Question: I am wondering about your thoughts on meds for ADD. I’ve taken Adderall for years, and it seems to be less effective than it was initially.
CoachRudy: This is a common question and complaint of many people taking AD/HD medications. In general, Adderall is an excellent medication but like most all many medications it’s important that they be monitored by your physician. I have found the most common problems with these medication is related to ineffective monitoring and discontinuing the medication too early without tweaking the dose.
Medications are most often prescribed at the lowest possible dose in part to reduce the impact of potential early side effects. This first dose may or may not provide benefits to your symptoms or challenging AD/HD behaviors but again early side effects often subside within the first 1-2 weeks. It’s not uncommon to boost the dose 1-2 times to reach a therapeutic level appropriate to you. Once this level is reached, the physician or therapist will monitor both effectiveness and any undesirable side effects of your medication and dose.
This is the second timeframe in which some adults will experience problems with their AD/HD medications. Once they reach and enjoy the effects of the therapeutic level – after weeks or months they experience a sudden or gradual decrease in the effectiveness of the medication. This is a good time to speak with your physician as you may require a dose increase to maintain your therapeutic level. Once this occurs it is less likely that another dose increase will be necessary. In some cases the physician may decide to add a small dose of your current medication in the late afternoon. This option simply utilizes what is already a therapeutic dose and extends the effectives later into the day by adding a small afternoon does. Another option, your physician may elect to replace your current medication with another AD/HD medication.
Of course, any and all changes in your medications should only be conducted in consultation with your prescribing physician. Individuals frequently get into trouble when then begin self-medicating or adjusting their medication without consultation with their physician. I am not a physician so I do not prescribe. However, I do work very closely with my AD/HD clients and their physicians to monitor their medication for maximum effectiveness.