View Full Version : Medicated for Life? (ADHD)


demo3210
01-04-10, 01:51 AM
So are we all destined to be medicated for the rest of our lives? Is there anything wrong with that?

I take Vyvanse and just worry I'm not being true to myself by taking medication. I am grateful for having the medication and know I can't function as well without it. I would rather take the medication than not take it so I can accomplish everything I need to. But, it's like I'm not really being me and who I am on medication is artificial.

What happens when you exhaust all medication options for ADHD once they lose effectiveness? Is that possible? Will the meds last forever?

Are we dependent on our medication? If we are, is that okay? I've heard the insulin dependent response to that question, but I don't know if that is enough.

Will long-term brain changes make us even worse off without the medication?

I'd appreciate anyone's insight regarding any of those concerns, especially if it's positive.

Trooper Keith
01-04-10, 06:08 AM
So are we all destined to be medicated for the rest of our lives? Is there anything wrong with that?

No, I don't think there's anything wrong with that. Someone's got to keep Big Pharma in business. Hehe.

More seriously, I don't see any reason to be worried about taking medicine forever. It's not like it's a major setback in your day. Especially something you take once in the AM, like Vyvanse.

I take Vyvanse and just worry I'm not being true to myself by taking medication. I am grateful for having the medication and know I can't function as well without it. I would rather take the medication than not take it so I can accomplish everything I need to. But, it's like I'm not really being me and who I am on medication is artificial.

Why do you feel this way? The medication shouldn't change your personality. It's not like you become some different person. ADHD dysfunction is something you have, not something you are. By removing the dysfunction, I would say you're actually being more true to yourself: you're being who you would be if you weren't disabled.

What happens when you exhaust all medication options for ADHD once they lose effectiveness? Is that possible? Will the meds last forever?

At clinical doses, it's not reasonable to think medications will lose their effectiveness. While they are tolerance forming, tolerance is slow to develop taking your medication as prescribed. Even when it does develop, switching between methylphenidate and amphetamine based products should allow the tolerance for the other to be reduced.

Are we dependent on our medication? If we are, is that okay? I've heard the insulin dependent response to that question, but I don't know if that is enough.

I guess a better question would be: under what circumstances would that not be okay? I can find nothing morally wrong with taking a medication every day. What do you find offensive about it?

Will long-term brain changes make us even worse off without the medication?

These medications are very short acting, and in adults are not likely to cause "long-term brain changes." They have a limited effect on the brain development of young children who take them, but this effect isn't enough to offset their value.

I'd appreciate anyone's insight regarding any of those concerns, especially if it's positive.

I don't know if my insights are considered positive or not, but you get what you get.

And if it's any consolation, I see no reason to take ADHD medications after retirement, so you don't necessarily have to die on ADHD meds. =]

ginniebean
01-04-10, 06:19 AM
I see no reason to take ADHD medications after retirement, so you don't necessarily have to die on ADHD meds. =]


Because you're so close to retirement and all you old fart. Being a senior has its own challenges, like new conditions, and different medications along with still having to pay the bills on time.

The symptoms of ADHD can worsen with age so maybe reconsider that.

lk44
01-04-10, 05:06 PM
in my experience based off research, the literature and personal experience the following is true -

at the right dose, adhd medications allow you to make better decisions. They don't make making the right decisions easier. They don't take away the decision making.

What they do - at the right dose - is make it so that if you decide, "Okay, now I'm going to go to the library, pull out some books on endrocrinology, and take notes!" you can actually do it.

The decision? Getting there, sitting down, pulling out the books? Just as hard to do when I'm not on meds.

The outcome? Different. Better. Instead of studying for 10 minutes, leaving, and hating everything - I study for 1 hour and think, "wow, I really learned something."

I don't know if that helps, but it's how I understand the effect of medication on your decision making.

demo3210
01-05-10, 12:40 PM
Thank you everyone for the kind, thorough, and thoughtful insight.

Ik44, I can really relate to what you're saying. I can see that what you said is very true in that the decision is still ours even though the medication helps us follow through with it. That is a great analogy, at least for me as it's something I can relate to.

Kmiller, I do feel as though the medication does change my personality or even anyone's personality. For example, I believe that Ik44 and I are probably more studious when taking our medication while we would otherwise probably be more lazy if we were not. Do I still love my family the same and as happy to be around my friends, yes, that didn't change.

I can see though that you probably are being more true to yourself by eliminating the disorder to allow you to follow through with the 'decisions' you actually want to make, like what Ik44 mentioned.

The problem I see with being dependent on it is like this. You take your medication and you start becoming able to do things that you wanted to do that you otherwise couldn't, so you do them. Depending on the substantial-ness of the things you're doing, in a sense you're digging yourself into this hole and if you lose your meds, the meds stop working, or you stop taking them, you then might not be able to get back out.

I do feel better from reading your posts. More feedback is always appreciated. Thank you, all!

Trooper Keith
01-05-10, 04:46 PM
I guess the question is how you're defining "personality." Randy Larsen and David Buss (2005) describe personality as "the set of psychological traits and mechanisms within the individual that are organized and relatively enduring and that influence his or her interactions with, and adaptations to, the intrapsychic, physical, and social environments" (p. 4). Working with this definition, I don't believe that medications change the "relatively enduring" characteristics that influence how you interact with the world. After all, saying that medication change the personality trait of "laziness" is to define yourself as lazy, rather than affected by a psychiatric disorder. Are you, as a person, defined by being lazy? If you're lazy, you don't need to be taking medication.

References

Larsen, R. J., & Buss, D. M. (2005). Personality psychology: domains of knowledge about human behavior (2nd ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill

APSJ
01-05-10, 09:11 PM
Kmiller, I do feel as though the medication does change my personality or even anyone's personality. For example, I believe that Ik44 and I are probably more studious when taking our medication while we would otherwise probably be more lazy if we were not.

What do you mean by studious? If you mean more interested in obtaining an education or gaining knowledge, then I could see that being a change in personality, however I've never known anyone to have such a change of interest as a result of stimulant medication.

If you just mean medication makes you better able to study, and that you study more as a result, then, in my mind, that's not a change in personality anymore than an increase in reading resulting from getting reading glasses would be. I don't think everything that influences one's behavior changes one's personality.

The problem I see with being dependent on it is like this. You take your medication and you start becoming able to do things that you wanted to do that you otherwise couldn't, so you do them. Depending on the substantial-ness of the things you're doing, in a sense you're digging yourself into this hole and if you lose your meds, the meds stop working, or you stop taking them, you then might not be able to get back out.

Using glasses as an example again, should someone who needs them avoid getting themself involved in things where they need to see clearly for fear of the consequences should they lose their glasses?

It seems like a lot of people struggle with this, and I've given it a fair amount of thought. I think it may be somewhat easier for me to accept that if there's a 'true me', it's someone who needs to take medication, since I've been doing so since I was a little kid.

However, I don't actually believe that we have a 'true' or 'real' self that we should try to act in keeping with. We're influenced by a huge number of factors, from our genes, to how we're brought up, to where we come from, to our interactions with others, to name just a few, and there's no way to isolate ourselves from these things. I certainly don't believe stimulant medication suppresses one's true self anymore than these other factors, and relative to some of them, it's influence is trivial.

Maurice
01-05-10, 09:37 PM
Well demo. I can imagine a much worse evil than a medicated life.......... How about an un-medicated life? Now that would be terrible!!!!