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. A great source for accurate ADHD medication information is Dr. Charles Parker’s book ‘New ADHD Medication Rules’.
I’m also a big fan of Dr James Greenblatt’s book, Finally Focused. It’s full of lots of useful information and ADHD medication hacks for children, but has great ideas for adults, too. Dr Greenblatt has some keen direction about sugar and how it makes ADHD worse.
Four ADHD Medication Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
ADHD Medication Mistake #1: Drinking citrus juice. According to Dr. Parker, the acid in oranges, grapefruits, and their juices interrupts the absorption of short acting stimulant ADHD medications (you know it’s short acting if there is an SA on the bottle).
So drinking that glass of orange juice or grapefruit juice when you take your Adderall or Ritalin is a no-no. Citrus messes with the long acting medications such as Vyvance and Concerta, too, because they all start with a short acting boost to quickly kick your brain into gear.
With long acting medications you can enjoy citrus later in the day because by then the drug has moved on down to your intestines 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 get a meal in before the medication suppresses your appetite.
This doesn’t have to be a big meal. Even a small, healthy, protein-based snack will help. 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. You can read about ADHD-Friendly ways to remember to drink water here.
My first sign that I’m dehydrated is brain fog. The stronger sign is a headache. When dehydration goes to headache stage it can take a couple of days of focused water drinking to recover.
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: make a reminder in 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.)
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-aide. 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. I’m curious. Which of these common ADHD medication mistakes are you making? And what steps will you take to avoid them?
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.