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General Medication Discussion This section is to be used for general medication discussion and other medications not broken out in their own respective forums.

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  #1  
Old 02-14-14, 08:59 AM
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Evaluating the effectiveness of your meds

and the broader question of which areas can you expect your meds to help you with.

Skip to the blue part for the actual questions

I take dex and I don't really "feel" the medication. My mind doesn't suddenly seem to magically get cleared of all its clutter and there are no other obvious indicators that the meds are working (except that I feel somehow calmer, slightly more stable and ever so slightly more content). Anyway, I'm not sure that you are supposed to "feel" your meds. So how do you know that they are working?

I have read a lot on this forum on how the best method to evaluate the effectiveness of meds is to look at which of your common problem areas are improving and to what extent. So I've been trying to do that. I have got a lot more done at work since starting meds, I've made all my recent deadlines (thought I'm coming close to missing one today ). Procrastination (and in association maybe motivation) is a huge issue and I still seem quite distractable. But then I don't think that the meds are supposed to help with procrastination.

I have also deliberately attended some seminars because in the past I struggled hugely with seminars, lectures, presentations, etc. I always used to fall asleep sooner or later no matter how interesting or relevant the talk was and if I didn't fall asleep I'd daydream. I've attended about 3 hours worth of seminars this week (and tried to time taking my meds so that the seminars fell into a period where I think the meds are active) and here the result was astonishing: I didn't feel sleepy even once. I was able to listen to all talks and best of all I was actually able to follow the speaker, understand what they were saying and make my own conclusions (or form questions) based on their talks.

Anyway, sorry for all the text, I was hoping to approach this in a more structured way. I've identified certain regions where so far the meds might be helping (strictly when they are active only..for about 2-3h after taking a dose):

1. Getting some work done (once I've started) though I'm not sure exactly if I'm more focused or methodical, etc.
2. Listening and comprehension skills
3. Emotional regulation (less restless, more balanced , less affected or reactive) though once the meds wear off, I swing the other way.

My main problem areas still are:

1. Procrastination
2. Motivation
3. Time management and organisation

Anyway, my questions are:

1. What is the best way to evaluate the effectiveness of your meds?
2. Which are the areas that meds help with?
3. Is it possible to be more functional due to some sort of placebo effect? (for example, I assume that after taking meds for the next 2-3h, I CAN be more functional).Previously nothing ever helped, but then maybe it was just because the conviction wasn't strong enough.
4. Should you obviously (though subjectively) feel the difference if you have ADHD?
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Old 02-14-14, 09:22 AM
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Re: Evaluating the effectiveness of your meds

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fuzzy12 View Post
1. What is the best way to evaluate the effectiveness of your meds?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fuzzy12 View Post
1. Getting some work done (once I've started) though I'm not sure exactly if I'm more focused or methodical, etc.
2. Listening and comprehension skills
3. Emotional regulation (less restless, more balanced , less affected or reactive) though once the meds wear off, I swing the other way.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fuzzy12 View Post
2. Which are the areas that meds help with?
-Activities ( removes the handbrake )
-Confidence, enables fluidity of thought

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fuzzy12 View Post
3. Is it possible to be more functional due to some sort of placebo effect? (for example, I assume that after taking meds for the next 2-3h, I CAN be more functional).Previously nothing ever helped, but then maybe it was just because the conviction wasn't strong enough.
To some extent... as a part of daily routine flow... minimally... though i do not believe that is the case here... what you describe sounds like a genuine and therapeutic response

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fuzzy12 View Post
4. Should you obviously (though subjectively) feel the difference if you have ADHD?
I just start doing stuff... when i started... my diet / routine... was very good... so yes i did "feel" a response... now, i just get activated and start doing things....


With regard to procrastination etc... tools, systems ( most of tmoneys posts / jacksper ) are where it's at... see i'd say it's impossible to channel the meds with "typical environments"... kind of like doing a burnout in your driveway instead of the quarter mile.

though I found routine / diet / environment ( going to library ) most effective... to kick it off... can be quite a challenge hence the demand for coaches as maintining one small change whilst implementing another can prove to be a challenge...

I'd add aswell that a macro focus... in that "life" is a series of next actions rather that working toward big outcomes is crucial. WE CAN, using tools, apply ourselves to small things... it's big pictures and competing stimuli that bring the fog...
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Old 02-14-14, 09:59 AM
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Re: Evaluating the effectiveness of your meds

Hi, Fuzzy--

This is fascinating. I admire your scientific rigor in approaching these questions--and I love the seminar experiment! Good for you. This is extraordinarily lucid and valuable documentation from inside the experience.

Of course I can't answer your real questions, since I don't have ADHD and thus don't take the meds myself. But I just wanted to say that in my understanding, you have clearly described excellent results from meds, doing just what they are supposed to do. You shouldn't feel anything magical--the medication should be almost invisible in your experience of it, except that now you can attend the seminar and follow along, etc etc etc.

As for

1. Procrastination
2. Motivation
3. Time management and organization

well, for those things, I fear you have to supply the progress yourself. And it's hard after a lifetime of needing the meds/not having the meds, and thus of never having built up effective habits and understandings of how these things should work. You are stuck with a big challenge that most people have worked on gradually over a lifetime. So it's a lot to do, but it's possible.

You can do it, because now you are able to concentrate (thanks to the medication), AND because you now have insight about how your mind does and doesn't work AND because you are a smart grownup setting about handling this which gives you an advantage over a confused child starting to learn it the conventional way.

Some people work with coaches and CBT therapists to help themselves with these specific issues. Others make their own protocols and train themselves to change in positive ways, like Jacksper. I'm sure there are are other methods as well, but I would guess that the possible progress on these matters mostly comes from the person her or himself, not from meds or external factors.

Good luck with this--I hope you keep posting and sharing with us your experiences as regards this--
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Old 02-14-14, 03:31 PM
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Re: Evaluating the effectiveness of your meds

I just compare myself to when I am unmedicated and note the differences.
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Old 02-14-14, 04:01 PM
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Re: Evaluating the effectiveness of your meds

Also having a bit of trouble with this

I started off on a pretty low dose of Ritalin (10mg 2x/day) last Monday. I truthfully haven't been feeling much except for a slight daze. But here's the rub: had a pretty tough break-up literally the day before I started, and so I've been in pretty severe emotional discord the entire time. Very little productivity so evaluating the effectiveness has been essentially useless for me. Although I gotta say, I'm pretty sure the dosage needs to be significantly higher because I don't feel much.
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Old 02-14-14, 08:15 PM
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Re: Evaluating the effectiveness of your meds

yes, I won't go into the bulk of it.

but things appear more in focus and the racing thoughts slow down.
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Old 02-14-14, 08:19 PM
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Re: Evaluating the effectiveness of your meds

Best to get someone else to tell you if they notice anything different. Have them do it over a period of time so they're actually lookin for changes after observing both stars, like a science experiment.
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Old 02-15-14, 12:38 AM
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Re: Evaluating the effectiveness of your meds

One way is to measure using a rating scale how you felt during the day on things like distractibility, poor attention to details, restlessness, etc. Doing this daily can give an idea of what symptoms your medication is helping with, and give you a comparison of how other medications you might try compare.
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