The term ADHD refers to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. ADHD is “a chronic condition that includes attention difficulty, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness”. Most people have heard of ADHD and many are diagnosed every year. For those who may not understand what ADHD is, it’s common to not know what it is like having it.
I was diagnosed with ADHD about ten to fifteen years ago as an adult. Before I was diagnosed, I always struggled with being able to simply pay attention and focus on things. I’d be in the cloud all the time and not too motivated either to do a whole lot. ADHD is considered controversial as a diagnosis because many people don’t believe it. They say that ADHD isn’t a disease or condition but an attitude. I don’t want to go into the controversy, but I do feel it is a medical diagnosis and it is something that can be treated with cognitive behavior therapy and/or medication.
Before I was diagnosed with ADHD, I was fairly successful with my work but found I could not look at a screen for very long. In my profession, you have to look at a screen for long periods of time, sometimes ten to twelve hours a day. I had trouble focusing for long periods of time and if I was not distracted by someone else, I would distract myself. I would get up and walk around for a while, go on Facebook, etc. Just having a voice in the back of my head saying, you want to do this, let’s do this, this is getting boring, etc.
There is a constant feeling in the back of your head saying what you are doing is boring and you need to do something else for just about everything and instantly losing interest in what you are doing. I went to the doctor and my doctor agreed that I could try something. I started Adderall and used the medication for a few months. I found that the medication helped but II didn’t care for it because it took me on a mood roller coaster.
The up effect was too drastic, and it would drop me down faster. I moved to Adderall XR which is an extended-release version which was a little better but not great. Eventually, I started taking Vyvanse and I’ve taken it for five or six years now. When you are diagnosed with ADHD and you start medication, you will find that the process is life-changing. It was for me anyway. I don’t think I would be where I am today without the help of medication.
With Vyvanse, like other medication, it changes the brain chemistry. It gives you more dopamine and serotonin, allowing you to be more interested in more things. You keep your same personality, but you will find that your interest is peaked, and you will be able to focus more. I can now sit down and do normal work. I don’t have to walk around all the time or feel that voice in the back of my head saying to do something else. I am more disciplined and dedicated to my work by silencing the voice in the back of my head.
ADHD and the medical community have been controversial. Some people think the condition is made up and was done so to benefit the pharmaceutical industry. Mental health is sort of a gray area. One big thing that people struggle with when considering if they have ADHD or if their children are affected, they think they should just ‘walk it off’ or get better. If you have ADHD yourself, then telling someone to pay attention is like telling someone with a broken leg to walk it off. This is not possible.
When you have ADHD and you are thinking about using medication or going through CBT. First, you can try medication. This is an immediate option but will be a temporary solution. It does not fix the root cause of ADHD. There is no fix for this. I will admit that I will probably use ADHD medication for the rest of my life to be my full self. There are some people who refuse to use medication. They opt for CBT or cognitive behavior therapy but, in my opinion, there’s no real cure.
With CBT, it is essentially teaching you skills and making you think differently about your ADHD and how your brain functions. It will teach you things that trigger ADHD behavior. This therapy type helps you to realize a situation you are in and change your behavior to avoid the effects of the condition.
Take for example a situation where you are sitting in front of a computer screen and you want to go to Facebook every five minutes. CBT is about noticing that you want to go to the social media site then take action to keep your brain busy and avoid the behavior. This could be using a fidget spinner to focus your brain on your work instead of doing something else.
I sometimes am conflicted with taking medication as has helped me so much, but at the same time, I don’t really want to take it. In my opinion, it should be used sparingly. CBT should be tried first with ADHD and a low dose of medication used to find what works for you.
I recommend Vyvanse, but all brains are different, so it is important to find what works for you.