Hello, welcome to the forums. Hope you can find whatever info you might need now or in the future here.
Just an FYI- your situation is entirely legal and doesn't implicate you in any sort of illicit activity, but nonetheless, most always make sure you don't post events in the first person. "SWIM
" (someone who isn't me) is a common way to ask questions while making it clear you were not the one involved in said activities. Just mentioning it casually now, as someone might be more harsh about it later, just simply by virtue of the fact you mentioned marijuana
. At any rate, I'll answer the questions you have based on SWIM's (someone who isn't me's) personal experience.
As a true ADD patient, SWIM feels he can speak well from experience. First, everyone says they have ADHD these days- SWIM truly believes he never had the "H" in his disorder. Not sure how you were diagnosed or what your symptoms were. SWIM could sit at work being stressed about the dozen items he had to take care of, but could only get about 1/4 of one project done before realizing another one needed doing, switching tasks, losing focus, going back to another, and ultimately ending up with no way of prioritizing or focusing his energy on completion of any given task. This led to extreme stress and anxiety- such bad anxiety, that SWIM first was treated for almost two years simply for severe general anxiety disorder. Much of that really was caused by his inability to handle the situations at hand to the best of his known intellectual limits.
SWIM's psychiatrist, who has treated him for a while now, gave SWIM some general guidelines for testing treatment out, and scheduled a review appointment in two weeks. He suggested SWIM start taking one 10mg IR in the morning the first three days, and jump to two 10mg IR tabs from there if everything was okay. If that was still fine, he wanted SWIM to try taking two 10mg (20mg) in the morning and two 10mg (20mg) in the afternoon. He gave SWIM just enough medication to make those jumps if things were going well.
Now, since you gave such a detailed history of your background, SWIM feels he should do the same. At the time he started treatment, he was your same age (24), and had been treated for general anxiety disorder with a few different benzos
over the previous two years. He had felt that anxiety as far back as grade school, but had never thought about it being unusual until he was old enough to gain prospective on his situation.
He was also identified very early in life as being extremely gifted with natural intellectual and communication skills. However, he struggled without explanation throughout his time in school, despite any efforts made to change things. He was labeled "lazy" or more often "arrogant and disinterested" by his teachers and parents. Essentially, everyone assumed he was a "know-it-all" and thus didn't feel the need to work. In reality he wasn't sure how to focus his attention, despite his desire to do so- but ultimately accepted these labels that others attached to him. When given an assignment as simple as taking notes in class, he was unable to focus and complete them for credit- but would somehow ace any test or other "challenge" that was put in front of him. Simply put, the easier the task, the shorter his attention span. He excelled in every competitive extracurricular he involved himself in, but would struggle to pass the corresponding classes.
Obviously looking back, it was stunningly easy to see the ADD in full force- but as you meet more people who you learn suffer from the condition, you'll realize that typically, at least a decade or so ago, few considered it was possible for a child to be both intellectual and weighed down by this disorder. Again, without knowing the full background of how and when you started to gain an understanding of what you were suffering from, some of this may or may not click.
Out of full disclosure, SWIM had also occasionally tried recreational drugs
in his very late teens and very early 20's. These experiences primarily involved cocaine
. SWIM never enjoyed marijuana or any other drugs, aside from the occasional opiate
. It made sense, as SWIM can remember things seemed to "slow down" enough for him to think them out were during those cocaine experiences, making him almost more lucid and normal than while sober. And again, SWIM had been treated for anxiety with a host of different drugs with fairly strong methods of action. So, unlike your situation, SWIM started his Adderall
knowing what it was like to have a substance alter his personality without inhibiting his ability to reason or communicate.
At any rate, now that you know the full background, lets head back to how SWIM's initial treatment went. The first day was such a shock compared to every other day he'd worked in his life, it felt like SWIM had just hit "fast-forward" on a remote that controlled his day. It flew by like nothing- there was no stress, SWIM was blowing through stacks of paperwork that would normally be scattered everywhere, and he was up and talking to every co-worker in the office with the extra time he had left. He even took the time to have personal dialogue with every customer who he spoke with on the phone that day, usually after the sale was already in hand. When work was over that first day, he then went home and spent three hours meticulously cleaning his apartment, rather than vegetating in front of the television, debating what to do that evening.
Ditto for the second day. Although that time, SWIM woke up eager to pop his medication, head to work, and make some commission- knowing what he now was capable of. The third day was more or less the same, but it seemed like SWIM was starting to find a balance between spastic bundle of energy and the previous state of unfocused chaos. He was starting to learn how to relax when there was the option- not just search for more work like a madman.
When SWIM jumped up to taking the second dose in the afternoon, the effects lasted longer into the early evening and didn't taper off during the end of the work day as they did with the single dose. However, he was still improving his ability to control the surge of energy he felt, the motivation he'd found, and had just about found the balance where co-workers wouldn't suspect he was "on something" like the first few days.
Long story short- it did take some getting used to for SWIM. Even as someone who had used recreational cocaine, the stimulant
impulse from the Adderall was much stronger. There was such a positive in the form of gained ability to function, but the ever-present need to be acutely aware of how far he took the urge to "keep going" when need not be.
Eventually, as will happen for anyone starting Adderall, you'll build enough of a tolerance to the initial dose where it needs to be upped, until you reach a point where it levels off. For most people, SWIM included for quite some time, that was twice his original dose- 40mg daily instead of 20mg. Adderall isn't the sort of drug
that you build more and more tolerance to over time. Once you reach the level dosage you need, it will likely stay there forever. The only exception seems to be that once someone has increased their dose for a significant period of time, there is no "tapering back" and getting the same effect. So, SWIM suggests everyone try to stay with the lowest dose possible for as long as possible- but, don't be afraid to find the dose at which you are getting the most benefit either. Most Psychiatrists will acknowledge their adult ADD/ADHD patients will ultimately end up at the maximum recommended dose of 60mg daily.
In conclusion, here is what SWIM will tell you-
If you truly have the disorder, as SWIM knows he does, being treated will improve your life beyond what you can even imagine. However, it IS a very odd thing to adjust to, even for those who have taken other substances. You're essentially coming out of a fog you've lived your entire life navigating through, and now you're going to be able to drive 100mph down the freeway, instead of crawling along, trying to squint with your headlights on, struggling to keep the road. The trick is to enjoy the ability to easily navigate, but to keep near the speed limit.
There are still days off work when SWIM wakes up with the intent of doing one load of laundry and one load of dishes, then going out with friends. Instead, he does the first two tasks, then realizes he should vaccuum, then starts picking up, realizes his DVD stand is full and the cases on the coffee
table have no place to go- and before you know it, ten hours later, he's back from IKEA building new furniture and rearranging the living room. This is what SWIM means when he says that you *must* be conscious and aware of your situation. Take time to ask yourself if what you are doing is something that really *SHOULD* be your priority, or if you've just started to let tiny unnecessary tasks fall into each other like dominoes, killing time you could be using for more fulfilling things.
So, I know this is probably the longest reply in the history of this forum, but I really hope that it all helps. Truly wish that everyone who started treatment had the same insight given to them going into it- certainly would have helped in the individual referenced in my story.
Best of luck, and if you have any questions you rather not post up here, feel free to PM me.