Adult ADHD and How It Can't Be Fixed

March 10, 2014 Elizabeth Prager

Adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) - it's what I have and it's what you either have or think you have, or what your loved one has or you think your loved one has. And, guess what? It can't be cured. And guess what else? That's okay. Also, you might ask, "Why can't it be fixed? And, if it can't be fixed, what the heck can you do about it?" The following is my argument for how best to approach the treatment and post-diagnosis-life of adult ADHD.Medicine doesn't fix adult ADHD, but it can help you to implement coping strategies. Learn about the effects ADHD medication has on adult ADHD.Way back when I was first diagnosed with ADHD, my then-current psychiatrist put me on Concerta. Concerta is the name brand for long-acting Ritalin, or methylphenidate. My appointment was at 7 PM, so I was unable to try the medicine until the next morning. Once I did, though, everything changed. It was finals time at Bryn Mawr College and I started to read, write and study my sophomore heart out. It was amazing. Sadly, the side-effects meant, for the following 2 weeks, I no longer required a normal amount of sleep.

Okay, great. The drugs worked. Did I still have Adult ADHD? Heck yes! Once the side-effect of insomnia passed and I began to eat regularly again (anorexia - not the "pathological" variety- is another hugely bothersome side effect), I started to experience the trend I still experience to this day (nearly 10 years later).

When I wake up, I turn to my bedside table, open my SMTWTFS pill thingamajig and take my Concerta. Life is good. I go to school, study my graduate-school heart out and then six or seven o'clock rolls around. My medicine wears off and I feel like I have severe adult ADHD again. During the day, things are mostly fine, with the occasional ADHD-moment. At night, though, I've had to make routine changes to address the me-without-medication hours of the day.

No Drug Can Fix Adult ADHD

Concerta doesn't fix adult ADHD. No drug can "fix" any psychopathology, unfortunately. If you take an anti-hypertension (high blood pressure) drug, that doesn't fix it either. If you take medication for type 2 diabetes, it doesn't change your diagnosis. When you have bronchitis caused by bacteria, antibiotics can fix it. In general, though, medicine doesn't cure much. Medicine treats a lot, though. When we have hypertension or diabetes, we need to change parts of our lifestyle to address why we have what we have. With ADHD, we often can't affect the root cause of our disorder, but we can make compensations and address certain issues.

In sum, if the drugs aren't fixing your life, don't blame the drugs. Drugs cannot fix ADHD, they can help you to implement coping strategies.

APA Reference
Prager, E. (2014, March 10). Adult ADHD and How It Can't Be Fixed, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 17 from

Author: Elizabeth Prager

March, 14 2014 at 7:15 am

Thanks for the article!
I've been looking at courses on adult ADHD in Essex and hopefully they will be a better help than any medication!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Elizabeth Prager
March, 15 2014 at 6:27 am

Hi Steve - looked at their website - really cool that they offer nightime hours for people who have to work during the day!

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