Okay, so I have had ADHD since I was a child. It took way too long to get diagnosed because I was a straight A student and a girl (which is sadly very common, girls don’t get the treatment they need, more on that could be a whole other post though) and teachers liked me so they overlooked me shouting out answers, being overly talkative, and being disruptive. But anyway, in my late teens I was finally diagnosed with ADHD (after being misdiagnosed as depressed) and put on medication. It helped me focus and feel normal. But I was bad at taking them consistently and over the years would go on and off. Part of it was denial (I didn’t want to NEED medications, I was smart, etc.)
So, I’m now in my twenties with a graduate degree and working at a job that requires a lot of detailed, intense paperwork. I started just a little under 3 months ago. My current job is much harder for me with my ADHD symptoms than previous jobs, despite the same general role of therapist/clinician. It has a lower caseload due to more intense treatment and the fact that we are home based (we travel to the families), but more intense paperwork requirements. It’s frustrating because with my last job, three months in, I felt I really had a handle on the paperwork.
I do fine in the therapy sessions (though, having my DVD’s reviewed by my supervisor, it has been noticed that I fidget a lot, especially with jewelry which is painful to watch), but the rest has been hard for me. The intake requires a lot of paperwork, a long diagnostic/case conceptualization, and entering a lot of data into quite a few different online systems. The notes we do for a session are ridiculously detailed, requiring far more than the typical DAP or SOAP format. We also have to document that info in an online system, and in an excel spreadsheet that we turn in monthly to show productivity. Also, each week we need to type out a session plan for each client and each session (3 sessions per client). It’s incredibly detailed (about 8 pages long). We’re not just typing out past outcomes, goals of the session, and what we want to change as a result of the session. We literally have to type out what we are going to say and what questions we are going to ask for all three sessions (breaking each session into the first, second, and third part of the session). I sit there in front of the paperwork and don’t even know where to start! I’m also struggling with how to make sure I don’t forget one of the many steps you have to take to track everything. I could go on and on, but you get the idea! The paperwork is intense and I am overwhelmed.
So, I finally made the decision to get back on ADHD medications. I saw a doctor and he gave me a very low dose prescription (and told me he may drug test me to make sure I’m taking them-which offended me). While I think I need a higher dose when I see him in a few weeks, it is improving my concentration, I feel calm, I feel less overwhelmed and more organized. My concern is, these medications severely reduce my appetite! I could go all day without eating and wouldn’t even notice. I’ve been trying my best to eat, but food isn’t very appealing or exciting like it usually is. I think numbers aren’t allowed here if I’m remembering correctly, but I’m 5’5” and underweight per the BMI. I’m actually at my lowest adult weight ever which is scary to me. Yes, the BMI is often bullshit, but I can’t lose weight and stay healthy. If I could have gained weight before going on this med, I would have, but I’ve been very skinny my whole life and despite all the admonitions that I would get fat with puberty, when I turn 18, after college, etc, it doesn’t look like it’s happening.
So, does anyone have experience with maintaining weight on ADHD meds? Any tips or tricks to increase appetite? Also, please note I’m vegetarian in case that’s relevant to any suggestions.