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Increased productivity with lack of medication

Increased productivity with lack of medication2014-09-08T14:20:58+00:00

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    Post count: 15

    The prospect of a new school year seemed especially daunting after I decided to stop taking my medication. I was led to the conclusion that the meds were more harmful than good as it exaggerated my already overwhelming emotions and altered my already ever-altering sleep pattern. As an ADDer, I was told over and over again that “this pill will make you more productive” and I believed it.

    My second week into school, I’ve only missed two days, which says a lot for my attendance. With medication, I usually got to school two days every two weeks, as I’d be up all night hyperfocusing on my emotions; going to bed the wee hours of the morning. Although my “burnout” time has greatly shortened off my medication, I work a lot faster as, wait for it, my executive functioning has increased as, my emotions come in fragments, rather than concrete focus. I now can get all my work done for the day in just a few hours rather than less than half of what needed to be done in a whole 6 hour school day.

    The sense of accomplishment that comes with going to school at 9 and coming home at 11:30 sparks the unbreakable determination that ADD is known for, pushing me to continue this habit of going to school, which seemed impossible before. Being in an alternative school geared towards juvenile delinquents and highschool drop outs, it is not questioned if one leaves to suddenly go for a walk, which is about the only thing needed to maintain focus on schoolwork from an ADD perspective. I can leave for half an hour and get my work done plenty earlier than my peers, which is a baffling accomplishment.

    The decision to stop taking my medication has been the godsend everyone else seems to think taking it in the first place is. The possibility of graduating has never seemed more tangible, when it used to be this tragically impossible necessity that was sure to bring my impending doom. All that needs be is the desire to do so.


    Post count: 1096

    You know, you are a very sensible and observant person and I always enjoy your posts – they are well written and well thought through.

    I know what you mean. I take meds and they help me focus to a point. Recently I had to go without them and was a bit scared about how I’d cope. I coped fine.

    In fact not only did I cope fine, I enjoyed getting my enquiring mind back and the sense of energy. My brain had its shackles removed – literally.

    However, I am back to my old routine now (I had been away) and find I need the meds again to keep me emotionally controlled.

    It sounds to me as if you might be on the wrong meds and maybe you need to take them earlier in the day to allow you to sleep. I found that Ritalin helped me sleep but Dexamphetamine keeps me awake. It sounds like you have learned  to deal with your symptoms. A walk is a great thing to do.

    And you’re absolutely right – you just need that desire to do well. At your age I had that desire – it never dawned on me that I couldn’t do OK even when I failed my exams. I just did things again or by an alternative route. I did OK in the end and I am glad. It was worth the struggle because I have a job that’s right for me and we have to earn a crust for a long time before we retire so go for it! 🙂

    I know that the worst thing anyone can say to us  is “you can do it if you put your mind to it” but actually it’s true. I can take it from “one of us” but not from a linear who doesn’t understand.

    Just work out what works for you personally and go for it.

    One thing I would say, is don’t tell your doctor that you’re not taking your meds – at least not until you’re absolutely sure. Give it some time. The reason I say that is it’s harder to start again with a prescription than it is to maintain it. Also, I find that sometimes I needs my meds and other times I don’t. A little stockpile gives me the freedom to choose for myself.



    Patte Rosebank
    Post count: 1517

    @robynshnobyn, the right situation, and the right people, make such a big difference! So does a fresh start, and a shorter school day!

    You’re really lucky to be in a school that accepts people’s different ways of learning, instead of trying to cram them into the assembly-line system that’s most convenient for the school. How sad that people have to be officially labelled a “misfit” to get into that kind of school.

    I love that you’re so observant and analytical.

    I’d suggest continuing to be mindful of how you feel, and how you’re functioning. Ask your teachers to keep an eye out for changes, since we’re not the best observers of ourselves.

    If, as you get into routine of the school year, you (or your teachers) notice that you’re struggling, you may need to consider taking meds again. If this happens, please don’t think of it as a “failure” or a “bad thing”. Just think of it as “glasses for your brain”.

    Here’s to a great year for you!


    Post count: 7

    I’m 70 and use medication. The medication is a short term tool (about 1/2 a day). If the tool isn’t working, you have the wrong tool. If you can’t trust your doctor to work with you, you’ve got the wrong doctor. You are in charge of your health. The doctor is only an advisor – like all professionals. My 8 year old grandson decided to resume taking his 5 mg Focalin booster in the afternoon. Remarkable for an 8 year old. If he wants to stop, I’ll support him.

    The kid is going to be “different” for his entire life. What kind of “different” is his choice.

    The problem with ADHD is awareness. If you are not aware, you can’t fix or improve on the situation. Keep on fiddling with your ADHD. For myself, I found that the hyper-focus aspect was an incredible asset in my professional life.

    Also, I used to take long walks during the workday. I referred to them as a “damage containment activity” – not installing errors into our products. Exercise alters your brain chemistry, big time. My research indicates that ADHD is caused by an excessive Dopamine re-uptake in the Caudate Nucleus of the  brain. Also, we have identified the ADHD trait in 6 of our generations (I’m in the 4th). I’m working with all my grandchildren to help them exploit their unique brain wiring.

    The grandchildren have IEP’s (funded special ed). It’s hard to convince the professional teachers that “more time on tests” is a punishment and not an accommodation 🙂 If you are having trouble with a subject, try tutoring somebody else that has the same difficulty. It worked for me when I was in school.


    Post count: 1

    Thanks for the very informative post! Being productive is good. However,  sometimes it’s pretty good to relax and to find your bliss. For me bliss isn’t something you aim to achieve, or that state you reach when you have more money, when you reach your goal or get a bigger house, faster car etc. Bliss is actually a state of mind. It could be free, or quite cheap to do so. 🙂


    Rick Green – Founder of TotallyADD
    Post count: 473

    Some awesome posts here.  I do get that everyone’s experience is different.  But I also know that medication alone doesn’t make real change happen.  Today I took my tablet, first thing, but then as I sat down to work on my upcoming one-man comedy show I was stuck.  I have 4 more weeks to finish the show rehearse it, and create all the audio-visual stuff to go with it.  I decided to organize myself, finalize the order of the show this week, fine tune the dialogue… okay, the monologue… next week, then a week doing the audio and video stuff, and the final week would be rehearsal.

    Sensible and organized.

    And two hours went by with me getting almost nothing done.

    Then I realized something I already know but keep forgetting.  I have ADHD, and trying to create in a linear, logical, scheduled, timed out manner DOES NOT WORK!  So I just started doing a bit of one section, then dashed off a whole bunch of ideas for another section, then had a great one-liner for another section, which turned into a whole lot of script, then I started a list of clips I’d like to include… I was all over the place, and in a few hours have gotten a ton done.

    The breakthrough wasn’t the medication.  But now it’s mid-afternoon and rather than burned out, I still have some energy and I’m still going.  The productivity breakthrough came because I switched from trying to do things the way most people would, and did them the way that works for me.

    What kills me though is that I completely forget how I work and what makes me productive… and instead I try and plan, organize, structure, and so on, because it seems sensible and logical.  But it kills my creativity and spontaneity.

    Okay, back to work, Rick.



    Post count: 18

    You’re right, Rick – I’ve noticed that when I work non-linearly way, I get things done.  Duh, why do I keep forgetting this!?!  Ugh!

    Time for me to stop fixating on trying to get that one darn thing off my To Do list (which keeps me “stuck” and unproductive), and start looking at it as a whole.  Gonna multi-task MY way – my ADD/ADHD way!  🙂


    Post count: 60

    Thanks Rick,

    What you described totally makes sense. Whenever I approach another daunting night school project, this is how I need to go about tackling it too! Thanks for putting it into words 😉


    Post count: 906

    The funny thing is, we do forget, don’t we? Maybe it’s the years of being told that we need to do it this way, or that way, constantly being corrected whenever we try to do our way. Or maybe it’s just that we look at other people and think they are so much more productive, more efficient, more organized and we think that by doing what they do, we will get there too.

    One of my biggest “a-ha!” moments was when I realized one day that the other people at work were not actually as organized and productive and on the ball as they seemed to be. They cut corners, covered up their mistakes, pawned their work off on other employees… and just did a sloppy job in a lot of cases. Just because they are able to plan their day and stay on task a little better doesn’t necessarily mean they are doing a better job.

    And just because I look like a chicken with its head cut off, make everything up as I go along, get side tracked several times a day, and end up having to stay an hour late to finish up all the things I forgot to do, it doesn’t mean I am doing a worse job. At least I stay late to finish, instead of just dropping everything and walking out, leaving my mess for others to clean up… like *some* people do. 🙄

    I have been getting “stuck” again lately, letting that one thing – or one of the one hundred things- on my to-do list hold me back. So I needed another reminder.

    And now I need to go and clean the bathroom so that I can get that pot in the kitchen sink washed (the one that’s been there longer than I care to admit). Or maybe I’ll shovel the snow so that I can check my credit card bill…

    Or maybe I’ll just take a nap.

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