View Full Version : Anyone's child complain of feeling "less creative" on meds?


musikat
03-26-10, 12:16 PM
My 8YO son just started Vyvanse last Saturday. He is currently on 40mg and seems to be doing great. The change at home is amazing and I mostly love how he is on the medication. He hasn't had any of the main side effects -- still eating and sleeping normally -- and sometimes even seems "smoother" in the mornings before he takes his medication.

However, this morning he fought me on taking it and told me he doesn't like it. When I asked him why he says it makes him less creative. He is someone who would spend hours (and lots of paper) on drawing, paper crafts, anything he could thing of. He considers himself an artist and he does have talent. What I have noticed lately (before meds) is that although he spends a lot of time doing things he is hasty and not careful. The kid, who can sketch amazingly well when he puts his mind to it, will cover his paper in stick figures and drawings that I can't really tell what they are. So...I had hoped being on meds would focus that and he could go back to taking his time, putting the care and effort in and making it good (not because I want him to but so he can better reach his potential). Instead, he doesn't want to do anything. The other day he sat around complaining that he was bored. When I suggested drawing or projects he said he didn't feel like it.

Has anyone else had this happen? He's been on meds less than a week and on 40 mg just since Tuesday. Is there a chance this will even out and this particular "side effect" will lessen or go away? Would another medication possibly be better? I want to be able to give him some hope, yet keep him on meds for all the benefits they have.

ETA he is otherwise completely himself, just a bit calmer. He still runs around, plays normally, etc. He is not "zombie-like" at all. It is just in the creative area it seems to be negatively effecting him. :(

MGDAD
03-26-10, 01:17 PM
ADHD kids often say they are bored. They generally need more stimulation than regular kids, but on the other hand get overstimulated easily too.

You might just want to let him try without meds for a few days, so he can be reminded how hard it is for him without meds.

RedHairedWitch
03-26-10, 01:46 PM
The loss of creativity and imagination are common with ADHD meds. Once he adjusts to his meds it may come back somewhat.

Dizfriz
03-26-10, 04:37 PM
The loss of creativity and imagination are common with ADHD meds. Once he adjusts to his meds it may come back somewhat.
The jury seems to be out on this. Mt Sinai shows a paper on this in which it is stated:

"The results, published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (Solanto et al., 1989), showed quite clearly that the children
produced significantly more original or creative responses following methylphenidate than they
did following placebo. Since that time, another research group also found a facilitative effect of
methylphenidate on performance (Douglas et al, 1995) and a third group found no effect positive or negative (Funk et al., 1993)."

http://www.mssm.edu/static_files/MSSM/Images/Research/Programs/Attention%20Deficit%20Hyperactivity%20Disorder%20C enter/creativity.pdf

This is not definitive and there have been some anecdotal reports of this happening which you may be responding to. It is likely to remain in the not conclusive category for some time as there does not seem to be a lot of research in this area.

Mostly I find research on whether or not ADHD itself effects creativity and the results on this seem to indicate that "while verbal fluency may be impaired, in ADHD, ideational creativity appears not to be so. Tests of nonverbal, figural creativity have shown mixed results."

Barkley, Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder-Third edition, P147 (2006)

Hope this is of some help. Important subject.

Dizfriz

RedHairedWitch
03-27-10, 12:19 AM
Sorry, I'm not a research person. I've just noticed the amount of threads on this and other ADHD forums about people feeling like they've lost their creativity on meds.

Dizfriz
03-27-10, 09:34 AM
Sorry, I'm not a research person. I've just noticed the amount of threads on this and other ADHD forums about people feeling like they've lost their creativity on meds.
No reason to be sorry. I also have seen a number of people reporting this and there well may be some merit to the reports.

I wanted to inject some data into the conversation and not to indicate you were wrong because you may not be.

I often find that some have fairly unique reactions to medication. Research cannot pick up on this well as they are working in terms of groups. Even if a reaction is rare, for the individual the rarity makes little difference as it is very real to him or her.

My son was reactive to yellow dye number 5. It is rather rare but for him it was reality.

It is an important issue to look into and I hope more research will be done in the future.

Dizfriz

tessmesser
03-30-10, 02:57 PM
The studies as mentioned have been mixed but it appears from the study below that highly creative people may suffer a bit from the stimulants where people who are not as creative may gain a bit from the stimulants.

Studies done of the stimulants years ago (in the 70s) reported that all children, ADHD and not reported that the stimulants made them feel 'different'.

My 8 year old hyperactive/impulsive son complains about this some but when I discuss with him the specific symptoms that the stimulants help, he tends to agree that whatever 'difference' he is feeling is not as important as control of those symptoms (though he rarely articulates this exactly and mostly all I get out of him is an, "OK, whatever, give me the applesauce with medicine."

Was this his original dose?? Might a lower dose work just as well??

When we enhance cognition with Adderall, do we sacrifice creativity? A preliminary study.

Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, University of Pennsylvania, 3720 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2009 Apr;203(3):651. Smith, M Elizabeth

RATIONALE: Adderall (mixed amphetamine salts) is used by healthy normal individuals to enhance attention. Research with healthy normal participants and those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder indicate a possible inverse relationship between attentional function and creativity. This raises the possibility that Adderall could decrease creativity in people using it for cognitive enhancement. OBJECTIVE: This study was designed to find out whether Adderall impairs creativity in healthy young adults. MATERIAL AND METHODS: In a double-blind placebo-controlled study, the effects of Adderall on the performance of 16 healthy young adults were measured on four tests of creativity from the psychological literature: two tasks requiring divergent thought and two requiring convergent thought. RESULTS: Adderall affected performance on the convergent tasks only, in one case enhancing it, particularly for lower-performing individuals, and in the other case enhancing it for the lower-performing and impairing it for higher-performing individuals. CONCLUSION: The preliminary evidence is inconsistent with the hypothesis that Adderall has an overall negative effect on creativity. Its effects on divergent creative thought cannot be inferred with confidence from this study because of the ambiguity of null results. Its effects on convergent creative thought appear to be dependent on the baseline creativity of the individual. Those in the higher range of the normal distribution may be unaffected or impaired, whereas those in the lower range of the normal distribution experience enhancement

scarygreengiant
03-30-10, 09:46 PM
My 8YO son just started Vyvanse last Saturday. He is currently on 40mg and seems to be doing great. The change at home is amazing and I mostly love how he is on the medication. He hasn't had any of the main side effects -- still eating and sleeping normally -- and sometimes even seems "smoother" in the mornings before he takes his medication.

However, this morning he fought me on taking it and told me he doesn't like it. When I asked him why he says it makes him less creative. He is someone who would spend hours (and lots of paper) on drawing, paper crafts, anything he could thing of. He considers himself an artist and he does have talent. What I have noticed lately (before meds) is that although he spends a lot of time doing things he is hasty and not careful. The kid, who can sketch amazingly well when he puts his mind to it, will cover his paper in stick figures and drawings that I can't really tell what they are. So...I had hoped being on meds would focus that and he could go back to taking his time, putting the care and effort in and making it good (not because I want him to but so he can better reach his potential). Instead, he doesn't want to do anything. The other day he sat around complaining that he was bored. When I suggested drawing or projects he said he didn't feel like it.

Has anyone else had this happen? He's been on meds less than a week and on 40 mg just since Tuesday. Is there a chance this will even out and this particular "side effect" will lessen or go away? Would another medication possibly be better? I want to be able to give him some hope, yet keep him on meds for all the benefits they have.

ETA he is otherwise completely himself, just a bit calmer. He still runs around, plays normally, etc. He is not "zombie-like" at all. It is just in the creative area it seems to be negatively effecting him. :(

It's actually the opposite for me. I am more creative on my ADHD meds, although I wouldn't say that the meds "make" me more creative. They just "bring out" the creativity. Maybe your son's dose is just too high and his creativity will come back if he tries a lower dose. I know when I take too high a dose (sometimes I'll forget that I already took my medication and I'll accidentally take it twice) I don't feel like doing a damn thing.

vssjayden
03-31-10, 01:18 AM
When my child complains "He has nothing to do" I tell him find something or else you can wash the walls or time out. He's ADHD and on Concerta. This usually works but yes he is like me bored and really doesn't have a huge imagination.

Lady Lark
03-31-10, 11:29 AM
I know growing up my sibling and I learned very quickly not to let mom know we were bored. She'd be more then willing to find things for us to do, and it was almost always cleaning. A couple times of scrubbing the bathroom, and I learned to find something before mom asked, "Are you bored?" :p

It works, so I've passed that one onto my own kids. Believe me, they find something to do. :D

Ms. Mango
03-31-10, 12:54 PM
Is it a matter of perception and doesn't fit with reality? He says he feels less creative--but does that match up with what you see.

I don't have ADHD so I don't know what goes through the mind of a person with ADHD. So, if unmedicated, you have 500 awesome thoughts going around in your head but cannot act upon any of them might it seem that if medication brought that number down to a dozen and you could actually act upon one or two that you would feel less creative. But in reality you were more creative because you accomplished something.

And yes, my mother also taught me to never say I was bored. Finding something to do on my own was better than cleaning out the garage any day!

vssjayden
03-31-10, 02:09 PM
Yes it seems that the meds calm the brain and you don't have floods of thoughts.

Dizfriz
03-31-10, 02:11 PM
I know growing up my sibling and I learned very quickly not to let mom know we were bored. She'd be more then willing to find things for us to do, and it was almost always cleaning. A couple times of scrubbing the bathroom, and I learned to find something before mom asked, "Are you bored?" :p

It works, so I've passed that one onto my own kids. Believe me, they find something to do. :D
I did something similar. When I saw the kids were bored and beginning to act up, I would announce something like "The yard needs raking...anyone want to volunteer to help by acting up."

I would give a warning "Oh, then you are volunteering to help rake? Is this really what you want to do?" Activities would quieten in a hurry.

When someone inevitably volunteered, I would say "Thank you for volunteering, I really appreciate it."

We as parents get our small moments. They are not many so we have to treasure the ones we get and hold them dear. This is one of mine.

Dizfriz

ADHDTigger
03-31-10, 04:00 PM
Is it a matter of perception and doesn't fit with reality? He says he feels less creative--but does that match up with what you see.

I don't have ADHD so I don't know what goes through the mind of a person with ADHD. So, if unmedicated, you have 500 awesome thoughts going around in your head but cannot act upon any of them might it seem that if medication brought that number down to a dozen and you could actually act upon one or two that you would feel less creative. But in reality you were more creative because you accomplished something.

And yes, my mother also taught me to never say I was bored. Finding something to do on my own was better than cleaning out the garage any day!

My experience was that I had such a different path in expressing my creativity that I simply didn't recognize it. It was really only after an outside observer could point it out to me that I caught on. Of course I was doing things differently, I could see a clear path instead of one cluttered with "noise".

Something else I recall- being "bored" really meant being unmotivated. My mother took pains to point out to me as a kid that there were a variety of tasks that I could do but they were not interesting to me and I was not motivated to do them. After helpfully pointing this out, she then assigned me the task of doing the laundry.

coinfliptourist
04-01-10, 01:49 AM
Now, I'm not a child, nor do I have children. But I am a trained artist, I have a BFA, and my grand/parents were artists, so I'd like to think that I'm a pretty creative person, with a pretty creative life. I am really interested in the studies that suggest that purport that "you don't lose creativity" When the method they chose to use is not "creative" its a pretty wrote thought pattern. Coming up with interesting uses for bricks is not a creative thought path, its a verbal thought path... creative enough for the GRE, but not creative enough for *me.*

For the record, realistic drawing is also not a wholly right-brain creative process... it is left brain, rote observation translated through the hand. There is more creativity in scribbles and stick figures, and experimentation between mind and hand, than in "getting it right."

I would also caution against someone saying "you are creative" - "That looks just like 'X' " when you evaluate the work. Its the equivalent of aunt so and so saying "you made such a great thing out of popsicle sticks -- you should sell them" Its sweet, and encouraging, but its not a strong assessment of creativity, or a valuable business decision. A creative individual will be able to judge whether or not they are *proud* of what they just made... and how that personal assessment is where the value in/level of creativity is.

Creativity is not a black and white thing. Its not even greyscale. Its a full pantone booklet!

I hope to write more about my experience with Ritalin, and now Concerta, and its links to my creativity, when its not way past my bedtime. :-) But clearly, I've got issues in this department.

coinfliptourist
04-01-10, 06:35 PM
Is it a matter of perception and doesn't fit with reality? He says he feels less creative--but does that match up with what you see.

(pardon me while I think out loud)
Parents, friends, strangers are (in my experience) poor judges of creativity. If he *feels* less creative, that's what matters -- because that is where the cycle of depression can start. Or, rather, it has for me.

If I take my medication and make art; sewing (not from patterns), painting, printmaking, crafting, everything I make is *crap* -- people still like it, people still buy it, I still get accolades for it, but it is more of an internal struggle - the medication takes the edges off off the process and with it, dulls the prolific creative spark that says in my head... "this should be blue" (not "the colorwheel says blue is complementary color to red" -- but that you feel, deep down, this thing should be this blue, or this seam should go here, or this line should have this quality.)

Some of this creative process could stem from the buzzing of ideas -- crackling about in an ADD brain, that when one is enough, it crackles like lightning, and you grab hold! Its a really cool process.

And for me, its a big part of my issues with depression right now -- creativity and all my artistic pursuits *make me happy* - they are a huge part of my identity - it keeps me balanced, it keeps me feeling like I have a purpose in the world - to make amazing and beautiful things. I mean, if you are not a creative person, think about how you would feel if you couldn't do that thing you loved... ride a bike, theoretical math, fix computers, whatever.

Now, imagine if you couldn't do that thing that was really necessary... focusing, reading, completing a task - this should sound familiar to many of you- and you could do that thing, IF, you would choose to give up the thing, the feeling, the flow that makes you happiest. It becomes a much bigger trade off... for me it was like "which of my children would I kill to save the other?"

So I've been on Concerta for little over 2 months now, and unless it is 12am and the medicine is mostly clear from my system, or a day when I choose not to take it... I don't want to make anything. I don't want to sew, I don't want to be creative, I want to read, study, and I want to obsessively check my email accounts every 2 minutes. If I do sit down and "force myself" to be creative, I end up with nothing amazing. (true - its not everyday that you can make something) But I also don't get "in the groove" -- its almost as if I want to focus on something that doesn't have a creative application, or doesn't... Where I couldn't be kept from the sewing machine, now I want to watch TV (an abomination by my ethical standards) I don't want to create, I want to consume. (If anyone has a better way to put this, it confused my psych-doc, and she didn't get it)

An it is like a part of me died. I know I made the choice, because I will need to read if I intend to succeed in grad school. And I will be asking for different meds, to see how I can make it through this.