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ADHD Adults

Maxed out meds, help!

Five years ago at the age of 26 I was diagnosed with ADD/ADHD and my psychiatrist put me on the lowest dose of ritalin. It changed my life. For the better.

Now, at 31, I have maxed out the doses of ritalin, Adderall, Vyvanse and Strattera and none of them work as well as they did when I started taking them. I know that can happen if you take them for long periods of time.

I’ve tried getting off of them all together but then my symptoms get so bad I have to get back on meds to at least take the edge off of the worst of them.

Help! What else can I do to help manage my symptoms??


It may be also a temporary thing as your body goes through certain metabolic changes.
and there are more meds for ADD symptoms that the ones you have listed here. Perhaps you can try the ones you have never tried before.
I also know that in cases like yours some psychiatrists prescribe a higher doses. I know someone who takes 150 mg (prescribed!) of Adderrall.  Explore your options.

Posted by ADDRussian on Jan 09, 2017 at 2:40pm

Try adding in some alternative treatments as a complement to medication.

There are many options:

ADDconnect Moderator, Author on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen boy with ADHD, LDs, and autism

Posted by adhdmomma on Jan 09, 2017 at 4:34pm

Here is what works for me.

1. Because I am on stimulants and my work schedule allows me to do this periodically. I take med breaks. (Holidays, non-chore weekend days, low volume work days, vacations, etc.)

2. I focus on all of the other things that can impact attention and, therefore, med efficacy… diet, sleep, exercise, and unplugged time.

The only thing that really works for me is a prolonged time away from the meds, but this helps slow things down until I can do so.

Posted by Dr. Eric on Jan 10, 2017 at 5:39pm

Forgot to mention, my med schedule is reviewed and okayed by my MD.

I don’t do this on my own.

Posted by Dr. Eric on Jan 10, 2017 at 5:40pm

Are you open to trying other treatments?

I know when I was first diagnosed with ADHD and was prescribed Ritalin, I was ecstatic. It validated that something had been terribly wrong with me for a long time. Ritalin gave me a deep sense of inner calmness and I was grateful.

After a few weeks, I needed to adjust the dosage up as my body got used to the lower dosage.

Now I was fortunate because only 6 months into treatment I stumbled on another treatment that worked like Ritalin, but it had a deeper effect and was permanent.

I am talking about Neurofeedback. It corrected the imbalances in my brain so there was no longer any need for medication.

It works differently for everyone, but I highly recommend checking out The Othmer Method of Neurofeedback. It has been 2 years this month since my last treatment and the effects are lasting. No more meds.

And let me tell you I used to be a zipper. I basically zipped around in every area of my life 24/7. I talked fast, ate fast, worked fast, spent money fast, etc. Always going going going. And as it turns out that was the symptomology of my chemically imbalanced brain.

I am 53 and suffered til I was 49 with the effects of ADHD.  Just being free from the “non-stop” motor has to be the best thing ever.

Now I am rooted in calmness where before I was rooted in chaos,

Something to consider..


Posted by Mitzi McPike on Jan 11, 2017 at 6:25am

I have been taking dexedrine for over 20 years. I just took a 50 break from it and temporariliy went to biphentin. Back on dex and it works like it almost did the first time. So, 50 day break did me fine.

Posted by Mrjunglemonkey on Jan 13, 2017 at 10:26pm

This will take some trial and error on you and your doctors part.  In the first place the meds you have tried are all kind of different.  straterra is only about 60% as effective as the stim meds - so not surprising that it did not work as well.  Ritalin is a good starting med because it is not in the same class as Adderall and Vyvanse.  I would assume that you were on the extended release version of Adderall?  It makes a difference because Vyvanse is a much smoother med then the none extended version of Adderall.  And because of the length of duration, it is smoother then the XR version of Adderall.  Sometimes, because of this, people think that Vyvanse is not working when it is.  One way to tell is the length of duration.  Adderall XR should go 8 to 10 hours and Vyvanse 10 to 12 hours.  If they stop working before this time, its a good sign that the dosage is too low.  And, of course, knowing what the med should be doing for you is helpful.  This link is pretty good for knowing what to expect.
  And has one poster said, the max dosages are only recommendations.  You can go higher.
  Finally, there are other factors that can also influence the effectiveness of the medication.  A high protein breakfast will really help.  Do not drink any citric acid product - orange juice, etc,- before your meds as that will really make them less effective.  Lack of sleep at night will also have a negative effect on you.
  Hope this helps.

Posted by Sandman2 on Jan 18, 2017 at 5:39am

dang, forgot to mention that exercise (fairly strenuous exercise) will really help.

Posted by Sandman2 on Jan 18, 2017 at 5:42am

Dear Sarahtag,

I think you question is excellent! Perhaps Penny (above) as ADDconnect Moderator could get an honest and clear answer to this question from the clinicians associated with this website?

Best of luck,

Posted by Arthur on Jan 18, 2017 at 6:36pm

I’m sorry you’re struggling right now, Sarahtrg! As a woman with ADHD myself, I know how hard it can be to juggle the demands of life when ADHD is not well managed. Unfortunately, your complaint is not too uncommon.  As an ADD Coach, it’s one I hear from new clients periodically. Our ADD-related challenges can be like a tangled pile of spaghetti sometimes, with lots of different things coming together to affect our productivity and functionality. It can be really tough to untangle it by yourself!

Research shows that ADHD is best managed with what is called a “multimodal” approach to treatment (meaning treatment is most effective when it comprises multiple modalities). You don’t mention in your post what else you’re doing to manage your ADHD. It would be awesome if there really were a medication that pretty much eradicated our symptoms, we all know it hasn’t been discovered yet!  I think of medication as just one of many ADD “tools” we need to use in order to live successfully.  We have an expression in coaching that says, “Pills don’t teach skills!” While medication can be a really effective tool to help us focus sufficiently to learn to do things differently, we still need to do the work. (That’s where Coaching comes in.)

Sometimes, it can really be about the meds, and sometimes it have more to do with what’s changing in the individual’s life. As we get older (especially through our later 20s and 30s), our lives and our responsibilities become more complicated and more complex, which can make it harder for us to manage our ADHD challenges in ways that might have worked well, or even just better, than they did before. We need to learn new ways of doing things that will continue to work for us no matter how our lives change and evolve.

On the other hand, it can be about the meds sometimes! I’m not a Dr., of course, but if you haven’t already, this would be an important conversation to have with your physician. If he/she is knowledgeable, there are other options for meds and combinations of meds that can be helpful.  Also, he/she (or a trusted pharmacist) can advise you on how/when to take your medication (and with what) for it to be most effective.

Also, there are lots of things we can do that will make our meds “feel” more or less effective.  Good, basic self-care is so important to managing ADHD symptoms! If you’re not getting regular and sufficient sleep, eating well and regularly with plenty of protein, managing stress, and exercising daily, it can feel like ADHD is winning every time!  I have a client who says, “Some days aren’t worth a pill!”, meaning that sometimes it seems like no amount of medication is enough to feel like you have your ADHD under control.  When we dig at what contributes to those “not-worth-a-pill” days, it almost always goes back to something falling short in the self-care department, which often contributes to not using the systems/tools that work best to support us.

I got a bit carried away, but they’re just some things to think about! I hope something in here is helpful to you.

Please keep us posted on how you’re doing and what, if any, changes you make that help you.

Take care,

Lynne Edris, ACG
Productivity & ADHD Coach

Posted by ADD_Coach_Lynne on Jan 31, 2017 at 8:12pm

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