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Concerta issues, Gym issues, university issues!

This is my first post, I’m a 21 year old Law student at university in my final year, always been very bright and got top grades, but very disruptive, disorganised, hyperactive, etc. Recently got diagnosed with ADHD in December, I was very high on the scale and was told I have it ‘badly’ (not quite sure of extremes or right words to use etc), but my doctor was surprised it hadn’t been noticed as a child. I’m now facing a hell of a lot of work at uni, I’m on concerta but have found it quite hard. Firstly, I didn’t notice a slight bit of difference until i was on 72mg, and only noticed some difference, I’ve been upped to 108mg a day, which i know is the highest dose but have been consulted by two doctors who both believe i need such a high dose. I do notice some difference, but not massively, I’m calmer and less chaotic (don’t jump around like a child as much). However, concentration is still MASSIVELY hard, I simply can’t attend any of my two hour lectures, I start going nuts about 45 minutes in and get annoying for anyone around me. I do catch up at home often because I’m driven to want to finish my degree and find the work quite easy but have to do work in small sets and have breaks because of distraction etc. I’ve got crap grades my whole time at uni because work is not as structured, I simply don’t do it because no one is there to shout at me to do it!  I went to a very small boarding school so was always kept on track very easily, I had classes of 6 people at most so I think this is why my adhd was never picked up as I was closely monitored to keep concentrated, and also because I’ve always been top of the class, (sorry to be big headed but its true) and ignorant people very ADHD as a ‘silly, naughty kid’ thing. Even now I am very aware I’ve gone completely off track of what i was saying!.... ANYWAY, the concerta doesn’t stop me eating but does make me feel very full for a long time, i still eat just as much but stay full for ages, which is very hard because I gym around 6/7/8 o clock every weekday evening and always feel like I’m going to puke, and often do, because my food has not digested yet, even if i eat three hours before, if i eat any sooner i pass out from feeling faint, any advice? Sorry that this doesn’t make any sense, this is a classic me adhd rant, but basically I need huge help concentrating and food wise! Thanks, lilymay!

Replies

You need to discuss these problems with your doctors.  Some side affects are just not acceptable.

Posted by Dianne in the Desert on Mar 12, 2014 at 10:43pm

I agree with Dianne. You must see your doctor for help.
As it is, you are in a fight with yourself. Can there be a winner?
You are bright and have been at the top of your class. You can solve this. After a visit with your doctor.
If your doctor does not help, get another one.
Good luck

Posted by Barbwired on Mar 12, 2014 at 11:19pm

Lilymay,
  Sounds like me!, well I have fought the stomach problems,  allways felling like im going to throw up, and can it ever make even the slightest task that more difficult while your chewing back breakfasts,  what I had to do was, one thing at a time, fix ur diet problems, no dies or artificial flavors, try to cut out anything with GMC, its getting easyer to eate right, and when I fell out of balance I mean out of my head, I go basic, unprocessed and fresh.Then I can tackle the next thing

Posted by daaron31 on Mar 13, 2014 at 12:23am

I can’t speak on the food issue, but would recommend telling your doctor. Also, go to the Concerta web site and read the entire package insert - the small print - and see if it talks about digestion. This might help you focus on how to talk to your doctor. Are you forgetting to drink water?
Next -about class Tips: See about recording the lectures. Large classes are tough.  If you are in a large class, see if sitting in the very front row helps.  I’ve found secrets about the front.
-You hear the teacher’s voice better
-less white noise from heat/A/C
-no munchers or tappers in front of you
- buzzing phones - are behind, not ‘round you
-less things/people to look at
-nearsighted teachers make eye contact with front row.  It’s more like a personal conversation and gives you a fighting chance at staying with them Keeps you honest when they are looking right at you. Also - here is the biggest secret - good speakers gauge how well they are doing by reading the audience.  If someone makes a “huh?” face, they adjust until the face looks like “oh! I got it!”.  If it’s YOUR face they are pacing themselves off of it’s like you got them to customize the class for YOU. It really works. If you are lucky enough to get in that groove, it can overcome a lot of distraction because it’s physically stationary, but active mental engagement.

If you need glasses - wear them. If you can see everything on the slide it will hold you longer.

If you are a fidget, see if sitting in the front end seat - the seat off sort of almost in the dark way down front - then you are less likely to annoy people or bump someone and there will be no seat in front of you to tap your foot against.

If you can’t keep from talking to yourself or muttering, try sucking on a sour candy or lollypop. Stick something in there to shut you up (I use lemon drops for contentious meetings.)

If you really can’t sit still, consider the back row (you may need to put a recorder up front for later listening). Talk to the prof - you can choose whether disclosing your ADD is wise or not, but you can always say you have physical difficulty sitting stationary and find the need to “stretch” frequently and would it be terribly distracting if you got up from the back row and leaned against the back wall once in a while - you don’t want to give the impression of disinterest, so are being up front and explain what you are doing (you say all that).

See if it’s possible to get the slides ahead of time for printing out and note taking - it will help you stay with it by letting you know where your place is. This might be considered an “accommodation” as might be given for someone with an executive functioning disorder like working memory deficiency, or auditory processing disorder (do you have either of those? discovering that could hold the key to what tools you should use!).

Drink enough water (take the number of pounds you weigh, divide it in half and drink that many ounces of water a day). Dehydration causes digestive problems and messes with your mental capacities.

Consider a non-stimulant instead of or in addition to your other meds - something like Strattera.

I wish you luck.

Posted by Juggler on Mar 13, 2014 at 3:14am

Hi lilymay,

When I was an undergraduate (I studied computer science and math), I had problems with lectures, as well.  I would attend them sporadically, which frustrated and offended my profs.  Once I got wind that a prof was offended, I’d talk to them so they understood I wasn’t trying to be disrespectful.  My computer science II prof really took an interest.  About a week later (after I talked to him), he started posting his lecture notes on the internet.  He also set up a weekly two-hour meeting with me.  My computer science interests were just starting to develop at the time and I was finding out that I had an interest in programming languages and compiler theory.  It turned out that his research area was programming languages.  He started giving me journal articles to read, and we’d spend our two-hour weekly meeting discussing what I thought of the articles.  It was a blast, in a geeky sort of way wink  During my undergraduate career there were 3 profs who took time with me after I discussed my situation. 

The point of my long-winded story is that communication is key.  If you take the time to talk to your profs early in the term, and explain your situation, I’m sure they’ll understand.  All my profs were more than understanding, and it showed them that I was really an interested student, I just had a little hiccup I was trying to deal with.

Initially, I had problems with the lack of structure in college life.  I learned to build in the structure myself.  I took on an internship for 20 hours per week, I was involved in my college’s chapter of ACM, I participated in programming competitions and I ran marathons.  All those things helped me develop structure in my life.  Each term I’d make a schedule to follow, which I’d put on my phone for the entire term (yeah, it’s a pita and took a while, but worth it).  Each night I’d look at the next day’s schedule and make notes about what I should be studying during my study blocks, etc.  It worked really well for me.

As far as the food thing is concerned, I learned that eating a big breakfast works for me.  I’m hungry as a horse in the morning, so I take advantage of it and eat a huge breakfast every day.  I either run or cycle in the morning, but I need to wait for a while after I eat, otherwise I’ll feel nauseous.  Needless to say, I need to get up early to eat.  If I’m feeling not hungry, but I know I need to eat, I stick with things like fruit, tomato soup and yogurt. Things I like that aren’t heavy and don’t have much fat.  For some reason that seems to work for me.

If the eating-thing is really getting to you, you should take to your doctor about it.  Good luck in school.  I’m sure you’ll do just fine.

Posted by csiagent32 on Mar 13, 2014 at 7:21pm

WOW! Thank you so much guys! I wish I had found this community sooner, there are some fantastic responses here! I’m English and my uni records all its lectures, which is super handy, but I’m still going to follow the fantastic advice to try and keep me on better track! I’ve also booked a doctors appointment to speak about eating issues, thank you everyone! lilymay x

Posted by lilymay on Mar 13, 2014 at 7:44pm

Let us know how things go!

Posted by Juggler on Mar 14, 2014 at 1:59am

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