Is there any such thing as having ADD while doing certain things but not others? I am a music major at my university and typically have to practice (or should practice) about 3-4 hours a day in addition to other homework I have. In general I don't have that much of a problem focusing. In class I can usually pay attention to the teacher (except some of my morning classes) I can take notes fine. When I have homework such as a paper to write or some other sort of "task" to complete I can do that fine, but I really have problems practicing. I don't know if anyone who will read this post has any musical experience but practicing is much different than say writing an essay. The type of focus needed is much different. When I'm practicing I need to have 100% of my focus on what I'm practicing or my practice time is just not productive at all. If I'm anything but feeling well rested and focused practicing just doesn't really work for me... nothings sticks, I don't really make any progress. It's pretty much impossible for me to practice after 8:00pm because I'm just feeling a little tired and can't focus the way I need to. But at this same time I would be fine writing an essay or filling out a worksheet. Even when I'm feeling rested and have energy I can only practice in 30 min bursts of focus before I have to take a break.. and I often get distracted. I want to stress that this is a serious post and I do believe I have some kind of problem because my peers have a similar work/practice load and they do just fine.
Where I'm going with this is I just want to get an opinion from a doctor/other knowledgeable person if I have any chance of getting prescribed an ADD medication. I currently take ADD medications and will continue to take them regardless of whether I succeed in getting a prescription but it would eliminate the hassle of buying them and save me money. These medications are very very easy to find on University campuses and I would say at least 70% of students at my university take them at least to study for finals (I don't have a single friend who doesn't take them, not even exaggerating). If you are a doctor and your college student patient says they do not take them they are most likely lying. I have experience with vyvanse, adderal and focalin. I'm very responsible about it and am good about starting at small doses and working up until I figure out what works best for me. I don't like vyvanse because it makes me feel like I'm being forced to focus and do work. Focalin is better but it seems to effect my heart a bit more than the other medications (increases heart rate) and can sometimes make me feel uncomfortable. I also didn't like it because I only had access to extended release Focalin that lasted for 12 hours, I didn't need it to last that long and couldn't really take it past 11:00am if I wanted any chance of going to sleep. Adderal is by far my favorite. The focus it gives me is a calm relaxed focus... it sort of makes me enjoy doing work instead of making me feel forced to do work. It also last just 6 hours and I time it to end around when I want to go to sleep, when I come down from it I'm tired and fall asleep easily. I currently take it on Sundays and 1, sometimes 2 other days during the week but feel I could benefit from taking it more often. The dosage that works best for me is 20mg but I often try to take only 10mg to save Adderal, and can usually get done what I need to on just 10mg.
So is there any chance I might be able to get a prescription to Adderal? Again, this is a serious question. I do have a problem having the focus to do the work I need to. It effects my grades and not because I'm lazy, because I can't focus on what I need to accomplish. How should I approach a doctor to ask about this? Would it be to my advantage to mention my experience with these medications or to only talk about my symptoms? Do I have any chance in getting a prescription? I'm afraid of doctors not taking me seriously.
I would start your search with doctors on your campus, or whoever the doctors are that your campus recommends. They should be familiar with your problems. And what you want to do is to describe your problems. Bringing up past experiences from high school, middle school would also be helpful.
And yes, it is very common for a person with ADD to be able to focus on one thing and not the other. Of course, it is typically something they like. I've got a feeling that 3 or 4 hours of practice are beginning to become a drag. You need to break it up. Maybe try filming your self and reviewing that as a change. Find a way to make it different. Jam with others. Talk to other students and profs to get their ideas. There has got to be ways to mix it up.
Finally, two sites aimed at the adult ADD sufferer that you might want to check out are totallyadd.com and http://jeffsaddmind.com/for-first-time-visitors.
Both sites are done by people with ADD. totallyadd was actually a PBS special and consequently is a series of short videos. Quite entertaining and useful. Jeffs add mind really reflects him. Has much more adult interaction. Both are worth checking out. Hope this helps!
Thanks for you response. When I talk to the doctor, do you think it would be a good idea or bad idea to mention that I have a decent amount of experience with these medications...? seeing as how I was using them "illegally". It would definitely save a lot of time figuring out the right medication and the right dosage. I am afraid that if I mention this the doctor will not take me seriously and think I'm just trying to get drugs out of him... although I suppose that is technically what I'm trying to do. Its pretty common for people to try and get prescriptions to these things in order to abuse them or sell them, especially Adderal which is what I would prefer. That is definitely not my goal... i've been taking them for 2 and a half years and have never once snorted them.. or taken them to party.. or done anything except school work while on them. I'm very concerned that the doctor will just think i'm another one of "those kids" and I might even see a doctor back home about it instead of one up here because its a college town...
Thats a tough call. I really am for good patient/doctor communication because normally thats how the correct dosage gets done.
Since its a collage doc, I am sure that they are aware of what goes on. Kind of think you might have to play it by ear. If you and the doc relate well, then you could open up more. Also think the doc would not be surprised to hear you say that you were so upset about not being able to concentrate that you experimented "a little" and the adderall seemed to help a lot. But essentially, you want a doc that listens to you.
By the way, I just saw a memory study. One of the conclusions was that the amount of sleep we get can make a big difference on working memory. Make sure that you are not burning the candle at both ends.
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