We don't quite know how to pursue ἀρετή, virtue, eudemonia, excellence, whatever you want to call it in life because modern life was built for another kind of person and the animal life we left behind is far gone. Advice about "fixing" ourselves is mostly about finding effective ways to fit square pegs into round holes (like Adderall)
The ugly thing I've found, which accords with what you have said here, is that the best treatment for me is as many hours of sunshine as possible and several hours of vigorous exercise a day. (Thanks for teaching that, Marine Corps.)
But of course there are very few jobs with security, brain exercise, and mobility that give me this, and essentially no jobs that are compatible with it (that it is, where I could take this time off per day and still retain a job).
So of course I use medication and stick with jobs that drive me nuts, jobs that are terrible for me but pay well. I feel for the ADHD people who weren't gifted as decent a brain as mine, as if it weren't for that I doubt my employers would have been as indulgent of my other flaws from ADHD.
There is doubt that a set of behaviors which is so prevalent in the population is just an accident and a disease. Evolutionary pressures exist to optimize gene expression ratios in a population. Put differently, when a certain gene becomes rare in a population individuals with that gene have a significant advantage in life and reproduce more – when the same gene becomes over prevalent individuals with that gene have a significant disadvantage and reproduce less. There are traits which have pressure to be a certain proportion of a population.
ADHD or whatever else you may call it could very well be that. Ancient societies which had a small proportion of a certain kind of person thrived because their different behavior made them successful. It doesn't have to be a disease to not fit in to a certain society.
Evolution is blind.
Not to mention, not all traits that survive evolution are positive.
I can’t be anything but thrilled that society has given me a tool that gives me some control of my concentration.
Some people manage to make lifestyle changes and/or dietary changes and/or ditch people who were part of the problem and see substantial improvements in how they function and in quality of life. They try to spread the good news and people feel like they are being told they don't have a real problem or something and both sides get mad.
I used to see this a lot on parenting lists. People would suggest homeschooling because it had made their lives so much better. People who didn't want to consider homeschooling would feel judged rather than feeling like they were being given options and hope.
Cue everyone getting hot under the collar.
There is the person I am and the person I have to pretend to be.
I cannot stand to be in corporate offices - it's a hell for me - but what choices do I have to earn a decent salary and feed my family? Not many :-(
I've just quit my 3rd job in five years because it got too much.
PTSD. Constant stress. Having trouble just keeping promises to friends. Failing to even keep up a hobby. The inability to control your own concentration.
ADHD most definitely sucks.
Instead there is something wrong with a society that discriminates against it (and living in that society sucks). Trying to fit in to it is what sucks and the solution is not being better at fitting in.
ADHD people suffer because we don't meet expectations. Either there is something wrong with us or something wrong with the expectations and I choose the latter and want to help fix it. Saying "something is wrong with me" and wanting to fit in, for me, is the problem. Constantly not meeting expectations is the problem but I deny that not meeting them is the fault.
The world and I do not get along. I do not want to shape myself for the world, I want to shape the world for people like me. Fuck everyone who wants me to be different.
Saying ADHD is a disease is just as offensive to me as saying homosexuality is a disease to be cured.
Maybe you are okay with never finishing any project you start. I am not. It feels awful to me to start 10 Projects a month and never finishing any. It feels awful to me to be very sensitive to rejection, even though I realize the other person did not mean it like that.
> Saying ADHD is a disease is just as offensive to me as saying homosexuality is a disease to be cured.
You can not compare these like this. One is a sexual orientation, and the other is a inability to regulate yourself the way you want.
Adderall isn't going to do anything unless you are actually functioning suboptimally. It will, however, most certainly decrease your attentional/executive performance if you are at an optimal state. Look up the U-shaped response curve.
Just reading this thread should be sufficient.
No matter how you live with ADHD there will always be distractions pulling you away from what you need to do. There will always be things you should remember but don't, things you should have done at a specific time but were distracted and forgot.
It doesn't matter what society you live in or what the cultural norms are, those of us with ADHD are lacking some basic functions that makes life harder. And it sucks.
I’m so torn on it. On one hand, it makes me so productive, but on the other, it makes me so unemotional and cold and abrasive.
It also makes me sweat, increases my heart rate, and has a terrible comedown when taken often.
I was diagnosed at 16 and was on it for years, eventually moving up to 4x the dosage as my body grew resistance.
I’ve stopped it for the past couple years, and now am back to the lowest dosage on rare occasions I take it, but still unsure how to feel about it.
IF you are working from home with minimal contact, it works. Never EVER answer a phone call when you are on it (this is to whoever planning to use it in the future). God knows, how many times I argued with a client just because of Adderall.
It forces anyone using it to keep the communication to a minimum. And when a client calls (usually oblivious, but demanding), you will end up arguing at some point.
Adderall = never do anything social including phone calls. I am serious.
Medication that keeps you awake for 16 hours leads to sleepless nights if taken late into the day, more news at 2.
The shorter durations (4 hours) are more effective than the longer, but also require taking it several times a day. And I think neither 4 nor the 8 keep you awake for 16 hours. Occasionally I'd even get the side effect of making me drowsy, and I had to take a nap right there. Thankfully that usually happened when I would take Ritalin for studying at home later in the day, rather than at school.
My point however was that if you take medication which can keep you awake for X hours less than X hours before bed, you could have a bad time.
> Occasionally I'd even get the side effect of making me drowsy, and I had to take a nap right there.
I've read about this, for some taking ritalin actually helps them sleep since it makes the brain shut up and be quiet, instead of racing all the time
For me and I assume for others, it is not a fully adequate treatment. Some symptoms it fixes, some it helps with, some it does nothing for, some it actually makes worse. (In particular, impulsivity and inability to task switch accurately.)
Then there are the side effects, and the comedowns after tolerance builds.
Nevertheless you must still learn coping skills, still pursue other treatment (exercise, decent diet, sleep, CBT if needed), still struggle as the square peg.
I have used medication for roughly 5 years ish of 30 some years of life, intermittently. I'd say taking it is better treatment than not, but honestly, like you, I feel a deep ambivalence towards it. (Even resentment, sometimes.)
Adderall is not the only option; it didn’t work for me. It took a bit, and I ended up with Dextroamphetemine. The physical side effects dulled down to the occasional restless leg, and the mental effects work well.
I haven't noticed anything weird with this one, but for anyone reading this, I would highly recommend "shopping around" for ADHD medicine if you can.
I've been on it for 20 years and with the oversight of responsible doctors, and I have never had to increase my dosage (in fact I've reduced it 25% in the last 5 years). All my heart/blood/* tests come back good and I'm not a particularly health-conscious person. I regularly take week-long breaks to assess if it's still the right regimen for me. (Like the parent post says, the days off of it can be brutal but avoiding tolerance and assessing its true impact are invaluable.) I don't "like" Adderall but it is the only way I feel sane.
My point: don't be afraid to seek meds that help just because you may fear some long-term effects. A doctor can help you decide if the long-term effects are worth the gain, and there may not in fact even be the long-term effects you're worried about, especially if you talk about those worries with your doctor.
Even as much as fully resetting tolerance in some cases.
I'm not sure what else I tried. I think the changes in my diet made the biggest difference.
Look up titration. The right doctor will help you dial this in and interview you to make the right call.
Honest question, I don't know much about ADHD. What's ADHD actually is?
But seriously, I agree with the square peg / round hole comments. I don't believe ADHD to be an illness because there are plenty of environments where I could thrive, the trick was it had to involve doing something I loved. Fortunately for me, I loved computer programming.
Do you have extreme bouts of emotional distress? Emotional / angry outbursts? Blurt things out that get you into trouble? Experience difficulty with dating? Lose shit constantly? Participate in risky / dangerous / mid-guided behaviors?
ADHD is a big disorder. Look into it: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=SCAGc-rkIfo
> Inability to sustain concentration is not a temperament. It's a neurological impairement.
The impression the article gave me is that ADHD is more the inability to choose what you focus on, not an inability to sustain concentration?
The amount of focus I'm capable of is not the problem. The problem is putting it to use where I want to, rather than where it, by pure chance, happens to end up for the day.
It also applies to the small stuff. Someone asks me to bake a cake and I think it's probably best if I know what temperature it should bake at. An hour later they ask me how the cake is coming along and I realise I know a lot about the chemistry of baking but I haven't brought out the flour yet, and I no longer have time to shower, shave, send that important email, and clean up after baking.
I go back and forth between viewing it as an inability to perceive time and an affliction of directing behaviour. Perhaps they're two lenses through which to view the same thing, and I haven't yet discovered their symmetries. (Only vaguely aware of them -- directing behaviour to achieve future goals requires the ability to perceive time acutely.)
Yes, you could have more/others impairments in your executive function than just attention. Impulsivity is commonly measured as well. ADHD is really an umbrella term for several syndromes.
I disagree with the notion that "inability to choose" is necessarily a definitive part of ADHD . It often is, and is common, but it's not unique to ADHD at all.
It can also be due to anxiety, PTSD, all sorts of other issues, and people with those issues improve on anxiolytics/tranquilizers, instead of stimulants.
Is this true? What sort of anxiolytics? I’m pretty sure I’m diagnosable adhd-pi but I have anxiety that decreases with low dosage adderall.
Dopaminergics like amphetamines, ritalin or bromantane do help with anxiety, it's common knowledge, but I don't think the effect is sustainable long term, at least not that I've heard. More common for that effect to fade away with time on chronic dosages and more of a jitterness surface later on.
That does seem to muddy the water a bit, doesn't it? Thanks for the detailed response!
In these comments you could see anything from people that think it's not an illness to people who have secondary impairments due to obstructed airway at night.
And they are all probably right to some degree.
This stuff - attention, executive function, ability to self regulate and direct your own attention - meta-cognition, if you will - is very poorly understood. Treatments are very crude, we will eventually see them as barbaric.
It probably is one of the youngest developments, evolution-wise.
This aligns pretty well with the definition of executive function.
I can relate to this, and I think there's a potentially large underbelly of society, that many (most?) of us are walking around with undiagnosed personality "disorders" (let's say, traits) like ADHD, the autistic spectrum, agoraphobia, narcissism, sociopathy, and so on - maybe even ones we haven't discovered or classified yet.
The infamous DSMMD (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) is a massive tome, where pretty much every member of human society can find a matching category..
Some of the bumps I’ve experienced in life probably would have gone smoother if this was made apparent to me years ago and I had the tools I have now to work with it.
What is exciting is that the wandering-in-the-dark of psychology is being usurped by neurology actually understanding how the brain works on gradually higher and higher levels.