Dr. Umesh Jain is now exclusively responsible for TotallyADD.com and its content

Re: Pretty sure I have ADHD, Scared to Take Meds

Re: Pretty sure I have ADHD, Scared to Take Meds2010-12-01T19:52:56+00:00

The Forums Forums I Just Found Out! I Suspect I Am Pretty sure I have ADHD, Scared to Take Meds Re: Pretty sure I have ADHD, Scared to Take Meds


Patte Rosebank
Post count: 1517

Okay, just breathe. You’re among friends, and I know that there’s at least one other person here who’s also studying nursing, and a few who actually are nurses. So they know what you’re going through. And I remember my own difficulties at university—long before I ever suspected I had ADHD.

I know from experience that what’s really overwhelming is the feeling that you’re swamped and there’s nothing you can do about it.

But there’s actually plenty that you can do about it!

The most important thing is for you to get a proper diagnosis, from a psychologist or psychiatrist. ADHD shares many symptoms with other mental and physical conditions. A proper diagnosis will determine if your difficulties are in fact due to ADHD, or if there’s something else causing them.

Post-secondary education is a radical change in the educational structure that we’re used to from elementary and high school. Everyone has some trouble adjusting to it, but those of us with ADHD or another mental condition find it especially difficult. If you’re feeling so overwhelmed that you cannot do your studies, then you should immediately talk with the Student Services Department at your university/college. They will have plenty of experience with helping students who have ADHD, and will know what kind of supports you’ll need. Also, they should have a psychologist on-call, who will be able to properly assess and counsel you.

Treating ADHD properly usually involves a combination of pharmaceutical and cognitive behavioural therapies. The meds correct the chemical imbalance in your brain, making it easier for you to adopt the necessary structures and behavioural adjustments, so you can function properly. Medications are not the be-all and end-all, but, in most cases, they are a necessary support. Like training wheels, when you’re learning to ride a bike. Some people eventually find that the behavioural changes have been so successful that they no longer need to take meds. But, at the start, they really do help.

As for being “terrified” to take meds, this is understandable if you had a bad reaction to previous medications you took for a similar condition. However, it is preventing you from rationally considering all of your options. If you were diagnosed with Diabetes, would you refuse to take Metformin or insulin, because you were scared to take meds? Of course not!

ADHD and other mental conditions are no different. If you’re properly diagnosed and your doctor/specialist believes that medication will help you, you should at least consider it. Learn the facts about the potential benefits and possible side effects of each drug, but learn them from LEGITIMATE medical websites, and discuss them with your doctor. There is so much dangerous mis-information out there, most of it from people who are just trying to sell you their “alternative” treatments. And (shockingly) from doctors who have failed to update their skills and information, so are still working with information that was discredited some time ago—notably, that “ADHD is a children’s condition, that people outgrow, so it’s impossible for an adult to have it.” So many of us have had to educate our doctors, but, in so doing, we’ve educated ourselves.

The trouble with medications for mental conditions is that they are never one-size-fits-all, so finding the right one(s) and dose(s) requires a trial-and-error process, which can be frustrating and slow. If one drug doesn’t work for you, or you find that its side effects outweigh any benefits, then you and your doctor must work together to try to find one that does work for you, with as few side effects as possible.

There are other things which some of us have found to be somewhat helpful too. These include taking Omega 3-6-9 capsules and using a full-spectrum therapeutic light box. And, of course, exercise and adequate deep sleep—both of which can be hard to get when you’re struggling with a full courseload. But even 20 minutes of walking briskly can help to clear your mind, so you can focus better.

So, first, go and talk to Student Services. Then, get a proper diagnosis.

Good luck!