That is the question!
I live with an ADHD partner who, up to this point, has chosen not to take medication for his condition. Not everyone makes that choice, which is perfectly okay! It is always important that an individual decides for themselves what course of treatment they would like to proceed with. Trying multiple treatment paths can also prove beneficial, to determine which one helps them to feel the best.
I go back and forth on if I believe that Felipe should try to manage his symptoms with standard ADHD meds like Adderall or Ritalin. What if that changes who he is as the person I know him as? He is a quirky goofball, full of life and energy. Only occasionally do I notice when his ADHD symptoms are expressed outwardly in a negative way, then causing something negative to occur. Sometimes I wonder if it might surpress the “real him”. Or, will it simply allow him to be “him” more easily? It is said tthat 35% of those who stop using their ADHD medications, do so because of the negative side affects.
Negative Symptoms of ADHD Meds-
- Decreased Appetite. (Which, if you knew Felipe, might be noted as good thing as he is very rarely not hungry).
- Sleep Problems.
- Weight Loss.
- Irritability, Anger. (Those are traits he already attributes to his ADHD thinking to feeling theory, something he would take medication to counteract).
- Flat Affect/Loss of Personality. (The main reason I love him so much is his incredibly outgoing, bubbly, and charming personality that may be enhanced by his ADHD. I don’t want to see him become flat).
Positive Affects of ADHD Meds-
I imagine they would help him manage his forgetfulness, and allow him to stay focused on the tasks he starts. Hopefully, they would help him to start those tasks he has already procrastinated. Medicating for ADHD would likely allow him to hush the loud and continuous flow of thoughts in his mind, which I would be very happy for him to be able to achieve such a feat.’
I am torn as to if I believe which treatment path would simply make him feel the happiest, because that is all I want for him. Ultimately, it isn’t my decision.
The choice to medicate or not will always be up to him, and no matter what he decides I will support him in his choice! That is how I believe those of us who don’t live with the condition, should view others who do. Without stigma, without judgement, and without believing we can “fix” them with medication.
That said, lots of people have found tremendous success in Adderall and other ADHD medications. I also trust Felipe that if he finds he wants to try medicating, that he would choose stop if he found he didn’t like the negative symptoms that may show up.
Hopefully, we can continue to have honest conversations like this as a society, and be able to de-stigmatize ADHD and medicating for it even further.