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Wrong meds for adult ADHD?

My wife was diagnosed ADHD about 2years ago. She had been on bipolar meds prior to that for about 15 years. We moved so had to find a new Dr. The Dr found that she was more ADHD than bipolar (although still bipolar). The new dr specializes in childhood ADHD and prescribed Ritalin. From my perspective, I think the new ADHD diagnosis is correct, but I haven’t seen much change w the Ritalin.

Recently I found videos by Dr Russell Barkley who is expert in adult ADHD. I was surprised when he was listing effective meds for adult ADHD that he didn’t mention Ritalin at all!

I know you are not doctors, but before I peruse this, can any of you out there give me any feedback on this? Is my wife taking meds that are more effective for kids and not adults?

Replies

No, that is probably not the issue.  It is still a stimulant and stimulants each work on a slightly different part of the brain.  So even though a medication is for ADHD your wife may experience more symptoms in one area over another more - thus the brain is not firing in that part of the brain. 

It is tough being an adult with ADHD.  My husband went through every medication for ADHD as well as a number for anxiety and depression before he got the right combination.  It can feel like the doctor is just throwing spaghetti against a wall to see what sticks.  But she should see results almost immediately with stimulants because they work on the brain right away, they don’t need to build up over time.  If you ask her what does she say?  She ought to be able to describe for the doctor what is going on and whether it seems to be working or not.

Also, meds are not a panacea and you should not expect miracles from them.  The symptoms still need to be managed and she is better off getting help to do that, like from a psychologist or a coach who specializes in helping people with ADHD.

This is no easy condition and there is no easy fix or total fix.  Sometimes you get one thing under control and something else pops up.  Be careful that you are not trying to manage her ADHD for her.  This should be her job.  You can research all you want but you have to hand the ball off to her to take action because it is her brain and her life, and despite whether you will be pleased or not, it is hers to do with as she will.

Posted by YellaRyan on Apr 28, 2014 at 4:56am

Hello,

I too am surprised he did not mention Ritalin.  I had Hyperactive/Impulsive Type ADHD and it worked beautifully. 

My impression of Dr. Barkley is that he is more focused on Inattentive Type ADHD as he speaks about all the positives he has found having ADHD himself.

Since my severe symptoms almost drove me to suicide, I never saw any positives with having a non-stop motor and operated in a constant state of anxiety, depression, sleep deprieved, and highly agitated.

I am not sure with the combination of bipolar and ADHD.  It may be trickier finding the right combination of meds.

This is a great site for support so hopefully there are people who have experience dealing with both.

Mitzi

Posted by Mitzi Maine on Apr 28, 2014 at 5:04am

There are two different classes of stimulants Methylphenidates (MPH) and Amphetamines (AMP).  The majority of people will respond (meaning have a decrease in ADHD symptoms) to a stimulant medication. 

Of those who do respond some will respond to drugs in both the MPH and the AMP class but they will almost always respond better to one class than the other; some will respond to ONLY drugs in one class but not the other; some will only “partially” respond; some will respond to neither class.

There is no way to predict which class a person will respond to in advance.  About the most that can be predicted is that if the person has a family member who responds to a certain one there’s a good chance that will also work.

The MPH class includes Ritalin, Methylin, Focalin, Metadate, Daytrana, Concerta, and Quillivant.

The other class of stimulants (AMP) includes Dexedrine, Adderall, and Vyvanse. 

The stimulant group as a whole (MPH + AMP) has the highest overall success rate of all the different drugs used to treat ADHD.

Posted by BC on Apr 28, 2014 at 5:10am

It takes time to work the dosage up to an effective level.
I’m recently dx’d at 58. Started generic ritalin as my doc and I not certain what would be covered with my new insurance or if needed approval first. We knew generic ritalin was affordable. It made a difference at 5 mgs every 3 hours. Works better for me.
But this did give some unpleasant side effects. Next was generic adderall, much better. 10 mgs every 4 hours 3-4 X daily.
Depending on severity of symptoms, meds may help a lot. I am low/moderate plus a life of coping fairly well without meds. Meds have made life much much easier.

Posted by Gadfly on Apr 28, 2014 at 5:50am

Ask your wife about her experience taking Ritalin. For me, the other class of stimulants sent my brain racing and I stopped it right away

For me, Ritalin makes me more awake &  able to think faster. I felt the effects half an hour after taking it.

However, I take straterra which let’s me recognize when I am drifting away from the task I want to complete.

>>> For me, trying out new drugs to see which were helpful felt a. Lot like wandering through a pitch black fun house at the fair. It’s an adventure but eventually. You find the exit

I also recommend using a paper planner:
Writing tasks down makes them easier to remember
Keep it with you all the time
Open it up and look at the tasks often - even with all the meds, out of sight if often out of mind.


Good luck
Holly

Posted by wrongagain on Apr 29, 2014 at 2:41am

Thanks. Your comments are helpful

Posted by Blues on May 02, 2014 at 2:32pm

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