Judging Choices

Hello my Zebras and Spoonies! Thanks for coming and hanging out with me today, I am glad that you are here. Today I am going to be talking about the weirdness that surrounds the use of stimulants for ADHD. I frequently run up against odd comments about these medications that drive me bonkers.

I think that our culture is too quick to reach for medications and that we primarily research medications. I think that medications should be the last thing that we try rather then the first and it is all too often the first thing that providers offer. There are so many things out there that can help people that have much less risk. Those options should be tried first. But yes, there are those that are in crisis or have tried other options. Medications are not wrong. They do help people. They are a good choice for some people. And no one should be looked down upon for the choices that they make to achieve wellness. Regardless of what those choices are; medications or not. If you are not hurting other people, you have every right to do what makes you feel well. I think it is complete bull shit for people to judge from the outside. I have met hundreds of people with chronic illness and each person has complex, differing needs. But, no, meds are not the only answer. But they are usually a part of it.

From my own perspective, I have found that the world in my head is a complex and divided place. There is a driving need for order with an inability to maintain it. I received ERP to treat the OCD and it was one of the most difficult things that I have done, but it was very helpful. On the other hand, I have decided to use medication to treat the ADHD because I haven’t found any non-med option that has been effective enough to maintain functioning. As in I can’t keep a job without being medicated. And keeping a job is pretty important.

My experience with using the ADHD medications has been strange. I am currently on Strattera, but I’ve been on the controlled substances in the past. They come with weird rules. Ones that can be difficult for people with ADHD to follow. It means that you get ID’d when you pick up your medication, which you can only pick up at one pharmacy. You have to bring your medications in to your doctor’s office for random counts. You have to pee in a cup for random drug testing. You have to sign a medication contract. The script has to be paper rather then an e-script. There are just so many hoops to jump through so that people can get this medication. All because you might be an addict or you might be diverting your med. Nothing like making a person feel like they’re a criminal for having ADHD.

The thing is that all of this is designed in a way that is completely not helpful for those of us with ADHD. Random drug screening is insanity. Who with ADHD hasn’t forgotten to take their medication or accidently taken an extra dose? Forgetting things is part of the disorder, so that kind of thing happens. All the time. So what then if your drug screen says your drug level doesn’t match your prescribed dose? I don’t know, it never happened to me. But I always had anxiety about it. Because I knew that it could happen. And you’re going to expect me to be able to just up and come in with all my pills at the drop of a dime? Honey, I take this medication because I am struggling to get to anything on time. Not to mention I am struggling to keep track of my stuff. Then you give me a paper script. I hope I don’t misplace that. Feels like they are trying to make you fail.

The system it self is built in such a way that fosters stigma. By making us go through all of this, it is sending the message to our providers that we are likely to be engaging in criminal behavior. Otherwise, why would we have to be monitored? And that message is sent to everyone in the office from the one writing the script to the person at the desk. They give the medical assistant the cup with instruction to collect the drug screen. Stigma message sent. The provider tells the secretary to call me to come in for a random drug count or random drug screen. Stigma message sent. The provider hesitates to write the script. They are dubious of the adult ADHD diagnosis and are wary of “drug seekers.” Stigma message sent. That sucks.

And to what end? They’ve put all these weird measures into place for controlled drugs. So now, people who have been legally prescribed them have to go through a lot of dumb stuff to get and keep their medications. Yet, the rates of drug abuse have kept going up. This means that all these measures haven’t made any difference in the problem they are designed to prevent. Yet, we keep them going. Not sure why.

Bleh. It’s a catch 22. Our culture/society is set up in such a way that medications are the first line treatment for everything. But if you are taking medications you are a “drug seeker” and are some how a failure. Well screw that. I argue that it is society that is the failure. We as a group should be able to support each other. We should be able to tolerate and nurture each other as fellow human beings. Why aren’t we researching options other then meds? If the government thinks that these medications are so terrible, why aren’t they funding the research for non-medication options? I’d love to have more treatment options!

Seriously. The system is broken. And those of us caught up in it are just trying to survive. Please, don’t judge us for using what there is. Believe me, we know it isn’t great. You think that I want to take medications every day? We would love to have something better. But no one has come up with anything better yet. So, for right now, I am stuck with struggling to remember to take my pill every day so that I can remember things better.

And I think that’s all I have to say about that, so thanks for coming and spending some time with me. I hope that you all find peace and wellness. Until we talk again, you take care of yourselves!

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