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ADHD Adults

Taking concerta (18mg)

hi all,Ive been prescribed concerta (18mg) and im worried about taking them. I worry about everything and im particiulaly bad for reading leaflets inside the meds and its made me even more worrid about taking them.

whilst Im sitting here writing this and im worried now that i might not be adhd and what if i take the medication and it doesnt have the oppsosite affect as my doctor said? My mind seems to be in overdrive all the time and i over think thing way too much, i wish i could just pop open the packet and take me first tablet! im over analysing again!...(story of my life so far)

I have a 7 year old boy with adhd (not medicated) and a 1 year old girl…(oh and a 4 month old puppy!)

I dont really know what adivce im looking for, i guess i need to be reassured about taking them. I dont know anyone other adult with adhd so cant really talk to anyone close by,

adive would be appreciated. Thanks, laura


Hi Laurajane!
I’ve also just started taking medication for my ADHD. I know how you feel - it can be really scary to start taking something that is designed to affect the way you think!

The first time I took my medication I felt nothing at all (maybe a little nausea?) as it turns out my dr had prescribed the minimum dosage so that he was sure it wouldn’t be too much too fast. I’m sure your doctor knows what he’s doing and ADHD has a really strong genetic link so if your son has it it’s quite likely that you weren’t misdiagnosed.

I guess just remember that if you take it once and don’t like it you don’t have to take it again - you can call your dr and they will help find a solution.
Finally if you are still scared I’m sure you could start by trying a lower dose (although I’m not a dr and if he says this is right for you his advice is probably best!)

For taking my meds the first time I did it on a day that was low stress in case I didn’t like them or they made me feel sick (possible side effect). Maybe that would help you too?

Also I’m sure your dr wouldn’t mind talking to you about your concerns if you want to ring them smile

Good luck and let us know how you go smile
P.s. sorry for the long reply! I’m a talker raspberry haha

Posted by calicat9 on Jul 02, 2014 at 3:26pm

18mg of Concerta is the lowest dose for this medication and doctors start low. You might be relieved when you take it and see the change but if you don’t notice much difference it might not be the right dose. Also, there are several medication you can try if this is not the right one.

Posted by 3adhdmomof5 on Jul 02, 2014 at 4:06pm

My son has been on Concerta for the past 5 years and it has helped him tremendously. He started out at 18mg and has slowing increased has he has grown. The only side effects he had was not wanting to eat and sleep but those have subsided. As a matter of fact, out of the four other medications he tried, that one worked best. Each person varies but you never know if it will work unless you try it.

Posted by Ry'sMom on Jul 02, 2014 at 4:13pm

Hi Laura Jane,

I was also scared to try medication and refused for many months. When I did finally star it took almost 2 years to get my dossage and type of medicarion to a level I felt was really productive. Even today, i have day where i am a bit jittery and days where i don’t feel it at all. Sleep, food, mood and environment all play a part too. What really helped me was to look at it as a bit of an experiment, deciding on a baseline and changing only one thing at a time. I also selected a few indicators, key issues i struggled with, and measured those on a daily basis by recording them in my journal. I worked with a psychologist who specializes in adult adhd to try different dosages and timing to see what works. I can honestly say that after two year, medication, supported by counselling & coaching, ha made a major difference in my life.

18 mgs is a very low dose, and most likely a starting point. Here are a few key things I have learnt.

1) slow release medications (i.e. Concerta) are much better for day to day functioning. However, timing and dosage are important. I take 54mg at about 730 in the morning. Normally this starts to wear off around 2 or 3pm, just when i kick into family mode. I find family /home related tasks much more challenging to organize and balance, because there are so many little things that have to be done every single day (rather than big and exciting tasks i can get lost in at work). There are also so many more distractions, like children, a husband, tv, facebook… The list goes in. Since concerta takes at least 8 hours to wear off, taking a second dose in the afternoon effects my sleep, so i take hal od a regular Ritalin (10mg) between 2 or 3 on days where i want to be productive in the evening.

2) because i was depressed when i first got diagnosed with adhd, i was also prescribed an anti-depressant (escitalopran) . This was supplemented by a second anti depressant (zyban) that is supposed to be helpful for adhd. I am sure these helped me get through the worst of my depression, but they also dulled my brain, which made it even harder for me to get motivated and do the personal work i needed to do in order to be i a better place. I went off the escitalopram first, which made a huge difference. About 6 months lated i went off the zyban and added the second dose of ritalin in the pm.

3) sleep and food make a massive difference. When i don’t get enough sleep or i eat really badly, i find myself jittery on my medication, even at a low dose. Ari Tuckman has a great work book, where he calls 7 factors your best brain indicators - mental health, physical health, sleep, stress, nutrition, alcohol/drugs and exercise. These 7 factors make a major difference in your brain function - adhd or no adhd - and they will effect the efficacy of you drugs.

4) Also, I suggest going off coffee while you figure out you dosages. As a former avid coffee drinker, I now drink matcha green tea in the morning. It doesn’t give the highs and lows, and i don’t get jittery. Sometimes i have coffee in the afternoon, but i might not take the ritalin if I do.

5) finding out you have adhd as an adult means that you have likely struggled with a number of issues for a long time. You may suffer from mild to severe anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, ocd or other issues as a result of the late diagnosis. There are so many similar and co-morbid conditions that may be effecting you daily life. If you are not already working with an adult adhd expert, i highly suggest you find a doctor who does fully understand the various issues. For me that meant setting up skype session, as there was not one nearby who was knowledgable enough specifically in adult adhd. It has made a world of difference. I also listed to Ari Tuckman’s free podcast on adult adhd and used his workbook.

I know i have gone into a lot of detail, but i remember how scary the process can be. I didn’t want to be reliant on medications, but i also wanted to figure out why everything in my life seemed to be so much more difficult. I am telling you all this to explain that medication is not an exact science and if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. For me, treatment - medical and psychological - has saved my marriage, probably my relationship with me wee daughter and even maybe my life.

Hope that helps, fell free to ask any specific questions.

Posted by Plcumming on Jul 02, 2014 at 4:32pm

Dear Laura.
Concerta 18 is very light. It does not do harm, cause it is the smallest dose. Normally – people realize how bad it has been with ADHD – only after taking Ritalin for the first time and realize that thing could have been different all over those period.
You seem to have an over-worrying issue – which is called professionally – anxiety disorder. I am not professional and this is only my impression of your message – I used to be like that.  I call this inner talking of mine of worrying – “The old fox from the Muffet-show”. They were speaking and speaking.
What helps me against this inner talk is saying to myself that “the best scenario is about to happen” – and following that thinking – it does happen. And Ciperlex. 


Posted by MoltyTasker on Jul 04, 2014 at 12:05am

Plcumming has great points.
Yes, lay off caffeine as you start out - coffee, tea, chocolate will interact and you don’t want to skew your resuts. You can always try to drink and eat those thinks later, but when you are testing something new, you want to know whether the drug or your coffee is what did it.
18 is small. I had an allergy to a different ADHD drug. It hit me by day 4. On that day I had a bad day, shaky, itchy, rash, racing, dizzy. But - not life threatening. Before the next day, it was all over. Just one bad day. I don’t think Concerta is a drug that even if you didn’t react well it would have long lasting damage with it. It’s not like a “build up” drug that takes time to get it out of your system.  I use Concerta - 2 36mg pills per day- highest dose.
If you are super nervous anyway (I was). Take it on a day off work. Plan nothing important. Putter around your house just to see if you have anything negative happen. Like a sensitivity test run. Then take it on a day when you actually have to pay attention.  That dose is probably too low to show much improvement, but who knows, you don’t want to start too high - you always inch up until you get the result you need without so much drug to cause side effects.
Think of a single 18 mg pill as a “lunch date”, not a fancy dinner date and a movie commitment.

Posted by Juggler on Jul 06, 2014 at 12:52am

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