Adderall log: Testing dosages

So, in my last long-winded and ridiculous post, I mentioned that I went to a psychiatrist who gave me some Adderall after tentatively (in my opinion) diagnosing me with ADHD. By the way, if you weren’t already aware, in the DSM-IV, there’s only ADHD. ADD is now categorized as a subtype of ADHD and denoted as ADHD, Predominantly Inattentive. The other two subtypes of ADHD are: ADHD, Predominantly Hyperactive, and ADHD, Combined. Of course, since most people still refer to it as ADD, it’s obviously still an accepted term. Anyway, the point is that I was given 31 5mg capsules in order to test out which dosage worked best for me. Apparently, I was to start out with 10 mg and, if that didn’t seem to work, adjust the dosage after 3 days as necessary. Well, as you can see from my log, I totally didn’t do that at  all. I actually didn’t realize that his additional notes had said that until I looked at the paper to get the websites he wrote down for more information about ADHD. Which was like, a week or more after I had gotten the prescription.

Baseline for comparison: “I know that Adderall is working for me, because once it kicks in, I can read without having to go back and re-read (sometimes over and over) the stuff I missed because my mind was elsewhere while my eyes were looking at the words. I can look objectively at my to-do list, prioritize, figure out how long each task will take, and create an agenda that can be realistically completed in the allotted time. I can tackle things that need to be done, even if I really, really don’t want to do them. I feel a little physical stimulation, mostly wakefulness despite my sleep difficulties, but I don’t feel hyper or anxious.”

As you can see from my notes, I didn’t really see a noticeable effect of the Adderall on my executive functions (attention, planning, prioritizing) until last night, when I took the remainder of my prescription. I might not have seen any effect at the beginning because my body was still getting adjusted, but Adderall isn’t the type of medication where you have to take it for a while before seeing results. My perceived improvement from last night may have been due more to me being motivated to complete a past-due assignment. Apparently the original deadline just doesn’t give quite enough motivation. So, my follow-up appointment is next Wednesday. I intend to question Dr. Stein about if he’s sure it isn’t some other disorder with symptoms overlapping those of ADHD, or if my issues truly amount to disorder at all. If the latter turns out to be true, I’ll probably turn super emo because that implies that I’m really just a lazy, unmotivated person. And then I’ll get depressed and go back to see if he’ll diagnose me with clinical depression lolz. I’m just kidding — my aim isn’t to get a false diagnosis to use as an excuse. I really don’t know how I’d tell my parents, though, if I turn out not to have anything. All they ask of me in my college career is that I try my best. If I don’t have anything wrong with me, me having not done my best this whole time will be entirely my own fault.

Although some people may say differently, ADHD is a disorder that has a neurophysiological cause. People who have ADHD (who are not on medication or haven’t undergone counseling) are inherently unable to perform at the same level as a normal person in areas such as planning, attention, prioritization, and working memory. It’s not that they’re lazy, stupid, or unmotivated. Rather, these things aren’t a part of their personality, but instead are a result of ADHD.

This post has a rather defensive tone. It’s probably because some people with whom I’ve discussed my worries give the impression that they don’t really consider ADHD a serious disease. It might be due to the fact that ADHD tends to be over-diagnosed at times, but I thought they would understand that I’m taking this very seriously and would not pursue this course of action as an easy way out. In fact, much of my reluctance to accept Dr. Stein’s diagnosis is probably because of these people’s skepticism.

Ugh. My posts as of late seem to never turn out the way I had originally planned. This post was only supposed to contain the intro, the baseline, and the log. I guess it’s to be expected that I would have strong feelings concerning such personal topics. Errmahgerrdd, look! Two posts in the same week! You know important stuff is going on in my life if I post more than one entry per month. /pseudosarcasm

  • Nightmaren

    This topic has strangely come up somewhat frequently with my friends in the past few days. This is the information age, we have so many distractions that we can instantly whip out that it takes exponentially more mental discipline to keep on track than was in the case in the past. Heck, I can remember when Facebook and Youtube did not exist!

    I do think it is healthy to be skeptical of any life-changing diagnosis, especially if it is such a subjective method of diagnosis which cannot be made with a laboratory test. I mean, think about it–“ADHD is a disorder that has a neurophysiological cause.” It means that in essence you have a defect in your brain that is impairing your everyday functioning. Sort of what life would be like with a defect in something like your hand. Would it not be prudent then for this diagnosis to be a last resort? I feel that because it is overdiagnosed, a lot of smart people may gravitate towards it and convince themselves into thinking they have it. The brain is a very powerful tool in both healing and damaging, as is demonstrated by placebos.

    The point of questioning, as a good scientist, is just to make sure you have the best picture that you have. Everything is fine if you understand all of the implications including the long term ones (a doctor is a student most of his or her life, and Aderall is a treatment, not a cure). It isn’t a question of belief in the disorder, it is the pursuit of the truth in a way that is least physically, mentally, and socially damaging to the patient.

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