10 Targets To Know If Your ADHD Medication Is Working

 In ADHD Symptom Control

know if your ADHD medication is workingIt can be tough to know if your ADHD medication is working. You may even wonder if you’re getting your money’s worth from this pill you probably wish you didn’t have to take.

The right dose of the right ADHD medication can do a bunch of stuff:

Boost focus

Control emotions

Ease hyperactivity

But, it can be so darn subtle. Especially, the longer-acting types of ADD/ADHD drugs I wrote about last week. How can you tell if your Vyvanse or Concerta is working? Or not.

The best way to know if your ADHD medication is doing its job is to know what job you need it to do.

How do you know what you want your ADHD medication to do? You build clarity.

Think through your days. Where does your ADHD snarl your life the most? How do you want your life to be instead? Get specific. You need details.

Those details about how you want your days to unfold are your medication targets. If you’re reaching those targets you can tell if your medication is working or not. If you need a different medication, a different dose, or to take it at a different time.

Remember, it’s not about the buzz. If you’re not paying attention or you’re paying attention to the wrong thing then your medication is not working.

10 Targets to Know if Your ADHD Medication is Working

I brainstormed some medication targets to get you started:

  1. Calmly leave the house on time in the morning
  2. Quickly tackle boring or overwhelming  tasks and projects
  3. Avoid distractions like reading the news and social media
  4. Stay focused on boring stuff you have to read
  5. Remember that boring stuff you read
  6. Pay attention to conversations
  7. Put things away after using them
  8. Control your impulsive shopping
  9. Remember to stop at the store after work
  10. Reduce your brain’s chatter
  11. Calmly cook dinner and oversee the kids homework at the same time
  12. Avoid emotional roller coasters
  13. Get to bed with the house tidy and you ready for the next day
  14. Get to bed on time

(Yes, I know I wrote more than 10 targets to tell if your ADHD medication is working. I had so many good ideas I had to force myself to stop. )

These are just examples. There isn’t a right or wrong here. Everyone will have different medication targets. The bottom line: Know what targets you’re aiming for so you can know if your ADHD medication is working or not.

 

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Showing 126 comments
  • Carrie
    Reply

    I just started vyvanse today. I felt high, light headed and like I needed to workout. Does this mean this is not a good fit for me?

    • Dana Rayburn
      Reply

      Hi Carrie. Make sure you are eating before you take the Vyvanse and see if that helps. You might talk to your doctor if it doesn’t. Sometimes our bodies need a few days to adjust to the new medication, though.

    • Kristie
      Reply

      I was on vyvanse and started on 40mgs. It was the best. I felt so..ME. The next month was 50mgs and third month was 60. I lost that feeling when I first took it. I lost the concentration. Doctor then put me on Adderall of 20mgs. I have not lost weight and in fact I feel sleepy after an hour. Is there something wrong with me? I was diagnosed by a psychologist so I know I am ADHD. I read about weight loss and the “high” you get and the weight loss. I have none of that. Any suggestions?

      • Dana Rayburn
        Reply

        Not everyone loses weight or feels that alert focus. Perhaps try a different medication. Good luck, Dana

      • Lisa
        Reply

        The high wears off with regular use. It SHOULD wear off. If you chase the high, you’re on the road to addiction.

        • Sean
          Reply

          I’m taking vyvanse 40mg for about a year now and most of the time it works great but after an unusual or stressful situation it feels like it wears off faster or even completely stops working; I go back to having difficulty completing simple chores or paying attention to conversation…

  • Gina
    Reply

    Hi, this morning is ny first day of taking the Vyvanse. I was prescribed it months ago, but too afraid to take it. But, it has basically hit me after losing my job after 4 and 1/2 years of being there, that my difficulty working, not being as focused as my job entitled and letting things fall to the side of the numerous job duties that I incurred – that I may need some assistance to never lose another job. I am 55, and haven’t been fired from a job since I was 20. My job was in an extraordinary high end clientele and the fact that I lost such an AMAZING job is saddening moreso to me that the people that I worked with and the owner that I worked for don’t really know the behind the scenes reasoning of most of my decisions and not up to par behavior. That’s the hardest part that I think is the hardest for me, them seeing me differently than I am. So, between me trying the Vyvanse (finally) and me trying to push forward — well fingers crossed, as I don’t do well with humiliation and that’s getting the best of me over the loss of my job.

    • Dana Rayburn
      Reply

      Hi Gina, I’m sad to hear of your troubles. I hope the Vyvanse helps so you can rebuild your life.

    • Cortney Klassen
      Reply

      Hi . I use to be on vyvanse for a few years . Went all the way up to 79 mg because it stopped working . I took a two-3 month break and it still didn’t work when I tried another one .:( Am I out of luck now

      • Cortney
        Reply

        Am I out of luck ?

  • Alina
    Reply

    Hello!MY 14 year old son is taking Concerta 36 mg since he was 10,however the results are not good at all.He studied in a normal school till last year,even though he was very weak in reading and math he managed to pass.This year,his 8th grade,we decided to put him in special education class.This type of learning does not suite him either.I am so afraid that he will soon drop out of school.

    • Dana Rayburn
      Reply

      Hi Alina, Please talk to your son’s doctor. Perhaps he needs a different medication or a different dose. Also, pay attention to the self-care. I recommend Dr. James Greenblatt’s book, ‘Finally Focused’. It’s a wonderful resource for children with ADHD.

    • Ashley
      Reply

      I am currently studying to be a teacher, and just thought it may be worth noting he may also have a subtle learning disability! Most children with a reading disability also struggle with a math disability as they are closely linked. On top of that, not all special education services are the same! It would be worth looking into his RTI Tier, his IEP (if he has one), and what his current education services consist of.
      (This is just on top of the medication, if it seems to have been doing it’s job otherwise)

  • Lindsey
    Reply

    I started on Adderall about 9 weeks ago. First 15mg XR, then 20mg XR, and now 30mg XR for the past week. It is frustrating to read this list because while it’s helping a bit in some of these areas, a lot of them are still an issue for me. I’ve read a lot of accounts where people say they become the best versions of themselves once their ADHD is medicated, and I was really excited that I might be able to finally be like everyone else. It is so disappointing that I’m only seeing half improvements, and not even in every area. What could my issue be?

    • Dana Rayburn
      Reply

      Hi Lindsey, This blog might help: https://danarayburn.com/four-common-adhd-medication-mistakes-avoid-2/. Also, there are other medications to try. Perhaps a different one would work better. Don’t give up!

    • Gillian Gahagan
      Reply

      Lindsey, I know it’s over a year since you wrote your comment–but I felt exactly like you on Adderall. A psych doc finally suggested Dexedrine, which I just tried for the first time today. It’s been a WORLD of difference. It’s exactly the a-HA I’ve been looking for, without too many side effects–none yet today. I felt little spacey for a few hours within taking it; that’s the only thing I don’t like. Anyway, I’m not a doctor, but I would really suggest trying a different medication if Adderall isn’t working for you. 🙂

  • Anna
    Reply

    Hi there! I found this to be extremely encouraging and I find your insights in terms of the areas I struggle in with severe ADHD to be very apt. That list is me… well my inability to do anything on that list anyway. I have recently been diagnosed with ADHD and I have been prescribed Concerta. The first day I tried it I felt very calm and for the first time in my life my mind was clear. I could think straight and I was extremely rational. However that was the only affect. I started at 18mg, then 27mg then 36mg and so far myself and people around have not noticed ANY difference. This is extremely frustrating but I have been doing extensive research (as I tend to do when I’m interested in something) and I have read that our menstrual cycles can affect the medications potentcy and effects. I started the Concerta a week before my period and as the week progressed it felt less like a stimulant and more like a sugar pill… I felt nothing. The week of my period was even worse… no effects despite upping the dose to 54mg. Perhaps Concerta is not for me or am I using it wrong? I also believe I have e low estrogen and I know that is worsening my ADHD symptoms. Any insights would really help me! Thanks!

    • Dana Rayburn
      Reply

      Hi Anna,
      Yes, hormonal changes during your menstrual cycle can impact your brain functioning and how well the medication works. Some women struggle with this much more than others. Talk to your doctor. You also might want to see a hormone specialist, too. Treat the underlying cause of the ADHD symptoms. Hope this helps!

  • Kattia
    Reply

    I have been on 50 mg of Vyvanse for a month now but I’m still experiencing some of my previous symptoms. I’m also extremely lethargic which I was hoping would go away with the medicine. I can sleep 10 hours and still be exhausted and take a 3 hour nap and then feel terrible. Should I try a different medication or just stick it out a bit longer on the Vyvanse?

    • Dana Rayburn
      Reply

      Hi Kattia. If the 50 mg of Vyvanse was the right dose of the right medication you would know by now. Please follow up with your doctor. Also, the lethargy maybe something else. Did you get a full medical work up? Perhaps thyroid? Or a ‘hidden’ food allergy that wouldn’t show up on traditional medical tests – wheat, dairy, and eggs are often the big ghost food allergy problems. I wish you the best in getting to the bottom of what’s going on. It often isn’t easy, but don’t give up!

  • Madison A.
    Reply

    So i have been on adderall (along with a few other medications) for a little over a year now. I was taking 30 mg from the start until around early december when i was increased to 40mg. I’ve been fine for a while but lately it seems that i cant focus very well. I tend to zone out and instead of chasing my wild train of thought i just sit there and stair at something for a bit. i feel somewhat relaxed, or at ease, emotionally, and many people have mentioned i seem to be MUCH more calm//relaxed than usual, yet how i feel physically is different. The simplest way to put it is just that i feel extremely disconnected, unlike myself. It almost feels as if my concious mind is drifting away from everything. My subconcious has gone silent. My body feels numb and heavy much of the time. Even an old issue ive had for a while has gotten worse. My vision is off. Seems almost tinted, like everything is darker, yet when im sitting in a bright room (i.e.~ a classroom) trying to read something off a typical white sheet of paper, it almost hurts to look at the paper because it feels as though it is blinding me. Any idea what the issue could be? and any advice on ways to cope with these issues and//or overcome them?

    • Dana Rayburn
      Reply

      Hi Madison, you better check with your prescribing physician. That’s not the kind of response you ought to be feeling from the adderall. You’re supposed to feel like you just more focused and clear and in control. Good luck!!

    • Elayne
      Reply

      Madison I have experienced the same issues with the vision, as a matter of fact, my vision has gotten worse over the past 2 years of taking the Adderall. My current dose is 40 mg.

    • Jason
      Reply

      Hi Madison, I have been feeling the same as well. I dont seem to be myself? Im drifiting away to much and not focusing? I did just start last week but I am gonna have to tell my doc.

  • Woodrow
    Reply

    Was diagnosed with ADHD as a teen and was prescribed Ritalin, with great results. Now as an adult, I have found myself extremely unproductive and easily distracted.
    Now at 36, I was put on 10mg of Adderall and over 6 weeks, was increased incrimentally to 30mg. Not feeling tired throughout the day and having the energy to accomplish tasks was good, but force working against me to start a task was still very strong, and the scattered thoughts only got faster.
    Doctor switched me to 36mg of Concerts 2 weeks ago. My heart is no longer pounding quickly, and my insides are not racing as fast, and I still am able to get through the entire day. Unfortunately I am also still unable to focus and get those life changing results I read about and long for.
    My doctor has now increased my Concerta to 54mg. Will/can I see a significant improvements between the dosages? How long do I stick with it before trying something different? What could a possible next step be?
    I want to excel at all 14 of those steps. Thanks!

    • Dana Rayburn
      Reply

      I suggest you look at your self-care. Diet, sleep, exercise, hydration, meditation, Omega3s, etc. Medication works better when you take care of your brain. You’ll find lots of articles on self-care in the blog. Good luck!

  • Eva
    Reply

    Hi. I’m 24 and I was diagnosed with adhd a few years ago. I’ve been going to therapy for 2 years now. Therapy has helped with stuff like anxiety but my adhd has not improved.
    My doctor wants me to see a psychiatrist about getting prescribed ritalin. I’ve been investigating so ive learned a lot about it. Im just wondering now if it helps with my main issue of getting started on things. Like when i know i have work due the next day and its already 11pm and im still just watching youtube videos no matter how much i tell myself ive got to get my work done.

    • Dana Rayburn
      Reply

      Hi Eva. Yes, the right dose of the right ADHD medication will help you get started on things (which is a HUGE challenge for many of us with ADD / ADHD.) Good luck!! Dana

  • Maryam
    Reply

    Hi I am 23 years old and was diagnosed with adhd a about 2 weeks ago. Iw as taking vyvanse 30 mg. It worked well for the first week but I feel like my problems are back. Should I get a higher dose? Why did it work in the first week? My doctor says if my uni ends then i wouldn’t need to higher my dose as she said I will be relaxed and won’t need it. I don’t really know if she is right as my symptoms get worse with school but are still a problem. However, she said if they don’t work she is okay with highering my dose. Should I still higher it?
    Thank you

    • Dana Rayburn
      Reply

      Hi Maryam, it’s normal for a body to adjust to the dose of an ADHD stimulant medication. Experienced doctors know the medication often needs to be increased to the right dose for your body. They start with a low dose and slowly increase it over the weeks and months. Having the med work well at first and then wearing off and needing the dosage increased at the beginning is normal. Warmly, Dana

  • Maddie
    Reply

    Hi! I am concerned because I recently started treatment for my ADHD, At 33 My first dose was of 30 mg vyvanse npw on my second month im on vyvanse 50 mgs. I don’t think I have any side effects, however. I still find myself easily distracted, poorly organized and late…It has not affected my sleeping patterns whatsoever and now im starting to tribk maybe I am very tolerant to stimulants since I have been dependent on caffeine since I was a little girl. I am afraid of going up in dosage since Im afraid of the side effects or feeling like a zombie.

    • Dana Rayburn
      Reply

      Hi Maddie. It issue really isn’t that the dose is higher, but that your symptoms are still causing problems. Dr William Dodson recommends people try more than one ADHD medication to see which works better. Perhaps Methalphenidate would get better results for you. Talk to your doctor. Good luck! Dana

  • ath
    Reply

    I’ve been taking Concerta 36 mg for 4 days and still I can’t feel anything ? what dose it mean?

    • Dana Rayburn
      Reply

      With the longer acting medications like Concerta you may not physically feel the medication kicking in. Are you able to focus better and get more stuff done? If nothing has changed, talk to your doctor – you may need a higher dose or a different medication. Hope this helps! Dana

  • Misty
    Reply

    Hello. I have been on 72mg of Concerta since October 2017. It is now almost May and I am at a breaking point. I cannot focus, not meeting deadlines at work, and I want to crawl out of my skin. My Psychiatrist says I cannot change meds because I didn’t give the Concerta enough of a chance….he says I haven’t been on it long enough to decide it is not working……6 months?! Really doc?! Any truth to this?

    • Dana Rayburn
      Reply

      Umm….Find a different doctor. Someone who understands ADHD medications and how to prescribe them! Good luck!! Dana

  • Mayra
    Reply

    Hi dana, first tie I read this blog, I have a 7.5 yrs old boy with ADHD combine presentation, he has been on Concerta since last september 2017 first with 18 mg, them 27 mg and now he is at 36 but split by morning and noon dose. He is definitely more calmed at school but recently his teacher confirmed he still needs 1:1 to start with any academic acitivy but also a constant 1:1 reminder to keed on track on the work he is doing. Can the medicatiom control mood, hiperactivity but really no help to improve his attention or ability to foccus on an specific work/project?

    • Dana Rayburn
      Reply

      Hi Mayra,
      Talk to your son’s doctor. You need it to help him focus at school AND control hyperactivity and mood. Good luck, Dana

  • Robert
    Reply

    Wow, are those targets realistic? I think I might need to raise my expectations of what my meds can do. I just recently quit taking my meds outbof frustration. Maybe I’ll just establish a baseline and try again.

    • Dana Rayburn
      Reply

      Yes, Robert, pay attention to what you’re taking the meds for. Perhaps you need a different medication or a different dose. Talk to your MD. Hope it works!! Dana

  • christine E walker
    Reply

    I’ve been on vyanse 40mg for 2 weeks now and I feel depressed. Is this normal or do I need something else other than this medication.

    • Dana Rayburn
      Reply

      Hi Christine, Check with your doctor. This isn’t normal.

  • margaret
    Reply

    Hi Dana,

    I was wondering if you can help me. I’m 26 and recently diagnose ADHD, ADD. I ask my doctor for an ADHD diagnosis, because of my symptoms and how it can lead to anxiety and depression. Since I was going to school, I had a difficult time focusing and concentrating. My anxiety was through the roof. I first came home with generic Adderall IR 15 mg. The doc wanted me to divide my dose into 2 pieces, so 7.5 mg each. I took one, but I didn’t feel anything, so I took the other half. Man, it worked. I felt so clear the first time in months and I could concentrate and I was awake. I got it in late May. A few weeks later, I went back to the doctor and wanted something for long-lasting, so they gave me a generic Adderall ER 15mg. The doc said to take it once per day in the morning. I’m taking it now, but I don’t know if it’s working. I talk to my friend whose ADHD, and she said you’re not supposed to feel anything. For me throughout the day, I feel like myself without taking the medication. So, my thoughts If I don’t feel anything, whats the point in taking a medication. I understand it may take some time to work, so I am still taking it. I get the little-added focus after an hour, but it does not last long. I do get the dry mouth and lack of appetite, but the focus and concentration are not there. I am often distracted and can’t concentrate on boring tasks like studying.

    • Dana Rayburn
      Reply

      Hi Margaret, I suggest you speak with your doctor to see if a higher dose would help you pay attention and concentrate on boring tasks. Those are the targets you’re aiming to hit. Hope this helps, Dana

    • Dawn
      Reply

      You may not see this, but others in our situation might. I was diagnosed at 39. In the 3 years since I’ve tried Adderall XR, Stratera, and Wellbutrin. Wellbutrin helped my anxiety, but nothing helped my ADD. Today I started Adderall IR because my prescriber thinks IR three times a day will be better for me than XR once. Some of us just metabolize meds more quickly. He thinks I might be passing all the medicine before it has time to kick in.

      • Dana Rayburn
        Reply

        Yes, your metabolic rate can influence how well your medication works. I hope the new approach is working for you. Dana

  • Nate
    Reply

    Hey any tips? I have ADHD and can’t seem to focus sometimes and some days I feel hyper even though I’m taking Vyvanse I still feel hyper sometimes I stay up till midnight and I wake up at 9:25 A.M. I take Vyvanse and then eat some breakfast sometimes i can feel it working. But when I don’t take Vyvanse I feel hyper then normal I don’t remember feeling like I can’t sit because before I didn’t have as bad ADHD is my ADHD getting worse? I’m 16 and I don’t know what to do. I take 40Mg and sometimes bump it up to 45mg is it bad to take the 5 extra because sometimes when it isn’t working I bump it up a notch and the 5 works just fine maybe I shouldn’t take the extra 5? I don’t know what to do because I hate feeling hyper any advice?

    • Dana Rayburn
      Reply

      Hey Nate, it’s best to be consistent with your dose. Also make sure you’re eating a healthy diet and getting enough sleep, water, and exercise. Hard for a teenager, I know. Tell your doctor what you’ve just shared with me. This is information he / she needs to know to help you. Good luck! Dana

  • Debbie
    Reply

    I
    Hello Im taking 20mg of Adderall 10mg in the morning then 10mg in afternoon at lunch. First week was good I seemed to beable to focus now Im having a mid day crash i cant keep my eyes open. So frustrating I dont want to call my doctor my appointment is coming on the 24th of August should I just wait or call my doctor ?

    • Dana Rayburn
      Reply

      Hi Debbie! Yes, call your doctor. It sounds like your body is adjusting to the Adderall which means the dose needs adjusting. The afternoon crash sounds like the rebound that happens when the medication wears off. But, your doctor will know for sure. Good luck! Dana

  • Ashley
    Reply

    Hello Dana,

    I am on my 3rd ADHD medication and nothing g seems to be working to my needs. I had a bad reaction to Vyvanse, Ritalin was good, but not great for the dosage, and now I was put on Concerta and I am having a bad allergic reaction to it and I have only taken it twice. My problem is, any medication I take, it is out of my system in 3-4 hours. I am losing hope. What do you recommend?

    • Dana Rayburn
      Reply

      Ashley, here’s the bad news. ADHD medications don’t work for everyone. There are other meds your doctor can try, such as Strattera and Dex. Pay extra attention to your brain care – diet, sleep, exercise, hydration, etc. Sometimes the meds don’t work because of the brain care. Also, IF none of the medication works the brain care becomes essential. Make sense? Good luck, Dana

  • Nichole Smith
    Reply

    I just was diagnosed with ADHD at 42 even though I have been experiencing the symptoms since childhood. My doctor said that technically I should have been diagnosed in chidhood to be able to treat me fully but he still agreed to start me on medications for ADHD and started me on Vyvanse 20 mg. I have been only taking this medicaiton for 2 days but it actually makes me tired. I dont seem to notice any other effect. My mind still wonders, I am distracted by the smallest things and I still forget everything. I do know what it is like to finally get the symptoms under control because awhile back when I had injured my back the doctor prescribed tramodal for the pain and I dont know why but for some reason most of my ADHD symptoms went away. I felt amazing!! I do have a thryoid issue but it is being treated with Synthroid so I know that cant be related to this. It would be very nice to get back to somewhat normal again.

    • Dana Rayburn
      Reply

      Hi Nichole,
      Try eating healthy food before you take your Vyvanse and see if that helps. Also, make sure you’re eating and drinking water throughout the day. If you’re still tired and not noticing anything, talk to your doctor. The Vyvanse might not be the best medication for you. Good luck! Dana

      • bb
        Reply

        Nichole, similar discovery. I ran out of ritalin which was not doing anything noticeable. I had some year old adderall and popped one in. Wow I felt normal again. Anxiety, frustration, overwhelm , misery all in control. Motivation better also. I guess it helps the ADD but the rest is so good. The issue is my ears ringgggg. That’s why I stopped it a year ago. IT was accidental really. So what is the magic here and what else can I try?

        • Dana Rayburn
          Reply

          There are other ADHD medications to try. Work with your doctor to find the one that works best for you. Good Luck!

          • Angie

            Hi Dana, I have a 15 year old son who has been diagnosed with autism, ADHD and neurological delay. We have been slowly creeping in doses with his Ritalin and his abilify. About 2 months ago, the doctor dropped his dose in Ritalin from 54mg to 36mg and raised his Abilify to 40mg from 20mg to try and get control over his “friends” in his head. He is worse! I can’t get him to focus on anything, he is constantly talking to himself and now when he speaks, it’s just word salad. He seems super spaced out and now not able to sleep at night. Me being a mother, I want to put him back on his dose where he could say a clear sentence and sleep at night but still had a focusing issue? And then maybe change his medication? Are Ritalin and Abilify bad combos? What should I do here? I’m really concerned for my son. It seemed for a while he was getting better, but the higher we go in the medication the worse he gets. I don’t know what to do. He needs medication to help control his brain, we have tried stimulants and non stimulants. Help!
            -Angie

          • Dana Rayburn

            Hi Angie, I am so sorry, but I am not able to answer your question. Please talk to your son’s doctor. I wish you and your son all the best, Dana

  • J.S.
    Reply

    Hi,

    I took Adderall for about 5 years 10 years ago, then got off it when I graduated high school. When making a serious attempt at college, I realized I really might need some sort of medication. I talked to my doctor and he gave me 50mg Vyvanse. and when I took it it made me feel anxious, jittery, and it became even harder than normal to focus on things. I got scared and discouraged and I gave up on the idea of medicating for a few months. I talked to my doctor about it again recently and he increased it to 60mg, and it feels amazing – I’ve never felt so clear, focused, stable, or motivated in my life as I did with the 60mg Vyvanse, and there was no crash for me at all. However, I had a short day today and so I decided to just take one of the 50mg Vyvanse from the first prescription, and it had the same effects as the first time! Jittery, anxious, unfocused. What’s the deal?? Is it possible that under-medicating can cause such detrimental effects, or did I just get a bad batch or something?
    Thanks very much.

    • Dana Rayburn
      Reply

      Hi J.S. I really don’t know. Usually, you wouldn’t feel anything with and be more unfocused with a dose that’s too low and a higher dose would make you jittery and anxious. Better ask your doctor! Good luck, Dana

  • S.M.
    Reply

    Hi,

    I was recently diagnosed withADHD. I’m 39 years old. After reading up on this I realize this has been my main issue all my life. I cant lie and say I never had a feeling but just brushed it off because people use to say that wasnt real and I didnt want to be ridiculed. But looking back o wish I advocated for myself because I know my life would have been different. I was prescribed vyvanse at 30mg then upped to 40mg. I had a reaction with 40. Flushed, BP spike and headache oh and shortness of breath. I was also skipping on my BP meds so that could have been a cause but I noticed on the 40mg things got done quickly. Now I’m back to 30mg along with gaufacine, amlodipine and low dose prozac. My mind feels clearer that is for sure and thank you for the list because that really helped me because I waskt sure if this was working. I noticed the vyvanse starts off good and then tones way down in 3 or 4 hours. Idk if it’s the “high” and then leveled out and still working but I noticed i still get distracted with social media, internet searches .of stupid things. Then I take guanfacine in the afternoon and it just makes me sit there. I guess it erases any kind of hyperactivity. Should I ask to increase the vyvanse back to 40 now that I’m back to being diligent with my pressure meds and since guafacine is another pressure med I figured I would be ok? I have noticed alot of my impulses are gone. The desire to to do whatever and say whatever has really been curved

    • Dana Rayburn
      Reply

      Talk to your doctor about increasing your dose of Vyvanse. Make sure he/she knows about the BP meds. Also, with that drop in Vyvanse effectiveness in about 3 or 4 hours, try eating a healthy bit of protein around then and see if that helps. Good luck! Dana

  • DJ
    Reply

    Hi,
    I was just diagnosed with adult ADHD (I’m 19). They started me off at 10 mg. It didn’t help at all and now I am on 15 mg. I feel as if I am just getting the side effects but not focusing!! I can feel my heart racing a bit, but not focused 🙁 Should I be on a higher dose or a different medication?

    • Dana Rayburn
      Reply

      Make sure you’re eating healthy food before you take your meds. Protein is a good thing. If you’re still having problems, talk to your doctor about trying a different medication. Welcome to the ADHD family. You’re in good company. Hope this does the trick, Dana

  • Iris
    Reply

    Dear Dana,

    I a 24 years old and today took my first dose of Concerta 18mg. I was prescribed the lowest dose initially now to try it and the psychiatrist said that he’ll most likely put me on a higher dose after two weeks. I am not planning to be using the medication on daily basis but on those days I need to put a lot of study hours since I am a university student. I like the way it’s made me feel, I feel like it’s calmed my mind down, the chatter is significantly diminished and I feel like hyperactivity is significantly diminished too. However, I am on my period (and I am very affected by the hormonal changes due to periods in regards to my mood), and also woke up feeling like I have a milder flu, so since the start of the day have been feeling a bit down, which makes sense with my current physical state. However after taking Concerta and the initial buzz I started to feel very tired and I am guessing it has to do with the hyperactivity being lowered, so perhaps how I am actually physically feeling is really coming across? Also my focus is a bit better but not massively so, I couldn’t really keep up with reading for university although I wanted to. Altogether, the pill has made me feel really nice and chill and I really like it.

    My questions are:
    1. Do you think the focus not being that much improved has to do with the low dosage probably (also of course if I am ill it doesn’t help the overall situation)?
    2. Do you think that tiredness and the lower mood is then most likely just the continuation of the fact I am ill and on my period?
    3. Do you think that perhaps the dose is fine but it’s actually the flu which is diminishing its effects or should I definitely go for a higher dose when it’s offered at my next appointment?

    Oh and I didn’t mention, I have combination ADHD, and at my diagnosis test I had pretty much all symptoms. ADHD mostly affects how I deal with money, which can cause problems in my relationships and focus with studying.

    Thank you so so much in advance, you’re a star! Love from Edinburgh x

    • Dana Rayburn
      Reply

      Hi Iris! (I love Edinburgh, BTW). Most knowledgeable doctors start on a lower dose and increase it until you get the results you want – focus, clarity while reading, etc. Yes, your period and the flu could have an impact on the effectiveness of the medication. See what happens during other time of your cycle and when you’re healthy. Hormones can have a huge impact on brain functioning for some women. Good luck at University. Dana

  • Pl
    Reply

    I have been taking 70mg of Vyanse for about 2 years now and it was really helping me stay focused but recently I am very scattered and not able to focus even worse than before. Why is this and what should I do?

    • Dana Rayburn
      Reply

      Humm…talk to your doctor. You may need to try a different ADHD med. Also, make sure you’re eating, sleeping, exercising, etc. The medication can only do so much. Wish you the best, Dana

  • Wayne UK
    Reply

    Hi, for most of the comments above, I’ve all had similar niggling issues. I’m 28 and was undiagnosed the entire time, it almost finished me off, luckily someone somewhere was watching over me and pointed me in the right direction.

    Now the medication, I started 18mg concerta, worked well for a few months then stopped, I went to 36mg concerta, again after a few months it stopped. The reason that happened and the professional didn’t even understand was that concerta only delivers peak dosages between the 7-9hour mark after taking it, and only if you drink a shed load of water to keep that sponge pushing it out. I am now taking a 10mg Ritalin which in 20 minutes takes me straight to that 7hr concerta concentration mark. Most of the long acting preparations also have this issue. I worked out that normal conditions I only need 6ish mg Ritalin, if I don’t eat right, the weather is hot, severe stress, boring tasks, pain tolerance, I need to go up towards 10mg. I cut up my ritalin as the pharmaceutical companies don’t have a 1mg pill available (why I don’t know) because 10mg gives me hyperfocus too extreme but 5mg is normally too weak. I do best on a 6-8mg dose every 4 hours. I’ve worked out my symptom control as following, this has really helped me to do this;

    2d gone off vision problems – 2.5mg up to 8mg
    No sound distinguish – 5mg-10mg
    Pain tolerance – 2.5 – 10mg
    Brain fog with words – 2.5mg-10mg
    Motor function shaking – 2.5mg-10mg
    Boring work tasks I don’t want to do 5mg-7mg only
    Fun tasks I really want to do 6mg – 9mg
    Severe stress/ bereavement 10mg max
    Driving 6-9mg
    Really hot weather requires the 8-9mark
    Sleep initiation requires different dosages depending on the stress from the day, a quiet day I can get away with 1.25 but bad days require up to 7.5mg to get the chatter down!
    Fatigue removal/vertigo is 2.5-9mg

    Basically full adhd at 0mg, decent multitasking without distractions around us (sound) is 5mg, multitasking with noisy kids screaming and loud music in a coffee shop requires 6mg-7mg. To drive I need to be above 6mg but never above 9. This hyperfocus would make me only concentrate solid on the car in front and not taking into account the other things around. Something I enjoy doing I can go 6-9mg, hot weather really hampers the control and needs 8-9mg. Hyperfocus is triggered above 9-10mg. This is good reading a book at home on the sofa but not reading a text message when crossing a road as you will get hit.

    Also to note. After 6 months solid taking these meds you will develop tolerance and require a drug gap. For example today I’m running at just 1mg because the last 4 days my fatigue is back and my vision has been blurry and crap. I do one day low, safely at home and it does help pull these issues back into line. Obviously check with the person prescribing these medications. However in my experience the really professional helping you with this is yourself. The specialists are not bespoke enough for your full symptom control and understanding.

    Only problem with the above is a higher/lower dosage to hit one area of symptoms will throw out one of the other areas, it’s a toss up between what symptom control I need at what time. Working out how often to redose, for me now it’s every 4 hours and to irradicate the peak and trough I take my 5mg first then 1hr later I add the extra that I need on that, when that 5mg drops off after 4 hours, I still have that other amount for another hour so the peaks are gentle and ok.

    Last area I investigated that require attention is supplements. No one told me if I wasn’t eating enough tyrosine containing foods that the benefits of Ritalin would be severely hampered because without tyrosine in the diet, the body can’t produce enough dopamine, the ritalin stops the body removing the dopamine through reuptake. I got my 500mg tyrosine herbal tablets off amazon and I wish I hadn’t tested them whilst at work because I must be the first person who got high from a supplement because the burst of dopamine that followed really smacked me, (word of advice – test your supplements at home) haha! Last to mention, caffeine tablets are wonderful in this combo too, a hour before getting out of bed I take my ritalin 7.5mg, 500mg tyrosine and 200mg caffeine pill, I then go back to sleep and the meds bring me out of sleep and fatigue a hour later, I then take a small 1.25mg too and I then stagger the dosages through the day with alarms from that 🙂

    • Dana Rayburn
      Reply

      Hi Wayne. Thank you! Your self-observation is fantastic. We all appreciate your info. Be well, Dana

    • Jae
      Reply

      The Tyrosine is very important because these meds basically make your brain hyper pump your dopamine to the point that it begins to lead to depletion because your body can’t produce more as fast as these meds make it release. Tyrosine creates dopamine so a supplement is crucial to making sure the effects stay at their best.

  • Kym
    Reply

    Hi- I am a 42 year old woman. Diagnosed with ADD about 8 months ago. Tried Adderall- 30 mg and not working so doctor switched me to 50 mg of vyvanse with 20 mg Adderall booster to take at lunch time. I felt like the meds were working, but I am now at a point where I feel they’re not working and possibly have never worked. I was incredibly hopeful the meds would work and I thought things were going to finally improve. They haven’t at all. I have a horrible time starting projects and following through. My biggest issue is meeting deadlines. My boss has lost ALL patience with me, and I know a performance plan or possibly termination may be inevitable. It has been extremely frustrating- I am not focused on the task at hand, it takes me FOREVER to finish something, and I am at my wits end. My boss is constantly harping on me to get things done and piling more on me at the same time which makes me extremely overwhelmed. I have tried every time management and organization out there. What do you recommend? I feel like there is absolutely nothing I can do.

    • Dana Rayburn
      Reply

      Hi Kim, I’m sad you’re stuggling. Have you talked to your doctor about the meds? Perhaps an adjustment in dose or medication is needed. Also, make sure you are eating healthy foods before you take your meds and through out the day. drink water, too. Sleep, etc. Medication alone won’t make your brain work. The self care is essential. Hope this helps, Dana

  • Lyla
    Reply

    My daughter is 13. She has been on vyvanse 70mg for 2 1/2 years it had been working until recently her grades all dropped at school and she says it’s just not working. Her only major change is that in the past year she got her cycle not sure if that can make such a change. I want to help her. I’m thinking of going back to see her doctor.

    • Dana Rayburn
      Reply

      Hi Lyla. Yes, take your daughter back to her doctor. Hormonal changes can impact the medication effectiveness. Good luck! Dana

  • Ben
    Reply

    Hi my name is Ben I’m 20 and was diagnosed about 2 years ago with ADHD. I intended to attend college so I decided to take a course of regular medication. I was originally taking 20mg Ritalin 2/3x a day and it absolutely changed my life! Really unbelievable! But it came at a price of serious Nausea, headaches and anorexia. My neurologist told me to try 1x Concetta 36mg instead and it has also been very effective with less severe side affects. However after about 6 months using concerta I find myself no quite as productive (but still incomparable to days I don’t take.) similarly it isn’t supposedly meant to last 12 hrs but I find it only really works for me for 8/9.
    I have two questions. Firstly do you think perhaps I should try the next dose above 36mg if I find 36 is waning slightly? Or is that normal after the initial excitement? And also is there any problem with taking 2 doses on a single day, for a day when I need it the entire day? (E.g take 36mg at 7am and then another at 4pm)
    Thanks !

    • Dana Rayburn
      Reply

      Hi Ben, Talk to your doctor about increasing the dose. It’s normal for the body to get used to the medication and need a higher dosage. Also, taking two doses a day needs to be done under your doctors care. Good luck! Dana

  • jordan
    Reply

    hello,
    I have recently been diagnose with adhd im 29 and feel i have had it all my life and decided i need to take care of it. My doctor prescribed me 18mg of concerta and the effects are very subtle if any after one week. Around the middle of the day i start to feel tired and find myself day dreaming, is this normal in the first week of medication, will this subside because i feel as if i am backtracking.

    • Dana Rayburn
      Reply

      Hi Jordan, no this isn’t a normal side effect. Talk to your doctor about trying a different medication or changing your dose. Good luck! Dana

  • Heather
    Reply

    Hello! Today I started Vyvanse at 30MG. It has been 2 hours since I have taken it and I don’t think it’s working? I don’t feel any different. Does it take a while to hit? Or should I ask my doctor for a stronger dose?
    I took it so I could focus on my college course but it does not feel like I am focused..

    • Dana Rayburn
      Reply

      Heather, Vyvanse can be subtle. Unlike the short acting stimulants you may not feel it working. That said, if you’re taking it to focus on your studies and you can’t focus you likely need a different dose or a different medication. Check with your physician. Hope this helps! Dana

  • Antwer
    Reply

    Have struggled on Adderall, although it used to really work well for me at first. I used to feel zoned in and could stay focused and read with laser like precision. That effect has worn off slowly 10 years later, and I’ve been working to find a new med with my doc. Tried Vyvanse now at 40mg, and I am noticing the motivational improvement but one thing that has not improved is my reading/listening retention and focus. I do not feel zoned in any more. I feel like one of the previous commenters, who felt the drug had solved half of the effects in the list you wrote. The reading and listening retention is probably the most important thing I wanted to improve. Would breakfast, exercise, sleep be the only other way to get this laser focus back? Or perhaps another drug? I have tried a bunch over the years and found Adderall worked best (although not any longer). Any insight would be appreciated. Thanks for this blog!

    • Dana Rayburn
      Reply

      Antwer, the first thing to try is eating a protein based breakfast before taking your dose and notice if your retention and focus have improved. If not, talk to your doctor. You may need a different dose or a different medication. There are new medications on the market in recent years that might work better for you. Good luck! Dana

  • Stefanie
    Reply

    Hello,
    I just started my Adderall XR prescription.
    It has definitely helped, it calms me down, I feel so chill I think largely due to the fact that my mind stops racing and I stop racing around the house trying to find my keys/phone/wallet.
    My question is do I need a higher dosage?
    While it has helped, I notice that I am still forgetting things.
    I’m more calm and I feel like I have everything I need, but I find I still forget things. I find that this worsens on the days that I didn’t get enough sleep though.
    Will an increase in dose help? Or do I need to organize things better and be sure to sleep enough?

    • Dana Rayburn
      Reply

      Stephanie, I suggest you focus on sleep first. Also, systems and reminders to help you remember things. If that doesn’t help, talk to your doctor about increasing the dose. Good luck! Dana

  • Dawn
    Reply

    My stepson has been on vyvanse for 2.5 months in which it took a few weeks to kick in but ever since has been working great until 2 weeks ago. I’ve noticed a lot of his old behaviors, the reason we put him on this drug, have been showing up again. All the things he had a hard time with are showing their face again. Is this normal? Do you think it could be just a doasge thing or are we going to have to try a different medication? I did make an appointment with his doctor to discuss this but just was wondering what your thoughts are in the mean time.

    • Dana Rayburn
      Reply

      Dawn, it’s probably a dosage thing if it worked well at first. It’s normal for bodies to get used to the first dose and need an adjustment. Glad you’ve got the doctor’s appointment. Dana

  • Blair
    Reply

    Hi Dana,

    I was diagnosed with ADHD a little under a year ago. While I definitely have issues with impulsivity, cognitive behavioral therapy has seriously helped curb unproductive impulses and keep me on track. However, the issue that was most prevalent was my inability to focus and retain information and therapy wasn’t helping with this. I started on 30 mg of Vyvanse and that was ABSOLUTELY AMAZING for the first few months. My anxiety was significantly reduced, my ability to focus and retain information was through the roof, my boss and advisors noticed a tremendous difference in my performance, and I was completely motivated to success every day. However, my momentum began to fade after 4 or 5 months so I increased my dosage to 40 mg. After another month or so on that dosage, I noticed that I was beginning to lose focus by mid-day. My doctor then prescribed an afternoon booster of 10mg of Adderall, which helped a bit. That also began to stop working and the anxiety crept back in. I noticed that I would experience extreme anxiety each day around the time when I noticed my attention and cognition was fading. I want to increase my dose to 50mg but I’m afraid that I’m going to continue to experience this increasing tolerance over time and, that eventually, nothing will work for me (which in turn further increases my anxiety). My question is, is it normal to have to continually increase my dosage, even after nearly a year? Is it possible that I will eventually find the dosage that works for me for the rest of my life?

    Thanks for providing a platform for ADHD discussions. I’m the only one in my family that experiences this (or at least I’m the only one who talks about it and sought treatment). It’s really nice to be exposed to people and groups who are supportive 🙂

    • Dana Rayburn
      Reply

      Hi Blair, I can understand why this makes you anxious. You found something that worked and now it doesn’t. Everyone is different, so it’s hard to say. But, the highest dose of Vyvanse is 70mg. Options are to increase and see what happens. Or, try another medication. Also, make sure you’re eating a protein based meals and a snack around the time the Vyvanse wears off. That might help. Good luck! (And, you’re welcome. So happy to provide this plaform!!) Warmly, Dana

  • Christina
    Reply

    Hi Dana. My name is Christina. I am 30 years old, and was diagnosed with ADHD at 22, while attending Univetsity. I was first prescribed Adderall 40mg (20mg x2 per day, due to my metabolism). It worked great! When I was about 25 years old, I talked to a new physician (my current physician) about switching medications, as the insurance cost was too much for me at the time. I am currently taking 72mg of Concerta, and have been for almost 5 years. It worked beautifully, until after the birth of my daughter. I found out I was pregnant at 20 weeks, weaned off the Concerta, then resumed taking 72mg a day at 3 months post partem (she is currently 17 months old). I quit my job as a manager for a day program that serviced Adults with Developmental disabilities in February 2018, to be a stay at home mom to my daughter. I have noticed, for the past 6 months or so, that my current dose is no longer working like it used to (my ability to focus has severely decreased, ability to complete tasks has decreased, etc.). I want to be the best mom that I can be, but I don’t know what to do. I know that I am at the maximum dose for Concerta, according to the FDA, but it has worked so well for me up until now. … Do I ask my physician for an increased dose of Concerta? Do I try another ADHD medication? I am unsure of what to do… But something needs to change… Thank you, in advance, for your help with this! I truly appreciate any feedback that could help!!

    • Dana Rayburn
      Reply

      Hi Christina, Congratulations on your baby! There could be a number of things going on. The routine of being a stay at home mom may not be enough stimulation for you to stay engaged and focused. This has nothing to do with how much you love your daughter – it’s a brain stimulation thing!!!!! We’re at our best when we have enough going on to help us focus. Talk to your physician. Be clear on what you want and need to do during the day. Why you’re taking the medication. Hope this helps! Dana

  • Rachele
    Reply

    I’ve been on Vyvanse for two months, along with Lexapro for anxiety, and the medications have caused huge improvements! However, every once in a while I have a day when I’m just scattered, even with the meds. Today was one of those days – I had a busy weekend, got to sleep very late and had to get up early to get to work (I’m a teacher). It’s the end of the semester, and I have a lot to finish. Despite the meds, I’m jittery and distracted, and putting off things I need to focus on. Is this normal? Do I just need a nap? Not sure when to be concerned and when to relax and trust that those days happen sometimes.

    • Dana Rayburn
      Reply

      Hi Rachele, So glad the meds are working for you! Those jittery and distracted days are probably from lack of sleep. The medication can only do so much. The good self-care – diet, sleep, exercise, etc. – are important for your brain to work. Hope this answers your question, Dana

  • Lisa
    Reply

    Hi,
    I love reading your posts they are very informative! I see you know a lot so i was wondering if you could give me advise. I have inattentive type ADD, and have had very strong side effects from several medications. Recently I was recommended a medication but I think it was similar to something I had already tried and had a negative response to. Below is everything you need to know about what I’ve tried in the past.
    Adderall 5mg
    Ritalin 5mg
    Concerta 18 mg
    Wellbutrin 20 mg
    Focalin
    Abilify 5 mg
    Lexapro 20mg

    These are the side effects I had from all of them:
    The first two made my heart beat too fast and made me very emotional as well as MORE hyperactive. The next three did not do this but did nothing to help with concentration and made me feel very bad about myself and depressed. The next one helped with mood swings but did not help with concentration ( I understand it’s used mainly for people with bipolar but it’s worked for me well.) The next one helped with my depression but after 3 months didn’t work anymore and made me feel really tired and sad all the time. I want to know about Dexedrine for concentration. My doctor recommended it but I am nervous. I am worried if it will have a similar effect to Adderall because they are very similar from what
    I understand. Thanks for taking the time to read this I really appreciate it.
    Sorry for all the information! I thought listing everything I have taken might get me a more intelligent answer and not tell me what I already know. Thanks for your time I really appreciate it.

    • Dana Rayburn
      Reply

      Hi Lisa, I’m sad to hear you’re struggling with the ADHD medication. You are having a bad reaction. Some people experience that. Though I can’t give medical advice, I suggest you follow your doctor’s recommendation and see what happens. Also, sometimes it takes a couple of weeks for the side effects to subside if you can deal with them. Warmly, Dana

  • Kevin Basco.
    Reply

    Hi Dana,
    im a 31 year old Male, taking 10 mg adderall instant release once per day. For the first few weeks it felt like i was taking a sugar pill, all it did was make me tired. Honestly i stopped taking the medication because i was convinced the pharmacy gave me the wrong thing and the fatigue was too much. But they confirmed its a generic Adderall pill. SoI kept taking it again but still did nothing for me.

    one day I took 15 mg at once and another 5 mg in the afternoon and it seemed to work, i wasnt as exhausted in the afternoon and i had more focus while driving or talking to people. Problem is how do i tell my doctor that a slightly higher dose worked better when she didnt tell me to play around with the dosage?

    Im worried if i say it didnt work she will switch me to another medication. But i dont know how to ask for a slight raise in the dosage without sounding like im “seeking”.. i only want the bare minimum nothing more or less.

    any advise would be greatly appreciated.

    Kevin.

    • Dana Rayburn
      Reply

      Hi Kevin, A doctor who is experienced with ADHD medication knows that most people need their dosage increased to feel the effects. If you think your doctor won’t believe you and thinks you’re ‘seeking’ perhaps say that you felt more focused at first and after a couple of weeks weren’t any more. Make sure you’re eating healthy and sleeping enough, too! That will help. Good luck, Dana

  • Traci
    Reply

    Hi Dana!

    I’m currently on 30 mg of Vyvanse, it worked great for me at first I was able to focus more at work, wasn’t so cluster brained, and wasn’t jumping from thought to thought every 5 seconds. I’ve been on it for about a month now and my work ethic is going back downhill, I’m having trouble concentrating on simple tasks, can never get my head straight to do what needs to be done and am late EVERYWHERE, as well as taking hours to shop for simple things. I go back to my doctor in about a week for it, would this be a sign I need to up my dosage?

    Thanks!

    • Dana Rayburn
      Reply

      Traci, Yes, this is a sure sign that you need a higher dose. Good luck, Dana

  • Paul
    Reply

    Hi Dana,

    It’s been a pleasure to read your page and also your responses helping others, makes it all so much more relatable.

    I’m a bit apprehensive about everything at the moment. I’ve only just started taking 30mg Vyvanse today. I know it’s probably too early to tell but I did feel less anxiety and a bit more straight forward; but couldnt concentrate on things for too long. I hope that still means I’m adjusting.

    I have changed my diet up over the last week (even with Xmas on the go), been doing lots of reading on the subject. I am also going to go teetotal for a good while, I want to give myself a chance. I just really hope the main thing that I crave kicks in which is Focus + Attention. I’ve been bombing out spectacularly in my new job. I hit a brick wall and everything became awash in fog. That’s what prompted me to find out what was happening and lo and behold, I have ADHD (nearly 40 years old too).

    thanks

    • Dana Rayburn
      Reply

      Hi Paul, Welcome to the ADHD Tribe! You’re in good company. Yes, work on that diet and reduce the alcohol. It will make a difference. After 10 days of too much sugar and wine over the holidays my brain reverted back to the old foggy, unmotivated days. Actually, it’s good for me to go there every once in a while because it helps me remember what it used to be like to be me when my ADHD was out of control. Took a few days to get my system cleared. I’m finally focused again. Good luck!!! Dana

  • Rob Walker
    Reply

    Dana, I was recently diagnosed with ADAH and have been on Concerta XR 18 mg for about three weeks. I’m 35, 135lbs. The only thing that seems to have improved is clarity. Instead of 20 thoughts running through my head at once I’m probably focused down to 8 or 10. Impulsivity remains, switching between tasks before they are finished is still an issue. Basically, my mind is a bit quieter, but all other symptoms are still present. Would you recommend talking to the doc about 32mg concerta or switching to Adderall? I’m nervous about taking an amphetamine. Thanks for the advice.
    Rob

    • Dana Rayburn
      Reply

      Hi Rob, Ask your doctor about the increased dose first before switching meds. Seems like you’re on the right track. And, work on your sleep and diet and exercise, too. That’ll make your brain work better. Good luck! Dana

  • Garrett
    Reply

    Dana,
    I am a female in my 30’s and I have been taking the same dose of Adderall XR 20 mg for at least 6 years now with no real issues. However, it seems in the last 6 months I have noticed things changing. I am finding myself having a hard time doing tasks that are even remotely long-term. I also cannot seem to motivate myself to do anything (work and at home) that is not intensely and continually interesting unless there are real consequences that are looming and even then it is a rushed and sub-par effort. I seem to be on an emotional rollercoaster where small things are triggering annoyance and anger. I find that online shopping, binge-watching tv, and social media are the only things that bring me satisfaction right now which isolates me from my family and other interests. I often feel bad after long sessions of doing these things but it doesn’t deter me from them. Also, I have noticed I feel very tired even right after taking my meds. I almost feel like I did before I was diagnosed. Is it possible that my medication has stopped working for me or am I using my ADHD to rationalize my unattractive behaviors?

    Thanks,
    Garrett

    • Dana Rayburn
      Reply

      Hi Garrett, Talk to your doctor. You may need to switch medication or have a different dose. ADHD is not a rationalization for unattractive behaviors! Good luck, Dana

  • Ashlee Adams
    Reply

    I got diagnosed with ADD about two years ago (I’m 23 now), and the first medication I was prescribed was adderal IR which wasn’t very effective. Later, my doctor switched me to vyvanse which quite literally knocked me out each time I took it and I slept for hours and hours, next was focalin which caused me to get VERY depressed so my doctor switched me back to adderal but this time XR and this worked the best for a while and then a few months in stopped working so he bumped up my dose taking 2 pills instead of one. It’s been about 6 months since he’s upped my dose but the past few months I cannot focus to save my life, I feel like I’m always in a daze, and I’m going back to the impulsive, messy, cluttered, always late version of myself I do NOT want to be……. I’m not really sure what to do! One of my friends who struggled with the same thing in the past recommended I see a psychiatrist instead of my family practitioner to look at my brain patterns and chemicals specifically. Should I ask my doctor to try Ritalin since it’s the only medication I haven’t tried?

    • Dana Rayburn
      Reply

      Ashlee, Seems like it’s time to see a psychiatrist. Someone who understands ADHD. Good luck, Dana

  • Alethea
    Reply

    My councilors were always suspicious for years that I had ADHD (Daydreaming type) since I met every requirement in the book was diagnosed with ADHD (Non-Hyperactive type) a few months ago after the school helped me pay for a psychiatrist since insurance wasn’t pulling through.

    I started methylphenidate (12-hour release) 18mg 1x a day for a week, then 2x for another two weeks before getting the once a day 36 (my psychiatrist aims to raise it to the final 54mg and possibly 72 since I have a high metabolism which runs in the family). I’ve been on the 36 for almost 7 days now (I don’t feel the focus like the first day of the 18 but I’ve been told once I get to full it’ll be consistently noticeable), and I forgot to take it for one day and noticed I crashed, suddenly feeling tired and aching to close my eyes in classes. This was something that happened to me on a daily basis for the past few years before the medicine, and would cause mysterious tired-spells and headaches. I read your article and realized that this might be a sign the medicine is working. Which got me wondering if my ADD was the source of those mysterious bouts of fatigue?

    Thank You For Your Time,
    Alethea

  • Carragan
    Reply

    Hello I recently went to a psychiatrist and was diagnosed ADHD along with anxiety and depression (I’m 22). I had no real depression trigger and my “anxiety” is mostly me over thinking things or worrying about making the right choice, being a perfectionist, over analyzing and stressing myself out yet I felt down and not like myself the last 6 months and constantly beating myself up as well as isolating myself from the world.. I recently started taking Vyvanse 30mg and I have noticed that I have been a happier person and my motivation to live my life is back. I was also prescribed Prozac 20mg for my anxiety and depression but I never started taking it because I don’t know if I’m really depressed and high anxiety or if those things stem from my adhd and could be treated with medicine. Should I start the Prozac or should I wait to get my adhd doagage and medicine correct? Also as far as my Vyvanse goes, I’m not sure how well it’s working. The first week first day a took it I feel a bit of energy (a tiny but increased anxiety) and the I felt like I could focus for about 2 or 3 hours and then it started to wear off and I would not be focused or motivated, I would get a headache and feel ittirable. Now after taking it for 2 weeks I don’t feel much focus at all anymore but I don’t feel jittery either. Just kind of pointlessly serious but with no productivity. should I up my dosage to 40mg and or add an afternoon pill? Or should I just ask to switch medications. I don’t want to full slmethinf oht that works too soon but I have heard the affects of getting your medicine right and I feel like mine is no where close to giving me that feeling. The focus is slim to none especially now. I really hope to get my dose right so I can the amazing feeling everyone else describes. What do you recommend?

    • Dana Rayburn
      Reply

      Hi Carragan, Work with your doctor to get your Vyvanse dose right. Good luck! Dana

  • Emily
    Reply

    Hello. Im 31 years old. I was working as an adjuster and I was able to handle the enourmous amount of daily claims with no effort. My focus was good and I never thought I had ADHD. I recently went thru a stressful situation after which I couldn’t do my job anymore. It was like going to work on a Monday and not knowing how to handle the job. I was super scared and worried. It felt like I had butterflies in my head, thousands of racing thoughts and I was trying to chase them. Meanwhile I was studying for the LSAT and when I failed twice that made my depression worse so I decided to see a psychologist who later referred me to a pshichiatrist. I got prescribed Adderall XR. It was such a horrible experience. Made me depressed and high. Then they switched it to Focalin which helped me with my depression and panic attacks. They were completely gone but my focus was still terrible and I was super high and relaxed. I didn’t like the feeling of it and still couldnt even read a simple letter withought jumping straight to the very last sentence. Decided to try Vyvanse 30mg. It was great for me. I could focus for 10 hours, was studying from 1pm to 12am and I loved the feeling of it. It’s like I was craving to read something. I passed all of my tests easily and reading was a piece of cake for me. I was so excited and happy. That took 6 months only. A week ago I started noticing that I’m going back to my old condition again. It’s not too severe but my focus is gone and I’m not productive anymore. I’m not sure if I need to ask my doctor to dose up my medication to 40mg or this is due to something else.
    Also would stress trigger ADHD symptoms or make it worse? I always knew I was different in regards to learning but it wasn’t this bad. Thank you

    • Dana Rayburn
      Reply

      Hi Emily, Wow! You’ve had a rough time. Are you eating before you take the Vyvanse? That helps. People with ADHD are very sensitive to stress and our environment. Best talk to your psychiatrist about what to do. Good Luck, Dana

  • Ellie
    Reply

    Hi,

    I have been on adderall ir for almost 7 years now besides when I was pregnant. Im 33yo female. I’m 5’6, 180 pounds (heaviest I’ve been besides when pregnant). I have been on 30mg ir in the morning and 20mg ir in the afternoon for almost 4 years now. I have noticed over the last few months my concentration and motivation have disappeared. Not only is it impacting my work, because I just cant seem to get my tasks done and I show up late and forget about things, but I also feel like I have to take my morning dose just to get going in the morning. I do try to eat healthy 80% of the time and try to workout 3 days a week, but that’s all been being impacted by my lack of concentration and motivation. I’m wondering what other medications are out there that I could bring up to try with my doctor? I worry because I’m on such a high dose with the adderall right now that none will be really comparable for me? I need to figure something out though because its getting worse by the day.

    Thank you.

    • Dana Rayburn
      Reply

      Hi Ellie, there are a number of ADHD medications for your doctor to try. Both stimulant and non-stimulant and different formulations of each. The right medication for you needs to come from your doctor. About your concentration and motivation – has anything changed in the past few months? Sleep, eating, exercise, drinking enough water? Any other health changes? Look deeper than merely the ADHD meds. Hope this helps, Dana

  • Jennifer
    Reply

    I just began taking Adderall 15mg, and noticed no effects so my Dr said to take 2, so 30mg. A friend asked me if it takes a person some time to start to adjust behaviors to their medication dosing? I know Adderall is supposed to take action immediately, though I could see people and their bodies taking some time to take action according to how the medication is affecting them. … Is that the case? (Hopefully I’ve made sense) Thanks. 🙂

    • Dana Rayburn
      Reply

      Hi Jennifer, if it’s the right dose of the right stimulation medication you should notice effects. Instead of looking for how it feels, notice if you’re able to have more motivation or do boring tasks. Good luck! Dana

  • Dara Sofia Montenegro
    Reply

    Hi Dana; first of all, I have to say… you are doing a beautiful job here, answering all of these questions and helping so many people to understand their problems or doubts. I am really grateful for having this chance. Thank you.
    Without further ado, I will tell you what I’ve been through in these last month –– just because I haven’t found anything like this in the previous questions, otherwise I wouldn’t bother you, so if it’s already there, sorry, I let it pass. So, I have been taking methylphenidate 54mg since the beginning of 2016. This would result in 2 years and a few months. However, this year I was diagnosed with panic disorder and generalized anxiety disorder (the attacks started long before, but, duo to some personal reasons, they only got intensified in the past few month, and that is why I only looked out for a doctor recently). After that, my psychiatrist told me to start taking escitalopram 20mg everyday to reduce the anxiety, and clonazepam 1mg (AKA rivotril, at least here in Brazil) to take only when I’m having a panic attack, in emergency cases. All my doctors said the interaction between the ADHD medicine and the antidepressant shouldn’t interfere in anything, besides, I also searched for it in the internet and still haven’t found anyone that had a bad outcome. Anyway, after a while taking escitalopram, the methylphenidate started reducing the noteworthy effect that it used to have. And, obviously, my first reaction was to associate it with the antidepressant that I had been taking, even though I knew that I had done my research and talked to my doctors, rulling out any chance for this to happen (way before even taking it, because it really mattered to me to mantain my study routine). So, after this first thought, I began to think straight and scheduled an appointment with my neurologist. As I was taking the highest methylphenidate dose (54mg), adding an extra dose was not an option. The solution she had in mind was to replace the drug to a different one that would give me the same effect that methylphenidate used to have in me: the lidesxamphetamine. As it was a new drug, she told me to start with the weakest dose (30mg). Tried it yesterday, didn’t feel a thing. Tried it with 60mg today (as I was advised), nothing. When I was still taking the methylphenidate, I tried mixing the shifts (took the ADHD one in the morning and the escitalopram in the afternoon), but it did not work either. I am starting to feel a little bit bad about this, not only because I have been wasting many college classes and studies hours (when I am in exams week…) but also because apparently there isn’t a solution! Do you have anything in mind? It would help me in 200%, I’d be extremely grateful if you could help me ASAP.
    Sorry about the prolixity that turned the comment so big, I just wanted to be as clear as I could, leaving nothing out.
    * In case of confusion or doubts, observation: My psychiatrist handles my panic disorder and my neurologist handles my ADHD.

    • Dana Rayburn
      Reply

      Hi Dara, I am so sorry to hear you are struggling. Especially during exams! I’m afraid I don’t know what to tell you. I’m not familiar with escitalopram. Please talk to your doctors and tell them what is going on. I do wish you all the best! Dana

  • Keira
    Reply

    Hi Dana, I started taking 18mg of Ritalin back in February or March and I have noticed no effects of it even after increasing the does all the way up to 108mg. I’m 16, 5’6, and 155 lbs if that helps. I was wondering why this isn’t helping me with focus/motivation even though I am losing weight and feeling more awake.

    • Dana Rayburn
      Reply

      Hi Keira, Talk to your doctor. If you aren’t noticing any improvement the Ritalin may not be the best medication for you. Good luck, Dana

  • Jessica Salikin
    Reply

    I’m having problem.. need some advice. I was on vyvanse for a month but switched to adderall because of pricing and because I couldnt slerp after taking vyvanse. Adderall xr 10mg was working well i think for the first month and now I’m ending my second month and i feel like I’m back to where i started.. my concentration is at an all time low and all i can think of if everything I’m failing at and i literally sit on the couch with anxiety thinking of everything that needs done and i cant fo any of it.. and after i take my adderall in the morning i just seem to get tired, like i have to drag myself around to get things done. I’m wondering if my dose is to low and should considering asking my doctor for an increase ?

    • Dana Rayburn
      Reply

      Hi Jessica, It is normal to need to have your Adderall dose increased at the beginning. Most doctors start with a lower dose and increase it slowly over a few months to get the right dose. So, yes, talk to your doctor! Good Luck, Dana

  • Miranda
    Reply

    Hi, I’ve been on Vyvanze 30mg for about 2 weeks now the first week I felt good I was waking up and getting ready for the day I was able to stay on task but this last week I feel worse like I can’t sum up the energy to even get dressed. I’m also on lexapro 20 mg and 7.5 mg busparone 3x a day. The first week I took the vyvanze I was staying at a friends place in another state because I had business to take care of there but now I’m back home and I feel more depressed because I’m exhausted constantly I feel like there are so many things in my head that I need to complete but they all just disappear when I try and think of one and I know in the beginning by mid day I’d become tired but it was more of a not wanna move but not sleep at the same time idk my head just seem so mixed up. Does this mean I need a higher dose? And how do I explain it to my doctor correctly

    • Dana Rayburn
      Reply

      Hi Miranda, It’s hard to know if you need a higher dose or if something else is up. Please talk to your doctor about this. Tell her or him exactly what you’ve written here. Good luck! Dana

  • Amanda Kiger
    Reply

    how do i go about talking to my dr. about increasing my medication, without sounding like an addict. because i am most definitely not one. i just feel as though my medication doesnt have the same affect on me as it used to. when i fist started medication for my ADHD, i was a single 24 years old mother with 3 kids a full time job and going to collage and my greads were never very good, all through school i struggled. i was a mess…..
    once i started my medication, my whole life changed!!!! i wish i had started meds sooner in life, sometimes i think to my self about other choices i would have made different, and not so impulsively.
    iv brought it up the past few months at my appointment, but he always seems to dismiss my request. and he has been my dr for over 15 years now. (i am now going to turn 33 and now have 5 kids, one is my stepson who we have had for 2 years now full time….). anyway, how do i approach this?

    • Dana Rayburn
      Reply

      Hi Amanda, How frustrating for you! You need a doctor who supports you and your brain health. A doctor who understands ADHD medications will know that dosages need to be adjusted at times. Talk to him again. Perhaps, if you approach it as “these are the things I need to be able to do and can’t” and give specifics about where you’re struggling, he’ll listen. Specific targets you’re trying to reach and can’t. I wish you all the best with this, Dana

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