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Good article. I was diagnosed as an adult, and now have coping strategies (including some stimulants for days when I really need to get shit done). Had I been diagnosed 30 years ago, oh the things I could have done.

The worst? My mother was a teacher. You'd think she would have caught it.

Task switching is really my biggest issue. Once I get in hyperfocus mode on something, a) I really hate getting interrupted, probably because b) getting back focused again is all but impossible.




"Had I been diagnosed 30 years ago, oh the things I could have done" - truer words have never been spoken. I was diagnosed at 28 and it was like when I got glasses in middle school for the first time. "OHHHH, this is what the world is supposed to look like"


I first got glasses at 26, so I think I understand what you mean. It was maddening to realize that my issues with math in high school may have been due to my inability to read the textbook quickly enough to succeed.


When were you reading a textbook under time constraints?


All I know is that I was working as a shipping clerk at the time, and my mis-shipment rate dropped significantly after I got the glasses. When that happened it suddenly occurred to me all the other times where I had to read a ton of numbers and symbols which were densely packed under time constraints and math was the only class like that.


Literally every time they read their textbook, it was under time constraints, given there is only a finite amount of time. Being slower than everyone else at any component of school will hurt your performance.


Your reply only makes sense if reading that took the other students 30 minutes was taking jschwartzi 12 hours. It's not normal to be constrained for time (in any way that matters) while reading textbooks. And if ability to read really was a problem, I'd expect it to show up in English, where the great majority of the work consists of reading, much more than in math, where reading the textbook isn't common at all.


Eating my own dogfood and explaining my downvote: expecting a kid or teenager to spend up to 12 hours on homework is crazy.


I said that scintill76's reply would make sense in that case, but that I didn't believe it obtained. A factor-of-3 gap (where 30 minutes of reading for the class average translates into 90 minutes for jschwartzi) is fully within the range of normal variation.


I was diagnosed with ADHD AFTER college. I had always performed well in school so there was no cause for alarm growing up. But I was always a spacey kid--my mind would race all over the place and I had trouble focusing on one single thing. Except when I hyperfocus. Then I have a hard time hearing other people around me.

The worst? My mother was a psychiatrist. You'd think should would've caught it.

During college, I coped by making my life as busy and stressful as possible. That helped me get stuff done. I also play(ed) sports. Now I am in med school and I take medications as-needed. Med school is sufficiently challenging so I find it easier to focus now compared to my previous 9-5 programming job.


I was diagnosed at age 6. I hated taking addrral back then and stopped. The next time I took it was junior year in college. Wow, I knew I was already smarter than most of my peers, and I was finally able to show it in the grades. I wish I took it in HS, it's a game changer. I do agree with the OP, and I do not understand how programming is something I can focus on and do for hours. The brain is very interesting. (Just in writing this reply I set my phone down half way through...) ADD is a blessing and a curse. I love being able to think different though.


Do the stimulants cause any jitters or mood alteration like caffeine can cause?


Caffeine user for decades, Adderall user (10mg, twice daily) for close to a decade.

Neither gives me jitters, although I only take small doses of Adderall at a time. Adderall doesn't give me a crash when it wears off like caffeine does.

Adderall can make me more high-strung at times. A little more intense, a little more irritable.

It's a trade-off, of course... because failing to get necessary shit done can also make a person quite stressed out, you know? So Adderall, by helping me get stuff done, also indirectly improves my mood. It's not a magic cure, but it has been worth it for me.


I took addrral as a kid and hated it. It changed my personality, it made me never hungry, I would stare into space, even though I'm super focused on a thought, friends would question what I was doing.

I've been taking Vyvanse now and I don't get any jitters or change in personality. The worst side effect is dry mouth...the best side effect...well, having a body high that last for hours, it's a nice bonus I guess? Is it healthy? I have no idea.


My experience is that when you're on the right dosage, no. I do hit a low around 10 hours after taking the pill (I have Vyvanse), when its effects start to wear off. Other than that, the only other side effect I have is that I end up biting the inside of my lower lip, I must be sucking all the time or something. Hurts the next day.

Oh, and if you take a pill, then forget and take another, well, it leads to a VERY jittery day.


Depends on the medication, dose, and your personal physiology. I was on a low dose dextroamphetamine as needed for a while. Then life got stressful and I found myself getting mild anxiety from it. I switched to Vyvanse which dextro packaged for extended release (lasts for 14 hours). Vyvanse did not induce any jitters but would keep me up late if I didn't take it first thing in the morning. I switched to a different extended release dextro that lasts for about half the time as Vyvanse. That's worked out well because I can take it in the afternoon without jeopardizing my sleep.

As a rule of thumb though I don't take stimulants on a regular basis, just as needed. Don't want to become dependent.


Yes. I don't take them frequently, and my dosage is still at the level it was when I was 15 and taking the regularly, and my tolerance is obviously lower than it was then, so the effects are more intense than for people who take it every day.

I can experiece occaisional jitters, and perceived body temperature fluctuations. I can be more a little withdrawn from the world around me. This is the case for any amphetamine drug at least. Ritalin can be a little different, but for the most part it's about the same for me. The most notable difference is that sometimes I feel irritable on ritalin.


They definitely can cause mood alteration, but tend to not cause jitters in the doses prescribed for ADHD.


The stimulants can, especially in the early days, affect your mood. A good MD will work carefully to start very slowly and ramp up, with the idea to give you the lowest possible effective dose.

For example: my MD started me on the lowest dose of ritalin once a day for a week

then twice a day for a week

then once that was ok I was given a longer acting version called Concerta that I took once a day.

it took six months to ramp me up to my current dose. there were times he felt it was time to go up and I wasn't ready. there were times when I felt it was time and he wanted me to wait. I had some side effects that went away if I went down a dose level, and then as I adapted, I'd move back up again. My dr. was very experienced and warned me about what to expect--a period of feeling invincible for a few months that would fade (true), and a feeling in the evenings of "rebound" as medicine faded (true). He was my rock when I started on this and still is It brings tears to my eyes how he helped me change my life. Now I only see him every three months for 30 mins and I'm given an unusual amount of latitude: I'm given various doses and allowed to manage it myself--choosing lower doses when I want to drink real coffee (my full dose does NOT work with caffeine) or when I can't get a full night's sleep. I'm told this is highly unusual given the meds are a controlled substance and a sign of the faith my MD has that I'm not a drug seeker. (he's right. I saw "requiem for a dream" and let's say he'll never have to worry...)

I was lucky. I can afford the best doctors. the right medicine worked, the first time. This is not true of everyone.

I cannot emphasize enough how important it is that anyone who thinks they have ADHD to go to an MD who specializes in this stuff. Family doctors do NOT count. your basic Ph.D therapist doesn't count.

start with science, go slow and built outwards. FWIW my therapist says he will only work with 4 MD's in SF because his take is that they're all pill pushers. My MD is one of the only MDs in SF allowed to provide telephone prescriptions for Concerta. The pharmacy he sends me to never has shortages. This is also not consistently true, even in SF.

It's no joke. Amphetamines can screw you up. Take this stuff seriously, please and find a good doctor for a proper evaluation.

edit to add: you know I have ADHD: I didn't answer your question. haha!

the short answer is that yes, in the beginning your mood may be "up" and you may feel down on the rebound while you are adjusting. But as you stay with it, things even out and become VERY predictable. If you have ADHD you will recognize the terror I used to have about making sure my brain was ON a the right time--all sorts of weird rituals to wake it up for an important meeting, etc. On the meds, I have confidence my brain will be at its level best so my anxiety and its attendant grouchiness just went away. PS: coaching and therapy (two different things) helped this a lot and if you're late diagnosed as I was, you will need them. I recommend reading "driven to distraction" before you start meds, because that "invincible" feeling the first few months is the best time to start changing habits. you will dip in motivation after that, but never as bad as without and having those systems in place to fall back on will save you.


Would you mind sharing this information? I live in south bay and have struggled to find a good therapist/MD and have had very little success finding any recommendations.




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