READ THIS IF YOU HAVE ADHD

This is a controversial post, but I feel like someone needs to put it out there. I was diagnosed with ADHD when I was in elementary school ( well I remember going through testing ) & then again in high school. I was put on Vyvanse and stayed on Vyvanse for a good 5 years until I recently went off.

I honestly feel like 9 out of 10 millennials are “diagnosed” with ADHD as well. It’s like everyone that I talk to has it and is medicated to treat their ADHD.

You get that vibe also?

While I do believe that ADHD is very real, I also believe that it is over diagnosed, you know? It is really crazy to think about the amount of students & millennials that go to their doctors because they “can’t focus” and need medication as a solution.

This is a serious problem.

PROBLEM: Can’t focus in school

SOLUTION: Adderall

PROBLEM: Need to study for a test

SOLUTION: Adderall

PROBLEM: Can’t get anything done

SOLUTION: Adderall

PROBLEM: Constantly distracted

SOLUTION: Adderall

Yes, ADHD exists and yes, medication is often a great solution! BUT, when it is over diagnosed to the point that people are using it because they can’t admit that they simply ARE NOT INTERESTED in what they are doing is a problem!

That is called abuse.

Now, I have friends who do have ADD/ADHD & friends who do not have ADD/ADHD. Both have taken ADD/ADHD medication to study, for work, to stay focused, etc… It’s a stimulant. It’s powerful. It’s a drug. It’s honestly speed.

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You take it and it’s like you are on top of the world. You get so much sh*t done, you’re efficient & you feel amazing.

Now, I’m not here to judge anyone, but as someone who truly has ADHD, and as someone who has taken these medications for years, and recently gone off of them, I can tell you something quite valuable.

Those medications are dangerous.

We become dependent. ( even though some doctors claim that you cannot become addicted )

HERE WAS MY EXPERIENCE

I would wake up every morning and take Vyvanse ( 30 mg - 120 mg at one point )

I was on FIRE every morning. Like the energizer bunny. Tackling one task after the next. Feeling like I was a rock star on crack. I felt so accomplished.

Then 4 pm hit. The worst time of the day.

At 4 pm every single day I would crash. Think of it like a sugar rush. You’re all “go go go” and then BOOM, you’re done. But, this is worse than a sugar crash.

You feel drained. You feel cranky. You feel irritable. You feel snappy. You feel like being left alone. You feel frustrated or even angry. You become starving ( because those medications make you lose your appetite ), therefore you become hangry, OH and let’s not forget the anxiety.

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While it’s all great to be laser focused for half the day, the second half of the day is dangerous, and for me, it was ruining my relationships, you know? I was ruining my relationships. There wasn’t a happy medium. Even with a lower dosage.

Going off of Vyvanse was probably one of the most difficult things that I have done. I’m constantly distracted, I’m hyper + hungry all of the time. But, I feel happier.

I’m a big believer in holistic and natural solutions. I also feel that anything is possible. If you need these mediations, I understand. Again, not here to judge you guys. Just here to share my experience.

If you might not actually need it or you feel like you need to get off of it, there are solutions.

…and might I add, we don’t even know the long term effects of these drugs!

The truth is that I’m not as focused as I used to be, I’m not as productive as I used to be, but I’m not as anxious, I’m not a b*tch and I have that balanced mentality.

Has it been an adjustment? HECK YES. A HUGE adjustment, ok? This is a lot of hard work. There are days where I feel like I literally get NOTHING done and I just feel awful about it. Then I’ll think about going back on Vyvanse.

…but remembering the negative effects really scare me.

  • Do I want that chronic anxiety?

  • Do I want that anger?

  • Do I want that feeling like I’m on edge?

  • Do I want all of those negative feelings to destroy the relationships around me?

No.

…and that is just my personal opinion.

What I find to be scary is that everyone and their mother is on some sort of stimulant. Rather than trying to understand the root of the problem, they jump to medication regardless if they need it or not!

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When I was in school, I was seriously not interested. SO, my doctor prescribed Vyvanse to help me focus! That’s not good. Most kids probably aren’t interested in what they are learning in school. That is NORMAL & I wish that more people knew how normal that was.

There is a significant difference in being interested in something and not being able to focus and not being interested in something and not being able to focus. Got it?

Drugs aren’t the answer unless it is absolutely necessary.

I was talking to one of my best friends about this today. We were talking about the adjustment after going off of these drugs. It is so challenging & we almost feel like we were addicted.

It’s scary how powerful that medication is ( stimulants in general ), but we don’t want to be dependent. We don’t want it to control our lives.

…and this is just our opinion because we both suffer from anxiety and these drugs make anxiety worse.

I wanted to write this post to not only share my opinion on this topic, but my story, experience and how I manage my ADHD now that I am off of medication.

I know there are a lot of people out there contemplating what to do with their ADHD medication and questioning the solutions, so I hope you find this valuable!

HOW I COPE WITH ADHD THE NATURAL WAY

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Let’s start off with the positive. To tell you that I feel like a calmer, kinder and balanced human is an understatement. That feeling alone has kept me from going back. The fact that my relationships have significantly improved and that my anxiety is reduced is probably the other biggest factor in choosing not to get back on Vyvanse.

…but I’m a business owner.

I have people counting on me. I have goals and deadlines. Focusing is BEYOND difficult and I get very stressed because I don’t want my work to suffer.

MY SOLUTIONS

#1: MORNING ROUTINE

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I’ve always been into morning routines, to-do lists, organization, and all that jazz, but I was never “strict” about it. The key to being productive is to become mindful and as organized as possible. As a distracted person, it’s easy to forget things and drop the ball. I need to prevent that at all costs.

I wrote a blog about my morning routine and you should definitely check that out. Essentially, my morning routine consists of meditation, journaling, prioritizing my to-do list, checking my calendar, hydrating, movement ( an hour walk or so listening to a motivating podcast ) and making the bed.

I practice gratitude and I really try to become present in the moment and prepared to take on the day.

The more prepared I am and the more motivated I am, the better I perform.

#2: CAFFEINE

When you are taking a stimulant, you get that little burst of energy, and not having that each day when I first went off of Vyvanse was difficult. I needed to adjust.

I actually don’t drink coffee, but what I found was a little energy vitamin that has been a life saver! It gives me enough energy to get me through a couple of hours of hard work and in the zone.

I’ve talked about this before, but the brand is Emergen-C & it is the Emergen-C Energy+ Gummies. I take 2 in the morning and 2 in the early afternoon.

Highly suggest.

#3: DIET + HYDRATION

This is an obvious one if we are being real, but honestly, when you eat better, you feel better, and therefore, ya do better.

Same goes for hydration. I get EXHAUSTED when I am dehydrated. So I always have a water bottle by my side.

I’ve also found that adding a bit of Organic Apple Cider Vinegar to my water boosts my energy.

I try to stick to a balanced diet and I eat as many veggies as possible. One trick that i’ve learned ( and you have to be careful with this one ) is to have a little snack WHILE you are working.

To keep it low in calories and to make sure I’m not over eating, I’ll put together a little bowl of veggies or fruit and eat as I work. I currently have a bowl of cherry tomatoes. Try it!

#4: PRIORITIZING

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My to-do lists are MASSIVE. Like absolutely overwhelmingly massive. There are times where I will look at the list, turn it over and watch makeup tutorials on YouTube instead. That is how overwhelming it is.

BUT, I found a solution.

I write down ALL of my tasks and then I circle the TOP 6 most important tasks that MUST get done that day. I take each task one by one and I do not move to the next until that task I’m currently working on is finished, ok?

This not only makes me more productive, but more efficient and less overwhelmed. If I know that I only have 6 tasks to get done, I know that it is totally do-able.

If I go by my massive to-do list NOTHING will get done because I will be spending too much time feeling anxious about where to start.

If I don’t finish all of my 6 tasks, I move it over to the next day until everything is eventually checked off!

Simplify your life, ok?

#5: BREAKS

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First of all, the worst thing that you can do when you are getting very distracted is fight it. Stop trying to force yourself to get everything done like you would on Vyvanse or Adderall. This is your new normal.

Take breaks every 30 minutes.

Go for a walk. Switch up the environment. Grab a snack. Watch a YouTube video. Call a friend. Anything. Just take that break. You’ll find yourself refreshed and more efficient.

BONUS TIPS

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I take my vitamins, but I don’t really take vitamins recommended for ADHD.

However, I have tried them & here are my thoughts.

I take a women’s multi vitamin everyday, as well as Vitamin D3. Those are just the basics and I’m always going to take those.

I used to be deficient in Vitamin D. I’m not anymore, but I will tell you that I feel very different when I take it opposed to when I do not take it. I feel more energized. Just a fun fact.

YOU CAN ALSO TRY

B Vitamins

These can increase alertness and decrease anxiety. Try Vitamin B-6 or B-12. I prefer to get my vitamins from foods so you can find your B Vitamins in spinach, bananas and salmon! This will help you to maintain a healthy nervous system.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Great for your brain function & it is an anti-inflammatory.

GABA

I took this for a solid few months and really liked it! I don’t take it anymore because I honestly forget if we are being real. GABA is a calming amino acid and a friend recommended it to me!

FOODS TO AVOID WITH ADHD

This is not the entire list, this is only what I have tried or what I currently do. I just share what I know and what works for me!

Sugar

This can be a trigger for many people suffering from ADHD. I know this sucks ( and I definitely don’t follow this one as much as I should ), but avoid soda, fruit juice, candy and desserts. The problem is that if you have the “H” in ADHD, sugar is going to give you that unhealthy rush and increase your distractibility.

Although I take my energy gummies, I do notice an increase in my anxiety levels when I consume any form of caffeine or sugar. Just something to be aware of.

Dairy

I really struggle with focus, mood, energy and memory, so I try to avoid gluten and dairy. It’s new for me, but I’ve noticed a difference when I cut both out of my diet.

I do have a sensitivity to dairy, so that part isn’t new to me, but when I don’t consume gluten, I feel different. I feel more stable.

I did a lot of research ( research queen over here ), and found that gluten can actually make people feel emotionally unstable. I’m not a doctor, but from my research, advice from my own doctors and experience, cutting the dairy/gluten reduces my brain fog.

FINAL THOUGHTS

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Well, you now know my opinion on ADHD, my experience and my solutions. I chose to write this because I hope that someone finds value in it! If you find this helpful please let me know! I’d love your feedback! You can always comment on my latest Instagram pic or shoot me a DM.

On that note, I’m going to start my nighttime routine, grab some warm tea, a good book and probably fall asleep to HGTV.

Goodnight!

XO,

Sydney

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Sydney Nanberg