“I have ADHD, but I won’t take medication.” I can’t tell you how often I have heard that emphatic statement. My heart sinks when I hear those words because medication can make the difference between being productive or struggling and being unproductive. I’ll never forget the participant of an ADHD group coaching class slamming a bottle of Ritalin on the table and saying, “This is what works for me!” When he uses the medication, he gets things done. When he doesn’t, he is unable to focus enough to efficiently and effectively work on tasks.
Getting started on tasks is an ADHD challenge. As a coach I am always curious about how my clients with ADHD initiate action. What motivated them to go from inaction to action? More often than not an ADHD client who has had great success being productive has had the support of a medication that improves the functioning of the pre-frontal cortex of the brain, the center of executive functions like planning, organizing, prioritizing, memory, time management, initiating action, etc. When the pre-frontal cortex is operating well, productivity improves.
Recently a woman in my ADHD Clutter Clearing & Productivity Facebook group wrote of how medication helped her cope with the stress of Christmas preparations:
“I can’t say what I did right, but Christmas happened so effortlessly for me this year. I even sent Christmas cards for the first time in ten years and scheduled an abdominal surgery the week before! It may be that my load is a little bit reduced this year, but I really think it is because of a medication I started last spring: ABILIFY. I started it for residual depression, not ADHD, but without doing anything differently (i.e. with no more effort) I started knocking out projects that had been having serious repercussions in my life for years. It didn’t feel any better to do them – the time on task was just as miserable as ever – but burdens were getting out of the way. I learned a new word: “DONE.” Sometimes I’d find myself sitting down wondering what to do next, instead of always being aware that I had far too many things than I could ever do.”
What’s keeping you from exploring the use of medication? How would your life change if you were able to be more productive?