How can you tell if your ADHD meds are working? At the risk of sounding completely flippant: Just stop taking your stimulant meds for a few days and see how that works out for ya. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA…just to be clear, I’m NOT advocating that people should stop taking your meds. Let me explain…
I take an antidepressant and a stimulant medication (methylin, a member of the methylphenidate/ritalin family). It’s really easy to get into a groove and get so used to the feeling of being on the medication, that you start to think it’s not working anymore. And of course, I have also heard that some people do develop a tolerance to them. I haven’t found that to be the case for me, however. I just get lulled by familiarity into wondering if the meds are working. I’m a pretty straight arrow though, and I generally take my meds as prescribed…until they run out.
I NEVER let my antidepressant run out. It can be very dangerous to stop certain types of medications suddenly, and I learned the hard way one time that after about 36 hours of not taking my antidepressant, ugly withdrawal symptoms set in. However, I have also learned that nothing too horrible happens to me (in terms of danger) when I stop taking my stimulants. The only time I stop, however, is if I have run through a prescription and simply haven’t had a chance to refill it (or I forgot to call my prescriber for the refill).
I ran out last week and I’m getting a great refresher course on how fun it is to be me without meds. Easily provoked, cranky, variable energy levels, complete energy crash every afternoon, variable ability to focus on or care about anything, the itchy feelings of so many thoughts, and not ability to follow all of them. And: I actually HAVE the prescription in my purse! I just haven’t had time to get to the pharmacy. Let me tell you: I am SO going to the pharmacy tomorrow morning. Just the improvement in my general mood will be worth it!
Whether people come on or off of meds is definitely an issue they should discuss with their doctor, but I know that for me, if I need a reminder of why I take the stimulant medication…all I have to do is abstain for a couple days. Instant reminder!