Hey folks, I’m hoping someone here can help explain a rather peculiar phenomenon I seem to be experiencing—but am not having much success finding any (not anecdotal or scientifically dubious) answers to: In short, I think I might be highly resistant to the principal effects of psychoactive medications. But I don’t know why or how, and subsequently what (if anything) I can do about it.

For those who want the sordid details here they are: I’m a 27 year old, white male with ADHD (PI) and comorbid anxiety (which itself is something of a peculiar mix between SA and GAD). About decade ago I, along with my doctors, began looking into medications to alleviate these conditions. The initial target was the anxiety (and the depression it tended to evoke), and so I began trying various antidepressants. Since then, I’ve gone through the spectrum of antidepressants: tricyclics, SSRIs, SNRIs, NaSSAs—you name it. Never did I experience any relief, and I ultimately discontinued my pursuit of finding relief through antidepressants.

I thought that was somewhat strange at the time, but I would eventually come across Irving Kirsch’s infamous research that seemed to show little if any clinical efficacy to antidepressants beyond that of placebos. So I just brushed off my condition as being entirely consistent with Kirsch’s findings. However, my experience (or lack thereof) with psychiatric medications did not stop with antidepressants.

Eventually, my doctors went after my ADHD. My experience with these medications was eerily similar. Again, I went through every drug on the shelf—Strattera, amphetamine, d-amphetamine, methylphenidate, d-methylphenidate, even Desoxyn (methamphetamine). But none of the medications imparted any notable benefit. Most recently, I’ve tried combating my anxiety with benzodiazepines—something I was reluctant to do given their propensity to cause dependency, despite their effectiveness. Incredibly, I have thus far been unresponsive to them. One day, for example, in an attempt to elicit some effect from Ativan, I took 6mg over the course of the same day; but contrary to Wikipedia’s description that the drug “possesses all six intrinsic benzodiazepine effects” (amnesic, anticonvulsant, antiemetic, anxiolytic, sedative, and muscle relaxant), I experienced no such effects whatsoever: My memory was clear, I was never tired, and my anxiety did not abate. Moreover, I have never experienced the dreaded benzodiazepine withdrawal upon ceasing use.

So, I’m at a loss. I can’t figure out what the deal is. The explanation is almost certainly not mundane. I’ve tried various dosages with all the aforementioned medications. Also, I have never used an illicit or illegal substance, I rarely drink, and I’ve never smoked—so some kind of resistance or tolerance built up as a consequence of substance abuse is out of the question. I’m open to any explanations that can be proffered; as I’d like to understand what the problem is, if I can fix it, and perhaps finally get some relief from my ADHD and anxiety.