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So, I 've always been anxious about my performance and fear of failure being the main bone I have to contend with. And to make matters worse, I've been diagnosed with ADD (eleventy years ago, and I'm in the progress of going through a very thorough re-assessment, because I'm not quite sure the diagnosis is correct). All in all not very helpful when you're working in high-tech software (i.e. robotics and computer vision) in a pretty high tempo (which is great) environment.

During the years I've tried many medications:

  • First I thought sleep was the problem, so I had been on Temazepam for yearsssss, but I stopped it because this does not help the underlying problems in the slightest.

  • I've been on Ritalin and dexamfetamine (adderall?), but when using Ritalin I just want to lock myself up in the house and count flowers on the wall and using dex just felt wrong. It does certainly help keep focus on tedious tasks, which I suck at, but it also kills creativity.

  • I've been on Mirtazapine (for sleep) and Venlafaxine (for general mood), the result of Mirtazapine being adding 20KGs (44lbs) WHILST cycling 5k+ a year and going to the gym. Go figure.

Venlafxine (@75mg daily) doesn't really alter my mood and although I don't experience any (negative) side-effects I'm considering tapering off (of course with help of my GP and other care providers who are more specialised in this sort of matter). And no, I'm not depressed.

So for nothing really helped. Then I discovered (was prescribed) Xanax. What a revelation. I felt motivated and actually got lots of stuff done and the anxiety,poef, gone! A gift from heaven. I was put on 2x1 mg, but I found that a bit much. So now basically have a regimen. Apart from my day job as a dev, I'm also pursuing a masters degree in bionformatics (so: molecular biology, some basic chemistry, systems biology, differential equations, differential equations and from time to time some differential equations and differential equations. Did I mention differential equations yet?

Now combining this with a 40 hr job, regular sporting activities and a wife that needs attention is a task in itself as you could problably imagine (no watching the TV time sink helps).

Anyhow the crux is: today I have a day off for study, and I've found that 0.5 mg xanax disolved in a nice cup of tea and drinking it slowly helps me get over my inherent laziness and actually, really helps me get to work (and remember it ;)).

I don't use it every day, maybe 2-3 times in a row (days like these and sometimes in the weekend), but I do feel it might be a bit sketchy to do so. It just puts me over the edge of giving in to slacking. And I can also easily, without side effects not take it for a week, or 2.

I usually don't drink alcohol, perhaps some red wine during the holidays on when we're on vacation.

So the real question is: I use these anxiolytics to actually focus on study and I'm kind of in dubio, the medication scares me, because it's so good and I really don't want to be a benzo addict... Should I keep doing it. Anyone else in the same boat here? Somehow it just doesn't feel right using this, while at the same time I acknowledge their helpfulness.

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    This is a good question, but it's a little challenging for us to answer in this kind of a format because it's hard for us to know enough about the particulars of your situation. Have you discussed your concerns with your doctor? – EJoshuaS - Reinstate Monica Feb 6 at 5:56
  • Also, FWIW procrastination and anxiety do often go hand in hand (because if you're really anxious about the task you'll also tend to want to procrastinate it). For me personally I found that, when I got treatment for my anxiety, I found it much easier not to procrastinate. I did work with a therapist too though (not just take medication) - I definitely recommend seeing one if you don't yet because that was actually more helpful to me than even the medication was. – EJoshuaS - Reinstate Monica Feb 6 at 6:00
  • I'm afraid my recurring prescription will de stopped. I don't have panic attacks or agoraphobia. My thinking is: why should I be allowed to take dex or ritalin, while they both make me feel like, well, crap and aren't really helpful. And i'ts not like I binge them away, heck I use less then prescribed, jut for an off-label purpose :) – Pieter Hendriks Feb 6 at 6:00
  • @EJoshuaS-ReinstateMonica Yeah, Feb 27th I'll be having a day long session with psychiatrists, psychologists, coaches etc, I explicitly asked for a CGT angle, and keep the meds for emergencies. Maybe helpful to say: I incorporated mindfulness practice into my daily life and like I mentioned I exercise quite often (i.e. 100+ mile cycling, noobie powerlifting, judo, BJJ) – Pieter Hendriks Feb 6 at 6:01
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    Welcome to the site Pieter. I've placed this on hold given that a lot of the points raised here are not really topics we can or should cover here. I see a potential on-topic question concerning the (long-term) use of "performance enhancers" (regardless of reason) in the workplace but we can't really comment on your specific situation let alone recommend medication to help you. That's really a matter for a medical professional. – Lilienthal Feb 6 at 13:15
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Fellow ADD here with a lot of struggles in the workplace because of that. I think that this is simply the wrong place to ask.

I would say that, as long as your medication regime is fully followed by a proper therapist in a proper therapy setting, you should do it if it makes your life better.

Actually, there is even no real question, as what I see is that you found a way to medicate but you can't frame it emotionally and have lingering feelings of guilt for doing this: another reason to ask to a therapist about how to deal with this.

(On one side, it seems also that you have quite a lot on your shoulders: a regular job, family, and studies. This can be a huge source of stress, especially if you are a pathologically wrecked planner as almost every ADHD person is.)

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  • Yeah, the thing is, when I'm using these scarcely I have absolutely no issues with planning and I feel waaaay more confident. The meds are prescribed by my GP & psych. Dex just makes me just really anxious + I hate uppers yes, I'm one of those backard devs that doesn't drink coffee ;)). These factors are most of the reason why I want to re-assess my diagnosis of ADD. – Pieter Hendriks Feb 6 at 10:03
  • @PieterHendriks just keep in mind that it's a spectrum and can manifest itself differently among people; but yes, a reassessment can be reasonable. – Czar Feb 7 at 10:29
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    Addendum, thi answer really strikes into the heart of the matter, sadly I can't upvote yet. Of course I will be open and honest with my care providers and am very anxiuous ;) to hear their take on it :) – Pieter Hendriks Feb 7 at 12:52

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