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Category: Life

The ADHD Meds Situation

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Okay, Last time I was here, I mentioned that I was surprise taken off of my ADHD meds. I was taking a very controlled stimulant medication. By the rules of the DEA, I had to be ready for surprise drug screenings and pill counts. This meant that I would get the call, and within an hour I had to gather my meds, go to my doctor's office and give a urine sample. They would count the pills to make sure I wasn't selling them, and test my urine to make sure I wasn't abusing the meds myself. I did this and passed with flying colors for about a year. I hated it. I hate urine tests. Unless they are screening for a medical problem, it feels humiliating to me. I know a lot of jobs require them, but I still don't like it.

While I was house sitting for my mum (when she had surgery) I got the call. I could not physically get there within the hour. I explained this, but it does not matter. Not showing up counts as a failure. One fail is enough to take you off of this prescription, and not allow you back on it. These are the rules set by the DEA. There are no allowances for being out of town, or even out of state. I understand that this is a frequently abused medication, but after a year of passing these tests it's kind of wild that there is no way to coordinate trips. My doctor's husband can't be on this med that used to help him, because his job takes him out of state. 

I admit, I had forgotten that one fail was enough to no longer have the prescription. I signed the contract over a year ago, before I started taking the meds that help my memory. So I called to refill my prescription before I left for Denver. No one told me that I was no longer prescribed these meds. My friend went to pick them up for me, and found out from the pharmacy. I called my doctor's office to ask about it. The receptionist told me "We're looking into that" and then hung up. My calls were not answered for several days after. I correctly guessed that I could not get a refill, and tried to research whether I should taper. I could not find a straight answer. The only sources I could find were about substance abuse or getting your child off of "the drugs." Needless to say, I felt the stigma. I decided to play it safe and taper the best I could. 

I did not experience any kind of withdrawal, but within a few days of being off of my meds I was back to where I started. I used all of the tips and tricks I knew, and once again it wasn't enough. And some of the things that did work caused stress. I had an alarm on my phone go off every two hours to remind me to drink water. I hated it. What I hated the most though, was the realization that the reason I was chronically early before my meds was that I was living in a constant state of anxiety. On my meds I could be early all the time with my planner and organization. Off of them, it takes constant vigilance. It was awful.

When we got home, I forgot to call the doctor's office for a week and a half. When I did, I finally talked to a person, and I made an appointment to talk about my ADHD meds. At this point I was confident I would not get answers any other way. 

My doctor was nervous. She had the contract I signed printed and reminded me of the rules I agreed to, and that by the DEA's rules, one failure was enough, and that the contract could not be renewed after that. I asked what other options I had then. I had two. I could get back on my meds by going through a "meds management" program with a substance abuse center that would test me far more often. Or, I could try another kind of medication. This kind is non-stimulant, and therefore, not controlled. I asked if we could try those and make meds management the last resort plan. 

She thanked me for not yelling at her or the staff, and was really happy with that plan. She put in the referral for meds management because they normally have a long waiting list. She expected that by the time they reached out we would know if the non-stimulant worked or not. They actually got back to me very quickly, but I don't think I will need their services.

So far, the non stimulant meds are helping. They are noticeably better than being unmedicated, but not quite as effective as my old meds. This is actually really promising, because I am being started on the lowest dose possible. My doctor thinks I'll go up two more, based on how I reacted to the last meds. We'll see! We have a follow-up in a few weeks. M is still very angry on my behalf for how the receptionist avoided the issue, but they have noticed a difference in me. I understand and appreciate M's anger, I would feel the same if the roles were reversed, but I am just so relieved to have a possible solution that the fire has gone out. We'll see how this goes in a few weeks!

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