I get a lot of email from women who are searching for just the right solution/treatment for their ADHD — “Penelope” agreed to let me share her message with all of you:

Hi Linda!  I stumbled across your blog after searching google for Adderall
vacations.  I tried to read as much as I could…but I’m in a fog right now and
reading isn’t really working.  Long story short, I’ve been on Adderall for about
4 months, 10mg/am and 5mg/pm.  It worked wonders at first, but has been a
downwards spiral the last few weeks to the point that I was curled up in a ball
last night sobbing.  Saw my doctor yesterday, wants me off Adderall, and start
Zoloft.  I’m not excited about that….another medication is not necessarily
what I want to do.  So I made an appointment for acupuncture.  Just curious if
you have heard anything about that procedure…for ADD or for depression. I’m
not setting my hopes/expectations high…but I would be delighted if it helped. 

Here is my response:

I am so sorry to hear about the Adderall
experience! I actually liked my Adderall
but it felt like I was getting more and more
hyper (a natural state for me but not
needed in excess!).

If Adderall worked well for you at first, your ADHD
may respond better to a drug that hits dopamine
receptors/transmitters pretty hard — that’s Wellbutrin
and Adderall. Ritalin and Strattera (a reformulation
of an old tricyclic antidepressant that is approved
for treatment of ADHD adults) aim more toward
the neurotransmitter norephinephrine.

All you can do it try them…honestly, it’s a pain in
the butt to figure it out for your special body
and brain. It’s not ADHD friendly at all. Think
about it: keeping track of how you feel when you
take a pill, which is hard enough to remember
in the first place? Agony. But worth it to
feel better and be more productive and
on track.

Do you trust your doctor? So few docs really
know how to treat ADHD, it’s scary. And they
all SAY they know all about it, because it was
on the test in psychiatry school! Not. This is
a highly specialized area that is evolving
every day. There is no specialization in
ADHD offered, but there should be. You will
find great ADHD docs in the weirdest places.
Some family docs and psychiatrists are great,
most suck at ADHD treatment.There are
even some great nurse practitioners out there
who specialize in ADHD. How to find them?
Talk to other people with ADHD — support
groups are a good start. Find out who is
good and not so good in your area. I maintain
a list of excellent providers for the members
of our local Meetup support group. And we
carefully warn against those who aren’t
effective (and perhaps dangerous).

Don’t give up. Taking medication isn’t a
bad thing. I am leery of anything chemical
these days … even food that is contaminated
by those darned chemicals. But it’s the
best we have right now. And meds do work.

Alternative..consider CogMed working memory
or another brain training. Acupuncture
hasn’t been really effective for ADHD to my
knowledge, nor has chiropractic medicine.

Exercise is the most effective treatment for
ADHD and depression, too. Serious, aerobic
exercise … daily or at least 4-5 times a week.
My best friend Marty has had depression
issues for years and when she misses
a few days of exercise her husband notices
the difference in her state of mind. She does too.

If you are already exercising regularly (frankly,
I’d be surprised if you were … it’s not an ADHD
friendly thing to do either) then
look at diet. There is no research support
for altering your food intake, but clinical results
and anecdotal evidence suggests that
most ADHD adults do best on a
low carb diet (also ironic since ADHD and
depression cause carb craving). Eggs and
bacon or turkey sausage for breakfast;
salad and broiled chicken for lunch,
broiled meat (or vegetarian equivalent)
with lightly steamed veggies for dinner…
that’s the recommendation. Wish I could
stick with that one! My carb cravings are
out of control at the moment ; – (

Please let me know what happens. It’s
important to follow up ….know that I care!