The Rebound Effect of Stimulant Medication
If you think about the situation before being prescribed stimulant medication, people would have been frustrated, wanting things to make their life easier & better. The exhibited behaviours are external signs & symptoms of internal struggles. The brain constantly tries to produce dopamine, serotonin & noradrenaline (norepinephrine). This is because the physical brain can never produce enough, carry enough or transport enough neurotransmitters.
The physical brain has a deficiency of brain chemicals, like a diabetic’s body has a deficiency of insulin and, or inability to regulate insulin.
The physical brain tries to produce more neurotransmitters by constantly moving (instinctively) sending signals to your body (without consultation) to twitch, move, fidget & exercise, as the brain attempts to fix the deficiency / inability in regulating neurotransmitters.
In an attempt to produce more neurotransmitters, the brain will seek fun, excitement, interesting & sometimes dangerous or risky things, as this is the quickest, most effective way to produce those needed neurotransmitters.
When doing boring, routine & mundane things, it is not stimulating. This can result in intense emotional outbursts, acts of defiance, or a mission to find something more interesting, risky or exciting.
Procrastination can also kick in at these times, where anything is preferable to the boring & mundane chores.
Stimulant medication takes over the process of producing the needed neurotransmitters. Therefore, it’s less of a struggle all day, every minute of the day. There is less brain versus body struggle & effort put in, to try & produce natural neurotransmitters.
Stimulant medication means one thought can finish before another intrudes & disrupts. Tasks can be finished before being interrupted by fast brains, distractions or interruption by ‘always on’ brains. Bodies are able to stay still, focus & rest. There is more ability to relax, calm, concentrate, get things done & thrive.
Problems occur at the point when stimulant medication has been has exited the system & is metabolised. At this point the stimulant medication is not working anymore & the brain goes from having the correct level of neurotransmitters to having none or very little.
This situation is far worse than having fought all day trying to produce a few neurotransmitters. Therefore, worse behaviour can be seen in the morning before the prescribed stimulant medication ‘kicks in’, & also in the late afternoon or early evening. This behaviour does appear worse than prior to starting prescribed stimulant medication.
At first this situation does not make sense, unless it is explained. Many people think that somehow, they have made things worse, especially parents, who do not get to see the benefit of prescribed stimulant medication on their children, as the stimulant medication normally works when the child is at school.
The situation is not worse. You have started on a path for success, with far less effort & struggle needed to get through each & every day. You have given a chance to stop the fight & struggle, all day, every day. You have given the chance to thrive, rest & recover.
The brain reverts to having none, or very little neurotransmitters in the system because there has been no struggle, all day to produce the little number of neurotransmitters, possible.
Make no mistake, the diagnosed brain can never make enough of their own neurotransmitters, that is why they are diagnosed with these conditions.
Remember, what you see with the rebound effect takes time to understand & when there is more understanding, there is a shift in perspective, more compassion & less swimming against the tide.
With knowledge, compassion & understanding, you can develop tips, tricks & hints to make these times, as easy as possible.
Some things you can do at times of rebound is …
- Sport or exercise to create natural dopamine.
- Music, singing and dancing can create natural dopamine.
- Xbox and iPad can create natural dopamine very quickly.
- Good yummy food & drink (because the ADHDer also have suppressed appetite on stimulants) I go for chocolate & then back it up with something that won’t make a crash on a sugar-high later.
- Time alone chilling.
- if it’s really bad the experts recommend taking another medication to assist with the drop-off, or, moving to a different medication that has a slower and easier exit of the system.