Women With ADHD ADD

For Women with ADHD ADD Who Want to Connect

Hi I'm 28 years old, female, and I am still somewhat new to ADHD. I diagnosed myself in 2006 after researching all over the internet about ADHD. I had been treated for anxiety disorder for 11 years, and nothing seemed to help. I came to the conclusion that my anxiety was being caused by the ADHD since none of the sedatives and anti depressants seemed to work, and just made things worse. Also b/c my anxiety wasn't necessarily attacks all the time, it was more an inability to focus constantly so I always felt that I couldn't clear my head enough to cope with the anxiety symptoms, and they were just there all the time. 

Does anyone else deal with Anxiety and ADHD? 

Anyway so back in 2006 I found a psychiatrist who listened to me and agreed that I was correct in my self diagnoses and was willing to try medication. I was so afraid the stimulants would bring on a horrible panic attack so I started with Stratera, and when that didn't work for me we tried Adderall XR 15mg. It was like I finally put on glasses for the first time after being blind all my life. I could see and think so clearly! I ended up on XR 30 mg for about 7 months, and by then everything seemed like it got better. So I made the mistake of going off the medication. I felt fine for a while, I also gained some weight which I wanted to do b/c I had lost way too much on the Adderall. I finally refilled it through my MD, which cost far less than my psych, and I would take it occasionally but for some reason I really felt the anxiety coming back into my life. Any little thing while taking it would cause me to worry. I had also read way too many message boards, and too many bad experiences and started incorporating that into my mind while on the medicine. It was horrible, and I wasn't able to feel normal b/c I couldn't let go of the anxiety so I stopped taking it all together last August 09. 

Now it is July 10 and about 4 years from the first time I tried to help myself. I now have a 9-5 job and everything in my life is a disorganized mess. I even had to temporarily give my dog to my Mom b/c I just can't handle that, plus an office job, plus all of life's responsibilities right now. I have a giant pile of mail/bills. And my bank account is overdrawn. I figured it was time to get back into a psychiatrist, and take meds. I went last Thursday and was prescribed Vyvanse b/c 1. it is supposed to be easier on anxiety and 2. Shire offers a patient assistance program that will pay for it for a year if you make under a certain amount. 

I took the next day off (friday) in case I did have some bad side effects, I didn't want to have a panic attack or anything at work. I took it and the day was ok, it was nothing like Adderall. I didn't instantly feel happier and clearer, but I also wasn't sure if this was b/c I was nervous in taking it. But things went ok, I organized my bathroom, and did my nails. I tried small tasks to see if I could complete them. I took it again on Saturday and felt ok, but then I got really hungry at the 3 hour mark and it made me shaky, so I felt very anxious. I was able to make it go away quicker than normal though, and my boyfriend and I took a walk around the park. That night we went out and I found out that I can't drink as much as I'm used to, so on Sunday I took a day off and just rested. 

Monday was a holiday so I took my pill when I woke up around noon, and this was the worst day by far. I tried not to be nervous and just let the pill take effect. I ate breakfast 15 min after taking it of cheesy eggs, and everything seemed to be going well until it really just seemed to be hitting me harder than before. I felt really shaky, and I did feel stimulated, and it started causing anxiety. I'm not sure if the anxiety just got worse or if it was the medicine making me feel bad. I couldn't think at all, I tried to take my mind off it on the computer and it wasn't helping, so finally I sat down and started doing my nails again. That finally made me relax, and I was able to escape the anxiety hell. After this I felt really tired, and then lazy. I didn't even want to finish doing my nails... I felt like I had some lingering anxious feelings all day and night, but I could tell they were in my head.

Now it is Tuesday and I am at work but I still haven't taken my Vyvanse. I am so worried now that I will get anxiety or an attack at work with people I don't know that well that I am scared to even take it. I don't know what to do b/c this is just pointless. Why go get help, if I can't even use it. Not to mention the cost of it since I don't have insurance and the dr. isn't cheap. Ugh. 

So if anyone else deals with this? Can you tell me what I should do in your opinion? 

Thanks so much, sorry it's so long. :) 

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I don't have experience taking Vyanse. I take Adderall XR. I also diagnosed myself at age 47 though and then got diagnosed by MD and psychologist before starting meds. Like you it was like putting on a pair of glasses and waking up - wonderful. Not quite as wonderful now but it has helped me with the anxiety and I feel pretty calm. . . most of the time. There are some days that I just feel panicky inside. It may not be that there is anything major going on and I habven't gotten that figured out yet.

You do need to eat when you take your medicine. You may be having a low blood sugar if it is 3 hours after taking it and you haven't eaten. The cheese eggs are great for the protein but you need some carbohydrate source to go with it. . like toast or something and perhaps you did have that. You may need to eat small amounts off and on during the day even if not hungry. I know I was really powerfully tired when the medicine wore off for the first 2 days and maybe some now but I can't pinpoint it to that. I have experienced periods of extreme tiredness throughout my life.

I think noon is too late to take your medicine unless you have to work at night and I haven't even thought about that issue before. The Vyvanse may be causing the issues and something else might work better. In fact, in light of hearing a recent presentation about stimulant medications, I am thinking of asking for Ritalin SR. I heard a psychiatrist talk and she said that would be her first line choice and explained why.

The part about the no insurance is a hard one as I am blessed in that area. I'm sure your doctor would let you try something else and may be willing to write you a new script without seeing you if you just saw them. My doctor has to see me monthly but you just say you don't have insurance is why you are asking. You also would want to take the unsued pills to them to show them that you aren't abusing them. They will assume that for everyone until proven otherwise or they get to know you and you show a pattern of behavior.

Oh, one more thing, I think if you take the medicine every day that you will become more used to it rather than taking it on and off. Although for reasons of cost you may not want to do that. Good luck.
I think the carbs is what I was missing, b/c the first day I did eat carbs and instantly felt better! So I'm going to try that. Today I had egg salad and mushroom brie soup... I might eat some crackers to satisfy my carbs if I feel shaky.

I was only taking the Vyvanse late in the day b/c it was a long holida weekend and I didn't need to be going to sleep early for any reason. But when I work I wake up at 8 and am at work by 9. So that will be easier sleepwise I'm sure.

My first psych let me know that people usually either respond to one stimulant or the other when it comes to ritalin and adderall type meds. He said that most of the time people who respond well to one will respond negatively to the other. But of course that's not everyone so if you do switch to ritalin please post about your experience. I'd also be interested in hearing about what the psych you heard talking about it had to say about why she would choose that as a first choice.

The only other thing I tried for a *very* short period of time is the Daytrana patch. It made me so tired and I was just not happy with it so after 2 days I went and refilled my Adderall. I only tried it b/c I felt like the Adderall was wearing off, and so my psych gave me a free trial of the patch that he had.

Luckily the no insurance thing means that they try to help me out with free trials, patient assistance programs, and coupons. I'm hoping that one of the things I can work on is getting insurance again once I get my disorganzied life back on track. My Dr. now is really nice and she is willing to write me 3 months work of scripts each time I see her so that I don't have to come back every month once we find the right dosage and pill for me. So that is all good news.

Thank you for your response and reading my longggg post!
Also, I did take Vyvanse today when I got to work and it seems to be doing well. I am having way less anxiety than before. I felt a little anxious when the med seemed to be first kicking in about 1.5 hours after taking it, but I decided to drink a lot of water at that point and it really helped to settle things out.

I think that is another thing I was forgetting to do since the dry mouth side effect wasn't that bad in the beginning.

Another thing is starting on a holiday weekend I didn't have too much to do besides clean my house, so being at work with things to take my mind off of being anxious constantly is really helping too.

I'm hoping this continues all week. :)
Good, I'm glad it is going better. Trying to be consistent will help . . . which I know that is what we have a problem with. I know based on what I am doing or have to do the meds work better or not. I may want to hyperfocus on what I don't need to do instead of what I do need to do. . . like now.

It is hard as there are variations with hormones and other factors so we have to learn to be patient with yourselves and not expect too much. . . . yeah, I'm still working on that one too.


I wish my doctor would write me 3 months of scripts but he doesn't do that for anyone. In some ways though it has been nice to get to know him and he knows me pretty well, I guess too. In a pinch I think if I had to ask him he would do that but I won't ask unless I have to. But it does add up not only in $$ but in time too. I then have to drive across town to get my script filled where I can get it the cheapest with my insurance otherwise it costs more. But that is just the way it is. I just try to remind myself that someone without insurance would be happy to be in my shoes and it puts it iun perspective.

I'm going to see if I can find the info on the stimulant med. It is actually from another web site where I heard the conference and they were going to sell it as an MP3 download but it wasn't up yet but the web site is ADDiva or Linda Roggli so you might could google to find the web site. If you register for her site they have talks on different things just as this web site does and I highly recommend them. They are free and lots of useful information. My computer kicks me off a lot so I do better with a replay when they have those. Learn all you can is the best thing we can do. We may know more what makes us tick than the next person.
Brandi said:
Also, I did take Vyvanse today when I got to work and it seems to be doing well. I am having way less anxiety than before. I felt a little anxious when the med seemed to be first kicking in about 1.5 hours after taking it, but I decided to drink a lot of water at that point and it really helped to settle things out.

I think that is another thing I was forgetting to do since the dry mouth side effect wasn't that bad in the beginning.

Another thing is starting on a holiday weekend I didn't have too much to do besides clean my house, so being at work with things to take my mind off of being anxious constantly is really helping too.

I'm hoping this continues all week. :)
Ahh I responded to someone else in another thread thinking it was her that said the thing about what you were doing affecting your meds. Today I was doing fine reading email and such, and then we had a tour group of 35 kids come in to see the office. It really threw me off and I ended up having really bad anxiety over it. I had to excuse myself to the bathroom for 10 or so minutes before I could calm myself down. :( I started getting bummed out that I don't feel secure yet to do anything on this medication, and I'm fearful of being in an important meeting or something and having anxiety. But then I realized that that was the case whether I'm taking the meds or not! So I just have to keep on so I can get adjusted and hopefully not be so sensitive to the effects and able to go about my day without getting anxious.

Yesterday was such a good day, so I kept focusing on that fact and I felt better.

The only thing is that I really feel that I need to up my dosage at some point. Yesterday I felt it only lasted about 5 hours and when I got home from work at 6 hours I had to take a nap I was so tired. I'm on 20mg now and I'm going to call my dr and ask her what she thinks. I just want to get through the side effects before I go on a higher dose, I don't want higher dose to = more anxiety.
I think that you did the right thing to get away from all of that stimulation of those kids and to realize that you needed to do that. Knowing what things stimulate your anxiety will help you deal with it so as you have done you need to think about what those things are.

Have you ever heard of calm breating techniques? The calm breathing works to help calm you down and with practice you can do it without people knowing you are doing it. That might help you get the panicky feeling to go away.

I don't think an increase in dose will increase the length of time the medication works. Some people do get really tired when it wears off.

I think that you just have to give yourself credit for recognizing what is going on and working to correct it. If you have an attack of anxiety in a big meeting then just try to calmly excuse yourself and go to the bathroom or your office for a few minutes to calm yourself and they won't know that you didn't have an upset stomach. . . just don't say a lot other than "excuse me". Work on the calm breathing so you can do it while you are in the meeting and you can appear and be calm while being anxious. I need to work on this myself as well.

Learning your strengths and what you have a hard time with and then trying to figure out how to let other people do some things so you don't have to if that is a possibility. Like things pushed on us at the last minute with no transition time is a tough one. . . so taking time to get yourself together and then plunging in.

I think that there was something else I wanted to say but having an ADHD moment and it is gone.

Brandi said:
Ahh I responded to someone else in another thread thinking it was her that said the thing about what you were doing affecting your meds. Today I was doing fine reading email and such, and then we had a tour group of 35 kids come in to see the office. It really threw me off and I ended up having really bad anxiety over it. I had to excuse myself to the bathroom for 10 or so minutes before I could calm myself down. :( I started getting bummed out that I don't feel secure yet to do anything on this medication, and I'm fearful of being in an important meeting or something and having anxiety. But then I realized that that was the case whether I'm taking the meds or not! So I just have to keep on so I can get adjusted and hopefully not be so sensitive to the effects and able to go about my day without getting anxious.

Yesterday was such a good day, so I kept focusing on that fact and I felt better.

The only thing is that I really feel that I need to up my dosage at some point. Yesterday I felt it only lasted about 5 hours and when I got home from work at 6 hours I had to take a nap I was so tired. I'm on 20mg now and I'm going to call my dr and ask her what she thinks. I just want to get through the side effects before I go on a higher dose, I don't want higher dose to = more anxiety.
Yeah I think we all need to understand that ADHD and anxiety, or depression, and any other mental illness is exactly that, an illness. It's an invisible handicap. I wend to my psychiatrist's yesterday and there was a book about adult ADHD in there called something like "I'm not stupid, lazy or crazy" and I really want to get it b/c the first few pages I read were talking about knowing your limits, and boundaries and not expecting yourself to be able to do everything everyone else can do without learning how to do it our way. I really want to get a coach at some point. And I know I need to start therapy for my anxiety, but for now since I can't really afford it this website has been a Godsend. Being able to discuss these things with people who really understand is helping a lot.

The problem I'm having with the medicine wearing off is that it's doing it between 4 and 5 hours. Yesterday I took my med at 9:30am and at 1:30 I started feeling tired, by 2 my eye lids were closing. I actually took the day off at 2pm b/c I had told my boss my stomach was upset when I had that anxiety attack, and so I told her I needed to go home and rest. So I drove home very fatigued, my whole body felt somewhat weak and tired, it was pure exhaustion. I called my Dr. and she called back and said that my dosage was too low and she wanted to up me to 50mg, which would last longer throughout the day.

From the research I have done it does seem that Shire and the Dr's think that a higher dosage = longer lasting. I also don't understand how that works b/c I still don't really understand how Vyvanse releases itself, other than the Lysine molecule splits from it and then it's active... but how does it know when to? And does it do it at proper intervals of time? I noticed yesterday and the day before that when I got that super sleepy feeling it only lasted about 2 hours and then I didn't feel *as* tired anymore. I wonder if it drops off for me at that point but then kicks back in a couple hours later, just not as strong?

This is why I liked Adderall XR b/c it was 4 hours, and then 3.5-4 hours, then done. It was like clockwork. Everytime, without fail.

Anyway... (add moment) I did read some message boards, but I was careful not to read any bad experiences, and I found that there are people taking this twice a day. Which I used to do with XR a long time ago. It made it last longer if I took it in the AM, then 4 hours later. I think that if I take 20mg in the AM, then another 20mg 4 hours later it will pick up right when it seems to be wearing off. And since she was already going to put me on 50mg, this is only 40mg and I'd rather take the least therapeutic dose. So I am going to call my Dr in a few min and ask her if I can do this for now b/c my patient assistance program card won't be here until next week and I honestly cannot afford to fill the 50mg pills on my own until at least Monday, but I'd rather wait for the card and get them for free.

Or I wonder if I can try the spacing them out today, and then try taking two tomorrow AM. To be honest I am nervous about taking a higher dosage with the anxiety issues I've been having on the lower dosage when it kicks in. It's only for the 20 or so minutes when I feel my body start to speed up, and then it levels out. But if it's stronger does that mean it will kick in stronger? I think there is a chance it will be more pleasant on a stronger dose, only because when I took Adderall XR it was much stronger and it would make me so concentrated, focused, and all around happy that I wouldn't even have the anxiety.

Just my thoughts! I'll keep you posted on everything.
You will get it figured out as I think there is some difference in each person as to how they metabolize the medication. You are thinking about what is happening and working toward a solution of what is best for you and you will find that out. If you can make the changes on the weekend it would give you an idea of what to expect so hopefully you dont' run into problems at work. If your boss doesn't know you have it, I wouldn't recommend telling them unless you have to. You can't untell people once you tell them and some people have lots of biases about it. If people do know then you may think about telling them you're working on your medication to make things better for you.

Brandi said:
Yeah I think we all need to understand that ADHD and anxiety, or depression, and any other mental illness is exactly that, an illness. It's an invisible handicap. I wend to my psychiatrist's yesterday and there was a book about adult ADHD in there called something like "I'm not stupid, lazy or crazy" and I really want to get it b/c the first few pages I read were talking about knowing your limits, and boundaries and not expecting yourself to be able to do everything everyone else can do without learning how to do it our way. I really want to get a coach at some point. And I know I need to start therapy for my anxiety, but for now since I can't really afford it this website has been a Godsend. Being able to discuss these things with people who really understand is helping a lot.

The problem I'm having with the medicine wearing off is that it's doing it between 4 and 5 hours. Yesterday I took my med at 9:30am and at 1:30 I started feeling tired, by 2 my eye lids were closing. I actually took the day off at 2pm b/c I had told my boss my stomach was upset when I had that anxiety attack, and so I told her I needed to go home and rest. So I drove home very fatigued, my whole body felt somewhat weak and tired, it was pure exhaustion. I called my Dr. and she called back and said that my dosage was too low and she wanted to up me to 50mg, which would last longer throughout the day.

From the research I have done it does seem that Shire and the Dr's think that a higher dosage = longer lasting. I also don't understand how that works b/c I still don't really understand how Vyvanse releases itself, other than the Lysine molecule splits from it and then it's active... but how does it know when to? And does it do it at proper intervals of time? I noticed yesterday and the day before that when I got that super sleepy feeling it only lasted about 2 hours and then I didn't feel *as* tired anymore. I wonder if it drops off for me at that point but then kicks back in a couple hours later, just not as strong?

This is why I liked Adderall XR b/c it was 4 hours, and then 3.5-4 hours, then done. It was like clockwork. Everytime, without fail.

Anyway... (add moment) I did read some message boards, but I was careful not to read any bad experiences, and I found that there are people taking this twice a day. Which I used to do with XR a long time ago. It made it last longer if I took it in the AM, then 4 hours later. I think that if I take 20mg in the AM, then another 20mg 4 hours later it will pick up right when it seems to be wearing off. And since she was already going to put me on 50mg, this is only 40mg and I'd rather take the least therapeutic dose. So I am going to call my Dr in a few min and ask her if I can do this for now b/c my patient assistance program card won't be here until next week and I honestly cannot afford to fill the 50mg pills on my own until at least Monday, but I'd rather wait for the card and get them for free.

Or I wonder if I can try the spacing them out today, and then try taking two tomorrow AM. To be honest I am nervous about taking a higher dosage with the anxiety issues I've been having on the lower dosage when it kicks in. It's only for the 20 or so minutes when I feel my body start to speed up, and then it levels out. But if it's stronger does that mean it will kick in stronger? I think there is a chance it will be more pleasant on a stronger dose, only because when I took Adderall XR it was much stronger and it would make me so concentrated, focused, and all around happy that I wouldn't even have the anxiety.

Just my thoughts! I'll keep you posted on everything.
Hi Brandi, I have anxiety too, but it predated using Vyvanse. It's kind of a low-level, constant anxiety, and I've been thinking of asking my doctor to prescribe something for it, again (I used it a couple of years ago) as I'm feeling pretty worn down from it. I've been trying to "think" my way out of it, but that hasn't worked. My thought is to not use the Lorazepam every day, just when I need it most and want a "rest" break from the anxiety.

I think Susan has given you really good advice, especially about making med changes on the weekend so it doesn't interfere with your job performance. So, I won't add any more right now. Best wishes, sending encouraging thoughts your way.

Inge
I have both! I have to take 120mg to combat the sleepy feeling,but unfortunately 70mg is the maximum FDA approved does, so my insurance will not pay for the extra 50mg.
That makes me mad that your insurance won't cover the dose of medicine you need. If it was for seizures and you needed a higher dose of medicine would they cover it? And does your insurance cover Viagra? I'd call them up and ask those things and let them know you are being discriminated against. You don't want to take that dose but you need it. Sorry, but insurance companies get under my skin as they really run the medical care in this country.

Kylie said:
I have both! I have to take 120mg to combat the sleepy feeling,but unfortunately 70mg is the maximum FDA approved does, so my insurance will not pay for the extra 50mg.
When I had insurance they wouldn't give me the dosage and strengths I needed and my Dr would have to get creative with it. Totally sucked, but so does paying full price so idk...

I also have that anxiety problem. It's all the time low level, and if I take something I tend to worry more. Although I don't get as worried when I would take an anti-depressant or something like that. It's just the fact that ADHD meds tend to work quickly and you can feel a difference. Also the fact that I got myself into some pretty serious cyberchondria from reading message boards and hearing bad things. I try to stay away from them now, I only go here and to www.crazymeds.us b/c I am so vulnerable to hearing about people's adverse effects and worrying even more.

I'm going to ask my Pdoc about trazodone. It's the only thing I took for a short period of time that seriously got rid of the anxiety. All the seditives only mask it, but it's still there. But I feel like with trazodone it's similar to when I'd get it really bad in an airport and be like gasping for air, so (when I wasn't on sedatives) I would go get a glass of wine or something and it would really help. There's something in wine and trazodone that turn off that scared part of the brain that fuels the anxious thoughts and feelings.

Argh. If it wasn't bad enough to be suffering from disorganization and bad social skills, add in the fear and anxiety.

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