"My mental health provider believes that I have attention deficit disorder and that I have probably been self medicating for it. My drug of choice was methamphetamine and I recently went to rehab and kicked the habit-- it has only been 56 days so by no means am I out of the woods. I tried meth in 2003 thinking it would just be a one time thing and I wouldn't make it a habit. Boy was I wrong. It rapidly (I'm talking 2 weeks) escalated into a full blown addiction. This lasted off and on for the next 7 years until I finally quit last April.
My question is this: If I have a dual diagnosis, does the substance abuse issue preclude the use of known medications to treat the disorder? I have already tried Strattera and that did nothing for me. I was tested for ADD 2 years ago and scored in the 97% likelihood of having the disorder. My childhood history also points to this disorder. If this is the case, it has interfered with all aspects of functioning. I am not sure what to do, it seems like a hopeless situation."
One of the best medications for attention deficit is consistent attention provided by a loving authority figure (regular and frequent therapy, individual and group, with a recovery focus, regular attendance at NA/AA meetings, regular meetings with a sponsor and step-work, mediation/mindfulness practices)--which for most people with addiction is a living amends to themselves for the lack of attention they received in the past. CBT is also beneficial for those with ADHD. Straterra is a good medication choice for people with co-occurring substance dependence and ADHD. It takes at least 4weeks to work, which most addicts don't like. Another option would be Wellbutrin. I believe the risks with regards to addiction potential far outweigh the benefits of taking a stimulant medication for ADHD given your addiction history. Addiction is a deadly killing disease, with a much higher mortality rate than ADHD.
- Kimberly Dennis
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