Question for people with ADD who feel their medication is working...

Initially it seemed like the Vyvance was working but recent events are making both of us wonder if my husbands Vyvance is really working. My questions are the following.

1. What do you feel the medication helps with that counciling and coping mechenisms do not and vice versa?

2. My husband describing his feeling on his meds as the entire process of being distracted being sped up. He still gets distracted but his brain moves through the distraction very fast.

Here's the thing his medication and no coping mechanism is helping him with at this moment. Poor judgement and bad impulsive decisions that looking back he knows he shouldn't have done but at the moment he does anyway such as not wearing his glasses while driving (very dangerous) etc.

3. Do you feel that the medication helps with impulsivity?

We are only a few weeks into

We are only a few weeks into the medication, and just did an increase a few days ago, so I'm not getting a very clear idea of what is going on with him medication wise. He has been very focused on the physical affects of it (making him feel confused and paranoid) and I don't think he has had enough time to examine if it has helped with concentration. He says it has a little..but I really felt like he'd have felt something really obvious by now if it were going to really help in that area.

In my opinion, the impulsivity might be helped a little with meds, but it is my understanding that this is more of a counseling issue. Coaching or behavioral therapy that re-train/teach ADDers how to avoid and/or fight off the impulses is an effective way to treat this. However, this could have to do with which behavior you're describing when you're talking about 'impulsiveness'. I couldn't NOT wear my glasses when driving since I wouldn't be able to see...did he say why he didn't wear his? Forgot? Why would he consider that an 'impulsive' behavior? Just curious.

Everything is just so different for each ADDer and response to medications varies so much that it is really hard to tell. I have done a lot of reading about medications and the 'results' range from "he/she is less likely to have an explosive anger outburst while on medication" to "the first time I took it I thought to myself 'wow! This is what normal people feel/think like'" and not much in between.

My husband didn't have anger problems (defensivness issues, but not anger) and he did not have the 'world opening up like never before' experience either. Since no one can really tell you what to expect, even our counselor just says "does it help you concentrate better?", we really don't know what to look for. I am just stepping back and letting him lead himself in this situation and being supportive when I can...but I really was hoping he would see a much more obvious and life-changing affect with his concentration/focus issues. Again, he says he can tell a difference, but I get the feeling he's a bit disappointed that it wasn't as 'huge' as he'd hoped. Maybe with more time.

What a Difference a Med Makes

Hi SherriW. So sorry to hear you're not seeing allot of results with your husband's medication. I have to wonder if his diagnosis was 100% correct and he's been put on the right meds. Not to suggest your doctor is incompetent but perhaps he might have missed some of the co-morbid issues? If I may share my little story: A few years ago my husband went to an ADHD specialist psychiatrist who agreed that he has ADHD. This doctor put him on 3 medications at quite high dosages. My husband felt 'drugged out' all the time and quite miserable. It became difficult to reach this doctor to make adjustments so my husband quit the meds and said, "To Hell with it."  Three years later when the s**t hit the fan in our marriage due to ADHD symptoms, my husband agreed to go back to another psychiatrist. This guy diagnosed him with ADHD, mild depression and some frontal lobe impairment from being in the Army, in combat.  He gave him Wellbutrin, Ritalin, Epilim and Resperal. Within 3 days I had a new man. He is positive about life, not grumpy or irritable like he used to be, and he is so productive that I caught him re-grouting the tile in our bathroom today. REGROUTING THE TILES! I would NEVER ask him to do a chore like this before because he would've bitten my head off and still never done it. He has done every single "honey-do" job I could come up with around the house now! And I haven't heard a curse word since just after he started the meds. And the best of all...he is SO MUCH HAPPIER with himself. I mean, let's face it, no one ENJOYS acting like a butt-head. Okay, we're only about 3 weeks into this, so perhaps the "other shoe will drop" and the fantasy will wear off? I don't know, but so far, I sure like it! I hope that something can happen to help your husband get his brain chemistry sorted out to the point that he can be the man he wants to be and the husband you deserve. Hang in there.

I am really unsure what to

I am really unsure what to think...but I am just letting him do what he feels best doing. The last time he took Concerta (long before official diagnosis) he was extremely irritable and grouchy. He recently told me he was taken off of it because he lost 7 lbs in the first two weeks he took it and he REALLY cannot afford to lose any weight. At the time, he told me he stopped taking it because I asked him to. He lied...hate that part of the ADD...but, it is neither here nor there now.

He did not need to take the medication for marital issues...that I am aware of. We are very 'fresh' into our rebuilding of our marriage so maybe he is just hyperfocused on it, maybe he truly is just much happier and this, along with our counseling, is keeping his ADD behaviors in line. I don't see the irritation this go around, so I think the problem before was his caffeine addiction (energy drinks, coffee, etc) was partially to blame for the negative reaction and since he has cut back a LOT on his caffeine, maybe that is why this time it hasn't caused that. I do not know anything other than what he tells me about how it is helping him at work, he says it is so I believe him. He is head of the I.T. dept for our city and has only been on the job for a little over a year. He has a lot of projects going to revamp the networks and such and it all requires a LOT of pre-planning and organizing and he was just completely overwhelmed and literally getting nowhere. Today he is tackling a job he has put off for a long time...and I know it'll be a load off of his mind when it is done. So, that's good..maybe he wouldn't even be starting it if it weren't for the meds?

He was diagnosed (incorrectly, I feel) with depression more than once in the past...and has taken 3 different anti-depressants. The reaction to those medications alone (really negative!) really leads me to believe it is not a correct diagnosis for him. He was officially tested for ADD/ADHD and 'passed' with flying colors...definitely ADHD.

He struggled the first few days on the Concerta (extended release) and then the first few days after the increase. He also has 'spurts' during the day that also lessen as time goes on and since he's learning to snack between meals to keep from huge surges at meal times. He did feel confused, paranoid, jumpy, and really tired the first few days, but he is feeling better now. We are both really dedicated to managing things with as little medication as possible. I really hope this is all he'll need. We are in counseling and he is getting behavioral therapy to help control things that medications won't help with. I truly feel we're on the right track...now that he's over the hump of the medication increase. He really tends to over react a little, freak me out, and then I over react. We are quite a pair! LOL

fuzzylogic72's picture

impulsivity

Hi, I know exactly where you're coming from with the impulsive poor decision making that he realizes after (and sometimes while) he makes them. That is the most difficult part of the growth/change aspect of dealing with my adhd. In my opinion, I wouldn't even DREAM of trying to treat adhd without medication. You have to be so so so patient during this process though, and he may feel like a bit of a guinea pig; I know I did. Every person has subtle differences in brain chemistry and reacts differently to different meds; so it's good that there are a few options, but that makes the hunt for the right one a bit more arduous. For example, dexedrine works great for a parent of one of my students, but it gave me the hyper-drive feeling you described; the scattered focus was there, and almost amplified. I could not stop talking a mile a minute, and sweat like beast. I went through many different meds, and had to try different dosages drug combinations, and even dosing times that worked for me. The first psychiatrist I had was horrible, and I had to keep looking for a good one, which is just a part of the puzzle, like the drugs, combinations and dosing details. The entire process took over two years for me, and I eve had to go on disability for a year because the pursuit, and the effects were almost a full time job, and I didn't want to be experimenting with new drugs while teaching a class of kids, as I went through all the phases of hyper-focus, zoning out, insomnia, appetite changes, anxiety....you get the picture.

But now that I have the right combination, it has made a HUGE difference, as has my psychologist; he does Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which is very effective for addressing the behavioral and self-esteem issues of adhd (self esteem issues drive many of the behavioral issues in close relationships). I can't stress CBT enough.

My treatment is:

adderal SR (I keep them beside my alarm clock, and my girlfriend literally sticks one in my mouth before I open my eyes, which is a GREAT strategy! It allows me to get out of bed by 9 (I am NOT a morning person, as with many adhds). Then right after lunch I take a second one (I would take it a bit earlier, but two adderall would completely remove my appetite.)

I take Udo's Oil (google it). They have liquid, or gelcaps. It is a 3-6-9 fatty acid which is like a brain maintenance food good for everyone, especially adhd (has many benefits, but I just take it for the brain). The reason I specified Udo's is that it has the 3,6,9's in proper ratio, which is very important, and not found in every oil supplement. I'm sure if you google it it will give you a ton more information you may be interested in. So I take two capsules three times a day with meals. I also take a good multi-vitamin, a b-complex, magnesium citrate (lots of recent research into magnesium and adhd going on right now) the citrate form is one of the most bioavailable. I also take an extra iron, and a zinc at bedtime. These minerals are very important; if you google adhd mineral deficiency you'll get a lot of info. At this point many of these alternative supplements are speculative (pharma companies don't want to lose business, so they don't endorse many studies), but I feel the ones I mentioned above are helping me. I also avoid artificial colour and flavor at ALL COSTS.

My last prescription med of the day is Wellbutrin (bupropion), which is the same drug as Zyban, and is used for depression, and adult adhd. If I have trouble sleeping due to the adderall, I take half a zopiclone (rhovane/imovane) which is GREAT for sleep, and I wake up without the usual grogginess of otc sedatives.

I hope this gives an idea of how involved the treatment process is. The regimen I listed works great for me, and I don't know where i'd be without it. However it took a LONG time of fine-tuning, experimenting with combinations, and tweaking to make it the right regimen for me; it's almost like a treatment 'fingerprint' and it matches me personally, but with time, patience, and persistence I'm sure you will also find your hubby's fingerprint as well.

Good luck, and feel free to ask questions; I've tried nearly every drug/treatment/supplement out there.

Charlie

target symptoms

speeding up the distraction doesn't sound like much of an improvement.  Aside from what he is experiencing, do you notice the same thing?  I usually recommend to couples that both partners monitor changes on meds because sometimes changes aren't obvious to one person but are very obvious to the other.

Medication that is working will definitely help with counseling and creating coping mechanisms.  It can provide a foundation (again, if it is working for you) that helps you put better strategies in place.  If this one doesn't work to help him "put on the brakes" enough to curb impulsive behaviors, then perhaps he might talk with his doctor about trying a different med to see if that helps better.  They work slightly differently so you often have to experiment a while to find the one that "fits" best.

waynebloss's picture

Hello, I was just recently

Hello,

I was just recently diagnosed with ADD (July 2010), I was started on Vyvanse 30mg with little effect. I was taking the 30mg at 10-11am to make the effect last when I would arrive home so that it would still work when I was alone with my wife.  My counselor and my doctor along myself did not like the outcome, taking it so late or take 2 30mg per day, so we increased the med to 60mg once per day.  This has been the correct dose for me!  Finally I have the ability to control most of my reactions/thoughts before I make a very big mistake of letting them fly without thought. I still get distracted but I am able to come back very quickly to where I need to be without too much effort. 

The feeling I get on the medication is one of having the "flight or fight" feeling without the increased heart rate or me causing the actual situation to get that feeling!  The coping mechanism that I had before meds was one of "if you did not like what I said then do not listen or go away!" this included my wife, kids and anyone else, which looking back, I was one of the biggest "jerks" I ever knew!  Meds give me the physical ability to control thoughts and actions, counseling gives me the ability to learn how to use them.  I could not have one without the other!!   

The toughest part for me was to accept that I needed medication along with counseling to re-train my brain and me on how to act.  I am 41 years old, it was very embarrassing for me to admit that I needed help, that I needed medication for a "brain" issue! I can tell you that I am happy that I was pushed in this direction by my wife, it has started me on the path to attempting to save myself as well as my marriage.  

Wayne

I love reading things like

I love reading things like this..how the meds make such a great difference. That's wonderful that they're working so well for you! I hope you continue to see results!

Sherri

Reply to Wayne

Wayne,

Sounds like you are on your way to a new way of life--congrats!  Thanks for writing here.

Could you write more about what convinced you to get an evaluation? Was there anything your wife said/didn't say or do that hit home for you?

waynebloss's picture

That is a tough one!  My wife

That is a tough one!  My wife convinced me, she told me I had to seek help or risk watching her leave!  The thought of her leaving was something that I could not stand so I took a step in a direction that I never thought I would.  She first handed me the book, "Driven to Distraction", now I have not read a book in 15 years, not one that did not do with my job or school, but when she handed me the book I was insulted, mad and angry!  How cold she suggest that I read something like that!  Well, it took about 2 weeks and I finally open the book and never put it down!  It hit home in so many areas that I now had a door open to a world that I have been living in but did not know it.  After read driven to, I bought Driven from Distraction and it was another book that I highly recommend!  I am a nurse by trade, and for me to accept that I had an issue with my brain and that I might need medication was something that I was not able to accept.  After reading those books and listening to my wife, I decided that I needed to do something or my marriage was over.  Now I will tell you that after learning about ADD and understanding what it is, I can now start to live a new way, one that I now control! 

You are proof that dispells

You are proof that dispells all of the generalizations about men with ADD. Your wife is a very lucky lady! My husband feels the same as you and accepted full responsibility for his actions and is taking every step to minimize the ADD affect on our marriage. It does not have to be a death sentence for a marriage. Thanks for helping prove this.

Best wishes!!