Chronic illness MEDICATION

How Stimulant Medication Changed My Life as Someone Suffering With IH

My sleep has always been a priority but pre-meds it consumed my life. I could sleep for 16 hours a day and still find time to fit in multiple naps. I rarely attended 6th form, barely made it through my exams and feared I would never be able to hold down a job due to my excessive levels of sleepiness. I lost a lot of friends, partly due to me not being able to explain my condition and cancelling plans too often. I was so exhausted that I didn’t care that I was missing out on being a teenager.

My condition was unmanageable until I was put on modafinil (Provigil).  A drug that the movie Limitless is based on. For those of you who have seen the film Limitless, I can confirm that I did not develop any special powers but for those first initial weeks I did feel a certain level of limitlessness. The medication has taken me from a very strict sheltered lifestyle to a more ‘normal’ one, changing my life for the better. At the start I had so much energy I didn’t know what to do with myself, nor could I comprehend the fact i was able to go on a night out after a full 10 hour shift at work. My usual routine of falling asleep at 3pm or during dinner was suddenly no longer a thing, it was an extremely surreal experience. Stimulant medication has allowed me to have a busy social life as well as a work life. 

It has been a really overwhelming journey of trialling medications and experiencing varying levels of alertness.

Pre-covid, I work a 40+ hour week as a full time Restaurant and Operations Manager, a demanding job that requires you to be on your feet all day. I know that for some of my fellow sleepy heads working is not possible, so I am very grateful that I am able to work. Not saying it is easy for me, I do struggle with aches and pains, waking up and being on time is rare, and more often that not you can find me sat on the floor or leant up against the wall resting my eyes. But I feel very lucky to be on medication that allows me the option to work.

However, stimulant medication is a short term solution and the body becomes immune to its benefits within 2 years. Unfortunately for me after 9 months the drugs were no longer having the desired effect. It was a few months of feeling quite low and having to resort back to a sleepier lifestyle, whilst more tests were done and more consultations were booked. In all honesty, It was a much needed reality check. To remind myself that my medication does not cure me, it is not to be abused and I am still poorly underneath it all. Its role is purely to reduce my daytime sleepiness.

Since then I have been put on a rare combination of medication. I take 18mg of Concerta  XL (methylphenidate) AND 400mg of modafinil to function. Which is roughly the equivalent of 25 – 30 cups of coffee. As my condition continues to progress my dosage of medication will continue to increase. I have adapted my lifestyle to avoid stimulant abuse and reduce the stimulant burden on my body.

I am learning to find a healthy balance between sleepy and stimulated. 

4 comments on “How Stimulant Medication Changed My Life as Someone Suffering With IH

  1. I’ve been researching and writing up on CBD for my clients for over a year now and have written the equivalent of three books on the subject.

    While one of the things people use CBD for is insomnia, another is sleepiness, surprisingly enough. It seems that CBD may be biphasic – i.e. have an opposite effect depending on dosology. Also, it may “sort out” the endocannabinoid system, helping it restore the body’s homeostasis (or natural balance). So, if you’re sleepy it will wake you up, and if you’re alert it will calm you down.

    I’m curious – have you tried it out? If so, what was your experience with it?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi there, thank you for your comment! I haven’t tried it but it sounds amazing! Would I need to come off my existing medication before trying it out?

      Liked by 1 person

      • The doctor who prescribed you your current medication is best qualified to answer that, but I happened to write something about CBD and medicine interaction a short while ago:
        https://www.cbd4beginners.co.uk/cbd-drug-interactions/

        Basically, CBD is metabolized in the human body in the same liver location as all other drugs, where it acts as a competitive inhibitor. This means that it is metabolized first, letting other drugs remain in the body for longer than usual.

        The end result is that CBD tends to make other drugs more effective, so you may need to take *less* of your current medication to achieve the same effect.

        The most critical types of medication interacting with CBD are steroids, statins, antihistamines, prokinetics, immune modulators, benzodiazepines, antibiotics, anesthetics, antidepressants, antiarrhythmics, NSAIDs, beta-blockers, blood thinners, and anticonvulsants.

        You may also want to check out this post: https://www.cbd4beginners.co.uk/cbd-oil-dosage-calculator/

        I hope this helps!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you so much! I will mention it to my consultant!

        Liked by 1 person

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