiety hit me immediately. I took it for about a week and called it quits. It was clear this was not going to help. Why the heck does my school health plan cover dex and not concerta?!

Stayed off stims for 2 weeks and my ADD symptoms returned in full force. Felt exhausted all the time, couldn't focus or concentrate and my working memory was basically non-existent it seemed. Next doc visit he had me fill out a self-assessment for ADD and told me that it did indicated a high likelihood that I am struggling with ADD-inattentive.

Atomoxetine 40mg - I've been on this going on 4 weeks. It is somewhat uncomfortable. At this dose I have painful burning urination, fatigue that is far worse some days than others. The first week I felt as if it was working well despite the side effects. Since then the good effects have gone away, and while I'm sure it helps a little bit, the side effects are outweighing any benefit.

I've read that the usual dose is 80mg. While I can expect the side effects to come back full-force with a dosage increase, will I experience the same boost in benefits followed by a slow dissipation of said benefits and side effects? I feel that I owe it to myself to at least try it for one month.

Failing this medication, what should I try next? Based on my history, is there anything that would seem to suit me? Concerta is by far the winner as it helped me to get my life together for the first time, without bad side effects.

Is there a possibility that I don't have ADD and I may have some other similar condition? Or do my experiences seem to indicate ADD?

Sorry for the long post, and thanks for any feedback / suggestions.

TL;DR: Tried a bunch of meds (see bold text) and only Concerta worked well. Not sure that I actually have ADD or some other condition. Currently on Atomoxetine 40mg and the side effects outweigh the benefits. What should I try next?

Pilgrim
06-12-17, 12:56 AM
I've never been a fan of combining anti depressants with Stimulints. Unless I got anxious enough. If Concerta works stick with it. I'm more partial to the amphetamines.

Have confidence in the medical advice your receiving. Understand what the medications can and can't do.

Maybe look at some other therapies, this always helps. Don't bite off more than you can chew.

CharlesH
06-12-17, 01:19 AM
I'm surprised you haven't tried generic Ritalin yet. It's the same active chemical as Concerta, but much cheaper. Have you checked whether your insurance covers that?

sarahsweets
06-12-17, 04:37 AM
Did you try multiple doses and dosing schedules with the other drugs?

trialanderror
06-12-17, 08:50 PM
Thanks everyone for your feedback.

Have confidence in the medical advice your receiving. Understand what the medications can and can't do.

Maybe look at some other therapies, this always helps. Don't bite off more than you can chew.

I'm no longer on an anti-depressant. I felt it caused more problems than it solved. I'm very thankful to be with my current doctor. He is caring, receptive, and responsible in our approach to managing this.

My only issue with therapy is the cost. I am on a tight student budget. I did find a free group that offers meetup and sessions for social anxiety. I have yet to attend, but I should give it a try.

I'm surprised you haven't tried generic Ritalin yet. It's the same active chemical as Concerta, but much cheaper. Have you checked whether your insurance covers that?

Come to think of it, I may have tried it at the very beginning but didn't find it helpful. That was when I was on an antidepressant so it would probably be worth giving it another shot. I'll bring it up with my doctor tomorrow.

Did you try multiple doses and dosing schedules with the other drugs?

I'm not sure what you mean by multiple doses / schedules. I've only ever taken extended release capsules/tablets in one dose. I've asked about mixing medications, but my previous doctors just shook their head at this idea. I would think that if I try all the basic meds without success, this would be something my doc would consider. I don't really want to bring it up unless he suggests it.

sabres12
06-12-17, 09:07 PM
I was diagnosed in College at around age 21. Hah I couldn't even sit for 5 minutes to do a homework assignment and I would literally have anxiety about doing so.

Was prescribed atomoxetine and upped to 80mg, then back down to a sweet spot of 60mg per day. It took a good 8 weeks for me to notice any difference. Side effects went away after about 5 weeks in. It has been good for me but I've kind of hit a peak and maintained.

It was great for me. Saved my job and greatly helped me finish college. Kind of keeps me at a mellow balance; nothing really seems to bother or agitate me since going on it. No feelings of depression or feeling down or anything.

I've never been on a stimulant before so I can't compare, but atomoxetine does take a bit to kick in so maybe it'll still work for you.

After 9 years on it for me though and just some other stuff I have going on in my life and increased demands with my job, my doc is going to try me on Vyvanse as she says generally stimulants work better. Have had some challenges with drinking most recently as well which can apparently go hand in hand with ADHD.

Best of luck :)

sarahsweets
06-13-17, 04:57 AM
I'm not sure what you mean by multiple doses / schedules. I've only ever taken extended release capsules/tablets in one dose. I've asked about mixing medications, but my previous doctors just shook their head at this idea. I would think that if I try all the basic meds without success, this would be something my doc would consider. I don't really want to bring it up unless he suggests it.
What I meant was did you try each medication with different doses and different times of taking them or was it sort of like one try and you switched meds?