Dealing with Adult ADHD as a Gamer/Creative

Hey all,

So, I struggle with Adult ADHD, which means I have a terrible time focusing on both video games and my creative pursuits. It’s been an eye opening experience these last few days how bad it is, seeing as how I can’t focus on my partner talking directly to me, having had to take a small dose after running out of my 10 MG.

I’m on Adderall 10 MG XR right now, and I’ve been thinking of talking to my doctor about going up to 15. Thing is, I’ve gone up to 20 before, and I found that to be way too strong.

Is this how it is supposed to go though? An incremental increase, up and up, until I reach a cap? I guess my mentality is that I don’t want to be too dependent on the drug, despite it helping me IMMENSELY.

It was helping a lot over the past year, but lately it feels like I’m slipping into old habits again, unable to focus on writing, one of my passions, or getting through ANY kind of game that’s not an immediate multi-player game. I feel like I’m not locked in on conversations again either…

Does anyone have similar experiences? How do you cope with these changes in focus?

2 Likes

This is a bit scatterbrained because fuck it I’m not trying to impress anyone. Also I talk about my medication a lot because it’s what has had the most noticeable effect on me

Right, so I was diagnosed with ADHD Inattentive type in mid-late 2016 (I was 21), and have been on consistent medication since early 2017 (60 MG Vyvanse). I’m an Engineering student, so the thrust of my working through it has been for the goal of not flunking out of my degree (I can fail 2 more times but only have 1 class left bay-bee).

I feel you wrt dependency: I take my meds every morning, else I get dull, grumpy and indecisive. I definitely don’t feel like the same person on the days that I do and don’t take them, sometimes to the extent that I’m not sure that who I am on the days I don’t take my meds is who I used to be all the time. That said, more recently I’ve been thinking that me on my meds has given me a new standard more than it has made me dependent.

The other side to my meds is that they lead to a kind of hyperfocus, where I can’t let go of an idea for better or for worse. Some examples:

  • Doing thermodynamics homework during a break, and not stopping for anything
  • In a lecture and coming up with NPCs for the TTRPG I’m running
  • Spending the whole day at work doing a drawing I thought of in the morning
  • Planning the pairings for my game of Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright
  • Spending 1 hour+ writing a forum post while at work

While I’m certainly not 100% fully there when it comes to living with myself and my ADHD, what’s helped me to this point is using multiple tools to help with it, and not putting all the weight of my brain on one thing. Thinking of my meds as (forgive the following) brain lube for other techniques to work on top of. Things like meditation, mindfulness, studying techniques, etc.

Ending here because I’ll end up writing an essay if I keep going and I pressed enter by accident before I was done and well, here we are.

3 Likes

I have the hyper focus too. My work is kind of monotonous right now, so I’ll find myself locked in on stupid shit on Twitter and argue with people for HOURS. It’ll be all day with some bad faith idiot online, and I will just keep going, unable to let go.

I’m wondering if I should just block these social media platforms from my work computer?

2 Likes

I’m not a huge fan of blockers, they just made me frustrated (in a way not unlike when I stub my fingers against something that was closer than I thought). I’m partial to limiters (time or otherwise) because it’s just enough stress to make me consider my actions, and whether they’re worth it. Approaching my data limit has absolutely limited my use of twitter during my commute.

But, as with all things, whatever works. Shrug

1 Like

Got prescribed 15 MG of XR! Excited to see if this stuff puts me back into a focused mental state. There’s always that first few days when you get a new dosage where everything feels GREAT, but I’m hoping I don’t have to go any higher.

I was accidentally given 20 MG instead of 10 after a new doctor’s visit, and I tried it to see how it would go, and I was WAY too wired. I grinded my teeth a lot, felt weird a lot of the day, lots of disassociation, and stronger headaches when I fucked up my ‘no caffeine’ rule.

2 Likes

I can’t say it is good advise but the way I found the dose that worked for me is I originally got perscribed too much. So I took fractions of the dose untill it felt right then I went back for a follow up with the doctor and sorted out the dosage.

ADHD is not like depression as I understand it. While the drugs stay in your system or a day or so. It is mostly you take a pill and your body uses a pill. Like you would think of a power up. I got a pile of chores to do, so I should make sure I got my +dopamine buff to help me get through them.

At the thereputic levels I am given to understand that the effect of tolerance is pretty minor and generally not considered a major factor in dosage considerations.

2 Likes

I don’t have ADHD myself but a close friend of mine was finally diagnosed with it in his 30s.

One thing he has found to be a huge help is changing his diet. He swapped to a low carb/keto diet. I don’t know the specifics of it but apparently it can help with concentration by evening out the body’s energy over the day.

As for social media, you don’t have to have ADHD for that to be a massive distraction at work! Just get rid of it. I’d cut back to only Instagram but deleted that too a week ago. Makes me so much more productive.

1 Like

I’ve been having some strong reaction to 15 mg. I feel really weird early in the day, very dissociated, and then I feel depressed and wanting of space later in the day.

It didn’t feel like this on 20, which is weird. I probably just need some adjustment time.

I hope I’m not being presumptive by joining this discussion. If anything here is too out of place, please let me know and I’ll delete/edit the comment.

I was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder a little over a year ago, just before my son was born. I’m nearly 40 now, but I’ve probably been dealing with this from the time I was 11 or 12. One of the symptoms of my depressions is complete lack of focus or hyper-focus on a single thing to the point that everything else disappears for me, including relationships. There were times it was bad enough that friends suggested I had OCD or ADHD.

Both my therapist and psychiatrist have since told me that some depressed individuals can exhibit symptoms of ADHD without actually having it, and that this is somewhat more common among bi-polar individuals.

Medicine has made a tremendous difference in my life. It has almost completely stopped the suicidal thinking, it has stopped the sudden uncontrollable bouts of tears, and it has made both my creative and working life easier to handle. But even without medicine, the one thing that has always worked for me as a creative person is the permission to write or make art in very short bursts, without judgments. I write a lot of poetry, so my medium is the keyboard basically. I allow myself to jot down random thoughts as poetry and I allow myself to either delete it or go back to it later, so that when I’m feeling especially scattered I can at least look at the little projects I’ve started and say “hey! here’s a foundation for me!” A negative consequence is that it can take me many weeks to complete a single project. The positive side is that I complete projects now.

Because I don’t actually have ADHD, I have no idea if a similar approach would be helpful but these little bouts of personal expression serve as an anchor for me and all I needed to make them important was my own permission to treat them as important. Who says I need hours of time to make something significant?

2 Likes

Hey, this might be slightly out of place, but I don’t know a better place to ask this so I hope it’s okay:

I have the suspicion that I might have ADHD (I turned 35 a few months ago), but it might take me a while to get a proper diagnosis (I started the process but I was already told that it might take up to a year).

Do any of you have any advice/ressource on how to cope with ADHD, without using medication? Again, it’s not clear that I have it and I’m aware that I might be just projecting, but I would like to try and see if organizing my lifer under the assumption that I do have it, might actually help me until I get a proper diagnosis.

Some stuff that helped me while I was figuring stuff out (I ended up writing a lot, I’m so sorry):

  • Breathing Exercises: For 5 minutes every morning on the bus in to work, I would do a bit of deep breathing, which helped me organize my thoughts somewhat. Eyes closed, no headphones, in a neutral sitting position. The key for me was to not try and clearing my mind, but to just focus on my breathing: in for 4 counts, out for 8.

  • Distraction Journal: For a while I had a spare notebook that I wrote stuff in during/after my lunch break about what had distracted me in the morning that day, without judgement. It was a good way to practice being non-judgmental about whatever was going on up there, and, even if I never revisited it, was a record of the kinds of things that I was typically distracted by.

  • Ad Hoc Diary: This is what I do now as I’ve lapsed in other things. Just a stream of consciousness thing (I have a bunch of plaintext files on my laptop) that I can write in whenever, without expectations for what I should or shouldn’t talk about. Again helps with the judgement thing, but also feels very free and easy when I don’t have to word everything exactly perfect.

  • Memos: Similar to both of the previous, but just a list of stuff that I want to look up later. I almost never get to the whole thing, maybe because I get some of it out of my system by putting it down somewhere? Here’s one from last week (I’m re-listening to All Systems Goku on my commute):

  • Day Notes: At the start of the day I put down the stuff I need to do that day in a plaintext file that I keep on my desktop for easy access. The act of putting it down keeps it in my head for a while, gives me somewhere to put new things that come up, and is basically a record of what I had to do the previous day, letting me revise it for the next.

Those are some specific things that were helpful off the bat for me. The biggest help was figuring out how my brain acts under certain conditions, and using that to figure out how I should deal with myself, how I should communicate to others about what I need (not in a material way, but things like time, space, understanding), and how I can manipulate circumstances to trigger the reactions in myself that I need (hyperfocus for studying vs. loose focus for video games, etc.).

God I wrote way too much, I’ll wrap. The only resource I have off the top of my head is one that I’ve been pointed to many times but have never actually looked at because the site wanted you to sign up to look at it, but I found it in PDF form: Dr. Hallowell’s 50 Tips on the Classroom Management of ADHD.

1 Like

I’m in the exact (almost) same boat, 31, suspected ADHD and been told a year+ for possible diagnosis. I’ve found that @erynnbrook on twitter has some great threads for identifying behaviour and interpreting it through the lens of ADHD, which then helps to deal with it in context, rather than just getting annoyed that this is the 4th time you’ve left the house this morning and you STILL forgot your lunch.

It’s actually her ADHD threads showing up on my feed that caused me to sit up and go ‘oh shit that makes a lot of sense’

I had trouble finding the right XR dose, too. I would have days where it felt like it took half the day to kick in, others where it felt like it wouldn’t kick in until lunch time, and others where it seemed like it didn’t work all day only to find myself unable to sleep until 4 in the morning.

Eventually we tried the immediate release, three times a day, and it is WAY better. It’s a little counter-intuitive, but the staggered immediate release schedule is much more even for me than the XR. Plus, I just feel like I have more control, which is a nice feeling. Admittedly, I sometimes forget to take a dose, but I consider that a good sign.

2 Likes

I take concerts XR. My docotor reccomended taking a small dose of immediate release in the morning to smooth out untill the xr kicks in.

Normally I just drink two cups of coffee in the morning and I feel like that is splitting the difference

I very likely have some form of ADHD, but I’ve never been officially diagnosed. I had teachers when I was in school tell my Mom that they thought I was exhibiting the symptoms, but she was extremely protective of me and refuted them at every turn.

Now that I’m older I definitely understand how easily it is I get distracted, how poor my short term memory can be, how difficult it is for me to finish projects (especially long form projects), etc. The thing is, I’m a little afraid to get officially diagnosed and medicated, because I hear things about how it changes one’s creative output. As someone who juggles indie game development, a Youtube channel, artwork and music production, I don’t want to dull those abilities.

Something that helps me stay on task is to build a small checklist of things I need to do. It can’t be too long, otherwise it’ll start to feel insurmountable and thus worthless to stick to (and I start forgetting to check stuff off, as well). But if it’s under, say, ten items, then it really does immensely help keeping me focused so that when I finish one thing I immediately start on the next instead of hovering in limbo “not knowing” what to do.

1 Like

Sorry, I wrote a whole thing before I realized you weren’t asking for advice. That said, there are bits of information that I didn’t know before getting tested for ADHD that I think are worth mentioning. Also, it should be noted that I’m Canadian and on my mom’s government health insurance plan, so I have a very privileged perspective on stuff like visiting my family doctor and prescription.

  • The diagnosis is more than just a yes-or-no; the testing that I underwent gave me info on how I disseminate information (I take a long time, particularly so when writing).
  • There are different types of ADHD, and they affect everyone differently.
  • There’s a lot more than just medication and therapy for treatment (exercise, getting more sleep, meditation, etc.).
  • There are a variety of medications, dosages, and regimens that work differently on different people (e.g. I take my meds every morning at a dosage that lasts most of the day; someone else might only need their medication for an exam, which wouldn’t need to last very long )
1 Like

What decaf options do you ya’ll use for drinks?

I was a heavy soda drinker when I started Adderall, do that has been an adjustment. I like Coke Zero Caffeine Free, Sprite, and Caffeine Free Root Beer.

Coffee wise, Caribou Coffee has a really good decaf. I’m surprised Starbucks doesn’t have any caffeine free options.

1 Like

WHELP, to continue to emphasis what a nightmare world United States healthcare is, I have a story…

I have health insurance through my work, United Healthcare to be precise, and my co-pay is around 25 bucks.

I just learned through my UHC website that I have not been paying the copay + the deductible on my doctor visits. My deductible is about 65 bucks, apparently. I now owe around 1,700 dollars in healthcare expenses because no one told me this. Not even the doctor when I gave them my insurance card. Not even my work place when we were told of our new insurance plan at the beginning of the year.

SO.

According to UHC, I should be paying 100 dollars for every visit to get prescription refills of my Adderall prescription, which also costs 60-90 at the pharmacy.

So, I have to pay nearly an extra 200 dollars a month to have my brain operate somewhat normal.

cool cool cool

So, in an effort to cut costs, I asked my doctor to switch me to Straterra, which isn’t a controlled substance and I can just get refills at the pharmacy. According to good RX, these prices range from 80-150 for 30 pills.

I swear, the revolution can’t come soon enough.

1 Like

I don’t know how easily you could get access to that but I’m on Teva Atomoxetine, which is the generic version of Strattera. It is MUCH cheaper. My doctor doesn’t know that it exists, keeps telling me that Strattera is very expensive and doesn’t exist in its generic form, but the generic DOES exist. My pharmacist is the one who recommended this option and supplies it to me. Full disclosure, I’m in Canada, so I can’t vouch for how it’s gonna work on your end.

If you do end up going for this option, fair warning, this medication takes a while to work properly (2-3 weeks) and has some weeeird side effects at first. Very different from Adderall. It all settles down eventually though.

1 Like

Oh god I just switched to UHC with a new job, and I had a doctor just warn me that the copay is estimated costs, but I’ll definitely have to watch out for this as I get re-medicated for ADHD…

1 Like