Choosing The Best Medication For Adult Adhd
Oren W. Mason
Some simple questions have very complex answers. I am often asked, What is the very best medicine for ADHD?
The right answer might be The one that works, but that is a bit glib. The best answer Ive found is a redirection: I dont know which regimen is best for you, but I know how to help you find it.
Medication selection is a process
In 2020, medication selection for ADHD is still an imperfect process that it is largely based on trial and error. It usually takes three to six months with monthly visits to the prescribing professional. It is understood that there will be errors in a trial-and-error process. We purposefully give medications at doses that are too low, then too high, just to be sure that we are dosing at the sweet spot.
It is often said that the best medications have an 80 percent efficacy rate, which is actually quite high in the larger world of prescription medication efficacy testing. But we cannot know ahead of time if you are in the improved 80 percent or the disappointed 20 percent until we do a trial.
The marketplace is getting more complicated all the time, but most of the many options available are simply different preparations of methylphenidate, amphetamine, or a nonstimulant. Initial trials become a little less confusing if you realize that the first job is to find whether a particular drug reduces ADHD symptoms. Only then can you proceed to find the best form of that medication.
Anxiety Can Be A Side Effect Of Taking Adderall
The ADAA notes that research shows that stimulant drugs like Adderall and non-stimulant medications can help people with ADHD improve their ability to concentrate, pay attention, and control their impulsiveness.
However, because medications affect people differently, it is possible that a person taking Adderall can feel increased anxiety when they take the drug to treat their ADHD symptoms. If a person feels more anxiety, this could increase their forgetfulness or hurt their ability to focus. It could also impair their willingness to try new things, as clinical psychologist Ari Tuckman tells PsychCentral.
People who are anxious are less likely to try new things for fear of them not working outthis includes new strategies to help them get on top of their ADHD, Tuckman said.
As WebMD explains, ADHD drugs speed up the brain and alter how its nerve cells send messages to each other. As a result, mood disturbances can happen, including anxiety. This is especially the case if a person takes Adderall in high doses.
This means some Adderall users may feel more stress or fatigue or worry about things more. People who are anxious also feel uptight or on edge and have trouble falling or staying asleep. Other symptoms of anxiety include irritability, muscle tension, and struggling to control feelings of worry.
Can Depression Cause Adhd
While there is some evidence that suggests that ADHD may contribute to depression, research has not established that depression can cause ADHD. In order to have ADHD, at least some of a persons symptoms must begin before age 12, even if they are not diagnosed until adulthood. On the other hand, depression can develop at any point in time, though a major depressive episode is most common among adolescents ages 12 to 17.
The fact that ADHD usually develops before depression suggests that depression most likely does not cause ADHD. However, more research on the topic is needed to draw any further conclusions.
Also Check: How Do You Know If You Have Anxiety
Nature Of The Impairment
ADHD was considered for many years to be a disorder limited to childhood due to diminishing externalizing behaviors. However, as longitudinal studies have demonstrated, the symptoms remain clinically significant for the majority of ADHD patients well into adulthood . Recent evidence suggests that almost sixty-six percent of individuals diagnosed as children with ADHD, report at least one ADHD symptom causing clinically significant impairment during adulthood .
Other Adhd Symptoms That Exacerbate Anxiety
Inherent uncertainty about how an event or a task will play out is at the core of anxiety. Understanding consistent inconsistency, a common element of life with ADHD, is key to understanding the persistent anxiety of living with ADHD. Consistent inconsistency describes the distrust and uncertainty in yourself that builds up after years of experiencing ADHD symptoms such as inattention, overwhelm, memory lapses, and more. Consistent inconsistency is knowing, for example, that a task needs to be accomplished, but doubting the ability to get it done.
ADHD as a Performance Problem
Individuals with ADHD know what they need to do, but they have problems with implementation a tension that begets anxiety. This is a big part of what makes ADHD maddening, particularly in adulthood. Barriers to implementation include the following:
Read Also: Does Anxiety Cause Night Sweats
Relationship Between Adhd And Anxiety
The link between ADHD and anxiety
If youve been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder , you may also have another mental health disorder. Sometimes symptoms of other conditions can be masked by the symptoms of ADHD. Its estimated that over 60 percent of people with ADHD have a comorbid, or coexisting, condition.
Anxiety is one condition that is often seen in people with ADHD. About 50 percent of adults and up to 30 percent of children with ADHD also have an anxiety disorder. Keep reading to learn more about the connection between these two conditions.
Q My Son Is Eight Years Old And In Second Grade He Was Diagnosed With Adhd During 1st Grade He Has Been On Just About Every Stimulant Except For The Patch The Best Fit For Him Has Been Vyvanse With A Ritalin Booster In The Morning And After School This Medicine Works Great For His Adhd Symptoms But We Feel That He Has Become More Anxious While Taking This Medicine Especially Nervous About Insects Without The Medication He Does Not Appear Anxious But His Behavior Is Challenging For Everyone And It Has Affected Him Sociallyis It Possible To Add A Drug To The Vyvanse To Help With His Anxiety I Know That There Are Nonstimulants That May Not Increase His Anxiety But I’m Afraid That They Won’t Help As Much With His Adhd Symptoms
It is actually very common for kids with ADHD to have problems with anxiety. Sometimes this is because kids feel anxious as a result of their ADHD symptoms they cant attend to things in class so theyre always missing information and getting into trouble, which makes them feel bad. But when kids get effective treatment for ADHD, so that theyre able to focus and pay attention and actually hear reassurance from the adults in their life, this kind of anxiety can actually fall away.
For some children, who have both an anxiety disorder and ADHD, the childs anxiety doesnt leave when the ADHD symptoms get better. In a situation like this I think it is important to work with a physician who is trained and comfortable treating kids who have the combination of ADHD and an anxiety disorder. In most cases, the best-trained specialist for this type of work is a child psychiatrist. While primary care pediatricians often have tremendous experience in treating ADHD, the residency training program in pediatrics does not fully prepare a doctor to treat severe anxiety with the combination of cognitive behavioral therapy and psychopharmacology that is considered the most efective treatment.
Also Check: Can Low Blood Sugar Cause Anxiety
Can You Have Adhd And Depression At The Same Time
Yes, it is possible to have both ADHD and depression at the same time. In fact, one survey found that 18.6% of adults with ADHD also had major depressive disorder, a type of depression that involves feeling sad almost every day for at least 2 weeks. Around 12.8% of adults with ADHD in the survey also had dysthymic disorder, which is a milder but more chronic form of depression that lasts at least 2 years and is now referred to as persistent depressive disorder. Depression can often make ADHD symptoms worse.
Recognizing whether or not a person with ADHD also has depression can be difficult, because some of the symptoms of ADHD and depression overlap. People with both conditions can experience difficulty with concentration and focus. However, people with ADHD can typically focus on things that they find interesting, like a television show or video games, while people with depression may find it hard to focus on most things. Both conditions can also cause people to appear restless and agitated. But people with depression may seem restless because they feel anxious, while people with ADHD tend to be so restless that they cant stop themselves from moving around, climbing, fidgeting, and sitting still.
In some cases, a person taking medication for ADHD may show signs of depression, like sad mood, irritability, and a flat affect or facial expressions. These medication side effects can sometimes be confused for depression.
What Quick Tips Can Be Offered To Help Adults With Adhd Inattentive Type Cope With The Day
The following are tips for adults with ADHD, inattentive type, for self-regulating , and regaining control over many daily tasks:
To help cope with distractions:
- Request a quiet or private work area move to an unused conference space or other area where there are few distractions or noise.
- Wear earphones with soft music to cover up office noise.
- Redirect phone calls to voice mail and return phone calls at set times throughout the day.
To help stay organized:
- Set aside the first 10 to 20 minutes of your day to organize your tasks for the day.
- Work on and complete one task at a time before moving on to the next one.
- Keep a to-do list in a notebook or on your phone.
- Put appointments in your phone and set up alarm reminders before the event.
- Use daily planners or online task organizers to help keep track of tasks and events.
- Use sticky pads to write important notes and place them in appropriate areas where they will be seen.
- If a filing system is needed, use labels or color-coded folders or tabs.
- Set up online automatic payment of bills so you dont forget to pay them.
To prevent losing or misplacing important items:
- Identify specific areas to place specific items and get into the routine of only placing items in these designated spots.
To help stay focused:
Parent Training And Education Programmes
If your child has ADHD, specially tailored parent training and education programmes can help you learn specific ways of talking to your child, and playing and working with them to improve their attention and behaviour.
You may also be offered parent training before your child is formally diagnosed with ADHD.
These programmes are usually arranged in groups of around 10 to 12 parents. A programme usually consists of 10 to 16 meetings, lasting up to 2 hours each.
Being offered a parent training and education programme does not mean you have been a bad parent it aims to teach parents and carers about behaviour management, while increasing confidence in your ability to help your child and improve your relationship.
Taking Adderall For Adhd When You Have Anxiety
Adderall is a popular medication doctors prescribe to treat people with ADHD and narcolepsy. The stimulant, a combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine, is taken to elevate or enhance ones mood. The drugs chemical makeup is akin to methamphetamine and MDMA, more commonly known as ecstasy.
When people with ADHD take Adderall in prescribed therapeutic doses, they do so to improve their attention span and ability to concentrate for prolonged periods. People with narcolepsy take it to help them stay awake. Adderall doses can range between 5 mg and 30 mg and be taken once or twice a day.
Because of these effects, Adderall has attracted recreational users, particularly those in high school or college. They abuse the drug to give them more staying power to boost their sports or academic performances.
These reasons are why some refer to the addictive, habit-forming medication as a smart drug or study drug. Adderall also has appealed to people with eating disorders, who use it to curb their appetites.
Side effects of Adderall include elevated blood pressure, headache, appetite loss, weight loss, stomach pain, nervousness, agitation, dry mouth, diarrhea, nausea, and insomnia, among others.
Read Also: Does Exercise Help Anxiety And Panic Attacks
Treatment For Women With Adhd
Women face an additional challenge when treating their ADHD. Hormones! The natural fluctuations of hormones, both monthly and through the different phases of life, can increase ADHD symptoms. However, when you understand what is happening and why, you feel empowered and in a stronger position to seek the best treatment for your ADHD.
What Is The Best Medication For Adhd And Anxiety
To answer the question of what is the best medication for ADHD and anxiety, it is necessary to clarify the relationship between the two conditions. We will try to outline the basic causes of ADHD and Anxiety Disorder and the medications currently being recommended for them. Finally, we will try to explain what the known links and associations between the two disorders are.
What Is Child Anxiety:
Anxiety isa natural human reaction that include mind and body. Anxiety disorders are mental health conditions. That involve immoderate amounts of anxiety, nervousness, worry or fear. It isa common partof childhood. And every child goes through phases. Anxiety phase of childhood is temporary. Initial phase of Anxiety phase of childhood isnot harmless. But children who suffer froman anxiety disorder nervousness, shyness, andthey start to avoid places and activities. Research shows that untreated children with anxiety disorders perform poorly in school. You recognize themas signsof Anxiety. You willbeinabetter position to treat them. Signs of anxiety ina child are irritability, trouble concentrating, sleeping and restlessness. I founda blog Child Anxietywhich provides thebest information about Anxiety, Anxiety Symptoms and treatment.
Stimulant Medication Safety Concerns
Beyond the potential side effects, there are a number of safety concerns associated with the use of stimulant medications for ADHD.
Effect on the developing brain. The long-term impact of ADHD medication on the youthful, developing brain is not yet known. Some researchers are concerned that the use of drugs such as Ritalin in children and teens might interfere with normal brain development.
Heart-related problems. ADHD stimulant medications have been found to cause sudden death in children and adults with heart conditions. The American Heart Association recommends that all individuals, including children, have a cardiac evaluation prior to starting a stimulant. An electrocardiogram is recommended if the person has a history of heart problems.
Psychiatric problems. Stimulants for ADHD can trigger or exacerbate symptoms of hostility, aggression, anxiety, depression, and paranoia. People with a personal or family history of suicide, depression, or bipolar disorder are at a particularly high risk, and should be carefully monitored when taking stimulants.
Potential for abuse. Stimulant abuse is a growing problem, particularly among teens and young adults. College students take this medication for a boost when cramming for exams or pulling all-nighters. Others abuse stimulant meds for their weight-loss properties. If your child is taking stimulants, make sure he or she isnt sharing the pills or selling them.
ADHD stimulants are not recommended for those with:
Read Also: How To Reduce Test Anxiety