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ADHD Adults

Shall I commit to a life of meds (dexies)?

Hi all,

I have been wrestling with the idea of committing to a career path that is very intellectually demanding, and am wondering if anyone can share their experiences regarding long-term medication.

Basically, I’m 24 and about to finish my undergrad degree. Having discovered I have ADHD about 2 years ago it turns out I’m not dumb(!), I just learn differently. Now that I’ve figured out how to learn I am considering doing post-graduate law, in which case I’d go on to become a lawyer (If I did I would like to be a good lawyer, not a corporate scumbag by the way!).

My issue is: If I committed to this as a life direction, I’d be committing myself to a life of medication, and I’m unsure of the long-term effects of med’s, I do feel a little depression after taking them in the evenings sometimes, and sometimes I feel a little uneasy / cagey, but they are the defining factor behind my ability and joy doing this type of intellectual work.

Most importantly I want a wholesome happy life…

Has anyone out there found that long-term med’s (while they may have helped their career) have been negative (or positive) in the other realms of their life? i.e. relationships, health, ability to sleep, love, spirituality, and importantly happiness? I am also aspiring to do entrepreneurial and musical things, which would be a less ‘med-orientated’ pathway.

A big question for me is whether the med life in a scholarly field would be one of pain or gain, as compared to a potentially arts / creative / entrepreneurial non med life (a potentially hugely competitive, demoralizing and painful one in itself!). ... any thoughts?


Dear OllieA,
First thing I have to say is don’t worry so much about the future, but rather focus on today. Probably you’ve heard of “one day at a time.” It’s a very true adage. It’s all you have—the next minute, or hour, or day if all goes well! When you write things like “committing to a LIFE of meds” I can tell you you’re worrying about things that haven’t happened yet, and may never. LIFE is a long time and a lot can happen along your path to change your medication needs. Crap—you may be dead by age 28!! Not to be morbid, but I’m trying to make a point. Yes you need to plan for your future. And yes, you often need to start your future path NOW. So for NOW, take the medication if it works. Enjoy it if it works! Jeeze, for so many of us, including me, finding meds that work has been a struggle involving YEARS! You’re blessed if you’ve found a medication that aids you in cognitive demands. And you’re brilliant to boot!! Whoda thunk??? Move forward with confidence TODAY, and have fun and be brilliant and let the future reveal itself in its own time!

Posted by mowgirl on May 03, 2014 at 5:10pm

I agree with Mowgirl.  If you’ve found your calling and can accomplish it with meds, go for it.  Get your advanced degree.  You can always quit the meds later, if you decide, too, but it’s very hard to go back and get more education.  You’re on a roll now.  Don’t stop pursuing your dream.  The music or entrepreneur work can be done on the side to help keep your brain engaged and challenged if you have any free time after your demanding lawyer job. As we all know new meds are introduced all the time.  Maybe one of those won’t make you depressed or sick.  But, for now, what you have is working.  I’d say get your degree in your back pocket.  You can take that and use it in a non-traditional lawyer way, such as as an entertainment lawyer to also use your musical background.  I’m sure a lot of ADHD people will need a lawyer who understands them, can meet with them at the odd times they are awake, like 1:00am, in a place that is nontraditional, not a stuffy office setting.

Posted by mama36_13 on May 03, 2014 at 5:50pm

It seems you’ve fallen into the trap that many people do where they aren’t aware that ADHD (as an adult) will probably affect relationships & leisure time just as much, if not more, than education & career. 

You need to pick a career choice based on that career matching up with your interests, strengths, and unique “quirks,” not on a misguided impression that one career path resigns you to a life of “taking dexies” but the Artsy Fartsy life would allow you to live some bohemian lifestyle.  You just might find that the artist’s lifestyle with it’s total lack of structure is one that would make “taking dexies” even more mandatory if you want to stay productive & on top of your game.

No, there aren’t any major problems with taking stimulants at therapeutic dosages long-term.

Posted by BC on May 03, 2014 at 5:56pm

I hated the idea of being stuck with taking meds forever. But there are a few things I do need daily forever. Like air, water, food, shelter. clothing.

I’m late to be dx’d and start meds in my late 50’s and wish that I had started them in grade school. But ADD was almost unknown then.

Don’t waste time without meds.

Posted by Gadfly on May 03, 2014 at 5:59pm

I had lived 51 and a half years, no clue what ADHD was let alone having it. I am 53 and I would say to you…
My life on medication…NO COMPARISON… I wish we knew about ADHD when I was young, I will, and I want to, and I am HAPPY to have my medicine!

My life would have been so much better, as now it’s in it’s infancy.

Posted by bbelami on May 04, 2014 at 1:27am

I’m a lawyer and keeping track of time/billing was a significant issue for me when I was practicing law. I’m on appropriate meds now and it would’ve helped tremendously had I had them then, but it’s still difficult to stay on task when I’m not hyper-focused. You might look into practice areas where you don’t have huge hourly billing pressures.

Posted by joievivante on May 07, 2014 at 7:26am

Thanks a lot for the thoughts, I hugely appreciate the advice.

My old man convinced me to see the doctor about it, and I’m so glad he did… I can see the pain he’s gone through going undiagnosed (and to be true, some amazing skills he’s developed in adapting to it). So it’s refreshing to be reminded how lucky I am in finding out relatively early in my life. Thanks Gadfly, bbelami, joievivante

I will strive to keep my head in the present and keep my shoulders off my neck! Thanks Mowgirl and Mama_36_13

BC, this is such a valuable alternative view on the matter. Very interesting, very appreciative.

joievivante this is interesting. I may private message you at some point depending on where I wind up. Could probably chew your ear off for hours on this subject haha, so don’t give me your phone number!!!

Posted by OllieA on May 10, 2014 at 11:11am

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