A Dopamine Kick (Another ADHD Podcast)

58. Discussing All Things Elvanse/Vyvanse With Dr Alex Conner From The ADHD Adults Podcast

January 04, 2023
A Dopamine Kick (Another ADHD Podcast)
58. Discussing All Things Elvanse/Vyvanse With Dr Alex Conner From The ADHD Adults Podcast
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Show Notes Transcript

This week we have a VERY SPECIAL guest! We've been banging on about having guests on the podcast for ages and.... we finally did it.
Our guest this week is none other than Alex Conner co- founder of https://www.adhdadult.uk/ and one half of the ADHD Adults Podcast.

It was such an honor for us both to talk to Alex (Sparky when he had the chance because Shell was like a kid at Christmas) and also having him deal with our seriously unprofessional behaviour. It's a miracle it even happened to be honest, but we're both so grateful for his time and his personal reflections. We managed to quiz him on our ADHD nuances, Shells neurotic tendencies and discuss ADHD medication, is it safe? and discuss Alex's personal reflection on his experience with Vyvanse/ Elvanse. (Lisdexamfetamine) so far.

Thanks for listening to us ramble!

If your interested in attending the Seed talks mentioned, here's the link below. All three of us will be at the Birmingham one on the 18th Jan
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-science-of-adhd-navigating-neurodiversity-in-a-neurotypical-world-tickets-451748240147?aff=odcleoeventsincollection
 
Episode resources

Check out the website below to find all the useful links, how to contact Alex and James and listen to the Adult ADHD Podcast
https://www.adhdadult.uk/

List of symptoms, diagnostic criteria for ADHD and further information:
https://www.qandadhd.com/diagnostic-criteria

If you identify with 5 symptoms on each list often, it may be something you want to speak to your doctor about.

See you next week for another episode of shenanigans!

We upload a new episode every Sunday evening.

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Shell 0:

01 Hey everyone, welcome to episode 58 of a daydream kit. Today we have got such a special episode for you.

Sparky 0:

12 We did it, we actually did it we got a guest on and he is an amazing guest. But before we get our guest on, which we're super, super excited about and shell is fangirling. Please subscribe to the podcast if you haven't already. And leave us a review and let us know what you're thinking about the podcast at the moment. It helps the podcast gods decide what is a good podcast and we'd be so so grateful if you could do that for us. But now let's jump into our guest because I'm pretty sure you will all be excited to hear someone else talking other than us.

Shell 0:

48 So our guest this week is none other than Dr. Alex Connor from the ADHD adults. Podcast who, as Sparky mentioned, I'm a massive fan of so apologies in advance. There were times in this podcast that I was speaking at such a high volume. I think only dogs could hear me. And we're not gonna be talking about dogs. We're not talking about dogs. So without further ado, here we go. Hi, Alex. Welcome to our podcast. So Alex, tell us a little bit about yourself. I'm sure everyone who listens to us probably knows who you are, but just in case it's normal to do you want to tell us who you are and how we met.

Unknown Speaker 1:

29 My name is Alex. Recovering academic, so I recently moved into the private sector I I work in the field of ADHD. I used to publish the paper in ADHD and neurodiversity as a scientist and not my main focus, but then I realised I was ADHD and then I became an ADHD coach. So I had this sort of work with people I worked on the science and I have it and they call up the college something like knowledge, equity, I think when you've got all those three, and I realised that something I could focus on literally exactly. Are you sure that's what it is, but any any knowledge where you know, if you have worked with people and you know about it in an academic position, I knew you have lived experiences the three of the three parts of knowledge. And so when we started the channel when James and I started the charity, ADHD adult UK, and the podcast, which is, as you all know, the ADHD Alex, we, it was just a wave. As I say to James, we just wanted to show off we never want to tell anybody, which isn't strictly true. What everyone says to us is, Oh, that wasn't available before. And it was the same thought we had. What we couldn't find was information that wasn't like definitely doll information that was just normally said, but also that was evidence base because there was a lot of like trying the zinc and putting crystals in the water you definitely won't have ABS or loads of bollocks like

Sparky 3:

09 yeah, hate it. Yeah,

Unknown Speaker 3:

11 I always think so offensive to be more offensive. If you do refer a friend who was in a wheelchair and they got really muscular and because they were a real champion the way you'd say well, you're such a superpower isn't it? I've been no no late working late, because it means you have big muscles.

Shell 3:

27 We do your arms would be if you weren't in this wheelchair, you should be so grateful.

Unknown Speaker 3:

32 Sort of my response to my traumatic upbringing isn't really your superpower. It's a coping mechanism. Yeah. Yeah. So we started it for that because we're there's nothing else out there. And I'm never not about to go to the same place every week and sit in a room because I wouldn't remember. So we started that and yeah, people listen, and we're grateful and we love it. redundant. Why baffling? Awfully

Sparky 3:

57 amazing. That's why it is amazing. Yeah. I remember when we first came across you guys on your podcast, and I was like, Oh my God, you've got to listen to these guys. That's so funny. Yeah, I love the way you both like bounce off each other as well. And the fact that you both take the piss out of each other. I think he's very relatable to us because that's how we are with each other. And although I do try to tone it down a little bit because she was a woman and I don't want to come across like I'm taking the piss out of her too much. Because then people are like, you know.

Shell 4:

36 I'm basically immune to any job. So we thought we would quiz you on drugs. We thought we'd focus on so

Unknown Speaker 4:

50 definitely should we got James on?

Shell 4:

52 Well, we thought we'd go down the legal drug side like Gotcha. Okay. Yeah. So Sparky and I both tried a couple of different drugs. Sparky not anything ADHD specific and I've been on a few stimulants haven't really got on that well so far. So what we thought we'd do is sort of grill you on your experience of titration. I know it was a while ago for you now and sort of how you feel about drugs at the moment and what a day feels like for you. So I guess let's kick off with which ADHD drugs have you tried

Unknown Speaker 5:

28 some bile salts on methylphenidate, which is commonly known as as Ritalin. But for adults that don't give you Ritalin because it doesn't last very long in your bloodstream. It's a short acting form of that and we have other ones Concerta I was on and these are the names of them as well but these are slow reliefs in their capsule that release is slowly is somewhat caught lasts quite a few hours, because the half life isn't super long. So I was on that for ages, I should say that I'm I'm very very medication hesitant. Bloody hippie is ugly. Yeah. And one of the reasons for that is because of my so I'm not a medical doctor, I have a PhD in this and that and I research medical science. So the brain mangling stuff like that sort of area. No medication is safe, end of story. That's just a fact. And so, if you like I am committing to taking a drug every day, then know what you're doing and why and weigh up the risks and chance. No medication is safe. I'm medication hesitant. Having said that the stimulant drugs for ADHD are one of the safest psychiatric and even actually non psychiatric medicines medicines on the market. No medication safe again, and therefore. So when I was on methylphenidate, I was on and off it for years and years mostly. And then last year I decided that I would try Lisette amphetamine, which I'll Vance or Vance Is this too. This is sorry about this. This is where James hates me so much. This is boring. methylphenidate increases the activity of a couple of neurotransmitters dopamine everyone links it to reward and also noradrenaline, which is a bit like an L lisdexamfetamine. Andechs. amphetamine, do the exact same job pretty much. They do that as well. A slightly different way. Increased dopamine activity, not levels of dopamine and noradrenaline activity, but also serotonin activity. That's the famous one that is also increased when you're taking antidepressant or anti anxiety medicine. So list X was a little bit more and I needed a little bit more. So I moved to that and it was really revolutionary. Annoyingly so because I started to realise that the effect it has on ADHD is so profound, that I'm kind of probably going to be doing this a long time, if not

Shell 7:

57 forever. So what dose Are you taking at the moment

Unknown Speaker 8:

00 I take 14 milligrammes Melbourne every, every single morning at 8am. That's between seven and

Shell 8:

07 eight. And how do you remember to do that ATM every morning? Don't system

Unknown Speaker 8:

16 Oh, do you believe? I mean a lot to do squares sorry. Excellent. ADHD people swim to emotionally intelligent people swim or just saying putting out there. So I one thing is that I have the pot sat on the on my computer's monitor. And I tend to check charity work emails and admin every single morning so I usually see it and always objective visibility. But usually, and oh my god, I know when I don't take it. I thought there was a massive I thought there was a massive working memory problems. What's the word when he withdrawal symptom of my medication because every time I didn't miss it, I was out of control. And then I realised I was just not used to what I'm usually learning

Shell 9:

11 works that well for you. Yeah,

Unknown Speaker 9:

12 no, I know. It doesn't for everybody. I'm not going to from a personal but I'll talk about personal aspects and I'll talk about the science but they're not the same way. Everyone thinks their own ADHD is ADHD on Bloody tic TOCs. And so all my space I don't know. At least it's

Shell 9:

28 not. Don't worry. I'm just as bad like I'm probably still on my space. My

Unknown Speaker 9:

34 honest truth shop. I don't even know what my space is. I just say because I know you've never had voice know I've asked Jeeves

Sparky 9:

45 for me so I'm always

Shell 9:

51 set your own music. So when people came onto your page, you could play them you're not seen anybody likes and use somebody else's angsty Music Oh, please fucking oddly enough.

Unknown Speaker 10:

07 I forgotten what I was saying. Damn,

Sparky 10:

10 I wish I could remember.

Unknown Speaker 10:

14 Forget locksmith Hola. So we have a phrase which is when you met one person with ADHD you've met one person with ADHD are all different. The symptoms are the same. The behaviours that react that comes from those symptoms are based on a lifetime of personal experience and personality type. Yeah, so it can be literally opposite for the same symptomatic reason. So you can't say to my personal experience is different from what I'll tell you about populations and science if you if you tie up all over the

Sparky 10:

45 bow share, Gary ya would absolutely love that.

Shell 10:

49 said he'll just go Uh huh. Uh huh.

Sparky 10:

54 I'm still listening. I'm still you

Unknown Speaker 11:

01 know, I can see you all tremendous. She was smart and I can see

Sparky 11:

07 Shall I just get out and just end the recording.

Shell 11:

12 So when you started titration How long did it take you? I know you initially stayed on methylphenidate. How long did it take you to get sort of stable than on a dose that suited you Do you remember

Unknown Speaker 11:

24 for methylphenidate it took ages and I've never I've never really did I've never really gone with it. The sunflex weren't that bad, but the effects weren't. It didn't do a lot for me just the timing a little bit. And I thought well, rather than taking a drug every day, which you know does have consequences, no medicine. So I decided to drink a lot, which is not a brilliant solution. And not just drink either,

Shell 11:

49 because no medication is safe for alcoholics.

Unknown Speaker 11:

52 Obviously if we invented it, absolutely banned and rightly so. I am somebody that drinks and doesn't like it. So that so yeah, really not safe. And it wasn't just alcohol it was doing other things as well. But because I work within the NHS and I can't talk about it, frankly. So yeah, when I went to I probably will impulsively at some point. When I went to my psychiatrist did it. But I've talked about this on the pot. He told me that no, it isn't normal to take cocaine to do the crossword every year.

Unknown Speaker 12:

34 I know I know it's an audio medium but I'm just going to show you this. So tune in 50 pound gold carat pen that I was sent for winning the Sunday Times crossword competition.

Shell 12:

46 Do you use it to do the crossword?

Unknown Speaker 12:

47 I use a star star but stalls Yeah, so I was really struggling and methylphenidate wasn't touching the sides frankly. And so I pretty much stopped and it was okay and then actually through a lot of the work I do for the charity I realised that I probably should take my own advice and go back to my team, the mental health team which and and get re get put on something a little bit. Cheeky. So I got rehydrated actually, in this spring. You know I moved on to Linux and the difference was very profound. I went from 20 to 40. And actually I didn't go beyond that because it was obviously all I needed. It. For me it was a fairly stark change. The side effects are quite stark as well. I feel I should add spy.

Sparky 13:

40 Yeah, so I was just about to ask that. What side effects like what side effects did you experience? And what's the difference between you being on the medication and being off the medication

Unknown Speaker 13:

52 in terms of side effects or actually what it means like positive effects?

Shell 13:

55 I think side effects because that's what what we worry about the most definitely is side effects.

Sparky 14:

00 Yeah, we're both the type of people that will say that we want to start something you know to help us and make us feel better. But then, you know, health anxiety, looking at or particularly me anyway, looking at the bad side effects and thinking that's going to happen to me, that's also going to happen to me. And obviously like you said, there's always risks when it comes to meds, but everybody's going to react differently to different drugs. But I guess it would be great to hear your side of the story. And what's what's what side effects you experienced whilst you are on them is

Unknown Speaker 14:

33 a really good really good question. So remembering that I moved to Liz disinfecting, just like decks and betting. Okay, good. You know how lisdexamfetamine pass three broken down into Dex amphetamine in the body, which takes an inside sales. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. And it needs an enzyme is a little bit slow, and that's why it's slow release. It's not just the capsule, it's because it has to be metabolised. Blistex law takes a bit longer so it lasts me yeah, all all day really. starts to run off with me about eight or nine o'clock. It allows me to focus on things I want to focus on. It doesn't allow me to do my tax return. It doesn't or not doesn't allow me to be different.

Sparky 15:

14 To me. That's something that I really wanted to free to work

Unknown Speaker 15:

20 on everybody thinks that I took it and then I spent four hours researching a new pair of headphones or whatever. And I think that was really a rabbit hole. Because he chose to do that. You know, it doesn't change. It's not like a like stimulate your brain during that I'll do work it doesn't you know, it's just allows you to focus on what you want to fix some more rather than constantly bloody distracted like we

Sparky 15:

41 do me all the time and bluestacks it

Unknown Speaker 15:

45 does what little windows methylphenidate, does plus serotonin increases activity serotonin and about 80% of the serotonin actually in your body. I think this is right. Look notice actually works in the stomach and getting food through your body. So the biggest side effects for me of this x are stomach ones. For me, growly a bit are not great, and so the way I combat that is I absolutely have to eat a small breakfast, lunch and dinner at the same time. So I'm doing pretty much the same time every day, which as you can imagine the routine of that isn't easy to maintain. So that's the biggest

Shell 16:

26 one but you don't find it affected it not affect you mentally at all. So when I was on I I don't know if you listen to our episodes where I was on it, but I was really slow like a sedated zone.

Unknown Speaker 16:

40 And when you say slow, you sedated and slow what does that mean? I did not feel

Shell 16:

49 so I was physically slow. So in my job as a bat, I've very rarely I'm injured I don't get scratched and get better. But when I'm on medication, I'm covered covered in injuries. So I'm definitely physically slower, but also mentally I found in conversations. I just wasn't as quick or wasn't able to banter couldn't make jokes because I've missed the point and it was almost like I was distracted doing something else except I wasn't.

Unknown Speaker 17:

17 What were you

Shell 17:

18 just anything I was trying to do like recording this podcast or talking or just everything just felt like I was always wading through cotton wool to get there. Really, really interested. I just wanted to nap all the time as well. Like I just wanted to just lie under a blanket and do nothing and stare at the wall.

Unknown Speaker 17:

38 So essentially sounds like it's slowed your brain down.

Shell 17:

41 Yeah. Which is why I thought what I wanted, but not in a useful or positive way. Like I felt really like my personality was quite squashed. So I I messed about that. So I started on 30 You took that for four days. Of up less than 30 of that. Then after four days decided wasn't happy. So then I halved it myself to 15 for a couple of days, which was better but I still had everything just not as much. And then I did a couple of cheeky days at 60 where I just took to be honest, was that just for shits and giggles? No, because I had seen someone else say that at lower doses. They were quite zombie like but at higher doses it was better. So I emailed my psychiatrist asking if I could try it and he already by this point he'd already switched me to conservative but it hadn't arrived. And he replied with definitely not no, he replied with he wouldn't be like going back to the index in the future. But let's just stick with the conservative for now. So I was like, but I don't have the Concerta so I'm gonna carry on. I'm gonna try. So I didn't four days at 60 or medical she was gonna do and the four days at 60 was better but by the fourth day I was starting to get quite sleepy again. It wasn't as bad I never got a slow but I was definitely starting to get super

Unknown Speaker 19:

17 fulfilled that you're that you're a fraud for saying you have ADHD and anxiety or

Shell 19:

22 Oh yeah, yeah. And then especially when the medication didn't work for me. 100%

Unknown Speaker 19:

27 So you know, you're telling people that when you take speed, it slows you down. You asked a question whether pharmacology I don't know why a lot of people face that, because it shouldn't do in the same way it shouldn't. Cocaine shouldn't allow me to do crossword really love that you think oh it's incredibly

Shell 19:

50 frustrating because I want my like meds epiphany I want why is this normal people feel like moment and instead Yeah, I'm just

Unknown Speaker 20:

00 I'm just putting this I don't know whether to even say this on on your pockets or not? Because it's not this isn't fact and it's acquaintance. I'm not leading the witness. And it's just a question. How sure, are you that what you're experiencing isn't what normal?

Sparky 20:

13 Oh, yeah. Oh, that's actually a question.

Shell 20:

17 That is a that is a really depressing thought. Because if that is what normal feels like, I think I'd rather have ADHD well do sleep show. I fall asleep really easily which I know is not common in our community. As soon as my any pillow I'm gone within seconds. But then I will wake up a lot throughout the night and at some point when I slipped off like the worst of the tiredness and then up for the day. And that can be anything from about 3am to I'm very rarely asleep after about seven.

Unknown Speaker 20:

50 So when you send your title there on the meds, I mean you're supposed to sleep humans are supposed to sleep. It's normal to be to be tired and go to sleep for an all in between a nine hours. Yeah. What you said. Most people don't do. They're not constantly alert for the joke, the banter the whip, they're busy. But if you go into any office and say, Gladys, tell me a joke. They're like, I'm really gonna do this and they want to do it. They want to do the boring thing they do because they're able to prioritise based on an objective list rather than what feels good at the time. And I am not telling you in any way what you felt, because there's no way I would know that. But it did sound like you were just Just

Unknown Speaker 21:

38 what I would say is that is that because it's just it's like two thirds of, of lose decks. That's not strictly scientifically true from a pharmacological perspective, so, I mean, are you trying to get any better with insurance?

Shell 21:

54 So I tried 80 milligrammes, and I'm definitely still slow so I was covered in scratches, but I didn't feel as bad mentally, like I could still sort of go about my normal life and it maybe was having a few beneficial effects. So I'm just waiting for 27 to arrive to take that. But interestingly so I tried it for the longest I've ever taken any dose of the stimulant is 10 days because I am very busy. So I tried it for 10 days and was getting on okay with it. And I'd said to my psychiatrist, I think I just want to stay on this dose like over Christmas, I don't want to risk going up in case I have a bad effects, but it's not really doing anything for me. And he said, Well, I don't really like that. I did not want to prescribe your medication that's not doing anything. I'll give you the higher dose and you can start taking it when you want. So in my mind, I was like, Well, why am I even taking this now? It's been 10 days like I know I've got 30 But what's the point? So I came off it for four days. I was late for work every day, I was dissociating I forgot to brush my teeth for four days and I was like, fuck this I need to go back on the meds. So started back on the meds for five days. And it was like almost as bad as list X. Like I was really slow really zombified really sedated. So I don't know.

Unknown Speaker 23:

15 I don't know when you're getting, like scratched by an animal. Is it because you're slow or is it because you're concentrating on something else? Um, no, I

Shell 23:

25 think well, I suppose it might be a little bit of both. But there's definitely been times when it's been because of some slight because I'm not mean that the way quick enough.

Unknown Speaker 23:

33 That's a really interesting point. I know that when I play sport on list X is like I'm doping are so much better. Yeah, the guy that invented Ritalin worked for like Sims more recently he was his wife had low blood pressure. So it's hard to give us something to increase it. We thought would work and the name was Margaret, and he found that she was better at tennis with it. concentrate more on your device weird. And named after Margaret returning

Shell 24:

05 right that's quite cute.

Unknown Speaker 24:

08 Don't lose money for it was supposed to because it's that doesn't work very well as a blood pressure medicine as we all know it barely has any cardiac activity at all. But yeah, so interesting. The effects you that way. I don't know why

Sparky 24:

21 I say this. Sorry. I

Shell 24:

23 feel like I've just hijacked this a little bit. This is supposed to be about you as our guest. And somehow I'm like venting I'll show

Sparky 24:

29 my sponsor way to make it hey, you you offer to me on this podcast sometimes, you know, so I've got to get my dig somewhere. I can you know, but anyway, Alec so one of the things that are you wanting to ask you is, you know, ADHD, one of the symptoms is feeling like you're doing things like you're on a motor, and whilst I definitely have that but just going back to what Shell said there, I also feel like I'm a very slow person as well. And because of that, I always think maybe I don't have ADHD even though I know I've got all of the symptoms, but when shell was describing there was like for her to be on medication. Sometimes I do feel a bit like that in general, like a bit slow. And I think it's because there's like other distractions, you know, in my mind, like now, we've been talking and listening but in my mind, I'm thinking, Oh, God, I hope this is recording or, Oh, I hope I've got I've got enough space. So it's like I'm distracted by all the little things that are going on. I'm listening, but I'm half there. Do you know what I mean? Is that normal? Is that an ADHD thing? Go? I don't know.

Shell 25:

43 Do you Alex, if you started talking science, then he'd be gone. No, no.

Sparky 25:

50 Yeah. So

Unknown Speaker 25:

52 people think that people with ADHD have faster brains, but it is not true. They have slower growth.

Sparky 25:

58 Okay, the reality

Unknown Speaker 25:

59 is are and remember this population. Now this doesn't mean every single one of us is slower than every single person with ADHD. That's not how population dynamics works. What and the reason we have so erased they think, is because of a thing called task switching. And it's exactly exactly exactly what you just described sparking, okay. If we if you if we all do a task for 10 minutes, and somebody without ADHD does the task for 10 minutes, but only thinks about that one thing then there's for 10 solid minutes. An ADHD person is more likely to think about five different things. Yeah, in that time, which appears from the outside to be faster, but it isn't. It's just multiple thoughts. Yeah. And then it gets even worse when we swap between one thought to another, there is a short period of time in which we are thinking about neither. So isn't five periods of two minutes is five periods of under two minutes. Yeah. 10 minutes. So the healthy person healthy the person who thought for 10 minutes and we've thought was, let's say nine to our brains of slower thinking, we just tend to think about morning appears to be fast. Yeah, is in fact slower. It's really good psychological papers showing exactly that. So yeah, stop what you're saying because

Sparky 27:

17 sometimes I don't like I'm doing things really fast jumping from this to that and flitting all the time, but then it appears slow in what I'm doing too. But then But then I'm but then I'm not because I don't feel like I'm a slow pace.

Unknown Speaker 27:

32 You're just task switching and task switching on gaps where we do literally nothing. We think literally nothing. Okay.

Shell 27:

39 Well know when you're on the medication, and it helps you

Sparky 27:

42 to focus Oh, here we go. She's back on the medication. Again. This is meant

Shell 27:

46 to be a medication and I'm just gonna remind you Sparky

Sparky 27:

50 because you're not you're again,

Shell 27:

57 nice when you're on the medication, and you're able to focus on things Yeah. How do you keep that focus on the things that you want? How do you stop that becoming a rabbit hole into the best headphones the perfect

Unknown Speaker 28:

10 question, really because so just just as a side effects, I get a bit jittery, but not anxious. I get dry mouth, and it's a nightmare if I drink those are the other three major side effects to answer the last question, but this is a really good one. What I medication is effective for ADHD most people who take it but there's effectiveness effective and that there's 10% under percent what is it and if you do supportive stuff that isn't medication. The medication effectiveness is increased therapy if you look it off, but coaching can help a self coaching and self education was reduced psychoeducation on our show, is because helping people understand ADHD is scientifically proven and being Jennifer Aniston on an advert is scientifically proven to give you lustrous hair. No, that's wrong. Scientifically proven to reduce the effect of the symptoms of ADHD. And so what I do is I do all that good in it. I think I know I'm on the medication. I know I'm going to concentrate and I'm really really aware that if I start looking at what happened to William the second I'm gonna spend the next three hours doing that. Yeah. So it's an even if I'm checking work emails in what I call golden time, which is when I'm really effective, and everybody's different. We're all different, but for me, that's really early in the morning. If I do anything other than the really creative hard tasks I want to do then it's a massive waves and even though I'm on the medication, if it's after lunch, I'm going to be doing football. I just will actually I'm going to be doing the thing that I'm really emotionally rewarded by. So I'm going to be recording a podcast I'm going to be what I do is a schedule meetings with people in life at work in the afternoon. So

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