View Full Version : Any tips for concentrating at work when I can't take medication?

10-03-17, 11:44 PM
I used to be a transcriptionist at a medical clinic. (Not a medical transcriptionist. I couldn't handle even one college class. I just transcribed voice mails.) I was never as fast as the other transcriptionists. I hadn't been taking any kind of ADHD medication because most of the medications would interfere with my other medications (mood stabilizers and antidepressants), and I don't actually have an official diagnosis.

Then my psychiatrist prescribed Strattera and my numbers went up and everything was great, but then I started having serious side effects and had even more trouble concentrating half the time and I had to stop taking it. (I became severely depressed and I was on the brink of suicide. Now I'm wondering if maybe it was just a coincidence because I recently attempted suicide, but my dad just lost his job and probably won't be able to find a new one because he did something very illegal and I don't have insurance now, so I can't afford Strattera anyway.)

Due to increased trouble concentrating and my psychiatrist not being able to think of any reasonable accommodations, I lost my job. That was almost five months ago. Now that my dad can't help support me, it's more important than ever that I get a job that actually pays a decent amount, and basically my only skill is typing 76 WPM. But of course, my typing speed doesn't do me any good if I can't concentrate.

I know that fidgeting helps me concentrate, but it isn't possible to use any of my fidget tools while typing all day. My sister suggested a chew pendant, but I doubt that would help any more than chewing gum or running my tongue over my teeth all the time (neither of which help), and I don't think any boss would be a big fan of having an employee chewing on a piece of silicone all day. (My sister has high-functioning autism, formerly known as Asperger's syndrome. She's really smart, and she can communicate, albeit not tactfully. But she often doesn't know what's socially acceptable.)

So I can't take medication, and I can't use any of my fidget tools. Any ideas?

10-06-17, 02:58 AM
I must have said something stupid. Sorry for wasting server space.

10-06-17, 03:38 AM
Not at all, these are issues for many people here
Welcome to the forums :)

10-06-17, 03:44 AM
I must have said something stupid. Sorry for wasting server space.
Nah, things have just been a bit slow around here lately. Don't sweat it!

It sounds like you've gone through a lot lately, which would be tough even for someone without ADHD and/or other conditions.

If your psychiatrist does not have a lot of experience evaluating and treating people for ADHD when they also have a mood disorder, it might be worthwhile to get a second opinion. I don't know what mood stabilizers and antidepressants you're taking, and adding more to the mix can be tricky, but it is often possible to take stimulants along with mood stabilizers and antidepressants. Some mood stabilizers and antidepressants can also affect concentration. If that's the case for you, it might be possible to tweak those to find a combination that at least doesn't hurt your concentration as much.

If typing isn't "fidgety" enough, you could maybe look into an exercise ball for seating, bands you can put on your chair to kick/press on with your legs, or a mini pedaling or stepping device to keep your feet occupied.

Also, have you been in touch with your state's department of rehabilitation? They may be able to consult with your about your situation and help you find solutions or at least helpful accommodations.

Best wishes.

10-06-17, 11:11 AM
Outside of meds, there are 4 things I know will help me get paperwork done.

a pomodoro timer
turning the work into a challenge, or game
fear of consequences

Outside of those things and meds, I canít really say anything has been of much help.


10-07-17, 06:57 AM
gum and hard candy is a life saver for me.