Archives for Medication
I read a lot about ADHD. And I don't limit my reading to the scientific studies, although that is certainly some of what I read.
I also read blogs like mine from people who experience ADHD first hand.
Additionally I read posts from clinicians and mental health care providers. Most of these people know what they're talking about. Good thing too, they're who many of us lean on for help.
But I also read things from people who like to pretend that they are presenting a well thought out and equally supported alternate theory or two about ADHD.
I think we can agree that addiction is not a good thing, yes? Good. So it nearly goes without saying that we do not want to invest in a treatment that increases the risk of addiction.
And one of the more, shall we say, “popular” groups of addictive substances is stimulants.
And as luck would have it, stimulants are what are used to treat ADHD.
You've heard that brain chemistry is a big part of ADHD. And you've heard that brain development also plays a role.
The role that development plays is most likely related to the chemistry. The parts of the brain that do not develop adequately are most likely those parts involved with the dopamine and norepinephrine functions. Those functions would be production and use of these chemicals.
The ADHD brain is developed well enough to have some production and some use of these two chemicals. And it does not take long for the affected brain to discover how to compensate for the missing functions.
How long has it been since we talked about medication? That long, eh? Well, that won't do. Lets have a chat, shall we?
Many of you may remember that I am not pro medication, but that I'm also not against it.
I happen to know that ADHD medication has been around for a long time. I know that the established medications have been tested and that the newer ones are being tested. Rigorously tested.
I know that there are some people for whom the medications may not work. I know that there are some people for whom the medications will cause side effects.
There are benefits to getting a diagnosis. For one thing, a diagnosis opens up your options for treatment.
Without a diagnosis, you might read books about ADHD and avail yourself of certain behavioural tricks and hacks.
Without that diagnosis, you also might read this blog and blogs written by others and then make use of suggestions found therein. Those would include ways you might keep your focus or means by which you might remember important things or even advice on apps, computer programs and hardware that will make your life less ... you know, scattered and scrambled.
Prescription stimulants are the things that help many of us focus.
Why do they help us focus? Well, it seems that they actually make the part of our brain that functions in a ... shall we say “scattered” way, work better. That means that the part of our brain that should focus our thoughts is unable to do that well, allowing our brains to wander from this to that. Stimulants seem to stimulate focus.
There also seems to be, in the ADHD brain, an increased speed of thought that isn't regulated. When our focus is more easily controlled, that rapid firing of our brains is either also controlled, or since we are better able to focus, not relevant. The speed of our thinking doesn't matter.
I seem to have a problem that would almost be the opposite of ADHD, except, it's not. My ADHD mind is usually a whirl of thoughts and ideas. It's a rare occasion when I am unable to come up with an idea for … well, for anything.
In fact, standard operating procedure for me is to have too many ideas and to little patience on the part of whoever is listening to my ideas. That's life in the fast lane for this brain … most of the time.
On Wednesday I began a discussion on ADHD stimulant medication delivery systems. Not the nice man from the drug store who drives around town, but rather the way in which the stimulant is delivered to your system.
In that post, I discussed the old method of trying to remember to take multiple small doses through out the day. It worked, when you succeeded.
Today and Friday I'll be discussing systems used to deliver ADHD stimulant medications. Did you know that you and your health care practitioner have a choice in how your medication is delivered?
To the best of my knowledge, there are three delivery systems for ADHD stimulant medications. They range from “chancy at best,” to “pretty damned good.”
And in between those two extremes, they make a stop off at “should work … most of the time.”
Diagnosed or not, many of us self-medicate. And we often do it with things that can be dangerous.
Marijuana comes to mind quickly whenever I talk about self-medication. But alcohol is also a common one, and of course the heavier drugs that are available don't get left out.
And since stimulation is the thing that most of us find to be useful in combating ADHD symptoms, anything that provides that reaction will do. So dangerous behaviors or risk taking activities are big things.