As an adult ADHD coach, my clients and I talk about many ways to make life with ADHD easier.
When we focus on the details of their ADHD treatment, finding they are making common ADHD medication mistakes isn’t unusual.
Adults with ADHD don’t do this intentionally. Most people just don’t know what prevents ADHD meds from working correctly.
We traditionally think that you get up, take your medication and go about your day.
BUT there truly are simple day-to-day activities that can hinder the effectiveness of your medication.
Four ADHD Medication Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
ADHD Medication Mistake #1: Drinking citrus juice.
The acid in oranges, grapefruits, and vitamin C interrupts the absorption of ADHD medications. The short-acting Adderall and Ritalin. And, long-acting medications such as Vyvance and Concerta, too. That’s because they start with a short-acting boost to quickly kick your brain into gear.
According to Dr. William Dobson, high doses of vitamin C (1000 mg.), in pill or juice form, can also speed up the excretion of the medication in the urine so it moves out of your system too quickly.
So drinking that glass of orange juice or grapefruit juice when you take your Adderall or Ritalin is a no-no.
You don’t have to give up your daily glass of juice or Vitamin C pill. Wait about an hour before and after you take the medication. By then the drug has moved through your system where the acid in the citrus won’t interfere.
People have different experiences with this. It’s easy to test it out on yourself.
ADHD Medication Mistake #2: Not eating breakfast.
It doesn’t matter if you’re late or you don’t like to eat in the morning. It’s important to eat something before you take your ADHD medication. Your meds will work better and you’ll have fewer side effects. And you’ll get a meal in before the medication suppresses your appetite.
You don’t have to eat a big meal. Some people aren’t breakfast eaters and many people with ADHD run late in the morning.
Even a small, healthy, protein-based snack will help. A healthy protein bar or drink (read the labels and watch for extra sugar). A banana and a handful of almonds. Peanut butter toast. Microwave an egg with some salsa added (coconut oil will make the bowl easier to wash!).
ADHD Medication Mistake #3: Not drinking enough water.
Stimulant ADHD medications are dehydrating. Dehydration causes brain fog. 99% of my new coaching clients don’t drink enough water whether or not they treat their ADHD with medication. Hydrate up. If you want your brain to work it’s important.
My first sign that I’m dehydrated is brain fog. The stronger sign is a headache. When dehydration goes to the headache stage it can take a couple of days of focused water drinking to recover.
Drinking enough water is an easy way to help your ADHD medication work for you!
ADHD Medication Mistake #4: Forgetting to refill your prescription.
Ever experience the panic of taking your last Adderall on a Sunday morning? You need your ADHD medication to focus at work on Monday and there’s no way to get your prescription refilled in time. (If you spend your weekend drifting and unfocused you need your ADHD medication then, too. Just sayin’.)
The solution is simple: set a reminder on your phone to refill your prescription a week before your pills run out. Reminders will work better if you use a reminder app, like the Due App. Due doesn’t stop bugging you until you’ve done the task. (Sorry, Android users. The Due App is only for iPhones. If you have a good Android reminder app, let us know in the comments.)
A second tip to remember to even take your pills and a visual so you see when you’re going to run out is to use a pill dispenser. You can go simple with this monthly medication organizer or high-tech with this Bluetooth electronic medication dispenser (my aunt’s favorite!).
Another trick a number of my ADHD coaching clients use is to keep a couple of extra pills stashed away just for these types of emergencies. Bingo. Problem solved. But, this is really just a band-aid. The best thing is to remember to refill your prescription.
These are all common ADHD medication mistakes I run into frequently with my new ADHD coaching clients. If you’re taking Adderall or Ritalin or another ADHD drug, why not do everything you can to help it work?
I’m curious. Which of these common ADHD medication mistakes are you making? And what steps will you take to avoid them?
Let me know by adding a comment below.
- Blog: How to Remember to Drink Water
- ‘New ADHD Medication Rules’ by Dr. Charles Parker
- Blog: 10 Targets to Know if Your ADHD Medication is Working
- Episode 32 of Kick Some ADHD: Is Your ADHD Medication Working?
Dana Rayburn is an ADHD Coach in Oregon, but don’t worry… She works by telephone helping ADHD adults all over the world live more effortlessly and successfully with ADHD.