Archives for Medication
I just had a dental appointment. Apparently I should be receiving a medal for that. And yet, it was no big deal. I made the appointment, I put it in my calendar, my phone reminded me, my dentist's office reminded me, I got there with nearly four minutes to spare. It was all very laid back, very calm and uneventful. So why is it that people with ADHD have such poor oral health? In fact who says that people with ADHD have poor oral health?
I'm in a little bit of a bind. My oral health (teeth and gums), isn't the best, they aren't in the best of shape. A quick search online gives that situation the patina of truth and commonality for people with ADHD. And I currently have an issue with a tooth that is rather important to me. I'm not vain, well not terribly vain, but this tooth is part of my smile. And my smile is part of my stage presence. Lets just say the loss of this tooth could possibly jeopardize my stage work. ... okay, there's a fair bit of vanity involved also. I'm human. Now the thing is, people with ADHD have oral health problems. Speaking personally, I don't have an aversion to brushing my teeth, but if I head to the sink to do that, there's a good chance that I'll be sidetracked, distracted. And the risk grows exponentially with any increase in distance from where I am to that sink when I get the idea to go brush my teeth.
The wardrobe led to Narnia. And the rabbit hole led to Wonderland. And books led me into worlds that completely engrossed me. Now that's pretty normal for a reader, especially one whose appetite for the written word was as huge as mine. And since I often would go wandering in my mind into stories of my own creation, I never thought anything was unusual about the times I would suddenly realize that some period of time had passed and I had fallen behind again. But it wasn't always daydreaming or reading that caused the time loss. In fact, I can't really say even now with six years of life with a diagnosis behind me what it is that causes that. There are days when I start out contemplating my agenda and the next thing I know
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.