Are ADHD Meds Stimulants?

Are ADHD Meds Stimulants?

Are ADHD Meds Stimulants?

Yes and No. Not all ADHD medications are stimulants, but the vast majority of prescriptions are for stimulants.

So, let’s dig in a bit to understand them.

For most people dealing with ADHD, stimulant medications are effective and safe. Just the way reading glasses help our weak eyes focus better, stimulant medications help people dealing with ADHD focus their thoughts better. They help them in becoming more aware of their surroundings; they make them gain more control and pay attention to things around them. They are prescribed more often than non-stimulant medications

 

According to experts, stimulants are best when combined with another form of therapy such as behavioral therapy or coaching. According to researchers and studies conducted, around 80% of the children dealing with ADHD show great improvement when they are given stimulants in the correct dosage. I would predict that adults are similar, but there needs to be more research in this area.

In general, there are two types of stimulants that are used – the short-acting stimulants that are used as an immediate acting medication, and then there is extended-release that is used for long-acting. The first category of medication is usually taken when needed, like for an important event you might be planning when you really need to focus and be on point. Extended medications are taken once a day, usually in the mornings. Some common ones used are Adderall, Ritalin, and Concerta. Clients that I have worked with say that, when they REMEMBER to take their meds, they can help manage the typical ADHD symptoms, such as impulsive behavior and short attention span allowing them to have a very productive day.

You may be wondering how they work. These medications boost the level of neurotransmitter brain chemicals such as norepinephrine and dopamine, which play a crucial part in one’s ability to be attentive and process information.

In simple words, they help the nerves found in our brain communicate with other nerves. As a result, you are able to focus better.

 

Just as eyeglass prescriptions are customized to a person’s unique vision problems, medication can be seen as the same. You want to get the correct type and dosage that is best suited for your conditions. Have you ever tried on someone else’s eyeglass prescription and it distorted everything in your view the wrong way? Well, think of having the wrong dosage of medication as a correlation. This is why it is always best to consult with a physician. You need to consider your own circumstances and health needs.

I must caution users to never try a medication from a friend or family member

Over the years, I have heard stories of parents that have used their kid’s prescription to see if it worked for them. This is not safe. Especially, for people with these complexities below, this group is cautioned to not take stimulants and a consult should be the first step.

–Severe anxiety, nervousness, tension or stress

  • Tourette syndrome, or if it is there in family history
  • Glaucoma
  • Taking medication known as monoamine oxidase
  • Psychotic or have a history of psychosis

 

When you meet with your physician they will discuss some options for you and the side effects that are possible with stimulants such as higher blood pressure, headaches, weight loss, loss of appetite, insomnia, social withdrawal and abnormalities in stomach. These generally go away after a few days, but if they don’t one must consult the doctor. Getting the medication right is an important piece of managing your ADHD. Do not ignore your symptoms and make sure to take note of how you are reacting to the medication plan.

Contrary to belief, sleep-related problems generally do not exist with a long-acting stimulant. I have heard of people who say that when they take their medications consistently it can actually help them have fewer thoughts as they go to bed and help them sleep better. I saw a comment once that said, “If I could actually count the sheep, I could get to sleep!” I think they were referring to the distracting thoughts that were happening while they were trying to focus on counting the sheep!

Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind while taking these stimulants –

  • The medication must always be taken as prescribed. If there are any doubts or questions, one must call the doctor
  • One should try to stick to a schedule to ensure the medicine is given at the same time every day
  • If any dose is missed, the next dose should be given at the defined time
  • Record how your body is reacting to the meds over time and share it with your doctor

I was listening to a podcast recently on the usage of stimulants for treating ADHD and someone had raised a question if these stimulants get someone high or if they are addictive. To this question, the experts replied that when these drugs are taken as directed by the doctors, they do not get people high. They help make people with ADHD feel “normal” where they could hold their thoughts and carry on conversations without being distracted or impulsively blurting out their every thought. Essentially, it helped people with ADHD be more successful in their lives. They went on to state that stimulants used for ADHD have no pieces of evidence that consuming them is habit-forming and nor leads to drug abuse. The reaction in a person with ADHD using a stimulant is the opposite effect of someone without ADHD using the prescription. There is a much higher risk of them ending up in the hands of someone who does not need the medication nor has ADHD and them abusing it. This leads to another focus of safe storage and educating people to never share their medication as I mentioned earlier.

When used appropriately, stimulant medication has changed lives for the better.

So now that you have a little information about stimulants, you can start to look at the types of stimulants that are available to you. There is a lot to learn about medications with more options coming into the market. It can be overwhelming.   The best practice is to find a doctor who specializes in ADHD treatment plans and have a consult with them to determine what is the best plan for your unique situation. Be sure to ask what your options are for managing your ADHD given your health history and lifestyle. It makes a difference to the physician prescribing the medication to know which is best for you.

Just as you need to be informed about how the doctor may be able to help you, the doctor needs information about you to best help you.

 

 

When to use ADHD Non-Stimulant Medication

When to use ADHD Non-Stimulant Medication

ADHD Non-Stimulant Medication

Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. –     Kofi Annan

When my daughter was diagnosed with ADHD we began a long journey of trying various medications and it was absolutely the most overwhelming experience I have ever had. I compared it to learning a new computer language. Sitting in the ever so busy doctor’s office, I knew that I had very limited time to understand the options that were going to be presented to use for a treatment plan.   So, I hurriedly began searching for what my options would be on my phone while we waited in the reception room. This was one of the few times that I was actually happy they were running behind schedule.

I had every intention to look it up ahead of time, but between work, after school sports, being the homework Sargeant, laundry, dinner, and my latest Netflix binge, I forgot to do it!

This was my chance to get informed. Well, let’s just say before I dug into the various drug options, I had no idea there was such a thing as stimulant and non-stimulant options.   So, if you were just like me, I just thought they were all one big category for ADHD. BUT as I found in my searches, I needed to REALLY set time aside and learn the different categories, how she might react to each one based on her diet, body type, and other factors. It was all so overwhelming that when we finally went into the appointment, I succumbed to what the doctor recommended. I later came to find out that they really didn’t know what would be best for us either without a lot more trials.

It is a long process that takes dedication and education to gain knowledge of the individual and how they respond to the medications. I had assumed we could just walk into the office and get a script, work on some strategies at home and be done. That day opened a whole new educational journey for me and one I want to help others become informed OR at least know there is a lot to know when determining a medication treatment plan. It is not a one medication that works best for the general population.

We are unique individuals and the treatment plan needs to represent that.

The ones suffering with ADHD are generally prescribed stimulants. However, there can be certain side-effects of stimulants and in that case, non-stimulants are prescribed. It also happens when one may have certain other ailments or conditions, if one’s system does not respond to stimulants or if their usage is resulting in side-effects. We tried both to come up with a plan that would work and it took months to get it right.

Following is a list of ADHD non-stimulation medication list:

  1. Strattera or Atomoxetine

One of the first FDA approved medications for ADHD, Strattera boosts the amount of norepinephrine in the brain. It decreases the defiance, opposition, impulsiveness, and hyperactivity and increases attention span.  It can be consumed by anyone above the age of six. Since it is a non-stimulant medication, it is not a controlled substance and negates the possibility of potential abuse. It has also been classified as a first-line therapy for ADHD.  This medication has to be taken daily without a break for results that fully appear in six weeks and may last for more than 24 hour.

The side-effects are increased heart rate and anxiety, increased blood pressure, weight loss, loss of appetite, fatigue, dizziness, dry mouth, nausea, irritability, and agitation. It is advisable to take this medication with food for lesser or no side-effects.

  1. Intuniv or long-acting Guanfacine

The drug is effective in decreasing distractibility and increasing memory, attention and sharpening the impulses. It can be consumed by anyone above the age of six.

Approved by the FDA, this drug is not a controlled substance. It takes four to six weeks to show maximum results.

The side-effects may include headaches, stomach-aches, fatigue, nausea, dizziness, sleepiness, lethargy, dropped blood pressure and appetite as well as irritability.

 

  1. Kapvay or long-acting Clonidine

To be taken twice a day for maximum results, this drug is FDA approved as well. Alike the aforementioned drug, long-acting Guanfacine, also known as long-acting agonists, the drug can be consumed along with stimulants to eradicate any symptoms left behind after the usage of stimulant medication.It can be consumed by patients above the age of six and shows effects on certain areas of the brain.It is effective in lowering distractibility and increasing memory and attention and controlling impulses.

The side-effects may include fatigue, nausea, lethargy, headaches, sleepiness, low blood pressure, irritability, and decreased appetite.

  1. Tricyclic Antidepressants

Drugs such as

  • Imipramine or Tofranil
  • Nortriptyline or Pamelor
  • Amitriptyline or Elavil
  • Desipramine or Norpramin

are known as tricyclic antidepressants and are prescribed when stimulants fail to show any effect. They are effective when the patient is suffering with ADHD and anxiety or depression.

These drugs boost norepinephrine in the brain. The therapeutic benefits can take days or weeks to show an effect. However, once achieved, the effects can last for more than 24 hours at a stretch or more. The dosage must be daily. Skipping a day of dosage can result in symptoms of flu and aches. Hence, tapering off eventually rather than a stoppage of intake abruptly is advisable.

The side-effects noticed may be insomnia, headaches, stomach-aches, vivid dreams, blurred vision, drowsiness, constipation, and dry mouth.

It is advisable to consult a doctor to be prescribed drugs and discuss what is available for your unique situation. Be an involved and informed patient. Knowing your options early will prepare yourself for the decisions when you are at the doctor’s office. Knowledge is power!

Michelle Raz specializes in helping people with executive function challenges associated with ADHD,  Stress, TBI’s and ASD find careers they will love and land them. Read more at www.razcoaching.com/about Or sign up for the weekly blog and learn about my new book Happiness+Passion+Purpose.

12 Resources for Career Development and Lifelong Learning

12 Resources for Career Development and Lifelong Learning

Benefits of Lifelong Learning

Employers always seek the best-qualified candidates, and they often look at how recently you have been trained in a skill. They are also likely to be impressed if you have job-relevant certificates or certifications. If you can show recent certifications, workshops, and newly acquired skills you will assure the prospective employer that you have a lot to contribute—and, just as importantly, that you are dedicated and proactive when it comes to being the best you can be at your job.

Lifelong learning is also personally beneficial. You may learn about emerging skills or jobs that are a better fit for your life’s goals and values than what you have right now. You may even find yourself in a good position to become a consultant or entrepreneur if you are particularly good at keeping up with industry trends.

Often the biggest hurdle to engaging in new learning is the fear of failure. Just like when applying to jobs, we may be anxious about not performing well on continuing education coursework.

Once we are engaged, we often find the fears are not realities, and that we enjoy whatever was making us anxious! I have a hard time naming a client who hasn’t found that they enjoyed the challenge of continued learning—and the benefits that came with it—once they undertook it.

There is no right or wrong way to receive new training. The list below is some of my favorite places to go to for knowledge and skill training. If you need a degree, certificate, or just the self-confidence, stop procrastinating and go for it.

Online Resources

YouTube: Many colleges and universities have online lectures on YouTube for free.

Udemy: Udemy is a global learning and teaching marketplace. EdX.org: Founded by Harvard University and MIT in 2012, edX is an online learning destination and MOOC provider. It offers high-quality courses from the world’s best universities and institutions.

Coursera.org: Coursera provides courses taught by top instructors from the world’s best universities and educational institutions and you’ll receive a shareable electronic Course Certificate.

khanacademy.org: Khan Academy is a personalized learning resource for all ages. They offer practice exercises, instructional videos, and a personalized learning dashboard.

Openculture.com: Open Culture centralizes online courses, movies, audio, eBooks, and other content for any user all of it free.

Stanford Free Online Adult Courses: Activities range from recorded special talks on iTunes to Master’s Degree classes.

Federal Services

The Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA) can be a great asset as it provides information on training programs and other services for workers who have been, or will be, laid off.

The Department of Vocational Rehabilitation: this resource helps provide people who face mental, emotional, or physical challenges to employment by teaching relevant skills.

Conditions that may qualify you for assistance through the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation can include ADHD, anxiety, depression, PTSD, traumatic brain injury, and physical injuries that limit your ability to do certain types of work. Their goal is to help everyone be employed.

Vocational Technical Centers: Although for decades the emphasis in America has been on going to a four-year college, there are tens of millions of high-paying jobs that do not require a bachelor’s degree. Instead, these jobs require specialized, highly technical, and hands-on training—vocational training.

High-paying careers that require technical training instead of a bachelor’s degree include truck drivers, cosmetologists (hair stylists and other types of style experts), auto mechanics, electricians, welders, line workers for power companies, oil rig workers, and Information Technology experts such as cybersecurity experts.

Schools that specialize in each of these professions—and many more—can be found on the internet. Some may be attached to community colleges, while others such as trucking, power line work, or oil rigging, may be run directly by employers,.

These companies are eager to fill openings with trained workers, and in some cases may even have scholarship or reduced cost tuition programs available for people who are interested in the field, but are concerned about the cost of training to become qualified.

Community Resources

Colleges:

Most colleges offer online courses for which you can receive credit. They may also allow enrollment in in-person courses on an as-needed basis instead of as a full-time student. These can be helpful if you are trying to work towards a degree or certificate.

Community Centers:

Community Centers are organizations, often funded by government grants, that help people gain skills, knowledge, and find opportunities for business and employment. These centers are most common in urban areas but may also be found in smaller cities or towns.

Services commonly offered by Community Centers include résumé and cover letter assistance, job training resources, and networking opportunities. Think of Community Centers as you would a college’s Career Center. The only difference is they serve all taxpayers, including non-student workers and businesspeople.

Apprenticeships:

An apprenticeship is a training system in which a newcomer to a career field assists an experienced worker in that field, and rapidly gains expertise and experience in the process.

Apprenticeships are not as common as they once were, but it is sometimes possible to create an apprenticeship opportunity, if you are sufficiently enthusiastic about the career field, and are able to form a personal connection with an expert.

Experts and business owners are often eager to have assistants who are highly motivated to learn all aspects of the trade or business. For them, having a new employee who is eager to learn exactly how they do things might be preferable to trying to hire regular employees who may or may not be interested in learning and taking on more responsibilities over time.

It is important to note that unlike internships, apprenticeships are regulated by the federal government. While internships are often very brief and unpaid, or “paid in experience,” under the Apprenticeship Act employers must pay apprentices a monthly stipend. Apprenticeships usually last for 6 months to a year.

Lifelong learning keeps you in touch with our rapidly changing society and keeps you active, happy, and positively challenged which will enhance your career path.

Raz Coaching specializes in helping people with executive function challenges associated with ADHD,  Stress, TBI’s and ASD find careers they will love and land them. Read more at www.razcoaching.com/about Or sign up for the weekly blog and learn about my new book Happiness+Passion+Purpose.

 

Addiction, Recovery and Life Coaching

Addiction, Recovery and Life Coaching

Find Your Special with a Life Coach after Addiction

It is not true that everyone is special. It is true that everyone was once special and still possesses the ability to recover it.
-Chris Jami, Killosophy
We put our children in schools so that they get educated and enlightened. Then when they get bad grades we immediately force them into studying and ground them so that their grades improve. Similarly when someone falls sick, we rush them to a hospital and get them treated. Society is slowly accepting addiction as a situation where both mind and body are suffering tremendously. To date many people believe that an addict must first have the “will” to cure themselves before anyone else helps them and in essence the desire for a solution must be present but it is still quite unrealistic to expect an addict to have the required discipline and will to fight their drug addiction. They need external resources.
More often than not addicts end up in the worst possible situations before someone takes notice and sends them to rehabs and therapy centers. It’s a sad fact how this problem could have been averted easily, at a much earlier stage. What’s more is that rehabilitation centers are not an empirical cure for addiction, yes, they do cut off the problem but, weeding it out? That requires a lot more management than most people are led to believe. It is HARD work. Relatives and spouses are often too close to the addict to offer adequate support and management, often sensing something is wrong but not acting on it while the addict is struggling.
Life Coaches
According to National Institute of Drug Administration (NIDA) an annual loss of $700 billion is reported related to crime, lost work productivity and health care, owing to alcoholism, smoking and drug administration. About 2% of 12th graders related to daily consumption of alcohol and 23.6% to monthly drug administration. And majority of drug users fell under the ages of 25 to 39. These are hard facts and in most cases all any recovering or suffering addict needs is support.
Addiction Life Coaching is also regarded as a form of “Recovery Coaching”. These coaches specialize in
a) Support around recovery efforts
b) Constant positive reinforcement
c) Decision making guidance
d) Life Style management
Studies show that recovery is aided with the presence of a coach; a third person element that is neither too close to the addict nor a judgmental figure. Addicts easily fall into the trap of bad decision making, coaches help patients relearn and refocus the decision making part of their personality and spend less time struggling. The treatment program of the addict is not done alone, the presence of a coach is also for the healing and support to benefit family members.
While addiction remains a problem of millions it is barely identified by a small percentage and according to the Model of Health, addiction is still not accepted as a disease by many countries. It is well understood now that addiction results from ingestion of reinforcing substances that stimulate the pleasure and reward center of the human brain and alter its functioning. Addiction is not just physical or related to drug abuse, Addiction Life Coaches deal with the mental impact it has of the whole person.
Here are a few types of addictions that are common for life coaches
a) Alcoholics
b) Drug Abuse
c) Sex addicts
d) Gamblers
Often drug abuse and other kinds of addiction lands the abuser in jail however, the process of life style changes and recovery doesn’t have to stop. Life coaches help people right out of confinement in readjusting to the world and provide support for them from falling back into their old patterns.
Addiction remains majorly a social problem and support from peers, family and society members is vital for remission. Quite often biases from time of addiction can be held against clean users and pose as major stressors for rehabilitation.
A life coach is there to bring all the pieces together, make them work collectively for the benefit of the patient.
Benefits of a Life Coach
• Boosting their inspiration to succeed
• Managing day to day life stressors
• Managing life style changes
• Holding the addict accountable to the recovery plan
A life coach sets the pattern for recovery and provides support along the way.
Raz Coaching specializes in helping people with executive function challenges associated with ADHD, Stress, TBI’s and ASD find careers they will love and land them. Read more at www.razcoaching.com/about Or sign up for the weekly blog and learn about my new book Happiness+Passion+Purpose.

Hire an Academic & Career Coach and Here is Why

Hire an Academic & Career Coach and Here is Why

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.” – Dr. Seuss

This is easier said than done, I must say….

Hire an ADHD Academic & Career Coach to Help

DOES your student seem to have a never ending cycle of distraction upon distraction? You just want to head them in the right direction in life?

Do they head for the door at the first mention of words like “planning” and “scheduling”?

Find the power of motivation and change with ADHD Academic & Career Coaching. By the client digging into their personal strengths, desire, and passions with their coach, they can chart a course to success. It is a great resource for high school, college students or adults. While it is not an end all cure, it is an excellent management system; especially if used in conjunction with medication, counseling and other support systems. Here are a few tools that are implemented with coaching for executive function deficits such as planning, organizing, prioritizing and emotional regulating.

Day Planners and Time Management

A day planner can affect the way your days and time is managed. If you really follow what you jotted down, through an accountability plan with your coach, you can take control and make daily functioning more purposeful. This is an excellent way to keep yourself on time and on track with accountability.

Study Habits

This is probably the toughest department for a student with the inability to focus for a substantial length of time. Some excellent tips for focusing that a coach can help create accountability around:

  • Break study time into small sessions that aren’t as daunting as continuous sessions of studying.
  • Use your smartphone! Make it work as your study buddy, allow the habit of a smartphone to work in your favor.
  • Start with the most boring or interesting subject based on your tolerance.
  • Use color coding, filing and sticky notes to make dull subjects more interesting and colorful.
  • Design and make your study space more interesting more interactive.
  • Add elements that would interest you

 

External Accountability System

Now, why should all of this require a coach? Why not just download all the information, dos and don’ts and get to work yourself? Having a non-judgmental accountability system makes the relationship between your ADHD coach and you more effective.

You have the ship, the wind and the open sea! What you need is a navigator and your coach will be just that.

Why coaching works?

It creates a working relationship that is individualized. A coach will guide you to build a system around your comforts, strengths and weaknesses. This will make you more organized, focused and capable of decision-making while holding you accountable to your customized plan.

The great thing about this relationship is that it is flexible and it evolves, grows and changes with the individual and their coach.   Whether you are deciding on a high school, college or career coach, the benefits of accountability will help one reach their goals.

With motivation and a desire to work towards a better life, coaching will lead you to feel in control, balanced and less overwhelmed by day to day tasks.

Now, you will have a clear path to choose!

Raz Coaching specializes in helping people with executive function challenges associated with ADHD,  Stress, TBI’s and ASD find careers they will love and land them. Read more at www.razcoaching.com/about Or sign up for the weekly blog and learn about my new book Happiness+Passion+Purpose.

 

 

 

Craft Your Personal Purpose and Define Your Career Path

Craft Your Personal Purpose and Define Your Career Path

Craft Your Personal Purpose and Define Your Career Path

The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are      -Carl Jung

Don’t let your ADHD or other challenges keep you back from a life of purpose and a career you love.   Start to define your own personal purpose with this guide and create, what you want from your life despite your struggles.

Why Define Your Purpose?

When you act without purpose, you risk being reactive instead of proactive. This means that instead of consciously making the decisions that lead to the life you want, you simply react to what falls into your lap.

You can create a proactive life – one where you consciously determine your likes, dislikes, goals, and plans to reach those goals – by learning about yourself, and applying your self-knowledge to your career decisions.

We are all a combination of our genetic traits, like innate skills and talents, and our personal history and experiences.

Personal history includes our expectations, what we are familiar with, and what seems realistic or unrealistic to us. For example, if you grew up around doctors, you might see it as realistic to become a doctor yourself; but if you had no family members or family friends who were doctors growing up, then becoming a doctor might seem out of reach.

This expectation has nothing to do with your innate potential.

These learned attitudes can hold us back from pursuing careers that are well-suited to our goals. That’s why it is so important to consciously analyze what you enjoy, and what you want out of a career – and then investigate which careers will allow you to best fulfill your purpose.

By defining your personal purpose and learning about yourself, you’ll give yourself goals to strive for and tools to engage with the challenges and curveballs of life head on!

When you live with purpose, you become passionate about living. You are in touch with your drives and passions, and have a purpose you’ve chosen to keep you focused and motivated. To start making the most of your life, the first step is to create this personal purpose.

A Good Place to Start: Investigate Your Inner Narrative

Below, I’ve listed some questions to help you identify your passions. Spend some time with these questions to get into the headspace of paying attention to your own joys and strengths, with a sharp eye out for why these things make you happy. These are only a few of the questions that can help you to see the patterns of what brings you joy, what stresses you out, and what you are really good at.

To get the most out of these questions, please answer them honestly.

  • What motivates me in life?
  • What have I wanted, but never gotten, in life?
  • What energizes me? How?
  • What brings me the most joy? Why?
  • What are my biggest interests?
  • What do I REALLY REALLY want in life?
  • Who do I enjoy being around? Why?

Now, how can you turn these loves and desires into a statement of purpose for the next several years of your life?

Is there a passion, skill, or craft that you want to devote your life to perfecting? Is there an area of study that you want to devote your life to advancing? Is building wealth your top priority? Or is there a type of challenge you’d like to devote your life to helping others overcome?

There are countless possible answers, but some could look like this:

  • My purpose in life is to help end world hunger.
  • My purpose in life is to help people look and feel their best.
  • My purpose in life is to empower others through education.
  • My purpose in life is to care for the sick.
  • My purpose in life is to become an artist whose work moves people.
  • My purpose in life is to change laws and policies to create a better world.
  • My purpose in life is to build as much wealth as possible for my family in future generations.

Consider which way of contributing might suit you best. For example, are you a people person, or do you prefer to work alone? Do you like to do hands-on work, or do you prefer to study and work out theories?

Consider these possible professions that correspond with the type of life purpose:

  • A person could help end world hunger by being a scientist, a politician, or a founder or employee of an organization devoted to hunger relief.
  • A person could help others to look and feel their best as a fitness trainer, a cosmetologist, a nutritionist, or a fashion designer.
  • A person could empower others through education as a school teacher, a founder or staff member of an adult or extracurricular education program, or a producer of educational media.

Note that even within each of these purposes, many different careers requiring different skills are necessary to fulfill them.   Defining your personal purpose helps you choose your life goals, and possible career paths to reach them!

To read more about finding your passion career, purchase my book

Happiness + Passion + Purpose Book A Step By Step Guide On How To Nourish The Patterns Of Your Life Into The Job You Will Love And Land It!