I am an older college student and have extreme trouble concentrating, staying focused. Its difficult for me to retain information and would like help.
If you think you have symptoms of ADD or ADHD then you could make an appt with a psychiatrist for an evaluation. There is no guarantee that you will be prescribed Adderall unless the psychiatrist feels this is the best option to control your symptoms or if you even need meds at all.
Just so you know a little about me and understand a little about my personal perspective: I am a nearly-49-year-old white male who has been undergoing treatment for depression and heavy-duty anxiety. Along with the meds I take for these illnesses (Cymbalta and the Clonazepam) I am seeing a psychologist at least twice a month.
About a month ago, I had told my psychologist about being being transferred from one department at work to another department. In the new department, I was having problems I didn't have in the previous department. In the new department, one of the important metrics on how well we do our job is--just to simplify the post and get to the point of it quicker--how many pieces of work we produced every hour (WAY oversimplified, but good enough for now).
Coming from a department where that sort of measure wasn't AS IMPORTANT to a department where it is a HUGE deal, I found myself having trouble getting used to this new aspect of my job, and--to her credit--my supervisor gave me time to get used to my "new world" and--to MY credit--I have improved my performance in most all the areas where I needed to improve.
Though my supervisor and I could see the improvements, we both also saw that I had still not reached the minimum requirement in a few areas, though I really tried quite diligently to improve my performance.
My supervisor even asked me why I couldn't seem to do better, and I told her outright, "I don't know!". Needless to say, my supervisor didn't think that was a good answer, but I told her that I was as frustrated as she was (probably even MORE SO) that I couldn't seem to get beyond a certain point, and that I couldn't tell her why I was "stuck" at below-par performance.
When I saw my psychologist, I told her about the difficulty I had in concentrating on the work at hand, and that--working in an office situation where we each have cubicles that had very few walls between them--I found myself easily distracted. Quite often I also felt like I had so much information swirling around in my head that I feared that I might forget something that NEEDED to be done, or--worse--I might not handle the situation properly at all. I felt so overwhelmed, that--in order to relieve that awful feeling, I suppose--I found myself disinterested, and even bored.
The next psychologist appointment I had, I related these things to her, and she told me that it seemed as though, on top of the depression and the anxiety, I also suffered from Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)... there's no "H" in this disorder (for me) because I don't experience Hyperactivity.
My psychologist said that she was going to speak with a psychiatrist colleague of hers who ONLY deals in medications (as you may already know, psychologists--at least in the state where I live--cannot write prescriptions), and she told him I would be making an appointment with him. I made the appointment, saw the psychiatrist, and he and I spoke for an hour, and basically asked me a bunch of other questions and he said that he agreed with my psychologist that I had ADD (I've probably had it since I was a kid, but--growing up in poverty--I never had a chance to get examined (and treated) earlier.
I take three 20 mg tablets (each tablet works for about 4 hours) per day (they are the immediate release, not the XR--Extended Release--and my psychiatrist told me to be sure to not take my last pill of the day any later than about 6 hours before bedtime. Being an amphetamine, Adderall has to have time to "get out of your system", so you can sleep.
I'm sure you know this, but everyone reacts differently to Adderall, but I have been taking Adderall for over a month now, and the only side-effects I have noticed (and which, I hear are very common) are dry mouth (for which I just drink more water during the day), as well as a pretty big decrease in my appetite. For me, it just feels like I am concentrating so intently on the work at hand, that I don't think about eating, and really, as odd as it sounds, there are days when I am getting ready for bed, and I remember I haven't eaten all day! I drink a lot of fluids during the day, so maybe this fact contributes to the lack of hunger. I've lost about 15 pounds so far, but--believe me--I'm not worried about it. I have to admit that I like the fact that I am not thinking so much about food! I take multi-vitamins, sublingual B-12, iron (I know that men don't usually have to take iron supplements, but--in my last CBC--my doctor noticed that I was "a bit anemic", so I take 18 mg of chelated iron every day), and krill oil supplements, and I feel physically fine.
Sorry about writing the story of my life... well, the story of the past month of my life, but--for me--the bottom line is that the Adderall is really working wonders for my concentration and my ability to do my job.
You may know this already, but I always feel it important to remind anyone who thinks that Adderall might help them if they have ADD or ADHD, the medication itself is only PART of the treatment picture... you NEED counseling whether it's a doctor per se, or a trained, licensed counselor, too!
Oh yeah, one more thing about Adderall, unlike the Cymbalta and the Clonazepam I take, where my doctor can write refills, because Adderall is a Schedule 2 amphetamine (which means that there are VERY FEW LEGAL reasons a doctor is allowed to write a prescription for it... just for comparison's sake, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) considers Schedule 1 drugs ALMOST ALWAYS ILLEGAL TO PRESCRIBE FOR ANY REASON (an example of a Schedule 1 drug is heroin).
Schedule 2 drugs are so VERY closely monitored by the DEA, that my psychiatrist has to write a PAPER prescription for me EVERY SINGLE TIME I NEED A REFILL. The script he writes must always have written on it the reason I am taking it! It's the only medication I take (or have ever taken) where that is the case.
With all this hullabaloo over Adderall, I thought it was going to make me feel "high", but, truly, all it does for me is to allow me to be better focused and less distracted (by people, things AND hunger). Other than that, I feel no differently... except for the fact that being able to better do my work makes for a lot less stress at work!
Sorry for the novella... I just was anxious to share my experience with Adderall. I know that it's mostly prescribed for people MUCH younger than me, but I know now that I had ADD when I WAS a kid, and it just took me about 40 years to finally get diagnosed and treated for it!
If there's anyone out there who sees in themselves the symptoms listed for ADD or ADHD, talk to your family doctor or a professional counselor; it may not be Adderall you need, but I hope you don't wait as long as I did to get help!
My best to you all!
- Adderall Information for Consumers
- Adderall Information for Healthcare Professionals (includes dosage details)
- Side Effects of Adderall (detailed)
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