Too many doctors as unnecessarily afraid of dealing with stimulant based insomnia. It is actually one of the more manageable side effects. Most people on stimulant therapy have their sleep affected only by meds taken late in the day or by higher doses. Though I take high doses and am medicated late in the day, I know from when I first started medication almost three decades ago that if I take any Ritalin at all at any time during the day, I don’t sleep that night… on my own.
I think about how much it would have wrecked my life if I had had a doctor who give up on stimulants at that point. Instead I happen to have one of the best ADHD doctors in the world. He tried many things to counteract the stimulants until we settled on Clonidine. I’ve taken it every night for 28 years and it simply cancels out the Ritalin and I go to sleep normally about an hour later. It’s not a sleeping medicine and may even help with my ADHD symptoms, though my doctor says that the short acting form that I take shouldn’t have any effect in that area.
Guanfacine is probably prescribed more now that Clonidine is, but they are related and both offer similar help in sleeping. And, there are several other meds that can help offset the stimulants. So, don’t give up the chance of being effectively medicated in the evening. Whether it’s homework time or your kids bedtime, the evening is part of your life too.
Note: As with all my entries pertaining to medication, I will remind everyone that I’m not a physician. I simply post about medication because it is so important, because I so often see people not being educated about all the options by their medical professionals, and because it is hard to find good information on our own. But, my thoughts on medication should in no way be a replacement for proper treatment by a licensed medical professional. (But, if they don’t know as much as I do… maybe you should think about finding someone else?)
Note #2: Don’t get me wrong, I would love to not have to take so many pills. It is never anyone’s first choice to have to take meds to chase the side effects of other meds. However, if we are truly “all in” in terms of addressing our ADHD as effectively as possibly, we may have to compromise. I would argue that it is worth it to be able to concentrate.
Standard Disclaimer: In an effort to foil my own perfectionist tendencies, I do not edit my posts much… if at all. Please and typos, mistakes, grammatical errors, or awkward phrasing. I focus on getting my content down. An imperfect post completed is better than a perfect post that goes unposted.