Edit: 3/15/19. This blog initially began as a blog for women raising children with ADHD, thus the reference below. I kept the post because the information is just as relevant for adults.
It’s Always About the Medication
Whenever the subject of ADHD comes up, or when faced with a diagnosis of ADHD, the first thing on everyone’s mind is medication.
Is it safe?
Will I be a zombie or will it change my personality?
I don’t want to take medication.
Here are 8 tips about ADHD medication that might help your concerns:
- Don’t be afraid. Properly administered, ADHD medication will not make you (or your child) freak out or turn into a zombie; it will help you stay focused and on task.
- Be positive and don’t project. Once you’ve decided to give your child the medication, be positive about it, especially in their presence. Don’t project any of your fears, anxieties, or concerns onto them. Above all, don’t make them feel as though they are taking the medicine in order to fix what is wrong with them. There is nothing wrong with them.
- Be patient. Finding the best medication and the correct dosage takes time. Keep working with your doctor until you get it right. Don’t get discouraged and give up.
- Go for the 12 hour dose. Whatever you do, DO NOT, under any circumstances, put your child on a medication that requires a daily trip to the office. Every person in that building knows why those kids are lined up at lunch time; do you want your kid to be labelled like that?
- Talk to your pharmacist. ADHD medications are controlled substances, and have special rules you have to abide by in order to fill them. Find out what they are and do whatever you need to do to keep on top of the process. This is especially true if you are an ADHD adult.
- Consider an early wake-up call. If you have a child who’s difficult to get moving in the morning, try waking them up about 15 minutes earlier than usual, just long enough to sit up in bed and take their pill. They’re usually willing to do that without much fuss. When it is time to get up, they’ll find it much easier to do so.
- Expect a loss of appetite, or other side effects, depending on the medication. Usually a week or so on the medication is all it takes for their bodies to get used to it.
- Don’t expect magic. All of your or your child’s troubles will not disappear because they are taking a pill. It’s a tool, nothing more. Add in some coaching or other means of support if you need it, and you can learn to manage ADHD symptoms well.
You might find this chart comparing medications helpful as well.
Questions? More Concerns?
Reach out to your health professional with any concerns or questions that you might have. That’s part of their job.
And whatever you do, DO NOT stop taking your ADHD medication without working with your doctor. In most cases, even if you do, nothing will happen. But these are very potent drugs; you want to be safe.