From the moment I found out I had ADD, I wanted to find a more natural solution than medication. I read a lot about nutrition, vitamins for ADHD/ADD, so I wanted to try vitamin supplements. My doctor didn’t agree. Vitamins can be dangerous, she said, and there was no proof that it works. A year later, I (always been a bit of a rebel) tried. Can vitamins be a substitute for medication for ADHD/ADD? You’re about to find out 🙂
Note: I’m not a medical specialist, doctor or dietician. I write from my own experience.
I was using AD(H)D medication for a year
I got the diagnose ADD when I was 28, during my burnout. Immediately, I started with therapy. I was really impressed by the quality of this ADHD centre, and they suggested me to use medication. My first response was ‘no way, I’m nog going to use medication for the rest of my life’. I hate medication. It’s unnatural, and most of the times they don’t know much about the long term effects. I immediately thought of solutions like diet or vitamins for ADHD, but I wanted to listen tot the professionals for a change.
One of my best friends, who’s a doctor and who’m I really trust, said I should give it a try. I was really happy about the help I got at the ADHD centre and I was kind of desperate at that time, so because of those two, I decided to give it a try. Also, I was really curious how other people, without ADD/ADHD feel. Can it changed your life completely, as I had heard people say?
Dex methylphenidad Retard, Ritalin, Dexamphetamine.
I remember the first time using Dex Methylphenidad Retard. At that time, I was dog sitting. After taking the first pill, I took the dog for a walk. I looked at the trees and they were so bright, so green, so sharp. My focus was absolutely amazing. Everything was beautiful. My first car-ride was awesome too. I drove to school, as I did twice a week. Many things I saw on the road were new to me. That was so weird, but astounding.
So this is how ‘normal people’, without ADD feel? WOW!
The first weeks of using medication were amazing. I was working on my thesis at that time. And wow, I could focus for longer than 5 minutes. It was so easy to organise all the data that I collected. My house was tidy, I had so much energy, I knew where my stuff was. Another great benefit was the fact that I could be in a crowded space (festivals or birthday party’s) without the feeling I wanted to run away. Normally, I was exhausted after a social event with lots of people. My energy was gone. Not with medication. It was easy. I could participate in conversations without my mind wandering off, or while hearing 4 conversations at the same time.
The side effects of ADHD medication that I experienced
You’re probably wondering ‘why did she use so many types of medication, when it worked so well?’
Well… It was great in the beginning. The side effects weren’t so bad the first weeks. I had a dry mouth, a dry skin and not much apetite. That was it. It was worth it.
After a few weeks, the really bad side effects came. With some types of medication I had extreme rebounds (mostly with Ritalin). That means that when, after a few hours, the medication got out of my system, the ADD symptoms became double as bad as they are without medication. I had a high hart rate, was extremely anxious or just pissed off. Everything was blur. I got a bit of a fever. I couldn’t do much for about half an hour, besides lying on the couch feeling miserable. When that happens every day, it sucks.
White poo, ‘I don’t care about whatever’ and blackouts because of the ADHD medication.
Dexmethylphenidad Retard got to my liver, up to the point where my poo was white. And I lost weight. I only used Dexamphetamine for about two weeks, because it made me feel like ‘I don’t care about anything’. In traffic I didn’t care about other people on the road or about traffic lights. I didn’t feel happy, I didn’t feel sad. I just didn’t care. At one point, I had a complete blackout. I was in the train, at a station where I wasn’t suppose to be. I don’t know what happened or how I got there. The next day, my doctor told me to reduce the dose. I told her I wanted to stop. It wasn’t me anymore.
I decided to stop using ADD/ADHD medication
After a year, The ADHD centre ‘released me’ because I learned enough. At the last session with the doctor I told her I decided I wanted to stop using meds. After trying 4 types of medication over the year, I was at a point where I didn’t recognise myself anymore. Where was my creativity? I wasn’t spontaneous anymore, lost my creativity and didn’t enjoy the things I enjoyed before, like playing music. My body felt week, I wasn’t fit like I used to be.
Let me state this: though I personally disagree with the way in which doctors describe medicine so easily and quickly, I’m really happy for the people who do feel good while using those meds. It’s just not for me.
After I stopped using ADD medication. The ‘Oh crap, I really miss the benefits of the medication’-stage
The first weeks without meds were okay. Probably, there were still some after effects. After a few weeks, I was back where I was before the meds. It was weird, I’d forgot how I felt without medication. It was terrible, I was totally upset. What to do? I don’t want to use that sh*t anymore, but I don’t want to feel like this either.
Google, your friend in need
In the Netherlands, there’s a diet for kids with ADHD. I heard about that and thought well, when it works for kids, why not try it out for myself. Unfortunately, the insurance companies don’t pay for ADHD solutions based on diet for adults, and since I had no job, I had to find a cheap solution. There must be other people struggling with this, I thought, so I tried Google.
New Zealand research about vitamins for ADHD
A New Zealand research came up in the results, which showed results in where people with ADHD or ADD had good results using vitamins. ‘More research was needed’, but I didn’t care. I gave it a try. I thought, budgetwise, let’s start with only a few. So I start using:
This was about 9 months ago. I was ‘house-sitting’ (taking care of my sister and her boyfriends cat) and writing another thesis, this time for the online marketing course I was following. Their neighbours were really loud.. kids, music. I couldn’t focus. I had no energy.
After only a few days of using vitamins, among which Omega 3, B12 and Zinc, I already felt the difference.
The vitamins made me more clear in my head. The neighbours didn’t bother me anymore and I could focus on my thesis.
So, do vitamins for ADHD work?
I’m taking the vitamins for about 9 months now, longer than I stopped eating Gluten, as I wrote in my previous post. For me, it makes a huge difference if I take them or not. I have way more energy and focus. My head is more clear. My concentration improves, and because of that I don’t lose my stuff, I can be in crowded spaces, I’m more organised, and so forth… I wouldn’t say they give me the same results as the medication like Ritalin, but about 80-90% of it, and without side effects. I would recommend using vitamins for ADHD.
More research about vitamins for ADHD?
Scientists, pharmacy and doctors would say: ‘There’s not enough research to state that vitamins can help reduce ADHD symptoms’. They might even say that it’s not healthy to take vitamin supplements.
I’m surprised that there’s not a lot of research published or even done in the field of vitamins for ADHD. But on the other side, it doesn’t surprise me. Because who would benefit from this? Not the pharmaceutical industry, who are mostly the sponsor for medical research and who supply the medication.
What’s your story? Would you try vitamins, to help reduce ADHD symptoms?
I would love to hear your experience, so please share your story below! There’s so much information about ADHD, ADD, medication and natural solutions. Let’s help each other make the most out of our life with ADHD or ADD.
If you would like to try vitamin supplements for ADHD, this is what I’m using:
Note: buying cheap vitamins might not be the best choice, because your body can’t always absorb it or it contains things that are unhealthy. During my burn out I went to a doctor who not only studied medicine, but on top of that alternative medicine. He recommended the brand Lamberts.